Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 111

Apr 07

Preview: Orlando Magic at Philadelphia 76ers


  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Philadelphia 76ers
  • Date: Apr. 7, 2012
  • Time: 8:00 p.m.
  • Television: ESPN
  • Arena: Wells Fargo Center


  • Magic: 32-23
  • Pistons: 29-25

Probable starters


  • Jameer Nelson
  • J.J. Redick
  • Jason Richardson
  • Glen Davis
  • Dwight Howard


  • Jrue Holiday
  • Evan Turner
  • Andre Iguodala
  • Elton Brand
  • Spencer Hawes

Advanced stats


  • Pace: 89.3 (26th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 104.6 (16th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 103.2 (10th of 30)


  • Pace: 89.6 (24th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 103.7 (18th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 98.0 (1st of 30)

Read about the Sixers


Apr 06

Friday’s Magic Word

  • With the drama surrounding head coach Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard reaching a fever pitch, Hedo Turkoglu suffering facial fractures on his cheekbone (this after Carmelo Anthony inadvertently elbowed him in the face), and Ryan Anderson still recovering from a sprained ankle, nothing is going right for the Orlando Magic right now.
  • According to Basketball Prospectus, the Magic are projected to finish with the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference behind the Atlanta Hawks. Though for Orlando, they would play the Boston Celtics in the first round if the standings held up.
  • Last night, the crew (Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal) at “Inside the NBA” on TNT had a lot to say with regards to the Van Gundy-Dwight saga.
  • In lieu of new rumors, in this case from Fred Kerber of the New York Post, in which it’s revealed that Dwight was “threatened” by the possibility of being traded from the Magic to the Los Angeles Lakers at the deadline, Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie went straight to the point: “Honestly, in a few weeks time Dwight Howard has gone from an MVP candidate to someone who needs a leave of bloody absence.”
  • Once known as “Superman,” now Dwight is nothing more than a supervillian. Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York explains Dwight’s transformation from good guy to bad guy: “His innocence — or whatever remained of it — was shattered like a glass backboard even before he embarrassed himself against the New York Knicks. Seven hours before tipoff, before Howard went scoreless for the first 35 minutes and 56.5 seconds of a 96-80 loss to the Knicks, Stan Van Gundy disclosed that his bosses had told him Howard did indeed ask for his head.”
  • What does life after Orlando look like for Van Gundy? John Hollinger of ESPN Insider lays out all the possibilities for Van Gundy’s future. Could ESPN come calling for him to be a television NBA analyst? Would Van Gundy listen to the offer?
  • Marc Stein of “The only apparent certainty, at this point, is that Van Gundy will not be back in Orlando next season. No one can envision a scenario where Van Gundy returns for 2012-13 … or a scenario where Stan even wants to.”
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk on the Magic: “It’s hard to see how this team rights the ship and gains momentum now — the locker room is divided and there will be a cloud of questions following their every move.”
  • “Oh, things are a hot mess in Orlando right now.”
  • Turkoglu may need a protective mask to shield his face after he suffered facial fractures in his right cheekbone. He also may need surgery.
  • Shaq talks about Dwight and takes his side in the Van Gundy vs. Dwight debate.
  • Abe Schwadron of SLAM ONLINE: “The word ‘strange’ doesn’t even begin to describe what’s going on in Orlando right now.”
  • Is one of the reasons why Dwight has created so much drama is because he’s underpaid? Ethan Sherwood Strauss of CourtVision thinks so: “Howard is set to make $17,885,400 this year and $19,261,200 next year. This is a lot of money to you, me or even a high-powered lawyer. But it’s far from Howard’s worth in terms of TV ratings, ticket prices and international exposure for the Magic organization. The dude’s a bargain, even at near $20 million per year.”
  • With all that’s going on, Orlando may be better off cleaning their hands of the situation once and for all and trade Dwight in the offseason.
  • Zach Harper of HoopSpeak presents to you “Dueling Helicopters” featuring Turkoglu and Anthony. This is part of HoopIdea’s initiative to #StopTheFlop.
  • Bethlehem Shoals of The Classical: “Howard seems intent on simply making more work for himself, or at very least, setting himself up as the dictatorial authority and thus exposing himself to all the blame. It’s a remarkably crude sense of power, one almost as immature as it is counterproductive.”
  • Steve Kyler of HOOPSWORLD with the must-read article of the day. As the mainstream media and blogosphere try to make sense of all the madness that has occurred with the Magic in the last 24 hours, Kyler has this to report: “So what’s the real issue? Dwight Howard wants a coach he can connect with; a coach he can trust; a coach that can relate to what players are going through in a season. Dwight does not want to be an employee.”
  • Andrew Sharp of SB Nation wonders if the Magic were better off dealing Dwight to the Los Angeles Lakers at the trade deadline.
  • In last night’s game, the New York Knicks dominated Orlando from start to finish and — given the circumstances — it didn’t take a lot of work to do so.
  • More from Sharp: “Dwight is the player who’s been flexing his superstar’s leverage all year, Thursday was the day that Van Gundy decided to flex his. Nobody’s done more with less over the past five years, so he’s earned the privilege of candor. Coaches get forced out by superstar all the time, but they’re not usually as proven and respected as Van Gundy — that’s why this got complicated.”
  • Tom Ziller of SB Nation maintains his opinion that once Dwight waived the early termination option in his contract on March 15, the Magic should have traded him the second he signed it to avoid the current mess they’re in: “A lottery pick and a top prospect would have been an easy pull for Orlando on March 14, after Dwight committed. Instead, the Magic have to deal with this nightmare at least until the end of this season, and probably all of next year, too.”

Apr 06

3-on-3 roundtable: A Dwightmare on Church Street

Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse with regards to the ongoing saga between the Orlando Magic and Dwight Howard, it does.

After “The Indecision,” it seemed like the Magic were scot-free. With Dwight waiving the early termination option in his contract at the trade deadline, it seemed like Orlando got what they wanted. More time to build an elite team and championship contender around Dwight in the hopes of convincing him to finally commit long-term to the organization.

In the famous words of Lee Corso, “not so fast my friend.”

When head coach Stan Van Gundy pulled the sheets away to reveal Dwight’s power move on Wednesday (pushing for Van Gundy’s ouster since the offseason), the Magic have been exposed to being in the middle of a “Dwightmare.”

And just when you thought the horror movie was over and there was a resolution to the story, the killer keeps coming back for more. This time, the target isn’t the franchise but Van Gundy.

Magic Basketball examines the road ahead for Orlando.

Fact or Fiction: The Magic should keep Van Gundy and trade Dwight.

Nate Drexler: Fact. It’s sad, but true. I loved Dwight. We all loved Dwight. But even my mother saw the way he acted. Hijacking an interview clearly with the motive of shutting Stan up, pretending he is aloof, refusing to comment? These are the signs of a confused player. You have to get rid of someone. My vote is the loose canon. 

Danny Nowell: Fiction. I have a hard time with this, because I think Stan is more valuable than Dwight if they’re BOTH in Orlando. But facts are facts: Dwight Howard is the league’s best center and the Magic will be a high playoff seed any year he suits up. With or without Van Gundy.

Matt Scribbins: Fiction. How often does a team trade a superstar in their prime and end up on the right side of the deal? I think it is as simple as that. Van Gundy and Howard can move past their issues and make Orlando a legitimate contender again. Time is still on the Magic’s side.

Fact or Fiction: The Magic should fire Van Gundy and keep Dwight.

Drexler: Fiction. Trick question. I see what you did there. Dwight is bigger than life. What he provides on the court is otherworldly. But right now you have a problem and it doesn’t appear that “Mr. Uncertain-about-life” has the answers. I tend to side with the guy who sees all the angles.

Nowell: Fact. Stan is one of the league’s best coaches, one of my personal favorites, and a godsend for the Magic. It seems like this relationship is irreparably broken though and if Dwight isn’t gonna be Dwight for Van Gundy, the Magic ought to just make this a clean break.

Scribbins: Fiction. I’m not saying it won’t happen, but I don’t think it is the best option. Superstars and coaches have feuded before and gone on to great success after they reconciled. The duo of Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson is the most recent example, winning two titles after their initial breakup.

Fact or Fiction: The Magic should blow it up and start over.

Drexler: Fiction. With who? Another genius coach and some other phenom center that gives you 20 and 15 every night? Blow it up if you have to, but I’m for making amends and keeping both a coach who many Magic players want to play for and a superstar who demands respect. Ideology can be a pain sometimes. 

Nowell: Fiction. Dwight is the league’s best center; Van Gundy is one of its best coaches. If you have Dwight, you probably lose Stan; if you lose Dwight, you definitely want Stan. If getting rid of Van Gundy keeps Dwight around, there’s no need to blow it up. If they fire Stan and Dwight leaves anyway? Yikes.

Scribbins: Fiction. They are reasonably close to being a contender right now. They obviously need to make a few tweaks, but the moves aren’t unrealistic. If they blow it up, the climb to the top of the mountain is a whole lot longer. It may take years before the Magic reach the summit again.

Apr 05

Recap: New York Knicks 96, Orlando Magic 80

AP Photo/John Raoux


After head coach Stan Van Gundy let it be known at today’s shootaround that Dwight Howard wants him fired (and has wanted him fired since the offseason according to David Aldridge of TNT), it’s no surprise that the Orlando Magic lost to the New York Knicks.

It seemed like a mere formality once Van Gundy ended the charade and revealed the truth surrounding his future, confirming a WKMG-TV report on Wednesday that stated Dwight has been pushing for Van Gundy’s firing. Rather than continue living a lie, Van Gundy — an honest man — dropped a bombshell that surprised not only a group of reporters but Dwight himself.

You know the story by now. Moments after Van Gundy said the reports were true, that Dwight wants him out, Dwight awkwardly came over to Van Gundy, wrapped his arm around Van Gundy, and denied the rumors. Shell-shocked wouldn’t begin to describe Dwight’s expression, as he tried to navigate through a field of questions in response to Van Gundy’s moment of clarity.

Fast-forward to the game and as you’re watching things unfold, you could tell, after having to go through “The Indecision” that has evolved into a “Dwightmare,” that the Magic are bruised, battered, and broken. It was already bad enough that Orlando had to play the Knicks without Ryan Anderson, as he’s still recovering from an ankle injury.

But with all the drama surrounding Dwight, it’s clear that it’s taken its toll on the players. No one for the Magic played with energy and effort, especially Dwight, and New York was more than happy to take advantage of the situation.

With Orlando freefalling, losing a season-high fifth game in a row, it remains to be seen how far they’ll keep falling in the standings. You have to believe, though, that teams like the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks are salivating at the prospect of facing the Magic in the first round. Orlando is a wounded animal and the blood is in the water. The Celtics and Hawks are nothing more than piranhas at this point, chomping at the bit to put the Magic out of their misery.

By the way, that five-game losing streak? It’s the longest losing streak in the Van Gundy era in Orlando. You’d have to go back to 2007 to remember the last time the Magic lost five games in a row. The head coach back then was Brian Hill.

No, it’s not happy times for Orlando. Far from it.

The worst part of it all, for Magic fans, is that they’re witnessing the end of an era in the messiest way possible. They’re also witnessing a player destroying his reputation, which will take a while to repair.

That Was … Awkward

Dwight struggled, finishing with eight points on 4-for-8 shooting from the field in roughly 40 minutes of playing time, but it was nothing when compared to his pregame performance. He interrupted Van Gundy’s session with the media, shortly after Van Gundy admitted that Dwight wanted him fired.

MVP (Most Valuable Player)

Tyson Chandler finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds, but his defense on Dwight was more impressive. When the Knicks weren’t doubling Dwight, Chandler kept him in check.

Defining Moment

In light of Van Gundy’s revelation that Dwight wants him fired, it’s no surprise that the Magic lost this game. It’s obvious that Orlando is a fractured organization right now.

Apr 05

Preview: New York Knicks at Orlando Magic


  • Teams: New York Knicks at Orlando Magic
  • Date: Apr. 5, 2012
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: TNT
  • Arena: Amway Center


  • Knicks: 27-27
  • Magic: 32-22

Probable starters


  • Baron Davis
  • Iman Shumpert
  • Landry Fields
  • Carmelo Anthony
  • Tyson Chandler


  • Jameer Nelson
  • Jason Richardson
  • Hedo Turkoglu
  • Glen Davis
  • Dwight Howard

Advanced stats


  • Pace: 93.8 (3rd of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 103.0 (21st of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 100.4 (4th of 30)


  • Pace: 89.3 (26th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 104.7 (16th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 103.0 (10th of 30)

Read about the Knicks


Apr 05

Dwight Howard vs. Stan Van Gundy

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

The cat’s out of the bag. Dwight wants Stan Van Gundy gone, even if he continus to deny it. Off with his head! Now that the rumors have been confirmed to be true, one becomes inclined to put himself in the shoes of the ownership in Orlando. Keep Dwight or keep Stan? You have to send someone packing, so who’s it going to be?

Sometimes it’s best to make a pros and cons list.

Dwight Howard is good

Not just good — great. We’re talking about an indescribable talent who, believe it or not, still has room to grow and improve his game. There’s no question that Dwight has the tools to be the centerpiece of a championship team. He proved it in 2009 and at this point, arguing against Dwight being a top five player is an exercise in futility.

What strikes me about the Dwight era is how conditional his greatness is. He’s been well-coached, and at the peak of this era (2009), the team’s successes revolved around Dwight. But it also had just as much to do with defense, red-hot shooting, and productive teammates. In a word, Dwight is dominant, but it is clear that the setting and characters have to be in place for him to find success. That’s the formula.

Pro Dwight: (1-0)

Stan Van Gundy is good

Not just good — a god (no, not God, a god. A god of coaching). In fact, SVG is the best coach the Orlando Magic has ever had and I could count on two hands and two feet all the teams in the NBA that would want him as their head coach.

As if his in-game success is not enough, keep in mind that Van Gundy has handled himself admirably through Dwightgate, trade rumors, a lost championship, losing streaks, and terrible acquisitions (Gilbert Arenas, et al.)

Regardless of the bad weather, SVG stays the course, stays confident, stays within his gameplan, and wins a lot of games. When you have LeBron James calling you a contender in your worst season in five years, you must be doing something right.

Pro Stan: (1-1)

Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 04

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • CEO Alex Martins says that general manager Otis Smith and head coach Stan Van Gundy will be “evaluated” when the season is over. Both Smith and Van Gundy are under contract for the 2012-2013 NBA season.
  • Glen Davis is finally playing well for the Orlando Magic. Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel thinks that he’s just needed positive reinforcement.
  • The Magic are on a four-game losing streak and the reasoning is simple. Van Gundy: “We don’t play any defense.”
  • This is unrelated to Orlando but something to keep in mind when the Dwight Howard era ends, whether it’s next season or a few years down the road. Neil Paine of Basketball Prospectus parses through the data and makes an important discovery with regards to breaking the cycle of mediocrity: “It seems clear from the data, then, that it is in fact necessary to be bad (winning 27 or fewer games) to acquire a player capable of leading your team to the finals someday.”
  • In other words, when/if Dwight leaves, the Magic are better off tanking and building through the draft than by acquiring veterans in a trade.
  • It’s been reported that Dwight wants Van Gundy and his coaching staff gone when the season is over. Whether or not the report is true (consider the source), this is what Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie had to say about it: “Howard wants to be liked, as much as he wants to win, and it’s becoming clearer that the Orlando Magic and Dwight Howard don’t deserve a coach as great as Stan Van Gundy.”
  • Orlando may draw the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs.
  • The Magic lost to the Detroit Pistons in last night’s game and not having Dwight, Ryan Anderson, and Jameer Nelson available to play due to injuries is a big reason why.
  • Whether or not Van Gundy is fired or he resigns, he’s not going to have much trouble finding employment elsewhere.
  • Orlando was forced to roll out “one of the ugliest starting lineups in recent memory” according to Abe Schwadron of SLAM ONLINE. Sad, but true.
  • Royce Young of “But as was the case with the Howard trade saga, the Magic need to do some housekeeping. They have way too many leaks, way too many holes in their ship. Too many people talk. They need to keep this stuff in house, in private and handle it outside of media reports.”
  • By being relied upon so heavily during the regular season, Nelson may be in danger of flaming out in the playoffs.
  • For the Magic, currently in the middle of a season-high four-game losing streak with no end in sight, let the bad times roll.
  • Amidst all the Van Gundy rumors regarding his future, Orlando is dealing with a lot of drama at the wrong time.
  • Question: what’s wrong with this sentence? Mike Prada of SB Nation: “Van Gundy has been one of the most successful coaches in Magic franchise history, compiling a record of 254-128 in four and a half years with the team.”
  • Answer: it should actually read, “Van Gundy IS the most successful coach in Magic franchise history.”
  • Tom Ziller of SB Nation with a classic one-liner: “[I]n Dwight’s absence, Greg Monroe swallowed up the universe and produced 22 points and 11 rebounds.”

Apr 04

Recap: Detroit Pistons 102, Orlando Magic 95

Photo by Allen Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images


It’s no surprise that the Orlando Magic lost to the Detroit Pistons on the road — again.

In the Stan Van Gundy era, the Magic are 2-6 against the Pistons on the road in the regular season. Only in Van Gundy’s first season with Orlando did Detroit have the better team. So even though the Magic have been better than the Pistons since 2009, it hasn’t mattered. Orlando almost always loses to Detroit on the road. It’s practically the law.

This time around, it didn’t help that the Magic were playing without Dwight Howard (back spasms), Ryan Anderson (sprained ankle), and Jameer Nelson (sore calf). That forced players like Glen Davis to pick up the slack and in the case of “Big Baby,” he did, putting up a career-high 31 points (11-of-22 shooting from the floor). 10 rebounds, and three steals.

It wasn’t enough, though, as Orlando — bereft of talent — was unable to keep pace with the Pistons. Defense was a huge issue, as the Magic allowed Detroit to shoot 56.6 percent from the floor.

But surprisingly enough, Orlando’s defense (or lack thereof) is the least of their concerns. This isn’t to suggest that the way the Magic are playing defensively, with or without Dwight, is acceptable because it’s not.

The bigger issue is that Orlando, by tying their season-high with four losses in a row during the regular season, have slipped to the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. Right behind the Boston Celtics (30-22), a team currently locked in to the No. 4 seed by virtue of leading the Atlantic Division, despite the Magic having a better record (32-22).

Apart from the Atlanta Hawks, the Celtics are the last team that Orlando wants to see in the playoffs. Especially with Boston surging right now, tying a season-high with five wins in a row (including the destruction of the Miami Heat at home on Sunday). Granted, everything in the East is still fluid right now, as the Magic are .5 games back of the Indiana Pacers for the No. 3 seed. But Orlando’s losing streak and rash of injuries couldn’t have come at a worse time.

The question is whether or not the Magic will be able to recover in time to secure the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference with 10 games left in the regular season.

Time will tell.

MVP (Most Valuable Player)

Despite the loss, Davis deserves the nod for keeping Orlando afloat with his offense throughout the game. It should be noted that Davis benefitted by playing against the 24th-ranked defense in the NBA.

That Was … Offensive

Even though Detroit was ranked 27th in Offensive Rating entering Tuesday’s game, that didn’t stop them from efficiently dropping 102 points on the Magic. Dwight or no Dwight, Van Gundy won’t be pleased with that stat.

Apr 03

Preview: Orlando Magic at Detroit Pistons


  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Detroit Pistons
  • Date: Apr. 3, 2012
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: The Palace at Auburn Hills


  • Magic: 32-21
  • Pistons: 19-33

Probable starters


  • Chris Duhon
  • Jason Richardson
  • Quentin Richardson
  • Hedo Turkoglu
  • Glen Davis


  • Brandon Knight
  • Ben Gordon
  • Tayshaun Prince
  • Greg Monroe
  • Jason Maxiell

Advanced stats


  • Pace: 89.4 (26th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 104.6 (16th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 102.7 (10th of 30)


  • Pace: 94.2 (3rd of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.4 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.6 (24th of 30)

Read about the Pistons

Piston Powered

Apr 03

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • As the Orlando Magic face the distinct possibility of playing without Dwight Howard, Ryan Anderson, and Jameer Nelson in tonight’s road game against the Detroit Pistons, it wasn’t long ago when another short-handed Magic team was able to beat the Pistons on the road.
  • Ryan Anderson’s ankle “still looks like a softball.”
  • Could Orlando make a go at a Kentucky Wildcats player in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft?
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy: “It’s all hands on deck right now. We could possibly be without three starters and really the three guys who’ve been our best offensive players over the last month. So it could be everybody on deck. We’ll see.”
  • Brendan Haywood will not be disciplined for allegedly punching Dwight Howard in the back in Friday’s game between the Magic and Dallas Mavericks.
  • Bill Simmons on Dwight’s odds of winning the Most Valuable Player award this season: “Don’t worry, he’s disqualified. Nobody can vote for Dwight after what he inflicted on his teammates, coaches and fans — a three-month soap opera of wishy-washiness that undermined his team and goes on his permanent résumé.”
  • Britt Robson of Sports Illustrated: “The conventional wisdom over the past few seasons has been that if point guard Jameer Nelson is playing well, the Magic are in good shape. But with Nelson shooting better than 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from distance while averaging 16.5 points in the last 10 games, Orlando is just 4-6 and has dropped three in a row.”
  • The problem, of course, is that Orlando — outside of Dwight, Anderson, and Redick — is not very good. Nelson’s recent resurgence has been a nice story, but it’s been undermined by the fact that players like Hedo Turkoglu aren’t playing very well (and haven’t much at all this season).
  • Not many people are jumping on the Magic’s playoff bandwagon.
Page 111 of 265« First...102030...109110111112113...120130140...Last »