Friday's Magic Word | Magic Basketball

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May 07

Friday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Cohen of OrlandoMagic.com: “Vince Carter has dazzled NBA fans since arriving in the NBA in 1998 with awe-inspiring slam dunks, acrobatic shots and stunning long range game-winning 3-pointers. It’s hard to definitively say, however, that one particular game-winner was more impressive than another. VC’s 35-footer at the buzzer against the Utah Jazz in 2007 and his crowd-shattering trey in his first return to Toronto since being traded to New Jersey are two of his most watched on YouTube. But, perhaps no last-second shot was more improbable than Vinsanity’s buzzer-beater last season against the Atlanta Hawks on Jan. 2, 2009 while playing for the Nets.”
  • It’s safe to say that Jameer Nelson has stepped up in the postseason.
  • Trey Kerby of Ball Don’t Lie notes that Dwight Howard is a funny character.
  • Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference calculates the odds that the Orlando Magic go Fo’-Fo’-Fo’ in the playoffs.
  • Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook takes a look at how the Magic were able to pull away from the Atlanta Hawks in the fourth quarter of Game 2.
  • Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated: “They drew the easiest path to the conference finals of any favorite East or West, but don’t hold that against Orlando. The Magic will likely finish off the Hawks within five games and wait unscathed for Cleveland or Boston to emerge. They don’t have Hedo Turkoglu creating mismatches anymore, but they do have Jameer Nelson playing at a high level, they are possibly the best defensive team in the tournament and they believe wholeheartedly they can beat the Cavaliers or the Celtics. While the Cavs, Lakers and Spurs have all foundered at times this postseason, the Magic have looked ruthlessly efficient. We may yet look back to realize this was the league’s best team all along.”
  • Nada Taha Moslehy of SLAM ONLINE: “Vince Carter jumped up for a monstrous block and hustled down the other end of the court for a pull-up three. At half court, Josh Smith bent over for a moment and had a look of defeat splashed across his face. A few minutes later, after a couple more Hawks turnovers and Magic treys (they hit four in the final quarter), Atlanta called timeout and coach Mike Woodson shook his head in his hands. You would think this was a scene from Game 1 where the Magic annihilated the Hawks by 43 points and held them to just 10 and 11 points in the third and fourth quarters. But it was the fourth quarter of Game 2 where the Hawks, who had just come off a strong start after the half and held the lead, just fell apart, losing to Orlando 112-98 and dropping 2-0 heading back home.”
  • Lang Whitaker of SLAM ONLINE praises the Magic: “Jokes aside, the Magic are playing really well right now. Really, really well. Last night in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semis, the Hawks played about as well as they could play for long stretches and they still couldn’t build a double-digit lead. Then, in the fourth quarter, the Magic clamped down defensively and outscored Atlanta 28-15 to get the win. The Magic have so many weapons, from Dwight to Jameer to Vince to Rashard [Lewis], and each guy had a turn last night. […] Orlando has a better, deeper roster than Atlanta, and when the game was on the line, they were a better team. They really just squeezed Atlanta out of it in the fourth quarter. I’m curious to see how the Hawks respond in Atlanta, where they beat Orlando they last time they played. I still think Cleveland is the team to beat in the East, but if Orlando wins it again I won’t be surprised.”
  • Eric Freeman of The Baseline wonders if Orlando is now the team to beat in the playoffs: “The importance of matchups is an important reminder that asking which team is the favorite is in many ways a fool’s errand. A lot can change between now and the Finals. If you remember, last season at this time most people assumed that LeBron and Kobe would face off to decide who was the best player in the league. So yes, praise the Magic for playing as well as they have so far, but don’t jump the gun and start proclaiming them the team to beat. Wide-eyed speculation can only get you in trouble, and you can be sure Orlando’s only looking at the Hawks right now. It’s a cliche, but you have to take it one game at a time.”
  • Fran Vazquez update: “It’s teammate Fran Vazquez who is more of an NBA-caliber player. At 6-11, Vazquez has very long arms and very good mobility, which allowed him to block 1.1 shots in just 17.5 minutes per game in Euroleague play. With good hands and finishing ability, plus surprising shooting range, Vazquez is also a factor in both the pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop games.  Unfortunately for Stateside fans, the 2005 lottery pick still shows no signs of making the jump from Europe to the NBA. I strongly believe he could be an effective NBA big man if he ever came over.”
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