Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog

Jan 28

Oladipo, Payton to play in Rising Stars Challenge

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Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Via NBA press release:

The Minnesota Timberwolves’ Andrew Wiggins, who has won two straight Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month awards, and the Philadelphia 76ers’ Michael Carter-Williams, last season’s Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, highlight the list of 20 players selected to play in the new-look BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge during NBA All-Star 2015.

The league’s annual showcase of premier young talent will debut a format that pits 10 first- and second-year NBA players from the United States against 10 first- and second-year NBA players from around the world. The game, set for Friday, Feb. 13, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, will be televised live by TNT at 9 p.m. ET, part of Turner Sports’ 30th year of All-Star coverage. BBVA Compass is the official bank of the NBA in the U.S. and maintains its role as title partner for the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge.

This year’s edition showcases 10 of the top 15 picks from the 2013 NBA Draft presented by State Farm, and all four participants in the 2015 Sprite Slam Dunk, which will be held during State Farm All-Star Saturday Night at Barclays Center.

The World Team is anchored by Wiggins, who leads all rookies in scoring (15.2 ppg). Wiggins is one of two Canadians on the roster, along with the Boston Celtics’ Kelly Olynyk, who is part of a frontcourt that includes the Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert, the third-leading shot-blocker in the NBA (2.18 bpg), and the Chicago Bulls’ Nikola Mirotic, the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for December. The other World Team players are Sprite Slam Dunk entrant Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, Steven Adams of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Bojan Bogdanovic of the Brooklyn Nets, Gorgui Dieng of the Timberwolves, Dante Exum of the Jazz and Dennis Schroder of the Atlanta Hawks.

Carter-Williams, one of two NBA players averaging at least 15.0 points, 7.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds, is joined on the U.S. Team by Sprite Slam Dunk competitors Zach LaVine of the Timberwolves, Victor Oladipo of the Magic and Mason Plumlee of the Nets. The rookie leader in assists (the Magic’s Elfrid Payton) and the rookie leader in rebounds, blocked shots and steals (the 76ers’ Nerlens Noel) were also selected for the U.S. Team, which is rounded out by Trey Burke of the Jazz, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope of the Detroit Pistons, Shabazz Muhammad of the Timberwolves and Cody Zeller of the Charlotte Hornets.

Both BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge rosters, chosen by the NBA’s assistant coaches, had to include four guards, four frontcourt players and two players at any position. The coaches also picked a minimum of three first-year players and three second-year players for each team.

The head coaches for the 21st BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge will be assistants from the 2015 NBA All-Star Game coaching staffs. Hawks assistant coach Kenny Atkinson will guide the World Team, and Golden State Warriors assistant coach Alvin Gentry will lead the U.S. Team.

Jan 28

Victor Oladipo a darkhorse to win dunk contest

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s official.

Victor Oladipo will compete in this year’s dunk contest. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports – who else? – first reported on January 21 that Oladipo committed to participate in the contest alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Zach LaVine (Timberwolves), and Mason Plumlee (Nets). The contest will be held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The NBA officially announced the news yesterday.

LaVine is widely regarded as the prohibitive favorite to win the contest. He generated a lot of buzz in the offseason with his 46-inch vertical (which set a Lakers pre-draft workout record), and his dunks at the Seattle Pro-Am and rookie photo shoot went viral. “Jumping out of the gym” can be an overused basketball term, but it’s an apt description for Lavine.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Oladipo, who is a darkhorse candidate. His signature dunk is the 360 (which he has executed against the Nets last season and against the Rockets this season), but that’s all he’s known for. He isn’t regarded as a creative dunker like LaVine.

But you better believe that Oladipo is ready to show everyone what he can do. He wanted to participate in the dunk contest in his rookie year, but didn’t get invited – though he did compete in the Rising Stars Challenge and Skills Challenge at All-Star weekend in New Orleans.

Now that he’s gotten the dunk contest invite, it’ll be interesting to see if Oladipo has any tricks in his bag and can beat not only LaVine, but Antetokounmpo, and Plumlee as well.

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Jan 27

Oladipo to compete in 2015 Sprite Slam Dunk

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Via NBA press release:

The 2015 Sprite Slam Dunk at NBA All-Star 2015 in New York City will feature four exciting, up-and-coming players and a format change that adds an old-school feel to the 30th edition of the contest.

A first-time champion will be crowned as three surging second-year players and a leading rookie will all make their debuts in the league’s signature above-the-rim showcase: Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine and Brooklyn Nets center Mason Plumlee.

TNT will televise the Sprite Slam Dunk live on Saturday, Feb. 14, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn during State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, part of Turner Sports’ 30th year of All-Star coverage.

Returning to a classic format, the Sprite Slam Dunk will be a two-round event in which the four participants can perform any dunk they choose without time limits. The players will have a maximum of three attempts to complete each dunk in both the first round and the final round. Five judges will score every dunk on a scale of 6 to 10, resulting in a high score of 50 and a low score of 30. All four competitors will get two dunks in the first round. The two dunkers with the highest combined score for their two dunks will advance to the head-to-head final round. The player with the highest combined score for his two dunks in the final round will be the champion.

Jan 27

Grades: Memphis Grizzlies 103, Orlando Magic 94

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AP Photo/Brandon Dill

 

Memphis Grizzlies 103 Final
Recap | Box Score
94 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
6-13 FG | 6-7 FT | 2 STL | 12 REB | 18 PTS | -7

Normally, Vucevic is a player that gets off to fast starts in games. For the season, he averages 6.5 points per game in the first quarter, which is his highest scoring average of all four quarters. However, against the Grizzlies, Vucevic didn’t make his first field goal until the 7:38 mark of the second quarter.

Victor Oladipo
6-11 FG | 5-6 FT | 2 STL | 7 REB | 18 PTS | +3

No Tony Allen (sprained left ankle) for Memphis meant that Oladipo didn’t have to deal with being hounded by a defensive bulldog. Instead, Courtney Lee had the assignment, but he offered little resistance. The Magic ran pick-and-rolls for Oladipo and he was able to attack the rim (5-for-7) with ease, as Lee struggled to navigate through the screens and keep up.

Elfrid Payton
5-14 FG | 2-4 FT | 2 STL | 6 AST | 12 PTS | -5

I doubt that Payton read my assessment of him in my report card following Orlando’s loss to the Pacers on Sunday. I wrote that “it would benefit the Magic more if Payton was more aggressive in looking for his own shot earlier in games” and he did just that against Memphis. He raced up and down the court in the first quarter (6 points, 3 assists, 2 steals).

Dewayne Dedmon
4-5 FG | 2-6 FT | 1 BLK| 10 AST | 10 PTS | +14

In a city known for its barbecue, Channing Frye got smoked defensively by Zach Randolph (18 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists) in the first half like a slab of baby back ribs. It got so bad that Frye was benched in the second half in favor for Dedmon, who did his job in holding Randolph in check. Not only that, but Dedmon picked up his first career double-double.

Memphis Grizzlies

Orlando’s defense was so bad in the first half that the Grizzlies scored a season-high 67 points in a fast-paced game and were up by 19 at halftime. The tempo slowed considerably in the third quarter when Memphis committed a number of fouls early and put the Magic in the penalty for a majority of the period. But by then, the game was already over.

Jan 27

Video: Elfrid Payton to Aaron Gordon alley-oop

Jan 26

Preview: Orlando Magic at Memphis Grizzlies

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Memphis Grizzlies
  • Date: January 26, 2015
  • Time: 8:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: FedEx Forum

Records

  • Magic: 15-32
  • Grizzlies: 31-12

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Elfrid Payton
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Aaron Gordon
  • Channing Frye
  • Nikola Vucevic

Grizzlies:

  • Mike Conley
  • Courtney Lee
  • Jeff Green
  • Zach Randolph
  • Marc Gasol

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 94.2 (14th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.4 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.7 (22nd of 30)

Grizzlies:

  • Pace: 92.0 (27th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 108.0 (10th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 103.6 (11th of 30)

Read about the Grizzlies

3 Shades of Blue

Jan 26

Power Rankings Roundup: Week 13

 
Matt Moore, CBS Sports: No. 24 (Last week: No. 20)

We thought their offense would suffer, but a defense ranked 22nd in points allowed per possession is why they’ve failed to reach expectations. Changes are probably coming.

Marc Stein, ESPN: No. 26 (Last week: No. 21)

GM Rob Hennigan to the Orlando Sentinel: “Am I disappointed with our team’s inconsistent play? Yes. Am I frustrated with our overall effort and competitive spirit? Yes. Am I frustrated with our recent play after we had a seemingly good start to the season in spite of a tough road schedule? Yes.”

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: No. 26 (Last week: No. 23)

It’s unclear how the Magic managed to squeeze wins over the Bulls and Rockets in the middle of what would be a 12-game losing streak that has includes losses to the Nets, Hornets, Nuggets, Lakers, Knicks and Pacers. They allowed New York and Indiana, two bottom-five offenses, to score over 110 points per 100 possessions over the weekend.

Drew Garrison, SB Nation: No. 25 (Last week: No. 26)

The biggest point in the Magic’s week was their role in the Knicks’ three-game winning streak. It’s gotten ugly as the Magic have won just two of their last 13 games. The plus side? More losses means a better chance at drafting a better player who can help them out of this mess.

Matt Dollinger, Sports Illustrated: No. 25 (Last week: No. 23)

Channing Frye and Ben Gordon combine to average 45 minutes per game in Orlando. Why is playing time being wasted on 30-somethings on a rebuilding team when it could be going to younger players like Aaron Gordon or Kyle O’Quinn?

Marc J. Spears, Yahoo! Sports: No. 26 (Last week: No. 28)

Like Cousins, Nikola Vucevic’s losing record is his biggest All-Star deterrent. He is averaging 19.4 points and 11.3 rebounds.

Jan 26

Grades: Indiana Pacers 106, Orlando Magic 99

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AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

 

Indiana Pacers 106 Final
Recap | Box Score
99 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
11-17 FG | 5-5 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 27 PTS | -14

Vucevic’s first three made field goals came in 1-5 pick-and-rolls with Payton — a right hook, a midrange jump shot from the right elbow, and a dunk. It’s an example of the budding chemistry between Vucevic and Payton in the pick-and-roll. Those set plays should continue being more of a staple in the Magic’s offense as the season progresses.

Victor Oladipo
8-17 FG | 1-4 3P | 2 REB | 3 AST | 18 PTS | -14

There’s not many things more exciting to watch when Orlando plays than when Oladipo has the basketball in his hands in the open court. It’s like watching a sports car go from 0 to 60 mph in under 4 seconds. You can visibly see Oladipo’s body crank up the RPMs as he accelerates in transition. He had a few of those moments against the Pacers.

Tobias Harris
2-5 FG | 6-9 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 11 PTS | -8

Aaron Gordon got his first career start, replacing Devyn Marble in the starting lineup (who came off the bench), to give the Magic more of a defensive presence. Which meant that Harris also came off the bench for a third straight game since recovering from his ankle injury. Harris still got plenty of playing time (30 minutes) and was relatively productive.

Elfrid Payton
4-8 FG | 2-5 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 10 PTS | -12

There’s nothing wrong with Payton being a facilitator for Orlando offensively. It’s one of his strengths as a player and the team benefits having Payton quarterback the offense. But it would benefit the Magic more if Payton was more aggressive in looking for his own shot earlier in games. He had only one shot attempt in the first half against the Pacers.

Indiana Pacers

First, it was Langston Galloway and Lance Thomas for the New York Knicks on Friday. Then, it was Damjan Rudez for Indiana on Sunday. What do those players all have in common? They closed out games for their respective teams against Orlando. Rudez nearly outscored the Magic by himself in the fourth quarter. He had 16 points in the period. Orlando had 17. That’s not a typo.

Jan 26

Video: Aaron Gordon’s alley-oop dunk in transition

Jan 25

Preview: Indiana Pacers at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Indiana Pacers at Orlando Magic
  • Date: January 25, 2015
  • Time: 6:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Pacers: 15-30
  • Magic: 15-31

Probable starters

Pacers:

  • C.J. Watson
  • Rodney Stuckey
  • Solomon Hill
  • David West
  • Roy Hibbert

Magic:

  • Elfrid Payton
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Aaron Gordon
  • Channing Frye
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Pacers:

  • Pace: 93.3 (20th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.6 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 103.1 (8th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 94.2 (14th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.4 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.6 (22nd of 30)

Read about the Pacers

8 Points, 9 Seconds

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