ORLANDO, Fla. -- Magic coach Stan Van Gundy knew Sunday night was special, and the evidence was everywhere: a suit, tie, motivational pregame speech. All atypical Van Gundy.
A preseason game? Please. This one meant more.
And his Magic showed it.
Rashard Lewis, J.J. Redick and Ryan Anderson scored 23 points apiece, and the Magic opened their new arena in style with a 135-81 rout of the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday night.
"I did say in the locker room, very briefly right before we were heading out, that it was a very big night for a lot people in our organization," Van Gundy said. "And we need to honor those people by playing very, very hard. That's all we talked about."
It truly was a grand opening.
Orlando built a big lead from the start to kick off an early celebration that was more than a decade in the making. Van Gundy dressed to impress, played his starters big minutes and did everything possible to treat a capacity crowd to a blowout victory.
"If it takes a new arena to get Stan to wear a suit," Orlando's Dwight Howard said, "we're going to have to get one every year."
Peja Stojakovic had 20 points and Emeka Okafor added 13 points for the Hornets, who lost their second straight preseason game in as many nights. Even though it was a preseason game, they took little comfort such a loss.
"Anytime you get beat by 50, it is not a good look," New Orleans forward Trevor Ariza said.
The Magic took a 17-point lead in the first quarter, went ahead by 28 at halftime and 55 in the fourth quarter. Orlando's three big men -- Howard, Marcin Gortat and Lewis -- led the way from inside and out.
And not in the usual order.
Displaying some of his expanded game, Howard banked some face-up shots off the glass, running hooks and - of course - those powerful dunks and soaring blocks. Gortat led the way with fast-break dunks, and Lewis went back to his post-up game to highlight the arena's coronation.
The Hornets didn't have a chance.
"I'm sure the fact that it was a new building, they want to get used it," Okafor said. "A lot of buzz in the air. The crowd was into it. It all helped them out."
The emotion of having their long-sought dream realized was overwhelming for some Magic executives, bringing tears to the eyes of team president Alex Martins - who, along with senior vice president Charlie Freeman - was instrumental in getting the funding for the $480 million arena and making sure every detail was built to sparkle. The Magic contributed almost $100 million.
"I'm overwhelmed because everybody has worked so hard and a lot of people deserve a lot of credit," Martins said before tipoff, his voice cracking. "I just think about the next 50 years and all of the great memories that are going to be created in this building."
The downtown arena is quite a change from the bland facility the Magic vacated a few blocks away.
The new arena - with 18,500 seats and almost three times the square footage of the old - also houses the teams practices facilities, two levels of luxury suites, wine bars, beer bars, indoor restaurants, outdoor cafes and even a nightclub. There's a play area for kids, retail outlets, food courts and the NBA's largest video screen.
The one thing missing? An NBA championship banner.
"Our main focus was to bring good energy, to show the crowd all this wasn't for a waste," Anderson said. "We want to bring home a championship."
Notes: Hornets PF David West missed the game with a sprained right wrist. Joe Alexander started in his place ... The Magic held a grand opening gala Saturday night, raising $300,000 for the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness.
|New Orleans 0-2||17||21||24||19||81|
|Orlando 3-0 «||34||32||40||29||135|
'47 Brand Pelicans Cleanup Adjustable Hat - Red
$19.95 Shop Now!