On a night where people could have mistakenly confused the quality of officiating in a regulation NBA game for some of the sketchy refereeing that plagued the 2011 NCAA Tournament in the early rounds, the New York Knicks were able to defeat the Orlando Magic by the score of 113-106 in overtime. The loss snaps a five-game winning streak for the Magic. Normally, refs have little impact in the outcome of a game because, ultimately, it comes down to the players and coaches to come away with a result one way or the other. But it’s hard to ignore shoddy calls made by the officials late in the fourth quarter, as well as overtime, that aided in Orlando’s inability to come away with a victory. More on that later. The Knicks were led by a fantastic performance from Carmelo Anthony, as he finished with 39 points (on 12-of-26 shooting from the field) and 10 rebounds. Anthony’s lack of enthusiasm to play defense is well-documented in the league, but his activity on that end of the floor was fantastic. Anthony put forth an honest effort defensively, and his teammates were quick to follow his lead. Although New York still gave up more than 100 points, the commitment to playing defense was there. The Magic were led by a balanced attack, as five players scored in double-figures. Dwight Howard finished with 29 points and 18 rebounds. Jason Richardson stepped up, especially in crunch-time, and dropped 24 points. Hedo Turkoglu was masterful, once again, with 18 points and four assists. Brandon Bass had 14 points, while Ryan Anderson had 10 points. A big problem for Orlando was that they played short-handed. Not only was Jameer Nelson, J.J. Redick, and Quentin Richardson sidelined with injuries, but Chris Duhon jammed his right thumb and was unable to return after the second quarter, leaving head coach Stan Van Gundy with seven rotation players. Unfortunately for the Magic, that wasn’t the end of the bad news.
- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “It wouldn’t be shocking at all if the New York Knicks — the Magic’s opponent tonight — make a play for Dwight Howard next season, perhaps offering either Amar’e Stoudemire or Carmelo Anthony at trade deadline for the all-star center. Howard can become a free agent after next season, and the Magic will be nervously waiting for the NBA’s most dominant big man to make a decision. If they don’t want to wait and risk losing him without compensation, the Magic could listen to trade offers for Howard next season. It’s when they have some leverage. Teams in the NBA will be falling all over themselves in attempts to pry Howard away from Orlando — at the trade deadline and, obviously. next summer if, or when, he’s free. The Knicks are desperate for a center. You don’t think they’d part with either Anthony or Stoudemire for Howard? Stoudemire has had to play the role of the Knicks’ big man this season, and it has worn him down.”
- Head coach Stan Van Gundy is complimentary of a fellow coach.
- John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “The Orlando Magic are a wacky collection of characters and off-center personalities as evidenced by their recent vow to not shave their facial hair until after their playoff run is complete (hopefully in the NBA Finals, of course). But head coach Stan Van Gundy pointed out something recently about a couple of the Magic players that is a true rarity in NBA locker rooms. According to Van Gundy, Ryan Anderson is much better than even the power forward thinks he is and the coach is constantly harping on him use his talent to attack. Then, there’s the case of reserve point guard Chris Duhon, who has taken care of the ball and defended the way the Magic have hoped, but for whatever reason he’s shown a reluctance to shoot the ball. It’s gotten so bad at times that it’s been like the Magic are playing four on five offensively because of Duhon’s unwillingness to pull the trigger on shots. Begging a player to shoot more and not less? Again, a true rarity in the sometimes egomaniacal NBA world.”
- Players for the Orlando Magic state their individual goals.
- Vince Carter is not the same player that he was with the Magic. Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post explains: “While it unfolds, the whole scene is surreal to me as I watch from the comfort of my couch. Less than two years ago, the Magic acquired Carter and Ryan Anderson for next to nothing (the expiring contracts of Rafer Alston and Tony Battie, plus the youthful Courtney Lee) in a critically acclaimed move designed to put them over the top in the championship hunt. Now, following a midseason trade and a rocky adjustment period, he’s coming off the bench for a lottery team, and even then only to loiter on the weak side and wait for a kickout.”
- Marc Stein of ESPN.com: “This probably speaks more to the ongoing Boston funk and Miami’s recent 5-6 stretch against .500-or-better teams, but Orlando actually has the East’s second-best record since the All-Star break … at a modest 11-5.”
- M. Haubs of The Painted Area argues that Dwight Howard does more to help the Magic win games than Derrick Rose does for the Chicago Bulls: “Derrick Rose is a great player who has had an outstanding season. He is the best player on the best team in the Eastern Conference. He has been the driving offensive force in pulling out wins in the fourth quarter on several occasions. The Bulls offense as a whole has been excellent when he’s been on the floor. But Derrick Rose has been one of several key factors – defense (and the coaching behind it), Rose, rebounding, bench – in the Bulls’ surprising success this season. He has not been the single primary factor. [...] I was fully ready to swing to the Rose MVP camp following his performance late in the game on Saturday. However, after digging into the evidence, I feel more strongly than ever that Derrick Rose does not deserve to be the 2010-11 NBA MVP, though I have little doubt at this point that he will win the award. I’m going to withhold judgment on my mythical ballot as a whole for another couple weeks.”
- Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk: “Five straight wins and the best center in the game, solid four seed, but nobody mentions them among the contenders in the East. You’ll see more Gilbert Arenas this week, which may not be best for then Magic.”
Orlando’s Dwight Howard named NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week for NBA-high sixth time this season
Via the Orlando Magic:
The Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, Mar. 21, through Sunday, Mar. 27. It marks the sixth time this season, which is an NBA-high (LeBron James-5; Russell Westbrook, Dwyane Wade-4), and the 17th time of his career that Howard has earned the league’s top weekly honor.
Howard led the Magic to a 3-0 week and helped push the team to its fifth consecutive victory, which is Orlando’s third longest winning streak of the season and is tied for the longest active winning streak in the Eastern Conference. Howard averaged 27.3 points (third in the East), an NBA-high 14.3 rebounds per game and shot .717 (27-of-38) from the field, which was also tops in the league. He also ranked first in the East in blocks (3.3 blkpg.) and second in steals per contest (2.3 stlpg.). Howard tallied double-doubles in each of the Magic’s three contests, extending his franchise record double-double streak to 30 games (Jan. 21-present) and led the team in scoring and rebounding in all three games.
In addition, on Mar. 21 at Cleveland, Howard recorded 28 points, 18 rebounds, four blocks, four assists and four steals. According to ESPN, he became the first player since Hakeem Olajuwon over 21 years ago to record those numbers in a single game (Olajuwon tallied 29 points, 18 rebounds, 11 blocks, 10 assists and five steals on Mar. 3, 1990 in a victory over Golden State).
Here is a recap of the week for Howard:
Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
Mar. 21 @ Cleveland: Posted 28 points, 18 rebounds, four blocks, four assists and four steals in a 97-86 win over the Cavaliers.
Mar. 23 @ New York: Poured in 33 points to go along with 11 rebounds, three blocks and two assists in a 111-99 win at New York.
Mar. 25 vs. New Jersey: Tallied 21 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks and two steals in a 95-85 victory over the Nets.
Orlando Magic Youth Foundation Black Tie and Tennies Gala generates more than $850,000 for Central Florida youth
Photo by Gary Bassing
Via the Orlando Magic:
On Saturday, March 19, the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation (OMYF) held the 21st annual Black Tie and Tennies Gala presented by FAIRWINDS Credit Union at the Amway Center. Through the OMYF with the McCormick Foundation match, the event generated over $850,000 for the Orlando Magic Youth Fund, a McCormick Foundation Fund (OMYF-MFF). Magic players, coaches, talent and fans participated in an evening of games, silent and live auctions, dinner and awards.
The money generated from the event will help change the lives of children and families in the local community. The OMYF is committed to helping children in Central Florida realize their full potential, especially those most at-risk, by supporting programs and partnerships that empower families and change lives. In addition, over the last 21 years, more than $16 million has been distributed to local non-profit community agencies serving at-risk youth through programs focusing on education, arts and reducing childhood obesity.
In 1994, the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation partnered with the McCormick Foundation to establish the Orlando Magic Youth Fund, a McCormick Foundation Fund (OMYF-MFF). Proceeds from the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation fundraising efforts go to the Fund and are matched at fifty cents on the dollar by the McCormick Foundation. The Orlando Magic Youth Foundation raises community dollars annually through donations, auctions and events such as the Black Tie and Tennies Gala and the OMYF Golf Tournament with matching funds provided by the McCormick Foundation. In 2011, the OMYF-MFF presented checks totaling $1 million to 19 non-profit organizations from three counties in Central Florida and will award scholarships totaling $30,000. Visit omyf.org to learn more.
Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images
Stan Van Gundy made waves Wednesday when he told reporters asking about the MVP race, “I don’t think it’s wide open. The media seems to have made their decision, and they’re the ones that vote. Derrick Rose has it. I haven’t really read or heard a media guy who is going another way at this point.” It’s almost old news, now, as the quote has been extensively covered, but what Stan is tapping into here is the reason the MVP discussion is one of my least favorite parts of the NBA season. I might be starting to sound like a broken record here, but the essence of Stan’s quote, and the truth of the MVP race, is that it is a media award for media-manufactured stories and hardly valuable at all as a reflection of actual player value, but is instead a reflection on which players fulfill the narratives about them.
First, just to do it, I will poke Rose lovers in the eye and give my two cents as far as his MVP candidacy is concerned: It seems sort of crazy. Like, pretty crazy. I’m particularly swayed by John Hollinger’s point that Rose is the best offensive player on a mediocre offensive team, and the worst defensive player on a fantastic defensive team. Of course Rose is a huge part of the Bulls success–I do think, on balance, he is their best player–but to say that the team’s strength is about Rose’s particular skills seems misguided. In truth, I can’t think of one single thing about Rose’s game that elevates him above anyone else in the top level of NBA production. He’s not a top ten player in effective field goal percentage, True Shooting percentage, or Player Efficiency Rating; he ranks behind ostensible gunner Russell Westbrook and the immortal Jose Calderon in assist percentage. His Offensive Rating is not in the top twenty. He does not even play the most minutes on his own team. Or, what about this argument: Could you get Kevin Durant, straight-up, for Derrick Rose? Never. KD is, lest anybody forget, leading the league in scoring for a second consecutive season, and he is less than a week older than Derrick Rose. Could you get Dwight Howard, straight-up, for Derrick Rose? Hardly. League-wide, Dwight is second in rebounds, first in blocks, second in Player Efficiency Rating, second in effective field goal percentage, second in Win Shares per 48 minutes. He scores roughly two fewer points per game than Derrick with a usage rate nearly seven percentage points lower. I won’t go as far as Tom Ziller’s persuasive, well-reasoned argument that Rose is giving the Bulls something like what Westbrook is giving the Thunder, but my point is this: Derrick Rose, having a fantastic season for a great team, has not distinguished himself in any discernible way from the rest of the NBA elite.
The Orlando Magic were able to defeat the New Jersey Nets by the score of 95-85 to extend their winning streak to five games. This was a game where the margin of victory shouldn’t have been as close as it was for the Magic, but they were able to come away with a victory and that’s all that matters for them. The Nets were without their star point guard, Deron Williams, given that he’s nursing a sore wrist that has kept him out of action recently. That put a lot of pressure on players like Jordan Farmar to perform in Williams’ absence and even though he played relatively well, it was clear New Jersey was missing their best player. Orlando was led by a balanced attack, as five players scored in double-figures. Dwight Howard finished with 21 points, 14 rebounds, two steals, and three blocks, putting up another dominating performance, but five turnovers and 11 missed free throws hurt the Magic at times. Still, Howard was great and played as expected. Hedo Turkoglu was marvelous, contributing with 20 points and 13 assists. Granted, it was against the Nets but these are the types of outings Orlando needs from Turkoglu — he can’t be just a distributor, he needs to be a playmaker as well. Jason Richardson had 15 points. Ryan Anderson chipped in with 15 points, nine rebounds, and two steals while Brandon Bass had 14 points. Of note for the Magic, Jameer Nelson did not play in the second half due to a sprained left knee and it’s unknown how long he’ll be out, if anything.
Photo by Gary Bassing
Via the Orlando Magic:
Orlando Magic Community Ambassador Bo Outlaw along with 20 Magic employees participated in a Habitat for Humanity Orlando build on Thursday, March 24 at Stag Horn Villas in Orlando. The Magic sponsored one home using the Community Contribution Tax Credit Program (CCTCP).
The CCTCP allows qualified organizations to pay the construction costs of a Habitat home and dedicate volunteer hours to the build; the organization or business can then submit a request to receive the amount of their donation returned in the form of a tax credit or refund.
“We are so pleased to partner once again with the Orlando Magic in sponsoring a home for a deserving family in Orlando,” said Lynn Ivanek, Habitat for Humanity Orlando director of development. “Their dedication to building homes and community is greatly appreciated.”
The Orlando Magic encourages (and rewards) its staff to get out and get involved. It is through the organization’s commitment to Central Florida that the Magic Volunteer Program (MVP) was developed. Through the MVP, Magic staff members have contributed over 5,000 community service hours for the third straight year, through the 2009-10 season.
The program began in July of 2006, with the goal of performing 2,000 hours of community service during the 2006-07 season; over 3,800 hours were tracked that first year. MVP is unique in that it allows employees to volunteer during work hours. As an added incentive, employees who reach a certain level of volunteer hours in the community will be invited to a recognition luncheon and receive a check ranging from $50-$100 to donate to a charity of their choice.
“The Orlando Magic is committed to building a strong community,’ said Vice President of Community Relations and Government Affairs Linda Landman Gonzalez. “As part of this commitment we encourage our staff to volunteer, and are proud that through our collective efforts we can help make the dream of home ownership a reality for one family.”
Magic fans have opportunity to win playoff tickets through the Second Annual Magic Text Scavenger Hunt
WHO: Florida residents over the age of 18. Teams are made up of 2-4 people. Transportation and lodging not provided by the Orlando Magic.
WHAT: On Saturday, April 2, the Orlando Magic are hosting the Second Annual Magic Text Scavenger Hunt. Teams of 2-4 people will have the opportunity to compete for a pair of tickets to every home game during the 2011 Magic playoffs. Teams must have at least one Magic Text Subscriber on their cellular phone in the group and be willing to search downtown Orlando by foot while participating in a number of team activities along the way to win. To register, visit Orlandomagic.com/ScavengerHunt.html.
- Teams can sign up for the scavenger hunt at Orlandomagic.com/ScavengerHunt.html or text the word ‘HUNT’ to 78828.
- Registration ends Wednesday, March 30 at 4:00 p.m.
- Magic Text Scavenger Hunt details will be provided within 48 hours after registration ends.
- At least one (1) team member must have a cellular phone that includes video recording and photo capabilities and be a Magic Text Subscriber.
- Message and data rates may apply. No purchase necessary to enter. Contest begins April 2 at noon and ends at 3:00 p.m. same day. Void where prohibited. One entry per team. Must be a Florida resident 18 years of age or older. Visit www.orlandomagic.com for official rules.
WHEN: Saturday, April 2 at 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
WHERE: All over Downtown Orlando