Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 100

Feb 23

Preview: Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks
  • Date: Feb. 23, 2012
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Philips Arena

Records

  • Magic: 22-12
  • Hawks: 19-14

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Chris Duhon
  • Jason Richardson
  • Hedo Turkoglu
  • Ryan Anderson
  • Dwight Howard

Hawks:

  • Jeff Teague
  • Kirk Hinrich
  • Marvin Williams
  • Josh Smith
  • Zaza Pachulia

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 89.2 (26th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 103.9 (13th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 101.2 (12th of 30)

Hawks:

  • Pace: 89.9 (21st of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 102.2 (19th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 100.5 (8th of 30)

Read about the Hawks

Hoopinion

Feb 22

Recap: Orlando Magic 108, New Jersey Nets 91

AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

When Glen Davis is getting easy buckets in the paint, you have to step back and second-guess how good your team is and start to question how bad your opponent is. At least, that was the story in the first half.

For the first 24 minutes, the Nets looked bored and ready to move on to a new dome. It was as if Deron Williams’ stand against Jeremy Lin a few nights ago was the last stand, and now the Nets have moved on, poised to take over Brooklyn.

Want proof? With four minutes left in the first, the game was still close and Dwight went to the bench with his second foul. From there, the Nets allowed a lineup of Duhon-Wafer-Q-Clark-Davis absolutely eat them alive. I’m talking about Q-Rich posting up, swinging it to Duhon who drives to the lane, and dishes to Davis for an and-one finish. Really? That only happens when you’re playing a team that doesn’t care much, or a team who is coming off a blood bath.

At one point in the second quarter, Von Wafer grabbed a defensive rebound and took the ball coast-to-coast for an uncontested dunk. If that doesn’t tell you about how ready the Nets were coming into this one, then you’re not paying attention.

Then the second half happened, and Deron Williams happened. Williams caught fire from deep and made 12 straight for the Nets, taking a big bite out of what was once a 20-point Magic lead.

The Orlando response was crucial. When Williams got hot, the Magic did not panic and start shooting threes and struggle offensively. They buckled down, set up their half-court set, delivered Dwight the ball, and let it pay off. Dwight didn’t go nuts in the post, but it opened up the floor for guys like Redick and Duhon to get good looks from deep. In a word, they responded with Magic basketball — the Dwight system — and re-extended their lead to 18 in the third.

Good time to note that Sheldon Williams did a nice job on Dwight in this game. That’s why the second half of this game was so fun to watch if you were a Magic fan. Even though Dwight wasn’t owning, Orlando kept going to him. He got his touches, and that opened up a much more natural offense for Orlando. Thus, Orlando recovered and kept a 16-point lead headed into the fourth.

If Dwight feels like he is not a closer, than I am not sure what he wants. In the fourth quarter, he got multiple touches and gave himself room to finish a few baby hook shots that helped keep the Nets at bay. Surely it helps to have a big lead going into the final quarter, but it seems as if Dwight in the post is the best minute-eating weapon any team could have to protect a lead in the closing minutes. Magic played that card to perfection to take the win.

MVP (Most Valuable Player)

Dwight Howard. This was a tough one since Orlando got good production from several guys on the floor, but you can’t deny a 20 and 17 effort from the big man.

X-Factor

Glen Davis. Baby gave Orlando a huge boost in the first half on perfect shooting from the field and led all scoring in the first half. He picked his spots in the second, but I was impressed with his rebounding for a change.

Defining Moment

When Deron Williams caught fire in the beginning of the second half, Orlando responded with a few three-pointers and a Dwight slam to re-extend their lead to 16 heading into the fourth.

That Game Was … a Breath of Fresh Air

Orlando shot well from the field, got production from guys like Glen Davis and Chris Duhon, and Dwight got all the touches he needed to be effective. Basically, all cylinders were firing in this win, something akin to 2009.

Feb 22

Preview: Orlando Magic at New Jersey Nets

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at New Jersey Nets
  • Date: Feb. 22, 2012
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Prudential Center

Records

  • Magic: 21-12
  • Nets: 10-24

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • J.J. Redick
  • Hedo Turkoglu
  • Ryan Anderson
  • Dwight Howard

Nets:

  • Deron Williams
  • MarShon Brooks
  • DeShawn Stevenson
  • Brook Lopez
  • Shelden Williams

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 89.2 (26th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 103.3 (13th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 101.1 (12th of 30)

Nets:

  • Pace: 88.8 (28th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 103.9 (12th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 111.2 (30th of 30)

Read about the Nets

Nets Are Scorching

Feb 21

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Mar. 15: It’s the NBA trade deadline, and it either could be the worse day for Magic fans since Shaq left in 1996 or the best, depending if Howard reverses field as the saga plays out this summer. Or Magic fans might be welcoming a new player or two. Mar. 16: Call it karma or fate, whatever. But if Howard is traded to New Jersey, guess what? The Magic’s first game after the trade deadline is against…. the Nets. How cruel. It could be Howard’s first game against his former team — and at Amway Center, of all places. You couldn’t make this stuff up. Magic boo-birds surely would let him have it, a night that might require extra security at the arena. Imagine Bynum wearing a Magic jersey. Or Howard could still be with the Magic, meaning he could be playing out the string until he becomes a free agent, possibly leaving the Magic with no compensation.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “While the weekly and sometimes daily conversations between Howard and Williams might concern some Magic fans because of their desire to play together – possibly with the Nets – Howard insists that the two are just friends. They became confidants in 2008 while playing for Team USA in the Summer Olympics and have talked basketball, life and other issues regularly. But the two friends will be enemies Wednesday night when the Magic (21-12) face the Nets (10-24) at 7:30 p.m. It will be the first time that Howard has played in New Jersey since issuing an early-season trade request that included the Nets as one of his preferred destinations.”
  • The odds that the Los Angeles Lakers trade for Dwight Howard at the deadline are “slim and none” according to a source that spoke with Ken Berger of CBSSports.com for a story.
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk: “It seems odd to criticize Dwight Howard after a 28 point, 16 rebound performance — which included him stealing the ball from Brandon Jennings and scoring on the one-man fast break at one point — but we can’t help ourselves. His defensive effort is inconsistent. He is so talented he puts up numbers, but it’s hard to watch him and think he is fully invested. Ryan Anderson had the go-ahead three for the Magic in what was a close game. Jennings had 22 for the Bucks.”
  • Britt Robson of Sports Illustrated with midseason grades for all 30 NBA teams. The Orlando Magic get a B+ from Robson: “Orlando has made the best of a bad situation. The pivotal moment came after a 1-5 stretch in late January, which included an 87-56 loss at Boston, a 93-67 defeat at lowly New Orleans and blowing a 27-point lead at home against the Celtics. At 12-9 and in the midst of what coach Stan Van Gundy called the worst stretch of his five-year tenure, the team could have packed it in and waited for the trading deadline to resolve Dwight Howard’s lame-duck status. Instead, the Magic have won nine of 12 to thrust themselves back into position for home-court advantage in the playoffs. It is still possible that Orlando, knowing it needs to get something in return for its superstar center, will deal Howard by March 15. But both the player and the franchise can feel good about the way they are potentially closing out his legacy in Orlando.”
  • Dwight Howard is among the favorites to win the Defensive Player of the Year award.
  • Abe Schwadron of SLAM ONLINE: “In every single Orlando win over the Bucks over the past two weeks, the Magic have overcome fourth quarter deficits, and they now sit at 21-12 on the year, with a potentially awkward matchup at New Jersey up next.”
  • Which player that has played for the Magic has the best chance of having his jersey retired by the franchise? The list may surprise you.
  • John Hollinger of ESPN Insider is quite fond of Ryan Anderson: “For all the flak we give Otis Smith, let’s point out one thing he absolutely did right: getting Anderson as a throw-in in the Vince Carter trade with New Jersey. After two seasons as a reserve, he’s emerging as a star this season — in fact, he’s sixth in the East in PER and pushing Dwight Howard for the Orlando team lead in that category, helping keep the Magic afloat at 21-12 despite the fact that their guards can barely get the ball across the time line. Anderson’s long ball is so deadly when paired with Howard’s interior dominance that he has the second-best plus/minus difference in the NBA, exceeded only by that of the Clippers’ Blake Griffin. Orlando is plus-9.41 points per 100 possessions with Anderson on the court but a ghastly minus-10.11 points per 100 possessions once he checks out.”

Eddy Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of Magic Basketball. Follow him on Twitter.

Feb 20

Recap: Orlando Magic 93, Milwaukee Bucks 90

AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps

BOX SCORE

With both teams playing for the third time in 10 days, the Orlando Magic were able to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks by the score of 93-90. Ryan Anderson made a go-ahead three-pointer with 18.1 seconds left in the game, Brandon Jennings turned the ball over on the ensuing possession, Jameer Nelson made two free-throws shortly thereafter, the Bucks failed to tie things up after that, and that was your ballgame. The Magic were led by a balanced attack, as five players scored in double-figures. Dwight Howard played relatively well, finishing with a game-high 28 points on 9-of-20 shooting from the field (including 10-of-14 from the free-throw line), 16 rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Jameer Nelson chipped in with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field, five assists, and three rebounds. Hedo Turkoglu contributed with 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field, four rebounds, and three assists. Glen Davis had 12 points and six rebounds, while J.J. Redick had 11 points and three rebounds. Milwaukee was also led by a balanced attack, as five players scored in double-figures. Ersan Ilyasova (15 points and 15 rebounds) and Larry Sanders (13 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks, and two steals) were the bright spots for the Bucks.

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Feb 20

Reaction: Orlando Magic 93, Milwaukee Bucks 90

Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images


Orlando Magic 93 Final
Recap | Box Score
90 Milwaukee Bucks

Dwight Howard
9-20 FG | 10-14 FT | 3 STL | 16 REB | 28 PTS | +6

Howard had some extremely impressive plays on defense against the Milwaukee Bucks. Perhaps the most notable one is when Howard stole a pass from Brandon Jennings, raced down the floor while dribbling the basketball, and getting a dunk on a one-man fast break. The problem was that his effort defensively was inconsistent at times. For the Magic to win games, that can’t happen.

Jameer Nelson
6-11 FG | 1-4 3P | 5 AST | 3 REB | 15 PTS | +1

Nelson made his mark in the game in the last 20 seconds or so. It was his pass that led to Anderson’s go-ahead three-pointer. It was his defense (with Turkoglu’s help) that jarred the ball loose from Jennings as he dribble penetrated into the lane, which forced a turnover. It was his two free-throws which gave Orlando a three-point lead, which ended up being the final margin of victory.

Hedo Turkoglu
5-10 FG | 3-4 3P | 3 AST | 4 REB | 13 PTS | +1

For his standards, Turkoglu was relatively quiet in crunch time as the Magic made their comeback bid against the Bucks in the late stages of the game. Though it’s worth pointing out that Turkoglu did make a big shot with the fourth quarter winding down, hitting a fallaway jumper off the dribble near the left corner. That kept Orlando within striking distance of Milwaukee before making their final push.

Glen Davis
5-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 AST | 6 REB | 12 PTS | -8

Davis had one of his better games of the regular season. The reason, to be frank, was that his midrange jumpshot was falling. On his jumpers, there was a noticeable arc on his shot. When he struggles with his jumper, usually his shots come out flat but that wasn’t the case against the Bucks. With Redick starting, the Magic needed scoring off the bench. Davis provided that.

Milwaukee Bucks

What must Milwaukee be thinking at this point? In three games this season, the Bucks have had the lead in crunch time. That hasn’t stopped Orlando from coming back and winning each game down the stretch. This time around, the Magic didn’t need a 16-0 run or a 17-0 run like in the previous two games. All it took was a three-pointer from Anderson.

Eddy Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of Magic Basketball. Follow him on Twitter.

Feb 20

Monday’s Magic Word

  • Jessica Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel: “To prepare Dwight Howard for his first all-star slam-dunk contest in 2007, Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith demonstrated how to dunk. He didn’t do any jumping, though. Smith instructed with his feet on the ground, which had Howard and Jameer Nelson laughing hard. He may not have dunked in more than a decade, but Smith knew what he was talking about. He competed in two all-star dunk contests. [...] Smith told Howard about one of his more creative dunks, where he threw the ball from one side of the basket, caught it on the other and slammed it with the hand closest to the rim. The contest has since changed. Blake Griffin, the 2011 slam-dunk champion, wowed the crowd at the Staples Center in Los Angeles when he leaped over a car and dunked. [...] Howard was the dunk champion in 2008, the year after Smith gave him tips. Smith didn’t win in either of his appearances, but when he played, he competed against big names. The all-star contest Saturday at the Amway Center will include Chase Budinger of the Houston Rockets, Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, Derrick Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Iman Shumpert of the New York Knicks.”
  • Beware of counterfeit All-Star Game tickets.
  • Dwight Howard talks about how the Miami Heat were able to beat the Orlando Magic in yesterday’s game.
  • A look back at the Magic’s loss against the Heat.
  • Jason Richardson sat out of Orlando’s game against Miami due to chest pains but is okay.
  • The field for the 2012 Taco Bell Skills Challenge is set.
  • Gilbert Arenas has yet to find a home this season with a new NBA team.
  • More on Arenas.
  • The Magic struggled to contain LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
  • Ryan Anderson has been a game-changer for Orlando.
  • Marc Stein of ESPN.com: “It has been suggested that a certain young Knicks guard can be counted on to divert some All-Star Weekend spotlight away from a certain local star whose free agency beckons in July. Not so sure about that one. Quite a test for Linsanity to see what sort of dent it can put into the long-awaited ASW frenzy over Dwight’s future.”
  • Matt Moore of ProBasketballTalk: “Miami wreaked havoc on the Magic defensively as well, as expected. 37 percent from the field for Orlando. 14 turnovers. A world of hurt. Was Howard disinterested, or were the Magic not forcing the issue to get him the ball enough? These questions are not answerable. The results are the same. The Magic are a good team. The Heat are better. That’s the lesson of Sunday’s game, regardless of what the season series record says.”
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk: “They keep on winning mostly, but the Sunday loss to Miami shows how far this team is from elite. As the Dwight Howard rumors ramp up heading into the All-Star Weekend, will it start to weigh on this team?”
  • Arenas: “I [told Dwight], ‘If you’re leaving or you’re not leaving, you’ve got to keep that locker room together. You guys have got to be a family still, because at the end of the day these are the people you fight with, you battle with.’ I check up on him after certain games and make sure the spirit is still high, tell him just stay focused and keep trying to dominate. [...] To be honest, I have no idea [if Dwight will stay], because like any big decision you’re going to go back and forth every day. Like I tried to tell him, it’s going to be hard to just go out there and play basketball.”
  • More on the Magic’s loss against the Heat.
  • John Schuhmann of NBA.com: “The Magic got smoked in Miami on Sunday, but they’ve recovered from their late-January struggles and are once again a top-four seed in the East. Somehow, they’ve been the eighth-best offensive team in February, with just two guys, Dwight Howard and Ryan Anderson, who can score consistently.”

Eddy Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of Magic Basketball. Follow him on Twitter.

Feb 20

Preview: Orlando Magic at Milwaukee Bucks

8:00 ET | Sun Sports
20-12 @ 13-18
Pythagorean Record:18-14 Pythagorean Record: 14-17
Pace: 89.4 (26th) Pace: 92.2 (11th)
Offensive Rating: 103.1 (14th) Offensive Rating: 102.5 (18th)
Defensive Rating: 100.9 (12th) Defensive Rating: 104.3 (19th)
Bradley Center | Magic lead season series 2-0

Feb 18

Recap: Orlando Magic 94, Milwaukee Bucks 85

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

BOX SCORE

The Orlando Magic were able to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks by the score of 94-85, extending their winning streak to four games. A week after playing the Bucks on the road and needing an extended stretch of dominance in the fourth quarter to pull out the victory, the Magic used the same script at home. Trailing by eight points with 5:56 left to play in regulation and the score at 85-77, Orlando went on a 17-0 run to come back and win the game. The Magic were led by a balanced attack, as five players scored in double-figures. Dwight Howard led the way, finishing with 26 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field (including 10-of-14 from the free-throw line), 20 rebounds, and four blocks. Ryan Anderson finished with 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field (including 4-of-7 from three-point range and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line), nine rebounds, and three assists. Hedo Turkoglu chipped in with 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field, seven assists, four rebounds, and two steals. J.J. Redick had 11 points, while Jameer Nelson had 10 points and four rebounds. Four players scored in double-figures for Milwaukee, with Ersan Ilyasova (14 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks in 33 minutes of playing time) being the standout performer.

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Feb 18

Reaction: Orlando Magic 94, Milwaukee Bucks 85

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack


Orlando Magic 94 Final
Recap | Box Score
85 Milwaukee Bucks

Dwight Howard
8-12 FG | 10-14 FT | 4 BLK | 20 REB | 26 PTS | +18

Surprisingly enough, despite playing a Milwaukee Bucks’ frontline that was outmatched, Howard didn’t do a lot of damage in traditional post-ups. Instead it was mostly dunks or free-throws. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, given that dunks and free-throws represent two of the three most efficient shots in basketball (the three-pointer being the other). It was a workmanlike performance for the big fella.

Ryan Anderson
8-15 FG | 4-7 3P | 3 AST | 9 REB | 23 PTS | -4

Playing alongside Duhon, Redick, Quentin Richardson, and Clark in the second quarter, Anderson was the lifeboat for the second unit when it came to putting points on the board. He scored eight points in the span of roughly six minutes before Van Gundy put the starters back into the game. Although that six-minute stretch didn’t seem like much, it kept the Magic within striking distance of the Bucks.

Hedo Turkoglu
6-10 FG | 1-4 3P | 7 AST | 4 REB | 14 PTS | +8

For three quarters, Turkoglu didn’t do much. He had a total of four points, four assists, and three rebounds. Then in the final period, “Mr. Fourth Quarter” came alive. Van Gundy called Turkoglu’s number time and again in the fourth quarter, and he delivered. The 3/5 pick-and-roll with Turkolu and Howard was the driving force that allowed Orlando to go on a 16-0 run to win the game.

J.J. Redick
5-13 FG | 1-5 3P | 3 AST | 1 REB | 11 PTS | +19

If you were looking at the box score, Redick had an unimpressive game. Yet Redick’s plus/minus was a game-high +19. That’s attributable to the little things he does. Like in the fourth quarter when he cut baseline as the Magic ran a 1/5 pick-and-roll with Nelson and Howard, got the pass from Nelson, and fed the basketball to Anderson for a three-pointer in the right corner.

Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee played well for 42 minutes. It’s the last six minutes of the game that doomed the Bucks, as exhibited by the fact that they didn’t score a single point after Shaun Livingston made a layup off an offensive rebound at the 5:56 mark of the fourth quarter. After that, Milwaukee missed 11 shots. Orlando took advantage and won, despite trailing in the game by as many as 15 points.

Eddy Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of Magic Basketball. Follow him on Twitter.

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