Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 109

Jan 18

Recap: San Antonio Spurs 85, Orlando Magic 83 (OT)

AP Photo/John Raoux

BOX SCORE

The San Antonio Spurs were able to defeat the Orlando Magic in overtime by the score of 85-83. For the Spurs, it was their first road win of the regular season. For the Magic, it was their one and only back-to-back-to-back of the season and they were unable to sweep all three games. The Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder remain the only teams in the NBA to accomplish the feat. With Orlando playing on a third night in a row and San Antonio playing on a back-to-back themselves, the quality of play was not very high, as both teams struggled at times to really get things going offensively. But in the end, the Spurs were able to escape with a victory after J.J. Redick’s game-winning three came after the buzzer, as he took an extra dribble to escape a defender trying to contest him at the three-point line after receiving the basketball. Ryan Anderson’s initial three-point attempt on the right wing clanked off the rim, but Dwight Howard got the offensive rebound and kicked it out to Redick. Unfortunately for Redick, his decision not to catch-and-shoot with the ball proved costly, as the clock ran out on him. San Antonio was led by Tony Parker, as he finished with a game-high 25 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds. Tim Duncan chipped in with 17 points and 10 rebounds. The Magic were led by a balanced attack, as four players scored in double-figures. Howard put up 24 points, 25 rebounds, and three blocks. Ryan Anderson finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Von Wafer had 15 points coming off the bench, while Redick had 13 points. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for Orlando.

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Jan 18

Reaction: San Antonio Spurs 85, Orlando Magic 83 (OT)

AP Photo/John Raoux


San Antonio Spurs 85 Final
Recap | Box Score
83 Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard
9-15 FG | 6-10 FT | 3 BLK | 25 REB | 24 PTS | +8

Matched up primarily against Tim Duncan, Howard had a field day on offense. That goes to show that, at 35 years old and playing on a back-to-back to boot, Duncan is far removed from the days in which he could contain the big fella. Howard generated most of his points offensively in 4-out/1-in offensive sets and also from offensive rebounds. It was a dominant performance.

Ryan Anderson
3-13 FG | 1-6 3P | 1 AST | 11 REB | 17 PTS | 0

Anderson just couldn’t get anything going on the perimeter, shooting 1-of-6 from three-point range. Tired legs maybe? Nevertheless, he was able to compensate by attacking the rim and drawing fouls. That’s why, despite shooting 3-of-13 from the field, he was still able to score 17 points. Those are the types of things that are encouraging to see when someone is struggling with their shot.

Von Wafer
6-11 FG | 3-5 3P | 1 AST | 1 REB | 15 PTS | 0

For a second straight game, Wafer was a spark plug coming off the bench for the Magic. In the first half, he was the only perimeter player for Orlando that could do anything on offense, scoring 11 points efficiently. After slowing down in the second half, his layup in crunch time in overtime was a positive but his missed chance at a three-point play was a negative.

J.J. Redick
4-11 FG | 5-6 FT | 1 AST | 3 REB | 13 PTS | +3

Redick didn’t really have much going for himself until late in the fourth quarter and early in overtime when he scored eight points rather quickly. With Turkoglu out and Jameer Nelson struggling mightily, the Magic leaned on Redick to be the go-to scorer on the perimeter. And had he not taken an extra dribble with time expiring in overtime, he would have done the job with a game-winning three-pointer.

San Antonio Spurs

Like Orlando, the San Antonio Spurs entered the game tired (playing on a back-to-back) and hobbled (missing Manu Ginobili to injury). And like the Magic, the Spurs struggled to play with any effectiveness for long stretches in the game. Fortunately for head coach Gregg Popovich, he was able to rely primarily on Tony Parker and Duncan to lead the team to victory.

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

Jan 18

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “While back-to-backs and back-to-back-to-backs are brutal, the compressed schedule did diminish an often-despised exercise of NBA life: the morning shootaround. Players got something to celebrate from the lockout after all. So many games in so few days have forced teams to reduce workloads, saving the sleepy-eyed (or, ahem, blood-shot eyed) from having to report for 10 a.m. workouts on some game-days. Piling into buses and heading into cold arenas on the road just to hear Stan Van Gundy yell is not the way to start your day, apparently.The Magic will not hold shootarounds during this three-game stretch, and it’s a wonder Van Gundy isn’t convulsing. Van Gundy is a big believer in practice, unlike Allen Iverson, although the short sessions that primarily focus on the night’s opponent sometimes have turned into lengthy, full-blown practices for the Magic. This produces grumbling by players seeking more Zs, not Xs and Os.”
  • Von Wafer and Glen Davis were the unsung heroes in the Orlando Magic’s win against the Charlotte Bobcats last night.
  • Hedo Turkoglu won’t play against the San Antonio Spurs in tonight’s game (back spasms).
  • The Magic go for a rare back-to-back-to-back sweep.
  • Dwight Howard and Davis are skillful at resuscitating each other.
  • Turkoglu is one of the reasons why Orlando is off to a 10-3 start.
  • How could Howard land with the Los Angeles Clippers? Here’s how.
  • Andrew Bynum compliments Howard.
  • Zach Harper of HoopSpeak: “Again, as long as Dwight Howard is in an Orlando uniform, this is one of the best teams in the entire NBA. The defense hasn’t been great this season (just 19th in the league) but the offense is nearly as good as we remember it from the Finals run days. Ryan Anderson and J.J. Redick have been as good as you can hope from them. Anderson is not only filling the void Rashard Lewis left when he stopped being good, but he’s better in the stretch-4 role than Lewis ever was.”
  • A recap of the Magic’s win against the Bobcats yesterday.
  • More on Bynum praising Howard.
  • Howard as a Harlem Globetrotter? You don’t say.
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk: “Charlotte hung in this one — they were up three at the break and it was tied heading into the fourth — as the Bobcats didn’t double Dwight Howard and stuck with guys on the perimeter, and Orlando could only knock down 31.8 percent of its threes (Howard’s foul trouble didn’t help). Orlando needs those threes. It eventually got them. While Dwight Howard led the way with 25 points on the night it was Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu and Von Wafer — yes, Von Wafer — who each had 8 points in the fourth quarter to help the Magic pull away.”
  • Rob Mahoney of the New York Times’ Off the Dribble blog praises Ryan Anderson’s efficiency: “Anderson’s per-minute stats had previously hinted that he was capable of a scoring explosion if given the appropriate playing time, but his performance this season has exceeded even those projections. Anderson ranks 10th in the league in per-minute scoring, ahead of Rose, Wade, Blake Griffin, Dirk Nowitzki, and oodles of other prolific scorers. Yet Anderson is only able to score those points with the help of his teammates; 80 percent of Anderson’s made field goals this season were set up with an assist, a shockingly high mark for such a consistently effective scorer. Anderson needs to have his shots created for him, but even with that precondition, his accuracy and ability to find open space have made him tops among Magic players in per-minute scoring this season.”
  • Andrew Lynch of Hardwood Paroxysm: “It’s been over a decade now, but the meetings between these two teams will always remind me of how close Tim Duncan was to signing with the Magic and completely changing the landscape of NBA history.”

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

Jan 18

Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Orlando Magic

7:00 ET | Sun Sports
9-5 @ 10-3
Pythagorean Record: 9-5 Pythagorean Record: 9-4
Pace: 91.7 (16th) Pace: 90.3 (23rd)
Offensive Rating: 108.9 (T-1st) Offensive Rating: 108.9 (T-1st)
Defensive Rating: 104.9 (21st) Defensive Rating: 102.9 (15th)
Amway Center | First meeting this season

Jan 18

Keeping Dwight Howard around

AP Photo/John Raoux

Well, here we are. The Magic are winning, and there is no end in sight to the Dwight Howard saga. In some ways, this was the least likely scenario, as it sure seemed as if Orlando’s roster and Dwight’s disposition would make this season like getting a root canal. Such was my prediction, anyway. And yet, the Magic have continued — in some ways, rediscovered — their proficiency as a regular season team, and that is going to raise the question.

Should they keep Dwight no matter what this season?

Let me say, first off, that I’m not wondering whether Dwight Howard should choose to stay. I’m wondering whether it makes any kind of decent sense to hold on to Dwight and use the team’s current success as their best argument for keeping him. I know it’s the route a lot of fans would like to see the team go, but so far, the Magic as constructed with Dwight Howard on the team do not seem to have a compelling enough argument to risk trying this approach.

Going forward, the team’s approach with Dwight is all about risk management. Any of the popular choices — trading Howard for young players and picks, trading Howard for Andrew Bynum, holding on to him through the season — carry some risk and some reward. And of those three options, I think holding onto Howard is still the highest risk/lowest reward proposition.

With a trade for young players, the risk of a terrible team, which is high, is mitigated by the almost certain reward of stocking Orlando’s talent pool with players who will learn the game from Stan Van Gundy. With a player like Bynum, the medium risk of a bad team is offset by the reward of having gotten something back for your franchise-sized void while having the Lakers absorb a bad contract (Turkoglu). In the final scenario, the unknowable risk of Dwight’s leaving is offset, or not, by the potential reward of the team staying at its present level. Of course, the team’s present level, while enjoyable to watch on a nightly basis, is hardly worth risking having nothing to show for Howard’s departure.

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Jan 18

Stan Van Gundy: Lucky, brilliant, or both?

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

With injuries to both stars and role players plaguing the league, I wonder if Orlando is lucky to be close to full strength 13 games into the season. I mean everyone has injuries, right? So what gives? Is Orlando lucky, or are they well coached?

Stan Van Gundy, though working with a less-than-lethal roster, is doing some clever coaching this season. We know all about Van Gundy’s defensive schemes, his offensive genius, and his ability to inspire — but another layer of the Van Gundy onion is seen in his ability to manage minutes on this sub-standard roster.

In this season, more than others in recent history, minute distribution is of the utmost importance, because unless you are named Dwight Howard (or Superman or Captain America), you’ll be hard pressed to log 37-40 minutes per game in this bang-bang season and not pull a hammy (or get trench toe).

So it’s not so surprising that an astute veteran like SVG would make adjustments for the shortened season. In fact, the lowering of minutes is not uncommon league-wide. But what SVG is getting, and perhaps better than other coaches in the league thus far, is productivity and efficiency from unpredictable guys in the context of minute shaving.

Look at Ryan Anderson as a great example. Anderson’s minutes are up from his previous year (he’s close to 30 minutes per game as opposed to 22 or 23) as a starter. Guess what else went up for Anderson? His points, rebounds, and virtually every other stat.

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Jan 17

Recap: Orlando Magic 96, Charlotte Bobcats 89

AP Photo/John Raoux

BOX SCORE

The Orlando Magic were able to defeat the Charlotte Bobcats by the score of 96-89, extending their winning streak to a season-high five games. Despite playing one of their worst games of the regular season, the Magic were able to get their act together in the late stages of the fourth quarter, pulling away from the Bobcats after being tied at 67 apiece entering the period. Orlando played with little energy and effort in the first three quarters, which made for some unsightly basketball at times but with Charlotte being a bad team, it didn’t matter. The Magic made enough plays in the final period and got the win. Orlando was led by a balanced attack, as five players scored in double-figures. Dwight Howard put up a game-high 25 points, 17 rebounds, four assists, and four blocks. Jameer Nelson finished with 17 points and four assists. Hedo Turkoglu chipped in with 15 points, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Ryan Anderson had 13 points and three steals. Von Wafer came off the bench and gave the Magic a lift, finishing with 13 points. Let’s get right to business because, to be honest, describing the first 42 minutes of the game would be insulting. After sleepwalking for most of the night, Orlando put together a five minute stretch (from the 5:37 mark in the fourth quarter up until there were 42 seconds left in regulation) that won them the ballgame.

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Jan 17

Reaction: Orlando Magic 96, Charlotte Bobcats 89

AP Photo/John Raoux


Orlando Magic 96 Final
Recap | Box Score
89 Charlotte Bobcats

Dwight Howard
11-18 FG | 3-8 FT | 4 BLK | 17 REB | 25 PTS | +21

After receiving one technical foul in the first 11 games, Howard has racked up two in as many games, earning one in tonight’s game. That trend needs to stop. Aside from that, Howard didn’t have too many troubles when matched up against Byron Mullens at center. Bismack Biyombo made things interesting, though, making Howard earn his points by being active defensively.

Hedo Turkoglu
5-8 FG | 2-5 3P | 3 AST | 5 REB | 15 PTS | +11

Turkoglu dealt with foul trouble in the first half and also earned a technical foul, like Howard, after disagreeing with his third foul in the second quarter. Despite a lack of playing time and facing off against one of the better perimeter defenders in the NBA (Gerald Henderson), Turkoglu made his impact felt in the fourth quarter once again for the Magic.

Von Wafer
5-8 FG | 1-2 3P | 1 AST | 3 REB | 13 PTS | +9

With Redick struggling to get anything going offensively, Wafer stepped up for Orlando and was able to score 13 points on eight shots. As such, Van Gundy chose to roll with Wafer during crunch time in the fourth quarter. But before Magic fans get crazy, just remember that Wafer scored four quick points in the second quarter as he was defended by Matt Carroll.

Jameer Nelson
5-8 FG | 6-7 FT | 4 AST | 2 REB | 17 PTS | +10

Nelson’s box score is deceiving because six of his points came near the end of regulation as the Bobcats were fouling to try to extend the game. In reality, when the game was still being decided, Nelson had 11 points. That said, Van Gundy went with the 1/5 pick-and-roll with Nelson and Howard in crunch time and the move paid off for the Magic.

Charlotte Bobcats

Only Henderson made much of an impact, getting Turkoglu in foul trouble in the first and second quarters, then making shots in the latter stages of the fourth quarter for the Bobcats. Among Charlotte’s reserves, Biyombo stood out with a stellar performance — 10 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks in roughly 21 minutes of playing time. Biyombo is an impressive rookie.

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

Jan 17

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “Hey, Magic fans, you might want to show up at the Amway Center tonight just to say a potential goodbye to the Big Fella. Chances are he’s not going to be around much longer. When they announce his name, give him a standing ovation. Show him how much he is appreciated for what he has done. Thank him for loading a small-market team and a devoted town onto his broad shoulders and uplifting them and making them feel good about themselves and showing them that love and loyalty really do mean something in today’s self-indulgent sports world. I wish I were talking about Dwight Howard, but I’m not. I’m talking about Tim Duncan, who will be in town tonight with his San Antonio Spurs — a non-glitzy, unglamorous team he elevated into a champion. He is what Magic fans always hoped Dwight would be — the rock-solid foundation of a franchise and the enduring cornerstone of a community. That’s apparently not going to happen now. You know the story. Dwight told the Magic long ago he wants outta here. Wants a bigger market, a more glamorous lifestyle. Wants to make movies and records and reality TV shows.”
  • General manager Otis Smith has not been informed by Dwight Howard about his interest in the Los Angeles Clippers.
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Dwight Howard trade-me saga is playing out exactly as expected. Another day, another report. This time, it’s Chris Sheridan, a former ESPN NBA writer who reported on his website that that Howard is adding the L.A. Clippers to his list of teams he’d agree to join, along with the Nets, Mavs and Lakers. Hours later, ESPN.com came back with a rebuttal, saying that there have been no “serious” discussions between the Magic and Clips. And so it goes.”
  • Will a player for the Orlando Magic compete in the Three-Point Shootout on NBA All-Star Weekend?
  • A look at Ryan Anderson’s career-high 30-point performance against the New York Knicks.
  • Teams should probably stop leaving Ryan Anderson open behind the three-point line.
  • Orlando is enjoying a relatively clean bill of health in the early stages of the regular season.
  • Howard has added the Clippers to his wish list.
  • The Magic used a zone to beat the Knicks in yesterday’s game.
  • With the trade rumors swirling, Howard is keeping his cool — for now.
  • Another recap of Orlando’s win against New York.
  • Royce Young of CBSSports.com: “Orlando might’ve picked up its best win of the season Monday in New York and the Magic did it behind Ryan Anderson’s scoring barrage. Anderson has emerged as a legit option for the Magic and with Dwight Howard inside, Anderson, a finesse power forward, can afford to play on the perimeter. It’s really a pretty perfect pairing, much in the way Rashard Lewis worked well playing alongside Howard. Anderson went for 30 against the Knicks and did it with seven 3-pointers.”
  • The Magic are handling the uncertainty surrounding Howard’s future about as good as they can.
  • Britt Robson of Sports Illustrated: “Neil Paine had an excellent post at Basketball Prospectus on Friday comparing stretch power forward Ryan Anderson’s season to those of the great outside shooter Peja Stojakovic in his prime. Even before he erupted for a career-high 30 points and went 7-of-13 from three-point range in Monday’s victory at New York, Anderson was improving the Magic offense by more than 17 points per 100 possessions when he was on the court compared to when he sat, according to Basketball Value. He is also spearheading the NBA’s most efficient offense and prolific long-range game, with Hedo Turkoglu likewise shooting better than 44 percent and J.J. Redick hitting 38.6 percent from beyond the arc.”
  • Is Howard putting forth a full effort defensively? John Hollinger of ESPN Insider isn’t so sure: “Orlando has historically been a top-five defensive team with just OK offensive output, but not this year: The Magic lead the NBA in offensive efficiency thus far. To an extent, roster moves have aided that push — Orlando began to play more offensively when it traded Rashard Lewis a year ago, and moving The Grenade Launcher into the starting lineup this year doubled down on that decision. The concern in Orlando, however, is that its previous success was built mostly on the defensive dominance of Dwight Howard, and he hasn’t been as impactful this season. He’s also been noticeably more reticent to contest shots when he has fouls, which may be a tactical decision. However, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to connect the other dots — at times he looks like a guy who is playing just hard enough to avoid being compared to Vince Carter. Howard is so good that he can get away with it most of the time, but the stat sheet shows he’s not impacting the game defensively as he did a year ago.”
  • Howard is sour on joining the New Jersey Nets.
  • Is it possible that Howard’s trade demand is affecting Orlando from an emotional standpoint?

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

Jan 17

Preview: Charlotte Bobcats at Orlando Magic

7:00 ET | Fox Sports Florida
3-11 @ 9-3
Pythagorean Record: 2-12 Pythagorean Record: 8-4
Pace: 93.0 (8th) Pace: 89.9 (23rd)
Offensive Rating: 97.4 (27th) Offensive Rating: 109.7 (1st)
Defensive Rating: 109.0 (29th) Defensive Rating: 103.8 (19th)
Amway Center | Magic lead season series 1-0
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