Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 11

Mar 31

Monday’s Magic Word

  • John Schuhmann of NBA.com: “Nikola Vucevic averaged 22.7 points and 14.3 rebounds as the Magic beat two playoff teams (Portland and Charlotte) and almost knocked off another (Toronto) last week. With Vucevic a key piece, the consensus is that the Magic “won” the Dwight Howard trade, but they still have the league’s worst record (41-115, nine wins fewer than any other team) since the deal. That’s the opposite of winning.”
  • Jameer Nelson chipped his teeth during Sunday’s game against the Toronto Raptors. Even though he was wearing a mouthguard, it didn’t help. Ow.
  • Marc Stein of ESPN.com: “They could still use a road win in 2014 against someone — anyone — besides Philly. But Orlando did end one notable drought last week with that stunning home W over Portland. The Blazers are the first team with a winning record to fall in the Magic Kingdom since Indy back on Feb. 9.”
  • Nikola Vucevic was key in the Magic’s wins over the Portland Trail Blazers and Charlotte Bobcats last week.
  • Some good news in Orlando.
  • Andrew Lynch of Hardwood Paroxysm on Nikola “Tesla” Vucevic and the Magic: “Because even as they lose, the Magic have their moments. The young players on the roster are talented, if raw, and capable of extraordinary bursts of play. Vucevic still falls into that category, but as with Orlando, there’s pressure to become what can be as quickly as possible. Vuc flashes his scoring and rebounding prowess with regularity, but his future will be defined by his defense. That’s something he’s still learning. Like the Magic, he’ll need time to get there. Like Orlando, he might not have it.”
  • Has Vucevic gotten better as a player this season? Zach Harper of CBSSports.com isn’t so sure.

Mar 31

Nikola Vucevic named East Player of the Week

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic’s Nikola Vucevic was named the NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, Mar. 24, through Sunday, Mar. 30. It marks the first time that Vucevic has been awarded with the league’s top weekly honor.

Vucevic led the Magic to a 2-1 week, which included wins over the Portland Trail Blazers and Charlotte Bobcats, behind averages of 22.7 points (sixth in the conference) and a league-leading 14.3 rebounds. He posted a point-rebound double-double in all three contests, including a 24-point, 23-rebound effort on March 28 during Orlando’s 110-105 win over Charlotte, his second 20-point/20-rebound game this season.

The San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan was named the Player of the Week for the Western Conference.

Mar 31

Grades: Toronto Raptors 98, Orlando Magic 93

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Toronto Raptors 98 Final
Recap | Box Score
93 Orlando Magic

Arron Afflalo
3-9 FG | 1-4 3P | 2 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | +1

Leading up to the All-Star Game, Afflalo and DeMar DeRozan were both in the running to be named a reserve on the East roster. At the time, they were each putting up similar numbers. Ultimately, DeRozan got the nod. Looking back now, it was the right choice. While Afflalo has taken a step back, DeRozan has taken a step forward. Sunday was a perfect example of that.

Nikola Vucevic
10-13 FG | 2-3 FT | 10 REB | 4 AST | 22 PTS | +5

If it wasn’t for Vucevic, the Magic might have been down by 30 points at halftime against the Raptors. That’s not an exaggeration. Vucevic accounted for 18 of Orlando’s 38 first half points in what was his best half of the season. Though he did slow down considerably in the second half, as his teammates finally were able to pick up the slack offensively.

Jameer Nelson
6-11 FG | 2-5 3P | 2 REB | 5 AST | 16 PTS | -2

It was all Nelson in the third quarter, as he scored 12 of his 16 points in the period to help the Magic cut a 21-point deficit to nine heading into the fourth. At one point in the third quarter, Nelson scored 10 straight points. It was a display of offensive aggression that was much-needed for Orlando in a game that could have turned into a blowout.

Victor Oladipo
7-12 FG | 2-4 3P | 2 REB | 4 AST | 16 PTS | -8

Nelson scored 12 of his 16 points in the third quarter. Oladipo scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter. Are you getting a sense of deja vu here? While Nelson was helping the Magic trim a 21-point deficit in half in the third quarter, Oladipo was trying to complete the comeback charge in the fourth before ultimately falling short.

Toronto Raptors

What a strange ending. With the Raptors leading 96-88 with 1:03 left, it seemed like they had the game won. But the Magic were able to pull off a perfect score-stop-score-stop sequence to slice the deficit to three with 8.9 seconds left. But Maurice Harkless committed a five-second violation, thus denying a chance for Orlando to tie things up and allowing Toronto to escape with a victory.

Mar 30

Preview: Toronto Raptors at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Toronto Raptors at Orlando Magic
  • Date: March 30, 2014
  • Time: 6:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Raptors: 41-31
  • Magic: 21-52

Probable starters

Raptors:

  • Kyle Lowry
  • DeMar DeRozan
  • Terrence Ross
  • Amir Johnson
  • Jonas Valanciunas

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Kyle O’Quinn
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Raptors:

  • Pace: 91.9 (23rd of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 108.1 (10th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 104.6 (9th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 94.0 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.5 (28th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.9 (16th of 30)

Read about the Raptors

Raptors Republic

Mar 29

Highlights: Vucevic’s sixth career 20-20 game

Mar 29

Grades: Orlando Magic 110, Charlotte Bobcats 105 (OT)

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Orlando Magic 110 Final
Recap | Box Score
105 Charlotte Bobcats

Arron Afflalo
3-9 FG | 9-10 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 17 PTS | -6

Afflalo is the biggest reason why the Magic were able to beat the Bobcats. With Orlando trailing 97-94, Afflalo made a 3-pointer at the top of the key — with the help of a (moving) Vucevic screen — to tie things up with 7.4 seconds left. It’s that shot which allowed the Magic to send the game into overtime and eventually win it.

Nikola Vucevic
11-22 FG | 2-3 FT | 23 REB | 1 AST | 24 PTS | -5

At one point in the first half, Vucevic was 2-for-12 from the floor — though a lot of those shots were missed tip-ins. Then he made nine consecutive field goals before missing a shot near the end of regulation. Oh, and while Vucevic was doing all that, he was gobbling up rebounds like Pacman en route to his sixth career 20-20 game.

Tobias Harris
5-11 FG | 5-6 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 15 PTS | +13

Even though Harris didn’t start, head coach Jacque Vaughn relied on him heavily. With Josh McRoberts having a career night, Vaughn tried to slow him down by using Harris at the stretch four position to defend him on the perimeter — something that Kyle O’Quinn (a more traditional big man) struggled to do. It worked, as McRoberts didn’t have a lot of success scoring on Harris.

Victor Oladipo
5-12 FG | 4-6 FT | 4 STL | 3 REB | 14 PTS | +9

The Oladipo experience is truly intoxicating to watch sometimes. He can wow you with his ability to put defenders on skates with his crossover dribble (hello Kemba Walker). He can make your head shake in disbelief with his elite speed and athleticism in the open court. Then you notice his five turnovers and have to remind yourself that he still has much to learn.

Charlotte Bobcats

Despite a career-high 24 points from McRoberts, Charlotte was unable to beat Orlando on the road. The biggest issue for the Bobcats was that they got destroyed on the boards. They got out-rebounded 57-36, with Vucevic racking up 23 rebounds in the process. Unless you’re the Miami Heat, it’s hard to win games when the rebounding discrepancy is that large.

Mar 29

Video: Arron Afflalo hits a game-tying 3-pointer

Mar 28

Preview: Charlotte Bobcats at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Charlotte Bobcats at Orlando Magic
  • Date: March 28, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Bobcats: 35-37
  • Magic: 20-52

Probable starters

Bobcats:

  • Kemba Walker
  • Gerald Henderson
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
  • Josh McRoberts
  • Al Jefferson

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Kyle O’Quinn
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Bobcats:

  • Pace: 92.6 (21st of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 103.2 (24th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 104.4 (8th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 94.0 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.4 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.9 (16th of 30)

Read about the Bobcats

Queen City Hoops

Mar 26

Grades: Orlando Magic 95, Portland Trail Blazers 85

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AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.

 

Orlando Magic 95 Final
Recap | Box Score
85 Portland Trail Blazers

Arron Afflalo
3-9 FG | 4-5 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 10 PTS | +9

With Harris and Vucevic scoring seemingly at will, and Oladipo running the show offensively, Afflalo was very much a spectator for most of the evening. He did go on a bit of a scoring flurry late in the second quarter, but that was the extent of Afflalo’s positive influence on the game. On the flip-side, his five turnovers were a glaring negative.

Nikola Vucevic
10-18 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 STL | 10 REB | 22 PTS | +10

Vucevic showed great synergy with Oladipo in the pick-and-roll against the Blazers, which helped fuel his outstanding night offensively. Earlier in the regular season, the timing was always a little off between the two. But as the season has progressed, you can see that Oladipo and Vucevic are getting more in-sync with each other. And tonight was a prime example of their improved chemistry.

Tobias Harris
10-15 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 BLK | 11 REB | 25 PTS | +1

It’s nights like these when people are reminded that the Milwaukee Bucks gave up Harris for a J.J. Redick rental. Harris was practically unstoppable on offense against Portland. He took advantage of mismatches in the post, he was aggressive on the offensive boards, and he was knocking down corner 3s and midrange jump shots. Harris showed off the total package.

Victor Oladipo
5-16 FG | 3-3 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 13 PTS | +13

To the doubters who are skeptical that Oladipo can play the point guard position in the NBA, look no further than this game (and many other games) as proof that, yes, he can. Oladipo’s stat line doesn’t jump off the page. But with Jameer Nelson still nursing a sore left knee, Oladipo did his job as Orlando’s floor general. The offense ran smoothly with him in the floor.

Portland Trail Blazers

Coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Miami Heat on Monday and playing on a road back-to-back, without their best player no less (LaMarcus Aldridge), the Blazers struggled against the Magic. Portland’s top-rated offense, in particular, looked all out of sorts, as Orlando was swarming defensively. If it wasn’t for Robin Lopez (20 points, 13 rebounds), the final score would have probably been far worse for the Blazers.

Mar 26

Video: Victor Oladipo breaks Mo Williams’ ankles

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