Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 112

Feb 03

Magic Basketball Weekly: Regrettably watching the Super Bowl

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

I’m sure you guys care an awful lot, but after weeks of deliberation I have decided that I am in fact going to watch the Super Bowl. It’s not merely that two of my four least favorite teams are playing, it’s just that over the past year, I’ve lost most of my love for any football game in which the Packers don’t play.

The NFL has become such a bloated procession of hypocrites and idiots that I sort of feel forced to stop watching. If you’re going to just troll the bejeezus out of me with continuing excessive idiocy, at some point, I have to stop proving you right about how much viewers will tolerate garbage being stuffed down their throat, you know?

I’ve always hated the announcers, but John Gruden constant referring to every player with a preceding “this” (“This Jason Pierre-Paul is really special” or “If you’re coaching Joe Flacco, you have to tell him to explain that facial hair”) has taken my rage to new levels.

The video replays are maddening; there is no more intellectually stultifying way to spend three minutes than staring at a referee’s butt while former professional idiots on the other side of the split screen spend four minutes going over a touchdown catch like a crime scene.

I hate how the football media so relentlessly drums up faux masculine outrage — I know we’re all “warriors” or whatever, but not even a literal bantam rooster would be so insecure as to care what fat Rex Ryan said about them for the 374th straight week.

Finally, the league’s hypocrisy over player health has become too much for me. They care so much about player safety that they want to add regular season games! And it’s not that football is systemically violent as a product, it’s just that a few angry dudes break rules at a faster rate than we can fine them! I will stick to basketball, thank you very much, where we are blessedly free of racially driven policy controversies and commissioner fans accuse of rigging the outcome of league events.

So basically, I’m watching because the people in my life already think I’m enough of a tendentious prick. I heard on the radio today that not only will Kelly Clarkson be singing the national anthem, but that something called a Blake Shelton will be singing “America the Beautiful” and I thought to myself “Thank God I won’t be watching.” And then the face of everybody I’ve known since high school appeared in my vision and said “Dude, it’s the Super Bowl. You really are always like this, aren’t you?”

So I will watch and hope that everybody on the field but Hakeem Nicks is killed in a fan riot over a forty minute replay review.

Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 02

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Smith, 23, signed with the Magic on Thursday as a free agent and is expected to provide immediate help at point guard. Coach Stan Van Gundy said Smith will “definitely” play Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Smith is by no means ready, but Van Gundy has little choice. Starting point guard Jameer Nelson will miss the game against the Cavs because of concussion symptoms. Nelson is not expected to play until Monday at the earliest. The Magic released veteran combo guard Larry Hughes after Wednesday night’s win against the Washington Wizards to make room for Smith, a true guard. Van Gundy hopes Smith, 6-foot, 175 pounds, can help the Magic advance the ball up the floor. Teams have been pressuring the ball lately, forcing turnovers and causing the Magic to get into their offense late.”
  • More from Robbins: “As tipoff approached Wednesday night, Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said he had no doubt his players would begin their game against the Washington Wizards with plenty of energy. Something concerned him, though. He worried what would happen if the Wizards went on a run. Would the Magic’s fragile confidence shatter? Would everything snowball out of control, just as it had several times within the last week? Would the Magic lose a fifth consecutive game for the first time in Van Gundy’s tenure? The Magic wound up passing the test. But not without a struggle. Fueled by their 3-point shooting, Orlando overcame a turnover-filled first half to beat Washington 109-103 at Amway Center.”
  • Jameer Nelson is recovering well from a concussion.
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy is trying to persevere as the Orlando Magic try to snap out of their losing ways. To say it’s been a struggle for Van Gundy is putting it kindly.
  • Ish Smith is eager to make an impact with the Magic.
  • Tom Ziller of SB Nation states that Dwight Howard is a volatile scorer: “Howard, surprisingly, is right behind ‘Melo. Seeing a big man so high on the list fights conventional wisdom, which is that since big men tend to have higher shooting percentages, their production is more reliable. While Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge all seem to bolster that hypothesis with relatively low volatility marks, Howard — a regular near the top of field goal percentage rankings — is a blinking signal of doubt. One possible explanation: Dwight earns so many free throw attempts and shoots them so poorly that if he has a bad day at the stripe, he’s likely to have a bad day in the scoring column. (That the season has been short and that he had a monster scoring game against Golden State could affect things too, though the game didn’t throw his average too far away from expectations.)”
  • Orlando is a roster filled with volatile scorers.
  • Noam Schiller of Hardwood Paroxysm blames the Magic’s slow descent into irrelevance due to the decline of aging veterans like Jameer Nelson and Jason Richardson: “If you add these two and a half improving youngsters to what used to be a solid array of role players and semi-stars, this should be a far better Magic team than last season. Maybe not Chicago or Miami level, but as close as it gets out East. Of course, that’s contingent on the non-youngsters as well. And that’s where, umm, sad.”
  • Recapping Orlando’s win last night.
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk: “After four straight losses Magic will take the win, even if they let the team with the worst offense in the NBA put up 103 on them. The Magic’s defense was bad (except on John Wall who hit just 1-of-12 shots but did have 10 assists). Their offense was good enough to counter it — Dwight Howard and Ryan Anderson each had 23, J.J. Redick had 21.”

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

Feb 01

Recap: Orlando Magic 109, Washington Wizards 103

AP Photo/John Raoux


The Orlando Magic were able to defeat the Washington Wizards by the score of 109-103, snapping a four-game losing streak. The Magic have been losing a lot lately, dropping six of their last eight games, so a win — even if it was against one of the worst teams in the NBA — was a welcome sight for them. Orlando was led by a balanced attack, as four players scored in double-figures. Dwight Howard led the way for the Magic, finishing with 23 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field (including 11-of-16 from the free-throw line), 18 rebounds, three assists, and four steals. Ryan Anderson finished with 23 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field (including 6-of-9 from three-point range) and seven rebounds. J.J. Redick chipped in with 21 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field (including 3-of-4 from three-point range and 8-of-8 from the free-throw line). Hedo Turkoglu had 16 points, five assists, and four rebounds. Nick Young led the way for the Wizards with a game-high 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field in roughly 21 minutes of playing time. Rashard Lewis had 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field (including 3-of-4 from three-point range), eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals, playing one of his better games since leaving Orlando. Three other players for Washington scored in double-figures.

Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 01

Reaction: Orlando Magic 109, Washington Wizards 103

AP Photo/John Raoux

Orlando Magic 109 Final
Recap | Box Score
103 Washington Wizards

Dwight Howard
6-10 FG | 11-16 FT | 4 STL | 18 REB | 23 PTS | +16

It says a lot about Howard’s greatness as a player that he put up 23 points, 18 rebounds, three assists, and four steals, and it never felt like he made a big impact in the game. A good free-throw shooting performance was a sight for sore eyes, but he should have done more offensively. Ditto on defense. Howard’s effort defensively left a lot to be desired.

Ryan Anderson
7-12 FG | 6-9 3P | 1 AST | 7 REB | 23 PTS | +14

During the broadcast on Sun Sports, there was a poll that asked who was the best power forward in Magic franchise history? The choices were Terry Catledge, Horace Grant, Rashard Lewis, and Anderson. Grant was the fan’s choice but if Anderson plays long enough in a uniform for Orlando, he has a chance to be the best. Anderson is that good of a player.

J.J. Redick
5-7 FG | 8-8 FT | 2 AST | 2 REB | 21 PTS | +15

This is about as good as Redick can play on offense. If you’ve ever been curious what is Redick’s peak as a player offensively, even though it was against the Washington Wizards, this game is a perfect example. His jumpshooting was on point (3-of-4 from three-point range) and he got to the free-throw line (8-of-8 from the free-throw line). His defense could have been a lot better though.

Hedo Turkoglu
5-16 FG | 2-6 3P | 5 AST | 4 REB | 16 PTS | +5

For three quarters, Turkoglu was chucking up bad shots and playing porous defense. But in the fourth quarter, Turkoglu got his act together and ran 3/5 pick-and-rolls with Howard to perfection as the Magic were trying to put the game out of reach against the Wizards. When Turkoglu is engaged, as he was in the final period (scoring nine points), he can be quite good.

Washington Wizards

Despite being ranked 30th in Offensive Rating (dead last in the NBA), Washington had little trouble scoring against Orlando. That says a lot about the Magic’s energy and effort defensively — or lack thereof. In any case, the Wizards’ unsung heroes was the second unit consisting of Shelvin Mack, Jordan Crawford, Chris Singleton, Trevor Booker, and Kevin Seraphin. They played extremely well together.

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

Feb 01

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Jason Richardson and Jameer Nelson will not play for the Orlando Magic tonight against the Washington Wizards. That’s the word from coach Stan Van Gundy, who spoke to the press moments ago following the Magic’s shootaround. Richardson will sit out his second straight game. Richardson originally suffered what team officials are calling a bone bruise on Jan. 12, missed several games and then returned to the lineup on Jan. 20. But Richardson continues to experience some weakness in the knee, and it’s difficult for him to get the knee loose after he goes to the bench in a game and after halftime. Magic officials don’t want his injury to linger. Nelson suffered two hits to his head on Orlando’s loss Friday night in New Orleans, and he has suffered from concussion-like symptoms since then. His return will be subject to the NBA’s new concussion policy, which was adopted in December and is being overseen by neurologist Jeffrey Kutcher. Van Gundy said Nelson’s symptoms have started to subside and that Nelson appears to be on track to play Monday.
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy is curious to see how the Orlando Magic respond to adversity.
  • Chris Broussard of ESPN Insider: “If left up to Howard’s camp, the Magic would have been informed about Howard’s clear desire to leave before the new year. His representatives want him to force his way out of Orlando now. But Howard has kept them at bay. He’s refused to rescind his trade request, but he’s also refused to upgrade it to a trade demand. The Magic view that as hope they can keep him. But it’s more likely Howard doesn’t want to hurt the city’s feelings and turn all of Orlando against him. And as long as Howard leaves even an inkling of doubt about his intentions, he’ll remain on the team.”
  • The Magic have slumped offensively as of late. Why?
  • Three trade ideas involving Howard and the Chicago Bulls.
  • Nate Drexler makes an appearance on TrueHoop TV to talk about Orlando.
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk: “There is a Howard trade rumor void because the Magic are not looking to move him right now, they are trying to convince him to stay. Which seemed a lot easier a couple of weeks ago when the Magic were playing well. But Orlando has lost four in a row and is playing without energy or execution. Normally this is where a team leader like Howard steps up and holds teammates accountable, but is anyone going to listen to a guy with one foot out the door?”
  • After an 11-4 start to the regular season, the Magic are now pretenders.
  • What should Orlando do with Howard?
  • Mark Heisler of “At 12-5, press says Dwight should finish season there. At 0-4 since, with Dwight ripping teammates for not handling his situation better, will press say Magic should: a) Trade him now, b) Waive him, or c) Suspend him for season?”

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

Feb 01

Preview: Washington Wizards at Orlando Magic

7:00 ET | Sun Sports
4-17 @ 12-9
Pythagorean Record: 0-5 Pythagorean Record: 11-10
Pace: 93.7 (4th) Pace: 89.2 (26th)
Offensive Rating: 94.8 (30th) Offensive Rating: 101.7 (19th)
Defensive Rating: 104.9 (23rd) Defensive Rating: 101.3 (12th)
Amway Center | Magic lead season series 1-0

Feb 01

Stan Van Gundy is coaching bad players

Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

On Monday in the second quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers, head coach Stan Van Gundy was forced to use a second unit that consisted of Larry Hughes, Von Wafer, Quentin Richardson, Earl Clark, and Glen Davis. Van Gundy briefly utilized that 5-man unit in the fourth quarter as well.

If it hasn’t become clear by now why Dwight Howard wants out or why the Magic aren’t very good at the moment, witnessing Hughes, Wafer, Richardson, Clark, and Davis play on the court at the same time should put things into focus. Orlando is bad because there’s a lot of bad players on the roster right now.

The funny thing is that it wasn’t too long ago when the Magic were one of the deepest teams in the NBA, if not the deepest.

During the 2009-2010 season, Orlando trotted out — by all accounts when looking at the numbers — the best team in franchise history. Literally from top to bottom, the Magic had quality players at each position. The point guards were Jameer Nelson, Jason Williams, and Anthony Johnson. The wing players were Vince Carter, Matt Barnes, J.J. Redick, and Mickael Pietrus. The bigs were Rashard Lewis, Ryan Anderson, Brandon Bass, Dwight Howard, and Marcin Gortat. For Van Gundy, this was Noah’s Ark on steroids — he didn’t have everything in twos, but in threes and fours.

And give general manager Otis Smith credit at the time. With a savvy trade and ownership’s blessing to spend, Orlando was setup nicely that year until they ran into the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Unfortunately for Smith, what he built he also destroyed (with some help from guity parties like the Celtics).

Out went Williams, Johnson, Carter, Barnes, Pietrus, Lewis, Bass, and Gortat. In came Chris Duhon, Hughes, Jason Richardson, Wafer, Hedo Turkoglu, Quentin Richardson, Clark, and Davis. And let’s not forget the Gilbert Arenas experiment either.

In case you’re keeping score, this has what the Magic have become.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 31

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “It’s not a new tradition, but some teams’ fans start games standing on their feet, only sitting after the home team scores. Now I realize Magic fans might risk suffering from corns and bunions by the time the cold-shooting Magic find the basket during this slump. But why not pump up the struggling Magic right out of the box Wednesday night against the Wizards? Give them a standing ovation at tip-off. Let loose. Occupy Amway Center. Go crazy. Treat it as a playoff game. The Magic are having troubling summoning energy, so provide some for them in this marathon schedule. Leave the wine bar and get to your seat before tip-off. Act like Duke fans, the Cameron Crazies. Yell, stomp your feet, applaud, razz the Wizards, impact the game. Bring back the wave.”
  • General manager Otis Smith doesn’t plan on making any moves right now.
  • Andrew Lynch of Hardwood Paroxysm: “Two things here, Orlando. First, the league was a lot more fun when it seemed like you were a good team capable of challenging the Heat and Bulls in the playoffs if everything went your way. I don’t want to overreact to a handful of games, so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt for now, but knock it off. Immediately. Second, your little quarter-season swoon made it a lot harder to defend the Sixers as a legitimate team (whatever that phrase means; it’s the question people ask all the time). Getting a win against the Magic meant something two weeks ago. Now? Not so much.”
  • Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports: “The Magic will never respond to Howard again, and that’s on him. They’re lost in a brutal five-out-of-six-games debacle, and Howard’s public proclamation calling out Magic teammates last week has compounded issues. Despite his inability to separate the get-me-out-of-town Dwight and the I’m-your-leader Dwight, the organization knows one thing for sure: They’re the same guy.”
  • What should the Orlando Magic do with Dwight Howard?
  • John Hollinger of ESPN Insider proposes the Magic trade Howard to the New Jersey Nets: “Because of Kris Humphries’ involvement it couldn’t be consummated until March 1 and can’t be done on the Trade Machine, but the deal is Dwight Howard, Chris Duhon and Hedo Turkoglu to New Jersey for Brooks, Humphries, Brook Lopez and Mehmet Okur. The Nets could actually get a $3.1 million trade exception for Lopez as well, while the Magic would get one worth $3.2 million for Duhon. In addition, New Jersey can include four first-round picks: Its own picks in 2012, 2014 and 2016, and a pick owed to it by Houston from the Terrence Williams trade. It’s the best way to get Orlando out of its salary-cap mess and give it the pieces to rebuild, and obviously it puts New Jersey in great shape with a Howard-Williams core.”
  • The losses are piling up for Orlando.
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk tries to examine the Magic’s woes: “The bigger problem is leadership — someone needs to step up and hold people accountable in the locker room. But can Howard, with one foot out the door and flirting with other cities, really be that guy? Teammates seemed to have tuned his rants out. Someone else will need to fill that role. Don’t expect a sudden Dwight Howard trade move either. The scenarios are out there, but as we have been saying the feeling around the league is the Magic are not going to trade him this season, but if they do it will be after the All-Star break the last weekend of February.”
  • Would the Chicago Bulls be wise in going all-in for Howard?
  • A look back at Orlando’s loss against the Philadelphia 76ers.
  • Ken Berger of “As bad as it looks, I caution you to look at the calendar before you try to pinpoint what has sickened the Magic. Six games in eight nights is no time for a sweeping diagnosis, and it doesn’t get much better from here. On Wednesday, the good news is that the Magic get the Wizards at home. The bad news is, it’s the start of a stretch of five more games in eight nights. Onward they all go, in the dementia-inducing, post-lockout NBA. The only thing we know for sure is that more losses, whatever the culprit, will spawn more Dwight drama, more headlines and the kind of pressure that would splinter any locker room. Given the circumstances, the relentless schedule that is taxing everyone, this long free-agent good-bye has the potential to end even uglier than the last two we’ve endured.”
  • The Magic are getting exponentially worse by the week.
  • Apparently, Stephen Jackson may be the ticket for a team to trade for (and keep) Howard.
  • A Fran Vazquez update.
  • Derrick Rose is indifferent with Howard joining the Bulls.
  • The trust between Howard and his teammates is gone for the Magic.
  • Zach Lowe of The Point Forward: “Here’s how bad the Magic’s offense has been: In four of those eight games, they scored at a per-possession rate lower than the Wizards, the league’s least efficient offensive team. (They managed this in one other game before this stretch — against Chicago on Jan. 6.) In two others of those eight games, they barely edged out Washington’s average scoring rate, according to Hoopdata. Six recent games, six performances on par with the very worst scoring team in the league. But some of those performances were really bad, beyond just Wizards bad. In four of those recent games, the Magic failed to crack 87.5 points per 100 possessions — a barrier that sits a full 12.5 points per 100 possession below the league’s average, and well below the Wizards. Those truly awful performances, including three that are just completely off the scoring map, are where Orlando’s season begins to separate itself from the run-of-the-mill struggles every good team goes through.”

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

Jan 31

The Magic need to blow it up

AP Photo/Mike Carlson

I don’t need to tell you this, but in case you haven’t been paying attention, the Magic pretty much stink right now. Naturally this raises questions. How do you fix it? What’s the root of the problem? Whose fault is it? Where do we go from here?

How about this question.

What on earth is Stan Van Gundy going to do for the rest of this season? If this roster stays the same, Orlando will drop below .500 and not make the playoffs. Note it. It’s really that bad.

Why do I say so? Well, for one thing, last night Orlando was more successful with Von Wafer and Larry Hughes on the floor than any combination of their first seven guys. It’s a disaster. No one can hit shots, and I’m talking about the open shots as well as the contested ones. You’ve got Glen Davis fading away from 15 feet, guys trying to give Dwight the ball seven feet from the basket, everyone and their mother turning the ball over like they have absolutely no clue how to make a strong pass, and Stan Van Gundy about ready to pull out his hair and roll around on the court like a mad man.

To make matters worse, you can see it all over these guys’ faces. Turkoglu is the best example. He looks like he’d be happier hanging out with his family somewhere, eating duck, wearing Italian suits, and laughing about how fun yesteryear was. He has no interest whatsoever in being on a basketball court. I’m going to dare to say it — his time is up. It’s come and gone. I love the guy to death, but no type of shock therapy can revive him from his current state.

Speaking of guys who are probably done, Jameer can’t dribble, and when he tries to dribble, he falls. He also can’t shoot for some reason, so guys don’t really have to guard him at all when he’s in a pick-and-roll. I don’t know why, but you can probably stick a fork in him too. Von Wafer did a better job bringing the ball up the floor against the 76ers than Nelson has this season. So did Larry Hughes.

Ryan Anderson does things well, but not as consistently as anyone wants. He plays decent games and then bad games. Also, he outrebounds Dwight sometimes, which is a crying shame. How is that even possible? Besides, we can’t honestly expect any more than we’re getting from Anderson. He’s a role player and has had a hell of a start, but the law of averages is starting to kick in.

Jason Richardson is nonexistent, and the same goes for Quentin Richardson, I could go on. For now, though, I’m done trolling on individuals. That was just a rant to set up my thesis. Here we go.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 31

3-on-3 roundtable: A franchise in utter disarray

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

There’s a lot of things going wrong for the Orlando Magic right now.

After starting the regular season with a record of 11-4, the Magic have lost five of their last six games with no end in sight. Orlando was in a similar funk last season, when they lost eight of nine games before general manager Otis Smith pulled the trigger and traded for Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, and Hedo Turkoglu in two separate trades. This time around, it’s only a matter of time until Dwight Howard is the one involved in a trade.

My how things have changed so quickly.

Magic Basketball discuss the Magic’s recent free-fall.


The Magic have lost 5 of their last 6 games. What’s happened?

Nate Drexler: Guys like Anderson, Redick and Turkoglu got worse while J-Rich and Jameer didn’t get any better. It was only a matter of time before the hot shooting would end. Look, this team is uninspired, and struggles to just maintain possession much less get a good shot. Roster issues have all but suffocated this team to death. 

Danny Nowell: When the Magic were winning, it was because everything that could go right was, and the odds weren’t good on everything continuing to click at once. WIth so thin a bench, and players as mercurial as Hedo leading the way, every player who was contributing had to play nearly flawlessly all the time.

Matt Scribbins: Orlando’s ridiculously poor play coincided with a stretch where they started to face better competition. Mix in incessant rumors about the best player on the team leaving town and you have a recipe for a disaster. In this case, the Magic followed the recipe exactly. 

Jameer Nelson is having the worst season of his career. What’s happened?

Drexler: Jameer is a far cry from 2009. He is playing with no command, no spunk, no energy, and no confidence. He used to have this chip on his shoulder and would put himself in situations where he could absolutely kill you in the pick and roll. Now he has a hard time staying on his feet, much less throwing good passes. 

Nowell: Loath as I am to do so, it’s hard to contribute Nelson’s play to anything but mental disarray. He’s shooting badly, yes, but also playing less aggressively, throwing flaccid passes and generally seeming done. In potentially related news, Dwight’s less-than-subtle public hints about his teammates’ talent are becoming more and more frequent.

Scribbins: I’m most interested in these three things: his turnover percentage is way up, his free-throw percentage is way down, and his rebounding percentage is way down. Those areas seem like they are tied closely to effort and focus. Has all of the attention on Dwight leaving town been too much for Jameer to handle?

Glen Davis is also having the worst season of his career. What’s happened?

Drexler: Down in Orlando he can’t get his game going in the post as Dwight is always going to be there, his game from 15-18 feet is not as good when it’s the only weapon he has, and frankly he seems a bit unhappy to have arrived on a roster where basically no one gives a flying fart what is happening.

Nowell: Davis’ skill set was never such that he was going to fit well in Orlando. The Celtics, with their diversity of skills and flexibility, could absorb Davis’ inefficiencies while benefitting from his defense. On the Magic, though, Davis’ mid-range inaccuracy and tendency to try and create himself shots aren’t masked by a broader fit within the team context.

Scribbins: Last year, Big Baby played significant minutes on a team with a handful of future Hall of Famers. This season, he is playing fewer minutes on a team whose lone future Hall of Famer is about to leave. Plus, there was a debate before the season about who should start between Davis and Anderson. Um, that debate is settled forever.

Page 112 of 252« First...102030...110111112113114...120130140...Last »