Sneak Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Orlando Magic | Magic Basketball



Dec 23

Sneak Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Orlando Magic

AP Photo/David Goldman

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “The person who now wears No. 15 for the Orlando Magic looks and sounds just like the guy who wore No. 15 during the team’s run to the 2009 NBA Finals. Same goatee. Same smile. Same accent. But which Hedo Turkoglu did the Magic receive in their recent blockbuster trade with the Phoenix Suns? Is he the same playmaker, deft ball-handler and clutch shooter who helped spark Orlando to the Eastern Conference title a year-and-a-half ago? Or is he the guy who has struggled since then with the Toronto Raptors and the Suns? […] So far, though, the jury’s out. On one hand, he reeled off eight assists in the Magic’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks the other night. On the other hand, in that same game, he also botched a fastbreak dunk attempt when he didn’t elevate high enough and he jammed the ball on the front of the rim. Turkoglu is 31 years old now, an age when many players’ physical skills begin a steady decline. But his game has never been predicated on jumping ability, quickness or sheer strength. Instead, he flourished under coach Stan Van Gundy because Van Gundy utilized Turkoglu’s height advantage and Turkoglu’s ability to make smart decisions on the fly. Magic officials hope that the 6-foot-10 Turkoglu can recapture that old form.”
  • Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “On Wednesday, for the first time in the Stan Van Gundy era, the Orlando Magic practiced on the day after a back-to-back. Usually when the Magic play games on consecutive days, they take the next day off to allow the players to rest their bodies. Not with the team’s current situation, though. As the Magic continue to integrate newcomers Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark into the system, Van Gundy felt his team needed the practice. It was the first practice the new guys participated in — they played games against Atlanta on Monday and Dallas on Tuesday without even going through as much as a three-man weave together.The new guys were grateful for the practice time.”
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Magic power forward Brandon Bass would love to receive a phone call on Christmas Day. The past, though, tells him not to count on hearing a ring. If Brandon has to pick up his cell and dial the number and be the one to say, “Merry Christmas,” then he will. He’ll do what it takes to reach out and connect with his dad. He’ll stay at it. He’ll work on it. It’s who Brandon is. It’s how he has survived sorrow and mean streets and long odds to make it to the NBA. He can power his way toward the basket, taking two, sometimes three, defenders with him for a dunk and earn the nickname, ‘Little Darryl Dawkins, Dark Chocolate Thunder,’ from teammate Dwight Howard. But when it comes to establishing a relationship with his father, Charles Joseph, he is powerless. A bond with his dad would complete an improbable life’s journey. He’s the missing piece. Bass has gone from living with eight kids in his aunt’s small house in a high-crime Louisiana neighborhood to becoming a multi-millionaire. He finally has found his footing with the Magic after stints in New Orleans and Dallas.”
  • John Denton of “Hedo Turkoglu rested in his own bed Tuesday, met up later with old friends, hung out at his favorite lunch spot and then played before the fans who revered him once upon a time, booed him for a brief period and then showered him again with cheers. Back in Orlando a year-and-a-half after leaving to sign a $50 million free-agent contract with the Toronto Raptors, Turkoglu found out an important life lesson: Change isn’t always a good thing. He hopes that’s something the Magic, his former team and his new team again, believes as well. Turkoglu, who went through his first practice with the Magic on Wednesday following Saturday’s blockbuster trade and games against the Hawks and Mavericks, stressed that he never really wanted to leave Orlando in the first place. Now that he’s back, he couldn’t be happier.”
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “In his first game with the Washington Wizards since the Orlando Magic traded him for Gilbert Arenas, forward Rashard Lewis struggled. The two-time All-Star shot 4-of-10 from the field, including 0-of-5 on three-pointers, for 8 points in 22 minutes off Washington’s bench. He also added 3 rebounds, an assist, and a blocked shot. Lewis asked to be excused from the Wizards’ first game with him available, a 108-75 win over the Charlotte Bobcats, because he was not mentally prepared to play. Thus, he debuted tonight against the Chicago Bulls instead. As Michael Lee of the Washington Post writes, Wizards coach Flip Saunders says he intends to use Lewis at both forward positions, depending on matchups–something the Magic tried this season to mixed results.”