Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 130

Jul 22

Remembering Game 1 of the 1995 NBA Finals

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The memory of Game 1 of the 1995 Finals will haunt Magic fans forever. It was a stage where Shaq showed that he would someday be one of the greatest players to play the game, but would have to go head-to-head with another future Hall of Fame center. It was a game of dramatic runs, huge lead changes, and brutal post battles.

When Orlando lost Game 1 to the Rockets in overtime, there was a sense that the series and season were indeed over. Mrs. Momentum had changed her dress, and there would be no stopping the Rockets after such an abysmal unraveling.

The story is simple. The Magic had a 20-point lead late in the second quarter, and blew the lead by the beginning of the fourth. Nick Anderson had a chance to end the game with his Magic up three, but he went 0-for-4 from the line with 10 seconds remaining. It was shocking, and the game went into overtime on some clutch Houston shooting.

Shaq played a better game than Hakeem
This was slated as one of the ultimate center matchups in NBA history. They said no one could contain Shaq but Hakeem, and no one could size up Hakeem but Shaq. It was a battle of power and finesse, and one that will be remembered forever. In Game 1, though, Hakeem struggled (despite scoring 31 points) to dominate the game in the same way Shaq did. Shaq’s vision, especially in the first half, was the driving force that opened up the floor so much for the outside gunners. Even though Shaq scored fewer points than The Dream, he had a career-high in assists that evening, and nearly hit a triple-double. What’s more, he limited Hakeem to six rebounds in the game.

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Jul 21

Style of play and wins

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Pythagorean wins is a formula that converts points scored and allowed into a predicted winning percentage. The results can show, among other things, teams that over/under perform, win/lose many close games, or just experience good/bad luck.

To predict an NBA team’s winning percentage, the following calculation is performed:

(Points Scored^16.5) / (Points scored^16.5  + Points allowed^16.5) = Winning Percentage

This article will focus on the NBA teams with the most total wins over the last four regular seasons (Lakers-236, Celtics-234, Magic-222, Spurs-221, Mavericks-213). The last four seasons are used because:

  • Stan Van Gundy’s tenure in Orlando started four years ago (LAL, BOS, SA same coach all four years too)
  • Rick Carlisle has coached the Mavericks for three of the last four seasons
  • The stars (Howard, Bryant, Duncan, Nowitzki, Garnett, etc.) played with same team entire span

This piece counts a close game as any contest with a final margin of three points or fewer (one possession). A blowout is any contest with a final margin of fifteen points or more (five possessions).

Only the Timberwolves (do they even count?) have fallen short of their Pythagorean win total by a greater margin than the Orlando Magic over the last four seasons. During the same span, Orlando never finished a season with more actual wins than Pythagorean wins.

The Dallas Mavericks check in on the other end of the spectrum as they exceeded their Pythagorean win total by a greater margin than any other team (10). As I mentioned in a Hoopdata article, some of the Mavericks’ success can be attributed to their record in close games (34-18). The Mavericks’ scoring differential predicted 203 wins over the last four years, but they actually won 213. On the other hand, Orlando’s scoring differential predicted 232 wins, but they actually won 222.

The Lakers amassed the most regular seasons win during the period, but their Pythagorean win total was equal to Orlando’s. In other words, they were victorious 14 more times than Orlando even though their scoring differentials indicated the same number. The Spurs collected just one fewer win than Orlando, but their scoring differential indicated 14 fewer wins.

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Jul 19

Orlando Magic’s 2011-12 regular season schedule released

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

The National Basketball Association today released its 2011-12 schedule and announced the Orlando Magic will open its 23rd season on Wednesday, November 2 at Amway Center against Charlotte. Tip-off is 7 p.m.

Orlando Magic season tickets, partial plans, group and single-game Amway Center suite rental opportunities are on sale now. Ticket highlights include: 2,500 seats priced $20 or less, 8,000 seats priced $40 or less and 9,000 seats priced $50 or under. Single-game tickets will go on sale in October. A limited number of season tickets are available through the Orlando Magic Box Office by calling 407-89-MAGIC or visiting Fans will receive refunds, with interest, in the event games are missed because of the NBA work stoppage.

Orlando opens training camp on October 4 at Amway Center. The Magic’s complete regular season schedule is available through their official website: The entire NBA schedule can be found on the league’s official website:

The 61st NBA All-Star Game will be played on Sunday, February 26 at Amway Center, which will also host the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam on Friday, February 24 and NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm on Saturday, February 25. NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by adidas, the hugely successful interactive basketball celebration, will be held at the Orange County Convention Center.

On March 7-8, Orlando will travel to London, England for a pair of regular season games against the New Jersey Nets. Both games will be played at London’s O2 Arena. It marks the second time in franchise history that the Magic will have regular season games scheduled outside of the United States. In 1996-97, Orlando also played New Jersey in a pair of contests in Tokyo, Japan.

Orlando has 14 national television games scheduled. The Magic will appear once on ABC (February 19 @ Miami), five times on ESPN and eight times on TNT.

The Magic’s local broadcast schedule will be released at a later date.

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Jul 13

Dwight Howard featured in ESPN The Magazine

Photo by Handout/Getty Images

Via Neil Janowitz of ESPN The Magazine:

The Dwight Howard Twitter Experiment was conceived by ESPN The Magazine to evaluate the manner in which the Subject, Orlando Magic superstar Dwight Howard (henceforth “Howard”), exploits Twitter and the benefits he derives therefrom. Over a four-hour period in Orlando on June 4, we observed Howard as he used the social networking site to arrange one-on-one interactions with six self-described fans, as well as ancillary encounters with more than 100 others. His behavior, and that of the participants, is documented herein.

Dwight Howard has never been hard to follow. The 6’11″ center has shoulders wider than the American political spectrum and makes more than his share of public appearances. If someone wanted — for a presumably healthy reason — to tail him, it would be a straightforward endeavor. Twitter, however, has made it even easier to track the man, and from the remote comfort of a smartphone. [...]

To arrange encounters, Howard posted five tweets between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. ET. The dispatches, sent at least 45 minutes in advance of each rendezvous, promised participation in a predetermined activity to the first responder to arrive at the given address.

Observing the experiment was a field research team consisting of the study’s author, a location producer, an indeterminate number of production assistants, a photographer and his assistants, a makeup artist, a stylist, her assistant, a video producer, a videographer and a sound technician. A four-row shuttle bus transported the team, along with Howard and Samples, to each destination. By ESPN standards, it was a modest production.

The article is worth the read for those that want to everything there is to know about Dwight Howard’s exploits on Twitter. Howard is truly a man of the people.

Jul 06

2010-2011 Player Evaluation: Dwight Howard

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

2010-2011 regular season Dwight Howard
Games Played 78
Minutes Played 37.6
adj. +/- +14.09
net +/- +9.8
statistical +/- +7.24
PER 26.0
WARP 20.5
Win Shares/48 .236

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Jul 05

3-on-3 roundtable: Shaq

Anton Want/Getty Images



He’s the greatest in the universe.

Okay, maybe the last sentence isn’t true but there’s no question that Shaquille O’Neal, now retired, goes down as one of the best players to ever play the game of basketball. And at his zenith, it’s hard to argue that O’Neal wasn’t as good if not better than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and others in the pantheon of great centers. Was O’Neal better than any of them overall? It’s hard to say, and that’s another discussion altogether.

O’Neal used his size and strength to rule the NBA in his prime and even though he carved out his legacy with the Los Angeles Lakers from 1997 to 2004, winning three championships in a row and earning a multitude of individual awards (he won a fourth title with the Miami Heat in 2006), his legend began with the Orlando Magic and that can’t be overlooked.

Although O’Neal left the Magic on bad terms in the summer of 1996, admitting in his retirement press conference on June 3 that he partly left for selfish reasons (also because the Lakers offered more money originally), it can’t be denied that he put the franchise and the city of Orlando on the map. The Magic were nothing more than bottom-feeders but when O’Neal arrived, everything changed, and they became not only winners but one of the most popular teams in the NBA. Ask many fans why they began rooting for Orlando and it’s not uncommon to hear the reasoning — because of O’Neal. The Magic never won a title during O’Neal’s four-year tenure with the team but his impact was undeniable.

For that, Magic Basketball reflects on O’Neal’s career.


What was Shaq’s most impressive NBA performance?

Nate Drexler: When Shaq dropped 61 on the Clippers in 2000, he took “beast mode” to a whole new level. Was it a throw-away game against a throw-away team? Sure, but considering he did not have the luxury of a three point shot and tacked on 23 rebounds in the process, this was one of the most mind-blowing performances of his career. Now consider this: it only took Shaq 35 shots to get his 61 points. There was absolutely no stopping the big man on that night.

Eddy Rivera: I think most Shaquille O’Neal enthusiasts would cite his 61-point, 23-rebound destruction of the Los Angeles Clippers on his birthday, en route to his lone MVP of his career during the 1999-2000 season, as his most impressive. That was O’Neal at his most majestic, but also at his most ruthless. The Clippers’ pitiful frontcourt of Michael Olowokandi, Pete Chilcutt, and Anthony Avent stood no chance against O’Neal’s superior touch, strength, and footwork. And though I’ve only seen bits and pieces of this game, O’Neal’s triple-double against the New Jersey Nets in 1994 still boggles my mind to this day — 24 points, 28 rebounds, and 15 blocks.

Matt Scribbins: In 1999-2000, Shaq led the NBA in scoring (29.7 PPG), had the most defensive win shares, and was named MVP of the All-Star Game and regular season. For a curtain call, he led the Lakers to a title and was named Finals MVP. His playoff numbers: 43.5 MPG, 30.7 PPG, 15.4 RBG. I’m shaking. Seriously, is it possible to have a better season?

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Jun 30

2010-2011 Player Evaluation: Ryan Anderson

Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images

2010-2011 regular season Ryan Anderson
Games Played 64
Minutes Played 22.3
adj. +/- +8.29
net +/- +4.8
statistical +/- +4.27
PER 19.0
WARP 8.5
Win Shares/48 .217

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Jun 29

2010-2011 Player Evaluation: Brandon Bass

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

2010-2011 regular season Brandon Bass
Games Played 76
Minutes Played 26.1
adj. +/- +3.54
net +/- -1.8
statistical +/- -1.22
PER 15.9
WARP 2.1
Win Shares/48 .154

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Jun 29

Orlando Magic guard J.J. Redick appears at basketball camp

Photo taken by Gary Bassing

Via the Orlando Magic:

On Tuesday, June 28, Orlando Magic guard J.J. Redick appeared at his Orlando Magic basketball camp at the Orlando Sports Center. J.J. Redick’s 2011 Orlando Magic Basketball Camp is a unique camp experience that allows youth basketball

players the opportunity to learn alongside an NBA pro. The week-long camp features appearances by Redick, expert camp instruction provided by trainers from the National Basketball Academy, daily giveaways, prizes and awards, a team photo with Redick and other special appearances by other Orlando Magic celebrities, including Magic alumni and the Orlando Magic Dancers.

The Orlando Magic Youth Basketball camps and clinics, presented by UnitedHealthcare, are some of the nation’s premiere youth basketball programs. Coaches from the National Basketball Academy will help camp participants learn the fundamentals of the game while encouraging them to experience the joy of competition.

This year’s summer programs include the new Ryan Anderson and J.J. Redick basketball camps, 15 different week-long day camp options all across Central Florida, the 2011 Orlando Magic overnight basketball camp at Warner University, the new all-girls half-day camp and the 2011 Orlando Magic “mini” camp.

Jun 24

Magic select DeAndre Liggins in the 2011 NBA Draft

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

The Orlando Magic selected guard DeAndre Liggins in the second round (53rd overall) of the 2011 NBA Draft.

Liggins (6’6”, 209, 3/31/88) appeared in 100 career games at the University of Kentucky, averaging 5.8 ppg., 3.0 rpg. and 2.1 rpg. in 21.9 minpg. during his collegiate career. As a junior (2010-11), Liggins played in 38 games, averaging 8.6 ppg., 4.0 rpg., 2.5 apg. and 1.2 stlpg. in 31.6 minpg. He also shot .391 (36-92) from three-point range.

Liggins was named to the SEC All-Defensive Team in 2010-11, and was also named to the NCAA East Region All-Tournament Team, helping the Wildcats reach the 2011 NCAA Final Four. Kentucky also reached the Elite Eight during Liggins’ sophomore season (2009-10).

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