Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 112

Jan 28

Recap: New Orleans Hornets 93, Orlando Magic 67

AP Photo/Bill Haber


The New Orleans Hornets were able to defeat the Orlando Magic by the score of 93-67. The Magic, coming off a devastating loss against the Boston Celtics on Thursday, seemed prime for a bounce-back win against the Hornets, one of the worst teams in the NBA. Instead, Orlando played one of their worse games of the regular season and were blown out by New Orleans, a team that’s missing their best player in Eric Gordon (injured right knee). The Hornets played with a lot of energy and effort, while the Magic did not. New Orleans was led by a balanced attack, as four players scored in double-figures. Carl Landry led the way for the Hornets, putting up 17 points and six rebounds. Marco Belinelli had 15 points, while Jason Smith had 14 points and four rebounds. Jarrett Jack finished with 11 points, nine assists, five rebounds, and two steals. For Orlando, it was a lot of Dwight Howard and little else, as he put up a game-high 28 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field (10-of-17 from the free-throw line), 16 rebounds, three assists, and two steals. No one else for the Magic made any discernible impact on the court aside from Howard. As such, New Orleans took advantage of the situation and got a victory.

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Jan 28

Reaction: New Orleans Hornets 93, Orlando Magic 67

Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images

New Orleans Hornets 93 Final
Recap | Box Score
67 Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard
9-14 FG | 10-17 FT | 1 BLK | 16 REB | 28 PTS | -25

Howard performed adequately, though the same couldn’t have been said for the majority of his teammates. Historically, he has feasted in his one-on-one matchups with Emeka Okafor (the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the 2004 NBA Draft respectively) and nothing was different in this game. The Magic ran 4-out/1-in offensive sets for Howard and he had little trouble knocking down hook shots.

J.J. Redick
3-5 FG | 3-5 3P | 2 AST | 2 REB | 9 PTS | -8

Redick was one of the few players for Orlando, aside from Howard, that seemed to care about what was going on against the New Orleans Hornets. This was by no means Redick’s best performance of the season but he knocked down open threes and put forth an honest effort when he played. Though it’s a little sad that a player for the Magic should be praised for trying.

Chris Duhon
2-6 FG | 1-3 3P | 5 AST | 3 REB | 6 PTS | -10

After Nelson had to come out of the game due to a sore jaw after colliding with Jarrett Jack in the second quarter, Duhon was forced to play a majority of the minutes at point guard. Sure, Duhon may have put up six points, five assists, and three rebounds, but it didn’t matter. Duhon is a bad player and he did little to dispel that notion against the Hornets.

Hedo Turkoglu
1-7 FG | 1-6 3P | 1 AST | 3 REB | 3 PTS | -32

If there was a player that wanted to be anywhere else instead of in Louisiana to play a game, it was Turkoglu. It’s a shame, too, because Turkoglu is one of the few players for Orlando that has played well this season. Yet against New Orleans, Turkoglu chucked up bad shots, made careless turnovers, played bad defense, and showed that he didn’t care to play.

New Orleans Hornets

Perhaps the one statistic that proved the Hornets were an opportunistic team, given the circumstances, was the fact that they scored 28 points off of the Magic’s 22 turnovers. New Orleans wanted to win, Orlando did not, and that was the difference in the ballgame. And the Hornets were able to do all of this without their best player available (Eric Gordon) because of an injury.

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

Jan 27

Friday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Howard remains the league’s best center by a large margin, but you can make the argument that every aspect of his offensive game except his passing has regressed. His free-throw shooting, now at 46.9 percent, is less accurate this season than it’s ever been, and it prevents him from becoming a go-to guy down the stretches of games. Plus, his comment about the Magic getting “caught up with the refs” reflects directly upon himself. He has earned five technical fouls this season, and his tech last night was for complaining about a non-call. If he wants his teammates to maintain their composure, he must, as a co-captain, keep his own composure. That said, Howard has perceived a lack of toughness with the rest of the Magic at least since their 2010 Eastern Conference finals loss to the Celtics.
  • The Orlando Magic need to avoid being labeled a “soft” team.
  • The Magic lost composure against the Boston Celtics in last night’s loss.
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Howard wants to change teams. There’s no question about that. But wins or losses during the regular season don’t factor heavily into his decision, given he’s made up his mind and wants to go to a big market.”
  • The Celtics have proven that they are in the Magic’s heads.
  • Jared Dubin of Hardwood Paroxysm: “The Magic wilted under the pressure of a stingy Celtics defense in the second half. They shot 6-for-17 in the third quarter and followed that up by going an embarrassing 2-for-17 in the fourth. They let a 27-point lead disappear and came away with nothing to show for it. They had no answers once they Celtics started getting up inside them and they let it get under their skin. It really looked like this team self-destructed in the second half, and it could wind up being a sign of things to come. Worst of all, they gave the Celtics life when they could have put them in the ground. Nope, wait. The worst part is Dwight Howard says they have to ‘change.’ Read that however you like, friends.”
  • Orlando has a chance to bounce back and win a game against the New Orleans Hornets later tonight.
  • Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston: “Outside of the Kevin Garnett-less 2009 playoffs, the Orlando Magic simply haven’t had much success against the Celtics in recent years. The old way of thinking suggested that the Celtics had an ability to match up Kendrick Perkins on Dwight Howard one-on-one, allowing Boston to smother the outside shooters and neutralize the Magic’s typical plan of attack (where opponents often had to double Howard, freeing the perimeter players). Well, the Celtics didn’t even have Jermaine O’Neal on Thursday night and still limited Howard to a manageable 16 points and 16 rebounds.”
  • Plenty of numbers to pore over from the Magic’s loss last night.
  • Orlando struggled to defend Boston’s pick-and-pop sets in the fourth quarter.
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk: “Are we in the media parsing out everything Howard says right now? Yes. The best center on the planet (no matter what Shaq thinks) could be a free agent. It’s a big deal. For the record, as we approach the All-Star Game and head into the trading deadline all of this is only going to get worse. Just a warning.”
  • A lot of questions left to be answered for Orlando after yesterday’s defeat.
  • Notes from last night’s game between the Magic and Celtics.
  • Beckley Mason and Ethan Sherwood Strauss of HoopSpeak get in the minds of Orlando and Boston players.
  • Digging through the rumble and making sense of Howard’s words following the Magic’s loss.
  • Ken Berger of “It always depends on the deal. If Howard can be had for a price that’s less than Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, then the dialogue could catch fire pretty quickly. But unless Orlando completely goes in the tank — and they haven’t been playing well lately — I see no signs that Otis Smith and Alex Martins are going to consider anything less than an all-out blockbuster offer for Howard. There’s one caveat: If the realization of losing Howard for nothing hits the Magic organization like a freight train on March 14, it’s impossible to predict now how they’ll react.”
  • A look back at Orlando’s collapse.
  • The Celtics have proven to be the Magic’s kryptonite.
  • Should Orlando trade for Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler?

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

Jan 27

Preview: Orlando Magic at New Orleans Hornets

8:00 ET | Sun Sports
12-6 @ 3-15
Pythagorean Record: 11-7 Pythagorean Record: 6-12
Pace: 89.4 (25th) Pace: 88.5 (29th)
Offensive Rating: 104.7 (10th) Offensive Rating: 98.4 (25th)
Defensive Rating: 100.9 (12th) Defensive Rating: 103.9 (21st)
New Orleans Arena | First meeting this season

Jan 27

Magic Basketball Weekly: Beer and basketball

It’s time to have a society intervention, friends. A sickness has blossomed into an epidemic, and unless we do something, it may become a permanent problem. I’m talking about “S**t Girls Say” and all of the spinoff videos that have forced me to unsubscribe to otherwise decent friends on Facebook. The first one, very funny. But it wasn’t funny because it was ludicrously overspecific, self-referential and had a narrow appeal. In fact, NOTHING IS FUNNY FOR THOSE REASONS. THEY ARE THE REASONS THINGS ARE UNFUNNY. The first video succeeded because that guy was such a talented comic actor.

After that? I chortled at “S**t Black Girls Say.” I grudgingly clicked on “S**t White Girls Say to Black Girls.” Now? S**t Bartenders Say? S**t People Say to People With Tattoos? I swear to God somebody asked me last weekend if I had seen “S**t Gay Guys Say to Their Cats.” Because I have not watched it, I assume gay guys talk to their cats the same way I do. I do not talk to my cat about being straight, I talk to him about whether he wants some kibble and why he has crapped all over the mat in front of his litter box. “Hey, Bojangles, I sure love women, and I sure don’t have quips about clothing products,” is a sentence I have never spoken.

Together, friends, we can end this, and we can go back to a world where really dumb Ryan Gosling tumblrs are the only stupid meme. He is very, very handsome, everybody, but Typography Ryan Gosling is not funny.

My cat’s name really is Bojangles, and he is obese. Gradually, Magic Basketball readers, I reveal little slivers of my life as we grow more comfortable with one another.


Celtics 91, Magic 83
Boy, it sure is a good thing I didn’t publicly write that I was willing to excuse Monday’s suckfest because the Magic seemed so resilient. It suuuure is a good thing I did not publicly state that I was starting to believe in the Magic’s fortitude and chemistry. It SURE. IS. A. GOOD. THING. That the Boston Celtics did not win without Rajon Rondo TWICE IN ONE WEEK. My trying to stay objective about the Magic is not because of ethics, it’s because I hate them and they are stupid every time I try and think otherwise.



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Jan 27

The hard truth about Jameer Nelson

AP Photo/Mike Carlson

After spending Thursday watching Jameer Nelson play, I regret to inform you that I have nothing groundbreaking to report. I don’t have answers, I don’t have a solution, and my prognosis is going to sound obnoxiously simple.

There are not two ways to cut this pie. Jameer shoots out of rhythm, misses layups, turns the ball over, passes with less mustard, and falls over a bunch (what is that all about?) His defense is lazy and uninspired, and his offense is passive and slow.

In a word, Jameer looks absolutely terrible right now, and there isn’t a ton of evidence that he is going to get any better.

Don’t start blowing your fan gaskets just yet. Let me explain. We love to revisit 2009 and use it as the basis of every argument about why the Magic are good, and how they are capable (with a lot of these same guys) of winning a championship.

More frequently than any other player on the current roster, guys love talking about how good Jameer was in 2009. He was aggressive, he scored a ton, he hit his long-twos, and we loved Jameerkat! What if 2009 was an anomaly for Nelson? Anyone ever think of that?

That was really his only standout season after all. In surrounding years he’s marginal at best (or injured).

What if this is the best we’re going to get from Jameer, the guy who once captured our hearts? What if the Dwight saga and the Otis Smith shenanigans were too much for Jameer? What if it weighs on him now and he’s just had enough? What if he’s sad about Dwight leaving? Maybe he doesn’t like the roster anymore. I really don’t know, but Jameer stinks, and the proof is in the pudding.

The point here is not to slam on Jameer. It’s to spur you on to consider the possibility that perhaps your standards (and mine) are too high for Jameer Nelson.

There was a point in the game against Boston where Jameer got to the hole on a nice drive. Less than 30 seconds later he got a great look from the top of the key and buried a triple. You could almost see it in his eye that he was ready to get back in the saddle and start beasting again.

So what did he do? Forced the issue on the ensuing two possessions, missed a layup, and took a terrible pull-up three that bricked miserably.

Look, we all have our bad days, but the problem for Jameer right now is that even when he starts to catch a little bit of fire, he smothers the flame all by himself. This isn’t the sign of a guy going through a rough patch. This is a sign of a guy who is well past his heyday — a guy who is better suited handing the reigns over to a young gun and transforming into a role player off the bench.

Alright, maybe that’s a little harsh. Jameer can still play, but maybe just not at the level you and I think he can. Let’s get used to it together, take the good games and rejoice, take the bad games in expectation, and live in a little place called the chill zone.

Nate Drexler is a contributing writer for Magic Basketball. Follow him on Twitter.

Jan 26

Recap: Boston Celtics 91, Orlando Magic 83

AP Photo/Mike Carlson


The Boston Celtics were able to defeat the Orlando Magic by the score of 91-83, winning the game after trailing by as many as 27 points in the second quarter. It was one of the more impressive comeback victories in a regular season in recent seasons for any NBA team. It didn’t seem possible that the Magic would experience a worse loss during the season after Monday, in which they scored a franchise-low 56 points and lost to the Celtics by 31 on the road. Yet Orlando was able to top themselves by blowing a near insurmountable lead against a team missing three of their starters (Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, and Jermaine O’Neal). Boston was led by a balanced attack, as five players scored in double-figures. Paul Pierce finished with a game-high 24 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds. E’Twaun Moore came out of nowhere for the Celtics, coming off the bench and putting up 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field (including 4-of-4 from three-point range) in roughly 18 minutes of playing time. Kevin Garnett contributed with 12 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, three steals, and four blocks. Mickael Pietrus had 12 points and four rebounds, while Brandon Bass had 10 points, five rebounds, two steals, and two blocks. Dwight Howard put up 16 points and 16 rebounds.

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Jan 26

Reaction: Boston Celtics 91, Orlando Magic 83

AP Photo/Mike Carlson

Boston Celtics 91 Final
Recap | Box Score
83 Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard
6-12 FG | 4-8 FT | 1 BLK | 16 REB | 16 PTS | -25

It’s true that Howard has won the Defensive Player of the Year award in three consecutive seasons. It’s also true that Kevin Garnett is a former Defensive Player of the Year award winner. And for Garnett, despite being 35 years old, he reminded everyone that he still has it defensively. Howard struggled to score against Garnett, allowing the Boston Celtics to stay at home on the Magic’s shooters.

Jason Richardson
5-12 FG | 1-4 3P | 3 STL | 0 REB | 13 PTS | +1

After scoring 10 points in the first quarter, Richardson did next to nothing for Orlando the remainder of the game. He went 1-of-2 from the free-throw line in the third quarter, made a layup shortly thereafter, and that was it. When the Magic were in desperate need of some offense, Richardson was unable to deliver. Given that Richardson isn’t much of a shot creator, that should come as no surprise.

Ryan Anderson
5-12 FG | 1-2 3P | 1 AST | 4 REB | 12 PTS | +8

In the first quarter, Anderson had 12 points. When he found himself being defended by Pierce, Anderson was able to take him off the dribble twice for a layup and also shoot over him for a midrange jumpshot. Near the end of the period, Anderson made a three-pointer that put the finishing touches on a great start to the game for Orlando. That was the last time he scored.

Hedo Turkoglu
3-10 FG | 2-5 3P | 7 AST | 5 REB | 10 PTS | -7

Turkoglu really didn’t do much to help the Magic’s cause against the Celtics. In the fourth quarter, when Orlando needed to rely on him, Turkoglu had trouble generating offense for himself. This was no better exemplified than when Brandon Bass found himself defending Turkoglu one-on-one with the shot clock winding down. Turkoglu’s jumper was blocked by Bass. It was just one of those nights for Turkoglu.

Boston Celtics

Boston gave up 58 points at halftime, had a 21-point deficit heading into the third quarter, and they won. Remember when the Magic, no matter what, would almost always lose to the Detroit Pistons for several seasons a few years back? And it didn’t matter who was wearing a Pistons uniform? It’s become more than obvious that the Celtics have taken up the mantle of being that team.

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

Jan 26

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Magic need Nelson to flip the script tonight. Nelson finished with just five points and had five turnovers in 25 minutes. Bradley only scored six points, but had three steals and set the aggressive tone. Bradley was subbing for injured Rajon Rondo, who is listed as probable for tonight’s game. Rondo is no picnic, either. But you can bet that either Bradley or Rondo will pressure Nelson even more now. Nelson has struggled most of the season, and back-up Chris Duhon is getting more playing, particularly late in games. If Nelson doesn’t start turning things around, GM Otis Smith might need to look for a point guard as well when time comes to deal Dwight Howard. Probably a good idea anyway.
  • Glen Davis is ready to set some screens against Avery Bradley later tonight.
  • Mickael Pietrus is excited to play at Amway Center for the first time since being traded from the Orlando Magic.
  • Rajon Rondo will not play against the Magic in tonight’s game.
  • Dwight Howard would be open to joining the Boston Celtics.
  • Who’s the real “Superman” between Shaquille O’Neal and Howard?
  • Matt Moore of “This does not mean that Boston is at the top of, or near the top of the list for Howard. He’s made his choices pretty clear. But Boston has continually dogged him in the playoffs. Joining them would be joining an organization all about winning, who he knows will be able to build around him. He’d likely have Rajon Rondo as well, since the trade package would probably include the Big 3. The Magic have reportedly been looking for veteran players who can help them win now instead of younger players. If they want old guys, Boston’s got them.”
  • Ben Golliver of “Anderson, the No. 21 pick, was far and away this class’s steal. He’s putting up 16.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game now that he’s starting full-time for the Magic and he’s pumping in threes at a 42.2 percent clip. Catching him with an extension just as he is making the upswing would have been an ideal situation, outside any external forces. His is a rising stock. The ground floor was two years ago, when Orlando first acquired him, but the ascent could be quite rapid and expensive. Of course, removing external forces is impossible given Orlando’s cap situation and center Dwight Howard’s expressed desire to be traded. The Magic appear to be in “Hold on tight, let’s gun for a championship and see what happens” mode right now, and given how well they’ve played for stretches this season you can’t fault them.”
  • Charley Rosen of “They must be motivated by their embarrassing performance in Boston — during which they scored a mere 56 points, shot a measly 24.6 percent and had nearly twice as many turnovers as assists (23 to 12) — and come out of the gate with full-bore intensity.”
  • Howard had an indirect effect on Ryan Anderson not receiving a contract extension at this point in time.

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

Jan 26

Preview: Boston Celtics at Orlando Magic

8:00 ET | TNT
7-9 @ 12-5
Pythagorean Record: 9-7 Pythagorean Record: 11-6
Pace: 89.1 (27th) Pace: 89.6 (25th)
Offensive Rating: 100.4 (20th) Offensive Rating: 105.2 (9th)
Defensive Rating: 99.1 (5th) Defensive Rating: 100.7 (12th)
Amway Center | Celtics lead season series 1-0
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