Thursday's Magic Word | Magic Basketball

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Jan 20

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “Orlando Magic guard Gilbert Arenas has been struggling lately, and part of that’s because of coach Stan Van Gundy, says, uh, Van Gundy. ‘The biggest thing that he’s struggling with right now is me,’ Van Gundy said. ‘I don’t think that’s necessarily an easy adjustment for anybody, but for a point guard, I think it’s tough. When Rafer [Alston] came in midseason [in 2008-09], he had played for me before. And, so, he knew I was an [expletive], and he was used to it. I only say that half-jokingly. He knew what it was going to be like.’ Arenas admitted he feels a bit uncomfortable with his adjustment to Orlando, especially as expectations have been heightened with time. When Arenas first joined the Magic in mid-December, he was playing freely and without much pressure of being pulled. Now, after a little bit of time, Van Gundy expects more from Arenas and has given him a shorter hook.”
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Well, the Magic finally christened new Amway Center with its first memorable moment Wednesday night, and quite fittingly. Just like their $480 million palace, the moment arrived stunningly oversized, unconventional and with an impossible degree of difficulty. Making three-point shots to beat the Philadelphia 76ers wasn’t good enough for the Magic; they upgraded to four-pointers. Twice. Getting an arena built was a near miracle, so it made perfect sense that this signature comeback defied all odds, logic and lousy basketball.”
  • General manager Otis Smith talks about Gilbert Arenas’ adjustment period.
  • Ryan Andersona different stretch four from what the Orlando Magic have been used to.
  • Arenas talks about, who else, Arenas.
  • Anderson is as confident as ever.
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Arenas appeared to have turned a corner three weeks ago, when he authored three consecutive efficient, double-digit scoring performances, combining for 43 points on 17-of-36 shooting, with 8 three-pointers. In the eight games since, however, he’s shot 20-of-61 (32.8 percent) from the floor, and 7-of-26 (26.9 percent) from three-point range. The slump extends beyond merely his shooting. In the same eight games, Arenas has tallied 22 assists to 14 turnovers, which simply isn’t acceptable for a backup point guard, even in an offense like Orlando’s, which doesn’t result in many assists.”
  • What does the future hold for Jason Williams?
  • Eric Freeman of Ball Don’t Lie is wondering why Smith decided to call out the Boston Celtics: “The Magic and Celtics have a rivalry, I suppose, if only because the Magic think they have a rivalry with every good team in the NBA. But the Magic haven’t exactly owned the matchup — Boston has come out on top in important situations, including in last season’s conference finals. Sure, Orlando won in 2009, but that Celtics team was without Kevin Garnett. Clearly, the Celtics are the more feared team around the NBA. Plus, they’ve proven they do what’s necessary to win. If that’s not tough, I don’t know what is. The question here is why Otis Smith would ever decide to pick a fight with a team that probably doesn’t even need extra motivation to beat the Magic.”
  • A look at one of the Magic’s magical four-point plays against the Philadelphia 76ers.
  • Britt Robson of Sports Illustrated gives Orlando a B+ at the midway point of the regular season: “GM Otis Smith should be applauded for having the nerve and instincts to make wholesale changes to a team seemingly destined to take a step backward. Those who clamor for Gilbert Arenas to take time away from Jameer Nelson miss the point: The trade with Washington was perhaps most beneficial for avoiding the awkward scenario of eventually having to bench Rashard Lewis and his enormous contract. As for the deal with Phoenix, I was apparently wrong to doubt the instant rejuvenation of Hedo Turkoglu, but maintain that the real upgrade is swapping out Vince Carter, who shrinks from the occasion, for Jason Richardson, who was part of Golden State’s historic upset of Dallas in the 2007 playoffs and was frequently unstoppable in helping Phoenix get to the conference finals last season. But for all he’s done, shame on Smith if he can’t unearth a quality backup center for Dwight Howard before the spring.”
  • According to SI writers, Dwight Howard is the favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year.
  • Video evidence of Hedo Turkoglu dunking a basketball. Twice.
  • The probability of the Magic being the best team in the NBA is 4.8 percent.
  • A look at Orlando’s peaks and valleys as a franchise.
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