Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog

Mar 01

Video: Dewayne Dedmon’s alley-oop dunk

Mar 01

Grades: Charlotte Hornets 98, Orlando Magic 83

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AP Photo/John Raoux

 

Charlotte Hornets 98 Final
Recap | Box Score
83 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
4-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | -23

This is the third time this season that Vucevic has been held to 10 points, which is his lowest point total in a game in 2014-15 (the other two times came on December 30 against the Pistons and January 2 against the Nets). Vucevic was mostly invisible against the Hornets, though he did make his presence felt a little bit in the fourth quarter.

Victor Oladipo
7-14 FG | 6-8 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 21 PTS | -21

Oladipo had a number of pretty drives to the basket. The best sequence came in the closing seconds of the second quarter when Oladipo and Vucevic ran a 2-5 pick-and-roll that led to an Oladipo layup. Despite Al Jefferson dropping down in the paint, Oladipo navigated around him as well, as Lance Stephenson from the weak-side, and finished with a difficult reverse layup that was well contested.

Tobias Harris
4-13 FG | 4-6 FT | 2 STL | 9 REB | 13 PTS | -26

Harris had a scary moment in the third quarter when he and Oladipo collided in transition. Oladipo accidentally ran into Harris’ right knee while defending a fast break that, for a brief moment, looked like a serious injury for Harris, who was down on the court for a few minutes. Fortunately for the Magic, Harris was able to walk it off and stayed in the game.

Andrew Nicholson
5-8 FG | 1-1 3P | 1 BLK | 4 REB | 11 PTS | +11

This was Nicholson’s best game of the season, which isn’t saying much, given how little he has played (just 196 minutes entering tonight’s game). Nicholson’s 11 points tied a season-high and he also got a good chuck of playing time (17 minutes). All in all, it was good to see Nicholson play well and show flashes of the player that had such a good rookie year.

Charlotte Hornets

Mo Williams (23 points, 11 assists) was the best player on the court in this game, which says all you need to know about how well he played. With Kemba Walker out (torn meniscus in his left knee), the Hornets traded for Williams at the deadline as a stopgap option and, needless to say, the move has paid off.

Mar 01

Preview: Charlotte Hornets at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Charlotte Hornets at Orlando Magic
  • Date: March 1, 2015
  • Time: 6:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Hornets: 23-33
  • Magic: 19-41

Probable starters

Hornets:

  • Mo Williams/li>
  • Gerald Henderson
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
  • Cody Zeller
  • Al Jefferson

Magic:

  • Elfrid Payton
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Tobias Harris
  • Channing Frye
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Hornets:

  • Pace: 92.8 (23rd of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.3 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 103.1 (8th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.8 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.4 (28th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.2 (24th of 30)

Read about the Hornets

Queen City Hoops

Feb 27

Grades: Atlanta Hawks 95, Orlando Magic 88

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Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Atlanta Hawks 95 Final
Recap | Box Score
88 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
10-16 FG | 6-9 FT | 15 REB | 3 AST | 21 PTS | +1

At halftime, it didn’t seem like Vucevic was going to have a big night. He had six points in the first half and took a backseat to Harris and Oladipo offensively. That all changed in the second half, as Vucevic got into the driver’s seat and took control of the Magic’s offense. He put on a midrange jump shooting display that made Al Horford a little jealous.

Victor Oladipo
8-18 FG | 2-5 3P | 3 REB | 6 AST | 19 PTS | -11

There were times during the game when it looked like Oladipo’s right wrist was bothering him, as he had it taped. But that didn’t stop him from attacking the Hawks’ defense and driving to the basket. Although Oladipo was just 5-for-10 at the rim, that had more to do with Atlanta contesting his layup attempts rather than anything having to do with his wrist.

Tobias Harris
5-9 FG | 2-4 3P | 2 STL | 4 REB | 15 PTS | -8

After the Magic fell behind by 16 points in the first quarter, they clawed their way back in the second quarter thanks to Harris. He scored 9 points in the period and helped Orlando go on an 18-4 run to close the half. Although he didn’t do much after halftime, Harris was the main reason why the Magic were in position to win after trailing by double-digits.

Channing Frye
3-10 FG | 3-8 3P | 2 BLK | 3 REB | 10 PTS | -9

I wrote about this in my analysis of Frye’s shot selection with Orlando and it’s worth mentioning again — he takes way too many 3-point shots. Tonight’s game was another example of that, as 80 percent of Frye’s field goal attempts were 3-pointers. For the season, 72.6 percent of his field goal attempts are 3s. Again, that’s way too many.

Atlanta Hawks

After blowing a 16-point first quarter lead and trailing at halftime, the Hawks restored order in the third quarter and rebuilt their lead before the Magic made things interesting in the fourth quarter. The difference final period, though, was that Atlanta out-executed Orlando in crunch time. The Hawks also made a barrage of 3-point shots (14-for-31) throughout the evening, which helped them too.

Feb 27

Preview: Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks
  • Date: February 27, 2015
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Philips Arena

Records

  • Magic: 19-40
  • Hawks: 45-12

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Elfrid Payton
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Tobias Harris
  • Channing Frye
  • Nikola Vucevic

Hawks:

  • Jeff Teague/li>
  • Kyle Korvere
  • DeMarre Carroll
  • Paul Millsap
  • Al Horford

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.8 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.5 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.3 (23nd of 30)

Hawks:

  • Pace: 93.8 (15th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 109.3 (6th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 102.6 (5th of 30)

Read about the Hawks

HawksHoop

Feb 25

Grades: Miami Heat 93, Orlando Magic 90 (OT)

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Miami Heat 93 Final
Recap | Box Score
90 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
10-21 FG | 6-9 FT | 1 STL | 8 REB | 26 PTS | -11

Although Hassan Whiteside played 18 minutes in the Magic’s 102-101 win on December 29 in Miami, he was never matched up against Vucevic. This time around, he was and Vucevic — who has become a Heat killer in recent years — had a much tougher time killing the Heat. There was no monster double-double for Vucevic, although he did finish with a game-high 26 points.

Victor Oladipo
4-13 FG | 5-6 FT | 13 REB | 4 AST | 13 PTS | -4

Orlando turned to Oladipo and Vucevic late in the fourth quarter, and ran several 2-5 pick-and-rolls in crunch time. It worked, as the Magic generated points out of that play set and were on the verge of closing out Miami. Then, as the story goes, Orlando blew an 8-point lead with 47.0 seconds left and ultimately lost the game in overtime.

Willie Green
5-10 FG | 2-6 3P | 6 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | -11

Coach James Borrego went small in the fourth quarter to match up with the Heat, which resulted in Green getting minutes. And he deserved them. It was Green’s putback layup that gave the Magic an 83-75 lead with 47.0 seconds left. It felt like the dagger and according to Inpredictable, it was. Orlando had a 99.8 percent win probability after Green’s made basket. Then, you know.

Tobias Harris
4-11 FG | 2-6 3P | 1 BLK | 8 REB | 12 PTS | -18

Harris was nondescript in this one. He had a moderately efficient game, with 12 points on 11 shots. And he made two clutch free-throws with 1:28 left in the fourth quarter with the Magic trying to come away with a hard-fought victory against their in-state rival. But Harris didn’t do much else. There were times where he was just out there.

Miami Heat

Miami doesn’t win this game in improbable fashion if it wasn’t for Henry Walker making back-to-back 3-point shots that ended up tying the game at 85 apiece at the end of regulation. Before making those two 3-pointers, Walker was 0-for-7 from beyond the arc. Unfortunately for Orlando, Walker — a career 37.7 percent 3-point shooter — was bound to makes some 3s and he did at the most inopportune time.

Feb 25

Video: Henry Walker sends the game to overtime

Feb 25

Preview: Miami Heat at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Miami Heat at Orlando Magic
  • Date: February 25, 2015
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Heat: 24-31
  • Magic: 19-39

Probable starters

Heat:

  • Goran Dragic/li>
  • Dwayne Wade
  • Luol Deng
  • Udonis Haslem
  • Hassan Whiteside

Magic:

  • Elfrid Payton
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Tobias Harris
  • Channing Frye
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Heat:

  • Pace: 90.0 (30th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 104.0 (20th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.6 (23rd of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.9 (15th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.7 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.5 (22nd of 30)

Read about the Heat

Heat Index

Feb 23

Where do the Magic rate with analytics?

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com rated 32 NBA teams on the strength of each franchise’s analytics staff, its buy-in from execs and coaches, its investment in biometric data and how much its approach is predicated on analytics. ESPN looked at the stats, reached out to every team and dozens of informed sources, and evaluated each front office. The Magic ranked as having “One Foot In” with analytics.

Via Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider:

Orlando GM Rob Hennigan is a natural fit in the rising generation of executives who marry a scouting eye with a respect for analytics. Given his age (30 when hired by the Magic in 2012, Hennigan is still the NBA’s youngest GM) and experience with two leading organizations (the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder), it makes sense that Orlando CEO Alex Martins cited Hennigan’s “utilization of analytics in the decision-making process of player personnel” as one of the reasons he was chosen.

Hennigan has hired an analytics-friendly staff, bringing in Matt Lloyd, who stood out during his time with the Chicago Bulls by embracing statistical analysis, as assistant GM and George Rodman from the Spurs’ organization to serve as basketball operations manager. Another staffer, David Bencs, has transitioned from applying analytics to the business side of the organization into a role as basketball analytics manager.

The Magic’s rebuilding process has been slow to produce results. Earlier in February, Hennigan fired coach Jacque Vaughn less than three years after hiring him. While Hennigan’s moves have sometimes been informed by analytics and the roster abounds in young prospects, the team has yet to find a cornerstone star or develop a coherent roster or defensive philosophy.

Feb 23

Power Rankings Roundup: Week 17

 
Matt Moore, CBS Sports: No. 26 (Last week: No. 28)

Three straight wins for the Magic, with a defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions) of under 97 points. (That’s really, really good.) Nice little stretch for them, but it’s also moving them further from the high lottery spots.

Marc Stein, ESPN: No. 26 (Last week: No. 27)

Quite a week for the youngest coach in the NBA. First James Borrego was officially informed that he’ll be coaching the Magic for the rest of the season. The 37-year-old then picked up weekend wins over New Orleans and Philadelphia to seal Orlando’s first three-game win streak in more than a year.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: No. 26 (Last week: No. 28)

With Nikola Vucevic averaging 25.7 points and 15.0 rebounds, the Magic have won three straight games for the first time in over a year. Their defensive numbers (98 points per 100 possessions allowed) have been dramatically improved under James Borrego, but mostly because they’ve played some crummy teams since Jacque Vaughn was fired.

Drew Garrison, SB Nation: No. 25 (Last week: No. 26)

The Magic hit their first three-game winning streak of the season by beating up the Knicks, 76ers and Pelicans. While the wins certainly help morale and give interim coach James Borrego a few wins under his belt, what Orlando is really accomplishing is giving those top-four draft lottery teams a cushion.

Matt Dollinger, Sports Illustrated: No. 25 (Last week: No. 29)

Orlando has now won a season-high three straight under interim coach James Borrego and is 4-2 overall. It helps that all four wins have come at home—and three were against the 76ers, Knicks and Lakers—but it’s an impressive turnaround nonetheless.

Marc J. Spears, Yahoo! Sports: No. 27 (Last week: No. 28)

Interim head coach James Borrego is 4-2 with three straight wins. The Magic have yet to allow 100 points under Borrego.

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