Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 10

Jan 13

Grades: Orlando Magic 121, Chicago Bulls 114

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Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Orlando Magic 121 Final
Recap | Box Score
114 Chicago Bulls

Nikola Vucevic
16-24 FG | 1-5 FT | 11 REB | 4 AST | 33 PTS | -18

There’s not much more to say about Vucevic that hasn’t already been covered in my media log. It was obvious from the opening tip that the Magic were targeting Gasol defensively, force-feeding the ball to Vucevic in the post and on the perimeter. And it worked, as Vucevic’s 16 made field goals were a new career-high for him.

Victor Oladipo
11-17 FG | 8-10 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 33 PTS | +8

When Oladipo scored a career-high 35 points against the Bulls last season, the one thing that stood out the most was how Jimmy Butler looked completely overwhelmed trying to defend Oladipo off the dribble. It was the same story in Monday night’s game, particularly in crunch time. Butler struggled to prevent Oladipo from attacking the rim at will.

Elfrid Payton
5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 10 PTS | +8

From start to finish, Orlando played with pace and Payton was a big reason for that. He got into the Magic’s sets quickly on offense and he pushed the ball up the floor at every opportunity — for Magic fans, it had to be refreshing to see. Orlando looked like a different team offensively than the one that struggled to score against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

Luke Ridnour
2-3 FG | 4-5 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 9 PTS | -1

Whenever Payton rested, all Ridnour had to do was maintain the same tempo on offense. For the most part, he did just that. There were times when the Magic got bogged down offensively, but that had more to do with Chicago’s second unit tightening things up on defense more than anything else. All in all, Ridnour got the job done.

Chicago Bulls

There’s a lot going on with the Bulls right now. Derrick Rose is in a prolonged shooting slump, Joakim Noah isn’t healthy, and Mike Dunleavy and Doug McDermott are sidelined with injuries. Even with the loss, how does Chicago have a 26-13 record? Gasol and Butler are playing like All-Stars, and Nikola Mirotic has emerged as a leading Rookie of the Year candidate.

Jan 13

Video: Nikola Vucevic dunks on Pau Gasol

Jan 12

Preview: Orlando Magic at Chicago Bulls

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Chicago Bulls
  • Date: January 12, 2015
  • Time: 8:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: United Center

Records

  • Magic: 13-27
  • Bulls: 26-12

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Elfrid Payton
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Devyn Marble
  • Channing Frye
  • Nikola Vucevic

Bulls:

  • Derrick Rose
  • Jimmy Butler
  • Tony Snell
  • Joakim Noah
  • Pau Gasol

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.0 (21st of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.3 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.5 (18th of 30)

Bulls:

  • Pace: 93.3 (20th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 107.9 (11th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 104.5 (11th of 30)

Read about the Bulls

Blog a Bull

Jan 12

Power Rankings Roundup: Week 11

 
Matt Moore, CBS Sports: No. 27 (Last week: No. 24)

The Magic’s recent woes aren’t the problem; they’ve played better teams on a West Coast road trip. The problem is they have so few surprise wins against better teams to counterbalance the ones they should lose. You wonder if changes aren’t coming.

Marc Stein, ESPN: No. 28 (Last week: No. 26)

The first meaty story about Jacque Vaughn’s job security is out in the wake of six straight L’s for the Magic and a 3-10 funk since their Week 7 rise to No. 17. Makes it tough to spend too much time on Nikola Vucevic’s league-leading 22 double-doubles, one more than Anthony Davis and John Wall.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: No. 27 (Last week: No. 27)

To confirm the Magic are in an offensive slump, they shot 40 percent and scored less than 90 points per 100 possessions against the Lakers’ defense on Friday. Four of the five guys who have taken at least 10 threes during their six-game losing streak have made less than 30 percent of them. Given their upcoming opponents, the slump will continue.

Drew Garrison, SB Nation: No. 27 (Last week: No. 22)

The Magic are on a six-game losing streak and things aren’t getting any easier going forward. Chicago, Houston, Memphis, Oklahoma City and Detroit are next in line. The Magic’s next winnable game? Jan. 23 at Madison Square Garden.

Matt Dollinger, Sports Illustrated: No. 27 (Last week: No. 24)

It’s been two weeks since the Magic have hit the century mark, which explains why it’s also been two weeks since a victory. Orlando is 9-1 when scoring at least 100 points this season and 4-26 when it doesn’t.

Marc J. Spears, Yahoo! Sports: No. 28 (Last week: No. 21)

After losing 11 of their past 14 games, Magic coach Jacque Vaughn told the Orlando Sentinel he is not worried about losing his job.

Jan 11

Highlights: Nikola Vucevic’s career-high 34 points

Jan 11

Grades: Portland Trail Blazers 103, Orlando Magic 92

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Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Portland Trail Blazers 103 Final
Recap | Box Score
92 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
15-23 FG | 4-6 FT | 16 REB | 2 AST | 34 PTS | -18

Vucevic set a new career-high with 34 points and he did it against the second-best defense in the NBA. When Vucevic gets going offensively, it’s fun to watch. Right hooks. Midrange jumpers. Floaters. Offensive rebound putbacks. Everything was going in. He even made a turnaround lefty hook for good measure. Vucevic proved why he deserves to be an All-Star this season.

Victor Oladipo
6-21 FG | 6-8 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 18 PTS | -6

When Oladipo attacks the rim and gets the benefit of the whistle, he can pile up free-throws in a hurry, as he did against the Blazers. And he’s lucky that he was able to, because otherwise, he would have had a disastrous night on offense. He went 6-for-21 from the floor and missed shots from practically everywhere on the floor.

Elfrid Payton
4-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 9 PTS | -11

You have to admire Payton’s motor on the defensive side of the ball. He hounded Damian Lillard all the way up the court at various junctures in the game. There was a sequence on the final possession of the second quarter where Payton was isolated against Lillard and forced him into a wild fadeaway 3-pointer from 33 feet out. Lillard missed, of course.

Devyn Marble
3-6 FG | 0-2 3P | 5 STL | 3 REB | 6 PTS | -12

Getting the first start of his NBA career due to the injuries of Tobias Harris (ankle) and Evan Fournier (knee), Marble acquitted himself well. He was active, particularly on defense, where he was able to rack up a career-high five steals. The niftiest steal of them all was when Marble poked the ball from behind on Steve Blake, which led to a dunk for himself.

Portland Trail Blazers

Portland jumped out to a 39-20 lead midway through the second quarter and looked poised to blow out the Magic at home. That didn’t happen. Instead, Orlando showed some heart and fought back. Both teams exchanged leads for much of the third quarter and part of the fourth before the Blazers finally exerted their talent advantage at the end.

Jan 11

Video: Maurice Harkless dunks in transition

Jan 10

Preview: Orlando Magic at Portland Trail Blazers

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Portland Trail Blazers
  • Date: January 10, 2015
  • Time: 10:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Moda Center

Records

  • Magic: 13-26
  • Trail Blazers: 28-8

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Elfrid Payton
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Devyn Marble
  • Channing Frye
  • Nikola Vucevic

Trail Blazers:

  • Damian Lillard
  • Wesley Matthews
  • Nicolas Batum
  • LaMarcus Aldridge
  • Chris Kaman

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 92.9 (22nd of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.5 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.5 (19th of 30)

Trail Blazers:

  • Pace: 94.0 (14th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 108.7 (6th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 101.2 (2nd of 30)

Read about the Trail Blazers

Blazer’s Edge

Jan 10

Grades: Los Angeles Lakers 101, Orlando Magic 84

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AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

 

Los Angeles Lakers 101 Final
Recap | Box Score
84 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
6-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 STL | 11 REB | 14 PTS | -18

There was a moment late in the third quarter when Oladipo drove into the lane and drew a foul as he fell to the floor. Vucevic came over to help him up, but he slipped and also fell — there was a wet spot right under the basket. It’s symbolic of the Magic’s fall down the standings after losing their season-high fifth consecutive game.

Victor Oladipo
5-10 FG | 7-10 FT | 2 STL | 3 AST | 17 PTS | -15

Oladipo had a James Harden-esque performance. He continuously attacked the rim (5-for-9) and only attempted one shot from the perimeter. When Oladipo too busy dunking the ball, he was getting fouled — he went to the free-throw line a total of 10 times. It wasn’t pretty to watch (it never really is), but it was an effective strategy.

Tobias Harris
6-16 FG | 1-3 3P | 4 REB | 3 AST | 15 PTS | -13

Coming into the game, Harris was expected to have a matchup advantage over Ryan Kelly. That ended up not happening. In fact, it can be argued that Kelly (13 points, 8 rebounds) played better, given that he was able to space the floor for the Lakers (3-for-5 shooting from 3-point range) and pull down more rebounds than Harris.

Luke Ridnour
5-10 FG | 2-3 3P | 1 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | -5

With Orlando somehow struggling to put up points against the Lakers, who ranked 30th in defensive efficiency entering Friday night’s game (that’s dead-last), coach Jacque Vaughn decided to turn to Luke Ridnour off the bench to run the offense. Ridnour didn’t do much to actually run the Magic’s offense, but he did manage to score a season-high 12 points.

Los Angeles Lakers

It says a lot that the Lakers, one of the laughingstocks in the NBA, out-played Orlando. Basketball is all about effort and the Lakers played with more of it. Case in point: They out-rebounded the Magic 60-36, which included an 18-4 advantage on the offensive boards. That’s all you need to know about the amount of energy that Orlando played with.

Jan 10

Video: Victor Oladipo with an alley-oop dunk

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