Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog

Dec 27

Grades: Cleveland Cavaliers 98, Orlando Magic 89

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Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

 

Cleveland Cavaliers 98 Final
Recap | Box Score
89 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
6-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 7 AST | 12 PTS | -8

Without Anderson Varejao (torn Achilles), the Cavaliers quickly double-teamed Vucevic most of the evening. Vucevic frequently made smart, effective passes in these situations, but he didn’t impact the game with his physicality. It’s almost inexcusable for someone with his skill-set to finish with zero free-throw attempts. Vucevic struggled to defend Kevin Love on the perimeter during the first quarter, and put forth a pedestrian performance overall.

Tobias Harris
7-16 FG | 2-6 3P | 1 BLK | 4 REB | 16 PTS | -5

The Magic needed everyone to step up if they were going to defeat the Cavs. Tasked with guarding LeBron James, Harris spent most of his energy on the defensive end. In that regard, he helped Orlando keep things close until the last quarter. However, Harris did little to pressure Cleveland offensively, mostly settling for jump shots and rarely attacking the rim.

Evan Fournier
5-10 FG | 2-3 3P | 2 STL | 4 REB | 15 PTS | -5

Fournier got a lot of minutes despite coming off the bench, and was somewhat efficient on the offensive side of the ball. A caveat to this is that he offers little resistance defensively. Ergo, Fournier could do little to prevent the Cavaliers’ Mike Miller and Dion Waiters from having productive games. Orlando really needs Fournier to develop into a better perimeter defender.

Victor Oladipo
5-14 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 8 AST | 13 PTS | -13

Oladipo can only learn and move forward after a disappointing outing against a marquee opponent. He fouled out, committed five turnovers, and overcompensated at both ends of the floor — simply trying to do too much. Despite finishing with a team-high 8 assists, it looked as though Oladipo spent most of the night frustrated and out-of-sync.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs clamped down defensively when it mattered most, outscoring the Magic 27-14 in the final frame. Orlando faltered in the fourth quarter despite Cleveland’s decision to bench Kevin Love, which became a major storyline afterwards, and simply failed to execute enough to win. The consistently inconsistent play from Orlando these previous few weeks is both concerning and alarming.

Dec 26

Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers at Orlando Magic
  • Date: December 26, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Cavaliers: 17-11
  • Magic: 11-20

Probable starters

Cavaliers:

  • Matthew Dellavedova
  • Mike Miller
  • LeBron James
  • Kevin Love
  • Tristan Thompson

Magic:

  • Elfrid Payton
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Tobias Harris
  • Kyle O’Quinn
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Cavaliers:

  • Pace: 92.0 (26th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 111.7 (4th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.9 (21st of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 92.8 (19th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.8 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.5 (17th of 30)

Read about the Cavaliers

Cavs: The Blog

Dec 26

Devyn Marble assigned to Erie BayHawks

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

Orlando Magic guard Devyn Marble has been assigned to the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League, general manager Rob Hennigan announced today.

Marble (6’6”, 200, 9/21/92) has appeared in five games during his rookie season with Orlando, averaging 0.8 ppg. in 1.0 mpg. Originally selected in the second round (56th overall) by Denver, his draft rights, along with Evan Fournier, were acquired by Orlando in exchange for Arron Afflalo on June 26.

Marble played in 136 career games during four years at the University of Iowa, averaging 12.5 ppg., 3.4 rpg., 2.9 apg. and 1.29 spg. in 27.6 mpg. He ranks second on the school’s all-time games played list with 136. Marble also ranks in Hawkeyes’ history in scoring (fifth, 1,694 points), assists (sixth, 397) and steals (seventh, 176).

The Orlando Magic and the Erie BayHawks have a three-year single affiliation partnership beginning this season. Orlando became the 16th NBA team to have a one-to-one affiliation with an NBA D-League team. The partnership, also referred to as a “hybrid affiliation,” is the eighth of its kind in the NBA D-League and allows an NBA team to control the NBA D-League team’s basketball operations, while the existing local ownership maintains primary responsibility for the team’s off-the-court business operations and community initiatives.

Dec 24

Devyn Marble’s future resides in Erie

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Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Second-round picks are never guaranteed an opportunity to prove themselves in the NBA. It starts in Summer League, where rookies are pinned against one another (as well as players fighting tooth and nail for (a)nother shot in the Association) and every waking moment on the court is scrutinized under the watchful eyes of league personnel.

That battle continues into training camp, where the odds of a second-round pick cracking a team’s rotation before the season starts are slim. All that’s left is to make the most of the few opportunities one gets in practice or in preseason games, which are few and far between. Whatever vacant minutes are left tend to go to a team’s prized possession — a first-round pick — rather than someone who was amongst the last to hear their name called on draft night.

That’s the situation Devyn Marble, the Magic’s 56th pick in the 2014 draft via the Nuggets, has faced thus far in his young career. Summer League gave him an opportunity to fight for a roster spot, and he raised eyebrows by showcasing his ability to be the type of 3-and-D player that is in high demand in today’s NBA.

Yet that hasn’t translated into any opportunities this season, due in large part to him recovering from a strained rotator cuff (which he suffered on November 7 against the Timberwolves). He’s only played five minutes of regular season basketball, and the vigorous schedule give teams few chances to scrimmage in practice.

For that reason, the Magic have opted to assign Marble to the Erie BayHawks, their D-League affiliate, as an opportunity for him to get some much needed in-game reps. According to the Orlando Sentinel’s Josh Robbins, the Magic will make it official over the coming days.

The Magic established a three-year, single affiliation with the BayHawks in the summer and have used it primarily as an opportunity to keep a close eye on Peyton Siva, Seth Curry, and Kadeem Batts — a trio who were each on the cusp of landing a roster spot before the season kicked off.

Marble marks the first Magic player this season to find himself on assignment in Erie, and it gives him the perfect opportunity to continue to find his feet as a pro. Not only do the BayHawks run a similar system to the Magic (one of the many benefits from establishing a single affiliation with a D-League team), but he finds himself playing alongside familiar faces in Curry and Batts, both of whom had big roles on the Magic’s Summer League team this year. It’ll make Marble’s transition to the D-League even smoother.

There’s no saying how long Marble’s stint in the D-League will last. Nevertheless, after seeing extremely limited court time over the Magic’s first 31 games of the regular season (some of which had to do with the rotator cuff injury he suffered during preseason), it makes sense for him to spend some time in Erie. He’ll be able to develop in a surrounding similar to the Magic’s. More importantly, being a part of a single affiliation ensures that the Magic have control over how much he plays.

Dec 23

Grades: Orlando Magic 100, Boston Celtics 95

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Orlando Magic 100 Final
Recap | Box Score
95 Boston Celtics

Nikola Vucevic
8-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 12 REB | 3 AST | 18 PTS | +4

It was a ho-hum performance for Vucevic, as he got his customary double-double. The more noteworthy item is that, in his second start alongside O’Quinn, the two played off each other much better — both players had double-doubles — than they did against the Sixers. As valuable as Channing Frye is with ability to provide floor spacing, Vucevic and O’Quinn are a more natural fit together.

Tobias Harris
7-13 FG | 3-4 3P | 4 REB | 3 AST | 19 PTS | +4

With the Magic up 90-87 late in the fourth quarter (their lead on life support after being up by as many as 27 points in the period), Harris made a difficult fadeaway jumper that gave the team a little breathing room against the Celtics. Harris has proven this season that he can make tough shots in crunch time.

Kyle O’Quinn
6-12 FG | 2-4 3P | 2 STL | 13 REB | 18 PTS | +2

What makes the O’Quinn-Vucevic pairing work is that O’Quinn is able to mask Vucevic’s defensive shortcomings (particularly as a rim protector). And even though O’Quinn isn’t a stretch four in the traditional sense, he’s proving that he can step out and make 3s on occasion. That’s all Orlando needs from O’Quinn to keep opposing defenses from shrinking the floor.

Elfrid Payton
6-10 FG | 0-2 FT | 2 STL | 7 AST | 12 PTS | +11

The Magic’s point guard of the future faced off against the point guard of the past (Jameer Nelson) and got schooled a few times. Side note: the C’s intentionally fouled Payton with 3:49 left in the fourth quarter during their mega-run and he missed both free throws, forcing coach Jacque Vaughn to take the rookie out of the game.

Boston Celtics

For three quarters, Boston looked terrible. However, in the fourth quarter, the Celtics looked like a different squad and in a way, they were, as the newly-acquired trio from Dallas (Nelson, Jae Crowder, and Brandan Wright) helped spark a 27-3 run that nearly erased the Magic’s 27-point lead. But the C’s fell short and Orlando escaped with a narrow victory.

Dec 23

Preview: Boston Celtics at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Boston Celtics at Orlando Magic
  • Date: December 23, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Celtics: 10-15
  • Magic: 10-20

Probable starters

Celtics:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Avery Bradley
  • Jeff Green
  • Jared Sullinger
  • Tyler Zeller

Magic:

  • Elfrid Payton
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Tobias Harris
  • Kyle O’Quinn
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Celtics:

  • Pace: 97.3 (2nd of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 105.6 (17th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.1 (14th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 92.6 (23rd of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.7 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.9 (17th of 30)

Read about the Celtics

Celtics Hub

Dec 22

Grades: Philadelphia 76ers 96, Orlando Magic 88

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AP Photo/John Raoux

 

Philadelphia 76ers 96 Final
Recap | Box Score
88 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
8-14 FG | 3-6 FT | 17 REB | 4 AST | 19 PTS | +14

Half of Vucevic’s made field goals came on offensive rebound putbacks. At times, it looked like Vucevic was an oversized eighth grader, plucking rebounds away from shorter 13-year-olds. He also displayed decent chemistry with Elfrid Payton (who was reinserted into the starting lineup at the point guard position) in pick-and-roll sets, which is a tandem the Magic need to develop.

Victor Oladipo
10-16 FG | 1-5 3P | 3 STL | 3 REB | 23 PTS | +10

With Payton starting at point guard, Oladipo slid over to the two and had one of his best games of the season. Not sure the position switch had anything to do with Oladipo’s success, given that he still had the ball in his hands a lot. He was successful because his midrange jumper was falling, which opened everything up for him offensively (i.e. drives to the basket).

Tobias Harris
7-21 FG | 2-7 3P | 4 REB | 4 AST | 17 PTS | +13

There’s no reason why Harris should be attempting 21 field goals in a game, especially since he was inefficient. A number of Harris’ misses were corner 3s, which are good shots to take. But there were also times when Orlando just dumped the ball to Harris, and allowed him to go iso and take a bad shot. No bueno.

Evan Fournier
5-11 FG | 3-6 3P | 2 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | -16

Fournier was one of two Magic starters (Channing Frye being the other) that got relegated to the bench, as coach Jacque Vaughn switched things up in the hopes of snapping Orlando out of its collective funk. It didn’t work, as the Magic lost — to the Sixers no less — but Fournier did play well coming off the bench, so there’s that.

Philadelphia 76ers

Midway through the third quarter, Orlando was leading 53-42 (in an ugly game that somehow was televised on NBA TV). The Sixers responded by going on a 29-7 run and flipped the 11-point margin in their favor. Their lead increased to as many as 14 points in the fourth quarter before Magic fans got finally restless and began booing. Good win for Philly. Bad loss for Orlando.

Dec 21

Preview: Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic
  • Date: December 21, 2014
  • Time: 6:00 p.m.
  • Television: NBA TV
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Sixers: 2-23
  • Magic: 10-19

Probable starters

Sixers:

  • Michael Carter-Williams
  • Hollis Thompson
  • Robert Covington
  • Luc Mbah a Moute
  • Nerlens Noel

Magic:

  • Elfrid Payton
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Tobias Harris
  • Kyle O’Quinn
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Sixers:

  • Pace: 97.2 (3rd of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 93.1 (30th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.0 (14th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 92.6 (22nd of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.0 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.0 (19th of 30)

Read about the Sixers

Hoop76

Dec 20

Highlights: Payton’s first career double-double

Dec 20

Grades: Utah Jazz 101, Orlando Magic 94

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Utah Jazz 101 Final
Recap | Box Score
94 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
8-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 16 PTS | -3

In the early stages of the game, Favors posted up on the left block and dunked on Vucevic. It was a sign of things to come, as Favors (23 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks) dominated his matchup against Vucevic. Most importantly, his interior defense was excellent. He provided the type of rim protection that the Magic need from Vucevic.

Tobias Harris
10-18 FG | 3-5 3P | 4 REB | 3 AST | 24 PTS | -13

With Orlando trailing by 15 points at the start of the fourth quarter, Harris did everything he could to help erase the deficit but it wasn’t enough. He scored 10 of his 24 points in the final period and was one of the few Magic players to play with energy and effort, something that was alarmingly lacking from the majority of the team.

Evan Fournier
7-16 FG | 4-6 3P | 3 REB | 4 AST | 21 PTS | +7

Although Harris scored the most points, Fournier was the best player on the floor for the Magic. Not only did he tie his season-high with four made 3-pointers and had his first 20-point game in a month, but he also played with heart. It’s not a coincidence that Fournier was the only one for Orlando with a positive plus-minus.

Elfrid Payton
5-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 11 AST | 11 PTS | 0

Payton finished with a career-high 11 assists and also posted his first career double-double. Some of his passes were next level — the stuff you see from elite point guards. The one assist that stood out the most was his pass to a cutting Fournier for a layup at the end of the second quarter. Payton’s ability to read defenses is already uncanny for a rookie.

Utah Jazz

The final score is not indicative of how lopsided this game was. The Jazz thoroughly outplayed the Magic, in large part because they played with more energy. Collectively, Utah always was a step ahead on the court. By the time Orlando woke up in the fourth quarter, it was too late. The Jazz built a large enough lead to coast to a victory.

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