- Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “Orlando Magic forward Mickael Pietrus is shooting 39.1 percent from three-point range this season, the second-highest percentage on the team and the best of his career. On a team where myriad players have struggled with deep shooting – J.J. Redick, Rashard Lewis, Quentin Richardson and Vince Carter are all shooting below their career three-point percentages – Pietrus’ consistency from the outside has been much-needed. The problem is, that’s all he’s contributing on offense. An absurd 75.6 percent of his field-goal attempts have been three-pointers this season, and out of 115 field-goal attempts, only nine of those shots have come at the rim.”
- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Yeah, the Magic’s four-game losing streak was hard for fans and not kind to Stan Van Gundy’s blood pressure. But fans better buckle in and brace themselves: The turbulence is far from over. Up ahead next week, and all in succession: Atlanta, Dallas, San Antonio and, on Christmas Day, Boston. The Spurs (20-3), Mavs (19-4) and Celtics (19-4) are the hottest teams in the league. You can look at it two ways, of course: 1) The Magic can continue to stagger or 2) they can regain some traction they lost during this recent slide by beating some of the best. Van Gundy said that this was the team’s toughest stretch of the year, beginning with the West trip. The Magic didn’t respond like he envisioned, and not just because they lost —but it was how they lost.”
- Dwight Howard provides some words of wisdom: “This is a long season. We’re going to have months where we don’t play well, and there’s no needing everybody, especially the captain of the team, after everybody’s yelling and going back and forth, trying to figure out what we need to do. We’ve just got to play. The more you talk, the more everybody’s just talking about what you’ve got to do, all the frustration just continues to build up. We’re gonna have bad games. I don’t think people understand that. You’re never gonna go 82-0. You’re going to have losing streaks. You’re going to have winning streaks. All that stuff is a part of playing in the NBA.”
- Howard has more to say on his official blog: “As the captain of this team, I’ve been looking for ways to get our team out of this little slump. We had a meeting the other night after the Portland lost, but I’ve found that it´s better to do less talking and lead with actions in times like these. I actually talked to a really good player on another team who I consider a mentor and he gave me that advice.“
- I wonder who he is?
- ‘O’ is for Orlando’s offensive woes. Rohan of Hardwood Paroxysm explains: “The primary culprits have actually been an increased tendency to turn the ball over and the slightly lower frequency with which they’ve gotten to the line. So far this year, the Magic have turned the ball over on 15.3% of their possessions, which is the second worst mark in the East and third in the league. And while Jameer Nelson has been turning it over a touch more than we’re used to, the real issue is the ball handling of Chris Duhon. Duhon has turned it over almost once every three possessions; toss in the fact that he’s playing more than 20 minutes a night, and the impact is readily noticeable. Of his 37 turnovers, 26 have come via stolen or bad passes.”