Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 120

Feb 06

Preview: Los Angeles Clippers at Orlando Magic

7:00 ET | Sun Sports
14-7 @ 15-9
Pythagorean Record: 12-9 Pythagorean Record: 13-11
Pace: 91.3 (18th) Pace: 89.7 (25th)
Offensive Rating: 107.9 (4th) Offensive Rating: 102.4 (16th)
Defensive Rating: 105.7 (24th) Defensive Rating: 101.1 (12th)
Amway Center | First meeting this season

Feb 05

Recap: Orlando Magic 85, Indiana Pacers 81

Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images


Playing for the third time already during the regular season, the Orlando Magic were able to defeat the Indiana Pacers by the score of 85-81. In this season series, the road team has won every game. For the Magic, this extends their winning streak to three games. Three players led the way for Orlando. Dwight Howard had one of his better offensive performances of the season, finishing with 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the field (including 7-of-10 from the free-throw line), eight rebounds, three steals, and two blocks. Jason Richardson chipped in with 17 points, six rebounds, and five assists. Ryan Anderson had 12 points and seven rebounds. As for Hedo Turkoglu, he had an odd stat-line, as he finished with nine points on 2-of-11 shooting from the field (including 0-of-6 from three-point range), 10 rebounds, four assists, and eight turnovers. The Pacers were led by a balanced attack, as five players scored in double-figures. Perhaps the player that had the best game for Indiana was Tyler Hansbrough, as he was able to come off the bench and put up 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field (including 5-of-6 from the free-throw line), seven rebounds, and two steals in roughly 20 minutes of playing time. Yes, Hansbrough put up numbers but it was also his energy and effort that impressed (ditto with Lou Amundson).

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Feb 05

Reaction: Orlando Magic 85, Indiana Pacers 81

Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

Orlando Magic 85 Final
Recap | Box Score
81 Indiana Pacers

Dwight Howard
10-16 FG | 7-10 FT | 2 BLK | 8 REB | 27 PTS | +5

It’s more than obvious at this point that Howard lives to play against Roy Hibbert whenever the Magic play the Indiana Pacers. Orlando ran 4-out/1-in offensive sets throughout the game for Howard and he feasted. Perhaps the most impressive thing about his performance was the fluidity by which played on offense. He looked a lot like the 2010-2011 version out there on offense.

Jason Richardson
7-16 FG | 3-7 3P | 5 AST | 6 REB | 17 PTS | +11

Richardson’s best sequence came early in the third quarter. He dribble penetrated into the lane and dished it to Howard for a dunk, which produced an and-one for the big fella. On the next possession, Richardson made a corner three in transition. On the next possession after that, he made a mid-range fadeaway jumper in a screen-and-curl. Shortly thereafter, same play, same result.

Ryan Anderson
3-6 FG | 5-5 FT | 1 AST | 7 REB | 12 PTS | +13

Anderson had a quiet game for his standards. In some ways, he got outplayed when matched up against Tyler Hansbrough. Hansbrough brought a lot of energy to the table and Anderson struggled to deal with that at times, primarily early in the fourth quarter. But Anderson got the last laugh, as he made four clutch free-throws at the end of the game that sealed the deal for the Magic.

Hedo Turkoglu
2-11 FG | 5-7 FT | 4 AST | 10 REB | 9 PTS | +13

Turkoglu had one of the strangest games he’s ever had since playing for Orlando, which is saying something because he’s been with the franchise for quite a while now. Turkoglu didn’t shoot the basketball well at all, he turned the ball over way too much, and he committed a silly technical foul at the end of the game that could have nearly cost the Magic.

Indiana Pacers

No one for the Pacers, outside of Hansbrough and Lou Amundson, played particularly well. It’s no coincidence that when Hansbrough and Amundson were in the game together, Indiana was able to cut their deficit from 10 points late in the third quarter to as close as one point midway in the fourth quarter. That momentum seemed to die, though, when Hibbert and David West reentered the game.

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

Feb 04

Preview: Orlando Magic at Indiana Pacers

7:00 ET | NBA TV
14-9 @ 16-6
Pythagorean Record: 12-11 Pythagorean Record: 14-8
Pace: 89.5 (26th) Pace: 91.6 (16th)
Offensive Rating: 102.9 (16th) Offensive Rating: 102.8 (17th)
Defensive Rating: 101.8 (14th) Defensive Rating: 98.9 (6th)
Bankers Life Fieldhouse | Season series tied 1-1

Feb 04

Recap: Orlando Magic 102, Cleveland Cavaliers 94

AP Photo/John Raoux


The Orlando Magic were able to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers by the score of 102-94, extending their winning streak to two games. The Magic were led by a balanced attack, as five players scored in double-figures. Dwight Howard led the way for Orlando with 19 points, 16 rebounds, and eight blocks. After resting from a sore knee the past two games, Jason Richardson made his return to the starting lineup and scored 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field (including 3-of-4 from three-point range). Hedo Turkoglu finished with 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field, seven rebounds, and four assists. Ryan Anderson chipped in with 17 points and eight rebounds. Von Wafer came off the bench and played well, putting up 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting from the field in roughly 16 minutes of playing time. Perhaps the one eye-opening stat for the Magic is that they turned the basketball over merely five times against the Cavaliers. And even though Howard shot 9-of-16 from the free-throw line, all 16 attempts came in the fourth quarter as head coach Byron Scott decided to intentionally foul him as the game winded down. Howard’s imbalanced free-throw distribution is probably one of the weirder stat quirks you’ll find this season. Orlando took firm control of the game from the first quarter onward.

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Feb 04

Reaction: Orlando Magic 102, Cleveland Cavaliers 94

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Orlando Magic 102 Final
Recap | Box Score
94 Cleveland Cavaliers

Dwight Howard
5-12 FG | 9-16 FT | 8 BLK | 16 REB | 19 PTS | +9

He’ll never admit it publicly, but Howard has been taking off plays and coasting in games this season on defense. That was never more evident than against the Cleveland Cavaliers, where Howard suddenly played like the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in the second half after going half-speed in the first and second quarters. He’s at his best when he’s dominating on the weak-side defensively.

Ryan Anderson
5-14 FG | 2-6 3P | 1 AST | 8 REB | 17 PTS | +14

It says a lot about Anderson’s skill-set at this point that him putting up 17 points and eight rebounds comes as no surprise. He did what he does well. He made three-pointers, he got to the free-throw line, and he attacked the offensive glass (perhaps his most underrated skill). It’s unlikely he’ll get any consideration for the All-Star Game but that’s the level he’s been playing at after 22 games.

Jason Richardson
7-12 FG | 3-4 3P | 1 AST | 4 REB | 19 PTS | +19

Taking two games off to rest his sore knee did wonders for Richardson. He looked as lively as he’s ever been during the regular season, and it’s no coincidence that he has one of his best games so far this season. His greatest asset is his three-point shooting and when that shot is falling, as it did against the Cavaliers, he makes a positive impact for the Magic.

Hedo Turkoglu
7-12 FG | 2-5 3P | 4 AST | 7 REB | 18 PTS | +12

Turkoglu had that patented step-back jumper going for him all night against Cleveland. In that regard, Turkoglu’s game is very predictable because you know what he’s going to do with the basketball in his hands. He likes to that take dribble to his left, then fire away. He also got things going in 3/5 pick-and-roll sets with Howard in crunch time. Also very predictable.

Cleveland Cavaliers

For three quarters, the Cavaliers couldn’t do much of anything. With Howard patrolling the paint, it made it especially difficult for Cleveland to attack the rim with any consistent success. For the game, the Cavaliers went 18-of-39 at the rim (46.2 percent). But Ramon Sessions and Alonzo Gee caught fire for Cleveland in the fourth quarter and made things interesting at the end.

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

Feb 03

Friday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Orlando Magic have suspended power forward Glen Davis for tonight’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Saturday’s game against the Indiana Pacers because of what team officials are labeling ‘conduct detrimental to the team.’ Davis had an outburst during the team’s shootaround this morning at Amway Center as the team went through some of the Cavaliers’ plays on the team’s practice court. Davis and coach Stan Van Gundy ultimately got into an argument. Van Gundy would not discuss many of the details of what happened, but Van Gundy and a witness said the disagreement never turned physical. […] That said, Davis has developed a reputation within the Magic organization as an intensely emotional player. In December, the Magic and Davis agreed to a four-year deal worth about $26 million, and the Magic acquired Davis and swingman Von Wafer in a sign-and-trade deal with the Boston Celtics for power forward Brandon Bass. Davis’ play so far this season has been up and down. At times, he has provided the bone-crunching screens, the hustle plays and the rebounding the team coveted when it acquired him. But at other times, Davis has migrated too far from the basket and attempted jumpers that are out of his range.”
  • Ish Smith is looking forward to playing in his first game with the Orlando Magic.
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Magic still believe Howard leaves the door open to staying at times, and felt good about the possibility…. until the team lost six of eight games in a recent stretch. The Magic are still banking on the fact that Howard’s ability to make $30 million more in Orlando (bigger raises for a player who re-signs with his own team) plays a major role in his decision.”
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy is complimentary of Kyrie Irving.
  • Jason Richardson will play against the Cleveland Cavaliers after sitting out the last two games.
  • Should the Magic call Dwight Howard’s bluff of leaving money on the table? Jerry West, a consultant for the Golden State Warriors, thinks so.
  • More on Glen Davis’ two-game suspension.
  • Jared Dubin of Hardwood Paroxysm: “While the Magic attempt to stave off a Dwight-induced self-destruction, Cleveland is looking to prove that they belong in the playoff conversation in the East. Kyrie Irving is having one of the best rookie seasons in NBA history, Anderson Varejao is off to the best start of his career and the Cavs are winning much more than anyone had any right to expect.”
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie on Howard’s appearance in the All-Star Game: “By all accounts, he’ll still be with the Magic by the time the All-Star game tips off on Feb. 26. And Magic fans, mindful of the nationally televised audience and their own team’s dodgy future, will no doubt give Howard the biggest standing ovation he’s ever heard as he’s introduced. That’s how fans work. They’ll save the boos and hisses for when Howard eventually leaves the team this summer. And he will leave this team. Which will make the ovation — as a recruiting tool — a needless exercise. Sad.”
  • More from Dwyer: “We were in favor of Smith trying to get something, anything, for Howard last fall. But after needlessly re-signing Jason Richardson and Glen Davis to two too-big deals, the Magic have to drag Howard along as long as they can and either hope for that slim chance that he’ll return, or take whatever cap freedom they’ll get with a clean break. This team could get a “clean break” by offering Howard up later this month for all expiring deals, but why waste the income and run of a potential play into May just for what you’re about to get for Howard anyway plus some potential draft picks in the low first round?”
  • Davis has been strange this season for the Magic.

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

Feb 03

Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers at Orlando Magic

7:00 ET | Sun Sports
8-12 @ 13-9
Pythagorean Record: 8-12 Pythagorean Record: 12-10
Pace: 92.3 (11th) Pace: 89.4 (26th)
Offensive Rating: 100.8 (23rd) Offensive Rating: 102.5 (19th)
Defensive Rating: 111.2 (30th) Defensive Rating: 101.7 (14th)
Amway Center | First meeting this season

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.

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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.

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