But when push came to shove on Monday nigh, the Magic pushed back, 290-pound Big Baby Davis moving the pile. They won a bruising battle of the bigs, out-wrestling the Minnesota Timberwolves 102-93, with a second-half charge that erased a 12-point halftime deficit.
It looked like the WWF at times with all the bodies flying and falling.
The NBA court is 94 feet in length and 50 feet wide, but the Magic and the Timberwolves basically needed only the painted area.
It’s 16 feet wide, but a mere postage stamp when the guys with size go toe-to-toe in it.
Davis got popped in the jaw by Kevin Love, remaining on the floor for a while.
Imposing Minnesota center Nikola Pekovic, who resembles a villain in a James Bond movie, tossed Gustavo Ayon to the court in apparent retaliation for a previous roughhouse incident.
The T-Wolves knocked around the Magic in the first half as their three big men – Love, Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko – combined for 43 points on 17-of-29 shooting, with 18 rebounds.
The Magic’s bigs weren’t bad, but Davis, Nik Vucevic and Moe Harkless managed just 21 points and seven boards. Davis and Vucevic and Ayon all had three fouls at intermission in failed attempts to defend the Minnesota Lumberjacks.
Points in the paint at halftime: T-Wolves 32, Magic 16.
Coach Jacque Vaughn’s speech?
“It’s who was going to be more aggressive. That was my message at halftime,” he said. “Whether they could take challenge to play with physicality.”
The Magic took the challenge flipping the script on the T-Wolves and winning the final skirmish in the paint, 42-40, complete with some hard fouls.
“I love it,” Vaughn said.
The T-Wolves were stunned.
“We were 15 shots in the paint in the second half,” said Minnesota coach Rick Adelman. “That’s the thing we were doing well in the first half. I don’t know why, but we couldn’t make the shots.”
Davis and the Magic outscored the T-Wolves 53-32 in the final two periods.
Davis had 28 points on 13-of-17 shooting with five dunks, finishing as king of the paint. He turned toward the crowd at the end, letting out a lion's roar and, of course, flexing his muscles.Brian Schmitz is the Magic Insider for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@magicinsider.