- John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “Delighted to be off losing teams and vaulted into the chase for a championship, Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas initially played well in the afterglow of the Orlando Magic’s blockbuster trades back on Dec. 18. But in the weeks since, that glow has faded, the NBA’s dog days have hit and the two centerpiece players in the Magic’s midseason makeover have struggled mightily. That was never more evident than Sunday in Boston when Turkoglu and Arenas endured forgettable afternoons in Orlando’s 91-80 loss to the Celtics. Turkoglu missed nine of his 10 shots, while Arenas didn’t make any of his seven shots and went scoreless for the first time in his career since 2004. And when the frustrating Boston loss was over, Arenas not only racked his brain as to when the last time he played without scoring, but as to why all of his work in practice isn’t translating over to games.”
- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said that injured starting power forward Brandon Bass, who missed his third consecutive game Sunday because of a severely sprained left ankle, is making strides in his recovery. The club said that Bass still might be out until after the Feb. 17-19 NBA all-star break. Van Gundy said that the swelling in Bass’ ankle has decreased considerably. Bass, who was injured Jan. 31 against the Memphis Grizzlies, has been back in Orlando performing non-weight-bearing exercises in a swimming pool.”
- The Orlando Magic, simply put, are a team in disarray.
- Bradford Doolittle of Basketball Prospectus recaps the Magic’s loss yesterday.
- Dwight Howard was Jekyll and Hyde against the Boston Celtics.
- Is there a hitch in Howard’s free-throw shooting form?
- Marc Stein of ESPN.com: “The Magic were a wobbly 16-9 when they swung their big trades … and they’ve slumped to 16-11 since. They’re so out of sorts that Dwight, for the first time since December 2006, hasn’t blocked a shot for three games.”
- Howard is keeping the faith that the Magic can turn things around: “I look at the Packers in the Super Bowl and I know it can be done. Green Bay wasn´t great all the time during the season, but they got hot at the right time and crushed folks in the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers got it going and those dudes followed him, so I´m keeping the faith and hoping that I can do the same thing here with the Magic. We know we have so much talent on this team, but for us it´s about being more consistent on a night-to-night basis and bringing it defensively. We´ve struggled getting stops defensively and too often when our offense is struggling we let it affect our defense. We have to be tougher mentally and not let that happen.”
- Ken Berger of CBSSports.com: “Howard evidently is willing to be patient. A free agent in 2012 along with the Hornets’ Chris Paul, Howard has yet to form a strong opinion one way or the other, according to a person with knowledge of his thinking. Stay or go? To paraphrase LeBron, what should he do? If he does leave, Howard has his eyes on two teams — the Lakers and Knicks — as the big-market destinations where he’ll chase down his championships and marketing opportunities if things don’t work out in the Sunshine State. The Nets, who are supposed to be in Brooklyn by then, also are in the mix, the person said. So the Magic are on the clock — the way the Cavs were with LeBron and the Raptors with Chris Bosh, and the way the bill has come due for the Nuggets and Carmelo Anthony. But if you ask Magic GM Otis Smith — and I did — there isn’t some knee-jerk plan to deal with Howard’s future. Smith has been planning for the next year and a half for the past seven years.”
- Gilbert Arenas’ inability to produce in cold weather is not a hoax.
- Is Orlando still an elite team and championship contender?
- Zach Lowe of The Point Forward: “There are so many questions, and Van Gundy is still trying to answer them to find the right mix and the right sets on offense. The Magic will have only 25 games or so to work this out before Bass’ return. That’s not an ideal situation; the Cavaliers last season lamented how little time they had to prepare for the playoffs with their core lineup, and though Shaquille O’Neal’s late-season injury made that situation more troubling that Orlando’s current state, the fact remains that more preparation time is better.”
- Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports doesn’t mince words about Arenas’ struggles.
The Orlando Magic celebrates February as Black History Month with a variety of activities, highlighted by the Magic’s African-American Chamber Business After Hours reception on February 22 at Amway Center for more than 200 African-American community leaders. Also, “Young Blacks in Action” and “Revelation Acappella” will perform during home games on February 8 and 23, respectively.
The Magic is also proud sponsors of numerous community events including: the Mayors’ Black History Month Luncheon benefiting United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Orange County Black History Month Celebration & Gala, supporters of the Wells’Built Museum’s Trailblazers Recognition luncheon, the Zora Neale Hurston Festival and the City of Orlando’s Celebrate Black History Committee Scholarship given to one local high school senior.
During this month, the Magic reflect on the rich heritage and many contributions made by African-Americans. The Magic is committed to creating an environment in which employees, community partners and fans feel welcome, valued and appreciated. The team celebrates diversity and embraces its many characteristics and the value it brings to both business and community—understanding what can be accomplished when everyone works together to achieve legendary moments.
The Boston Celtics were able to defeat the Orlando Magic by the score of 91-80, further proving the notion that there’s a team from the state of Florida that doesn’t deserve to be considered an elite team and championship contender. And it’s not the Miami Heat. Buoyed by Rajon Rondo’s excellent play and a stifling defense that didn’t allow many open shots on the perimeter, the Celtics smothered the Magic in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicates. Rondo led the way for Boston with 26 points and seven assists, aggressively attacking Orlando’s defense and dismembering a unit led by Dwight Howard. Paul Pierce contributed with 18 points, five assists, and four rebounds. Kevin Garnett chipped in with 16 points and nine rebounds. For the Magic, it was a lot of Howard and little else. Howard was dominant, putting up 28 points, 13 rebounds, and three steals. There was little that Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis could do to contain Howard, even though they did an admirable job of making him work offensively. Unfortunately for Howard, a scrap with Perkins in the second quarter that saw him throw an elbow after he was fouled on a play earned him his 14th technical of the season. The elbow wasn’t needed and it didn’t help that Howard threw it in front of an official, but it’s easy to sympathize with the big fella’s frustration when he’s getting fouled continuously on plays and sometimes not getting calls go his way.
Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images
In a battle between two titans from the state of Florida, the Miami Heat were able to defeat the Orlando Magic by the score of 104-100. This was a game in which the Heat led from start to finish, but not without some theatrics in between. Miami led by as many as 23 points, in the fourth quarter no less, yet Orlando was able to go on a furious run thanks in large part to their three-point shooting. As a result, the Magic — improbably — had a chance to tie the game at 103 apiece with a three-pointer but Ryan Anderson was unable to capitalize on Mike Miller’s turnover and the Heat were able to dodge a bullet, holding on for the victory. For Miami, it was the LeBron James show as he erupted for 51 points (on 17-of-25 shooting from the field), 11 rebounds, and eight assists. For James, it was his first 50-point game of the season and he was five points short of his career-high. It’s worth mentioning, as well, that James started the game off by making his first 11 shots. Crazy. James said before stepping on the court that he never forgot the criticisms that were directed towards him by general manager Otis Smith during the offseason and needless to say, he made Orlando pay with a performance that could effectively be described in a few words — ruthless, methodical, dominant. James wasn’t alone, though. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh chipped in with 14 and 13 points, respectively. The Magic were led by a balanced attack as five players scored in double-figures. Jameer Nelson finished with 22 points, six rebounds, and six assists, paving the way for the comeback charge that surprised the Heat it seemed like. Dwight Howard had 17 points, 16 rebounds, but missed free-throws (10 of them, to be exact) doomed the Magic in the grand scheme of things. Jason Richardson had 18 points, while Hedo Turkoglu contributed with 13 points. Gilbert Arenas finished with 10 points. So what did Orlando learn from this loss?