Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 140

Apr 16

Recap: Atlanta Hawks 103, Orlando Magic 93

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

BOX SCORE

The Atlanta Hawks were able to defeat the Orlando Magic by the score of 103-93 to win Game 1 in the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs. In one felt swoop, the Hawks were able to win a postseason game on the road and wrestle home-court advantage away from the Magic. The key for Atlanta was getting production from their starters, excluding Jason Collins, and Jamal Crawford. Five players scored in double-figures for the Hawks, including a team-high 25 points from Joe Johnson on 9-of-16 shooting from the field, and each of them were able to take over the game at different junctures. Orlando’s inability to slow down Atlanta offensively in the second and third quarters proved to be their downfall. The Hawks shot 72.7 percent in those periods and turned the ball over just three times, allowing themselves a chance to score on nearly every possession. Atlanta was able to make a number of jumpshots, many of them on open looks, and that was that. On the flipside, the Hawks’ strategy of allowing Dwight Howard to do whatever he wanted on offense worked, as they were able to contain every player on the Magic’s roster not named Howard and Jameer Nelson — another important factor. It’s the reason that Howard played the best game of his career and Orlando lost. Howard was dominant on both ends of the floor, tying a career-high with 46 points and 19 rebounds. Howard set a playoff franchise record by scoring 31 points in the first half and tied another record (with Tracy McGrady in 2003 against the Detroit Pistons) with the most points scored in a postseason game. It was a phenomenal effort by Howard but overlooked because the Magic were unable to come away with a victory. Nelson was also spectacular, starting off slow with one point in the first half but finishing with 27 points and six rebounds while setting a playoff franchise record by scoring the most points in a quarter with 20 in the third. In a lot of ways, it was a strange game for Orlando because their two best players performed to their maximums but the rest of the team faltered. It was a paradox in some ways.

Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 16

Dwight Howard at his best

Apr 16

Preview: Atlanta Hawks at Orlando Magic, Game 1

7:00 EDT | ESPN
44-38 @ 52-30
Pythagorean Record: 39-43 Pythagorean Record: 56-26
Pace: 89.3 (27th) Pace: 91.4 (17th)
Offensive Rating: 106.1 (20th) Offensive Rating: 107.7 (14th)
Defensive Rating: 107.0 (13th) Defensive Rating: 101.8 (3rd)
Amway Center | Hawks won season series 3-1

Apr 16

MBN Roundtable Discussion: Previewing the 2011 NBA Playoffs for the Orlando Magic

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

I gathered writers, the best of the best in the blogosphere, to participate in a roundtable discussion and answer some of the most pertinent questions concerning the Orlando Magic as the 2011 NBA Playoffs are set to begin.

So, without further ado, here are the participants:

Zach Lowe, The Point Forward
Beckley Mason, HoopSpeak

Each individual provided a quick breakdown of the series between the Magic and the Atlanta Hawks, his opinion on the player that is the x-factor for Orlando in the postseason, and more.

_______

If the Orlando Magic make it past the Atlanta Hawks in the first round, is facing off against the Chicago Bulls (as opposed to the Miami Heat or Boston Celtics) the best chance for them to return to the Eastern Conference Finals for a third consecutive year?

Zach Lowe: No. I don’t see facing the Bulls as any more advantageous to Orlando than facing Boston or Miami. Conventional wisdom has it that the Magic have problems with Boston, but much of that conventional wisdom was based on the presence of Kendrick Perkins and overlooks how competitive games between the two have been. Bottom line: Boston, Miami and Chicago are all excellent teams, and the Magic will have a tough time beating any of them–just as each of those three will have to work to beat Orlando.

Beckley Mason: It’s a better match-up than Miami because LeBron just kills them, but I don’t think the Celtics, as they are playing now, would be worse than the Bulls. I think the idea that Boston could single-cover Dwight [Howard] with Shaq is fairly laughable, but at least he might draw Howard into some fouls. The Bulls on the other hand won’t isolate Noah, and so Howard would seem less susceptible to picking up cheapies against Chicago. In any event, to get past any of the top teams in the East, the Magic wings are going to have to shoot the lights out.

Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 16

Sneak Preview: Atlanta Hawks at Orlando Magic, Game 1

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Boston Celtics crafted the blueprint for beating the Orlando Magic. Now the Atlanta Hawks will rely on that strategy against the Magic when the teams begin their first-round, best-of-seven playoff series tonight at Amway Center. Cribbing directly from the Celtics’ successful playbook, the Hawks will dispatch a rugged center to guard all-star Dwight Howard one-on-one, a tactic that could allow the rest of Atlanta’s players to closely defend Orlando’s dangerous perimeter shooters. [...] Howard dominated. Orlando sank treys seemingly at will. And the Magic humiliated the Hawks, sweeping them out of the second round by winning four consecutive games by an average of 25.3 points. So, once he was named Atlanta’s head coach, Drew adopted the Boston model. Drew started journeyman Jason Collins at center. He shifted all-star Al Horford from center to power forward and moved Josh Smith from power forward to small forward. Those moves paid huge dividends when the Hawks won three of four games against the Magic during the recently completed regular season. Howard made only 43.1 percent of his shots against the Hawks, his lowest shooting percentage versus any team. And the Magic hit just 22.6 percent of their 3-point tries.”
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Howard and [Jameer] Nelson seem like an unlikely pair at first blush. Dwight is 6-foot-10, 275 pounds, an Atlanta native and a single father. At 25, he’s four years younger than Nelson. A five-time all-star, he has blossomed from as a skinny teen drafted No. 1 overall out of high school into one of the NBA’s biggest attractions. Jameer is nearly a foot shorter, hailing from hard-scrabble Chester, Pa., married and a father of three. He played four years in college, and has had to prove doubters wrong because of his height. The Magic acquired him after a draft-day trade with Denver. Nelson rewarded their faith by being named to the all-star team in 2008-09. ‘Dwight and I are very fortunate to be here together. We don’t know any other organization,’ Nelson said. ‘I got some gray hair and he’s finally got facial hair. We’re still young. I’m 29 and he’s still a baby.’ They are the last men standing from that 2004 roster. Everything has changed except No. 12 and No. 14. Through various trades and transactions, 71 players under contract with the Magic have come and gone since ’04, including a whopping 16 since the end of the 2009-10 season. Howard and Nelson aren’t only the Magic’s longest-tenured players. They are currently the seventh longest-running NBA tandem on the same team, sharing that distinction with five other sets of teammates.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “Orlando Magic guard J.J. Redick is the active type and one who doesn’t feel right physically if he’s unable to get in a workout or break a sweat on a daily basis. He’s so committed to that routine that Redick even found a way to mix in a weight-lifting workout or two last summer when he was on his honeymoon in Europe. So being unable to do much of anything at all for a three-week period and being out of action with the Magic for more than a month because of a lower abdominal strain was downright torturous for Redick. Once he was cleared to resume rehabilitation, Redick attacked the sessions where his arms and legs were strapped to tension bands, but not being able to play basketball worked tricks on his mind.”
  • Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “All season Joe Johnson has said he looked forward to the playoffs so the Hawks could “prove everybody wrong.” That’s everybody who witnessed the Hawks’ surrender to the Magic in the playoffs last spring and said the team lacks mental toughness. The group includes critics who saw essentially the same Hawks players return this season and dismissed them as true Eastern Conference contenders. It includes one-time optimists who dismissed the Hawks as they staggered over the final two months of the season. Johnson didn’t say so, but he also could have been talking about himself. He struggled against Orlando for his second consecutive fade in the postseason. Johnson came out of last year’s big NBA free-agent summer with the most expensive contract in the league at $123.7 million, a deal that was roundly criticized. Johnson made his fifth consecutive All-Star game, but had the least productive and efficient of his six seasons with the Hawks. As it turns out, Johnson gets another crack at the Magic in the playoffs, but he said he doesn’t feel a burden to carry the Hawks.

Apr 15

Kia Motors and Orlando Magic give away all-new 2011 Kia Optima at final regular season game

Photo by Fernando Medina/Orlando Magic

Via the Orlando Magic:

Kia Motors America (KMA), in partnership with the Orlando Magic, gave away an all-new 2011 Kia Optima to Adrian Brumby from Windermere, Fla. as the culmination of the Kia Fan-Tastic Sweepstakes at the Magic’s final regular season home game at the Amway Center on April 13, 2011. Brumby was one of two finalists chosen to compete in the on-court contest, which gave the contestants 60 seconds to make two lay-ups, one free throw and complete a puzzle.

The Kia Fan-Tastic Sweepstakes, which started February 1 and ran through March 31 at www.orlandomagic.com, was one of several in-market promotions the Orlando Magic and Kia Motors partnered together for this season. Earlier this year, the Magic and Kia Motors announced a multi-year partnership that includes sweepstakes, innovative displays, programming, advertisements and activities for Orlando Magic fans.

Kia Motors, the Official Vehicle of the Orlando Magic and Official Automotive Partner of the NBA, also is the sponsor of the Kia Motors Terrace in the new Amway Center, home to the Orlando Magic. Looking into the inner bowl, the Kia Motors Terrace features fans sitting around the all-new Kia Optima, the Official Vehicle of the NBA. Kia Motors also has a permanent vehicle display on the Terrace Level as well next to the Orlando on Demand.

Apr 15

The enigmatic and erratic Orlando Magic

Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

When it comes to championship contenders in the NBA, there’s five teams that are universally agreed upon — for the most part. Ranking them by their efficiency differentials, they are the Miami Heat (+8.6), Chicago Bulls (+8.1), Los Angeles Lakers (+6.6), San Antonio Spurs (+6.6), and Boston Celtics (+6.2). And since their trades, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets get pub too.

Then there’s the Orlando Magic, sandwiched in between those teams with an efficiency differential of +6.6, right between the Lakers and Spurs.

At the start of the regular season, the Magic were widely regarded as a threat to win a title. And when Orlando jumped out to a 15-4 start to the year, they were fulfilling everyone’s expectations. There were no surprises. Then the month of December came and everything fell apart for the Magic in a hurry. Orlando hit a stretch of nine games where they only won once. A lack of energy and effort from the players on a consistent basis, plus the regression of Rashard Lewis and others aided in the Magic’s fall from grace. Scoring, which was supposed to be Orlando’s strength since they finished 4th in offensive efficiency last season, faltered and suddenly the offense became an average unit. General manager Otis Smith attempted to rectify the problem by acquiring Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, and Gilbert Arenas in two separate trades on December 19. For a time, it looked like Smith’s gamble paid off, as the Magic roared to a nine-game winning streak (tying a franchise record) that could have been longer had the basketball bounced in their favor in games against the New Orleans Hornets and Thunder that each resulted in losses. Nevertheless, it appeared as if Orlando fixed their woes and the chemistry seemingly improved. The acquisitions provided the Magic with the jolt of life they needed, especially offensively. But the honeymoon soon ended, as Orlando regressed to the mean on offense, and Smith was back where he started with the roster, except it can be argued things got worse than better.

For all the scoring that Turkoglu, Richardson, and Arenas were to provide, Smith sacrificed defense, depth, and size to get it. As the Magic began to come down from earth offensively, it soon became clear that they got weaker. Even though Orlando remains third in defensive efficiency, thanks in large part to Dwight Howard and Van Gundy, when the big fella is on the bench, the interior defense has been compromised without the presence of Marcin Gortat. Depth, the Magic’s calling card last year, is nearly gone now that only J.J. Redick and Ryan Anderson can be relied upon to contribute consistently. Free agent signees, Quentin Richardson and Chris Duhon, have done little to help the cause. As for Orlando’s size, with Lewis and Gortat absent, they have gone from big to little. In the league, size is needed to win championships and the Magic had it with Howard and Lewis manning the frontcourt with Gortat, Bass, and Anderson coming off the bench. But the trades reshuffled things, and have put a lot of pressure on players like Howard to stay on the floor and avoid foul trouble. Earl Clark is an intriguing prospect, but he’s not a player that Van Gundy can rely upon and trust at the moment. Sure, it’s true that Mickael Pietrus, Lewis, and Carter are not playing right now due to various injuries but there’s no denying that Orlando isn’t the same team.

It’s been an interesting season for the Magic.

The question is, following the aftermath of everything that’s occurred, whether or not they’re a team that can be taken seriously in the playoffs?

Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 15

Interview with Bret LaGree of Hoopinion

Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

One is fun, but twice is nice.

That’s the theme surrounding the series between the Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks, as they face off in the playoffs for a second consecutive year.

Last season in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Magic swept the Hawks by an average margin of victory of 25 points — the worst four-game sweep in league history. However, the tables turned as Atlanta was able to win the season series against Orlando, losing once in their four head-to-head meetings.

What changed? With head coach Larry Drew making the decision to start Jason Collins at center, that’s allowed the Hawks to defend Dwight Howard one-on-one while also defending the Magic’s shooters on the perimeter. Also, the trickle-down effect of starting Collins at center has allowed Atlanta to play Al Horford at the power forward position and Josh Smith at small forward, which has created mismatches in their favor, given that they’re being defended by the likes of Brandon Bass, Ryan Anderson, and Hedo Turkoglu. Unfortunately for Orlando, Horford is too strong and skilled for either Bass or Anderson, while Smith is too athletic for Turkoglu. On the flipside, Horford is more than capable of defending Bass or Anderson on the perimeter, while Smith has the luxury of being a menace on the weak-side since he isn’t being dragged to the three-point line by Turkoglu as much as he was when Rashard Lewis was matched up against him.

Yes, things are different this time around and even though the Hawks’ efficiency differential is -1.4, which isn’t good, they have the personnel that will challenge the Magic much more than they did last year. It should be an interesting series to watch unfold.

A few days ago, I was able to ask Bret LaGree of Hoopinion a few questions to preview the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs between the Orlando Magic and the Atlanta Hawks.

_______

Given what occurred last season, how might the matchup between the Magic and Hawks be different this time around?

It’s really hard to lose four playoff games by 101 cumulative points. Only been done once! I don’t think either team is as good as they were last season which should make things more competitive even if the difference between the two teams is similar. This assumes it takes one really good team to create an historic margin of victory and, as teams are pulled together closer toward mediocrity they, by their very nature, become more evenly matched even as the quality of basketball declines.

Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 14

Blue and White Ignite: Special fan activities announced for 2011 playoffs

Via the Orlando Magic:

It’s time for Blue and White Ignite as the 2011 NBA playoffs tip off this weekend. There are many opportunities for fans and the community to show their spirit as the Magic’s sixth man by wearing Blue and White to ignite the team on all game days during the 2011 playoffs. Some highlights of the fan activities surrounding the 2011 Orlando Magic Playoffs will include the following:

  • For Game 1 in the First Round, 20,000 cheer cards presented by Sun Sports and FOX Sports Florida and 5,000 rally rackets will be given away.
  • Gina Marie Incandela will sing the National Anthem at the first game of each round.
  • Fan Fest on Church Street in front of Amway Center will open three hours prior to tip-off for all home playoff games. Fan Fest will feature the Bacardi Together Block Party with $4 Bacardi specials, $2 beers and $2 hot dogs during happy hour (4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 16), while other food and beverages will be available for purchase. Come out and enjoy Bacardi’s Blue & White Ignite specialty drink, offered exclusively at the Bacardi Together Block Party, and enjoy the huge fan zone with a tailgate atmosphere that will give fans a reason to arrive early for the festivities. No ticket is required to attend Fan Fest and guests can stay to watch the game on the 16×9 foot HD outdoor television.
  • The Blue Zoo presented by MetroPCS is the newest addition to the Amway Center, providing a seating area in the OZONE for the most passionate Magic fans. The only way fans can obtain tickets to the Blue Zoo presented by MetroPCS is by demonstrating how much they love the Orlando Magic. Fans should be geared up with their best Orlando Magic outfits, face paint, hair dye and other fun items ready for their chance to earn their way into the Blue Zoo. Stay tuned to Orlando Magic social media outlets for updates from the Orlando Magic and MetroPCS on how to get into the Blue Zoo!
  • This year, the Orlando Magic have created Sixth Man Zones around Orlando to bring the excitement of the 2011 Playoffs to you! Keep an eye out for Magic events such as watch parties, giveaways, social media activities, contests and appearances by Magic Live performers at these Sixth Man Zones. While there, don’t forget to pick up your free playoff items, including car magnets, yard signs and cheer cards, at participating Panera Bread and Cold Stone Creamery locations, while supplies last.

Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 14

Dwight Howard earns Aleve-Publix ‘Hustle Player of the Year’ honors

AP Photo/John Raoux

Via the Orlando Magic:

Dwight Howard was named the Aleve-Publix ‘Hustle Player of the Year’ at halftime of the Orlando Magic’s regular season finale Wednesday evening against the Indiana Pacers. At the close of each month this season, Aleve has highlighted the top hustle plays of the month in-game and has allowed Magic fans the opportunity to go online to OrlandoMagic.com to vote for the player they felt showed the most heart and hustle. Due to his constant commitment to playing every game with more excitement than the last, Howard was selected as the recipient of the 2010-11 Aleve-Publix ‘Hustle Player of the Year’ honor.

Howard accepted the award from Larry Bond with Bayer Healthcare, who represented Aleve, and Maria Brous with Publix Super Markets. In honor of Howard’s accomplishments, Bayer Healthcare is donating $5,000 to CECO – the Conductive Education Center of Orlando. CECO is also a 2011 grant recipient from the Orlando Magic Youth Fund, a McCormick Foundation Fund.

Page 140 of 253« First...102030...138139140141142...150160170...Last »