Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 18

Mar 13

Video: Maurice Harkless goes backdoor for a dunk

Mar 12

Preview: Denver Nuggets at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Denver Nuggets at Orlando Magic
  • Date: March 12, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Nuggets: 26-35
  • Magic: 19-46

Probable starters

Nuggets:

  • Ty Lawson
  • Randy Foye
  • Wilson Chandler
  • Kenneth Faried
  • Timofey Mozgov

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Kyle O’Quinn
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Nuggets:

  • Pace: 97.5 (3rd of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 105.6 (18th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 108.0 (21st of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.9 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.6 (28th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.0 (17th of 30)

Read about the Nuggets

Roundball Mining Company

Mar 11

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Harkless has tantalized Magic officials from the moment the team acquired him in Aug. 2012 in the four-team trade that revolved around Dwight Howard. At almost 6-feet-10, Harkless possesses a rare blend of height, long arms and explosiveness that one day could make him a matchup nightmare on both ends of the court. But Harkless is just 20 years old, and he lacks experience. Harkless dislikes hearing his age cited as an excuse, but the fact remains: He’s sometimes too deferential to more seasoned teammates. His deference has diminished in recent weeks, and his increased assertiveness has helped him earn more playing time.”
  • Jason Maxiell has been keeping a positive attitude, even though he hasn’t played a game in recent weeks. So why did GM Rob Hennigan sign him? To be a veteran presence in the locker room.
  • Are the Magic losing or tanking? What’s the difference?
  • The inability to get to the free throw line contributed greatly to Orlando’s loss against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.
  • “What’s the Magic’s worst loss this season?”
  • A look at Scott Howard-Cooper’s 2014 mock draft on NBA.com.
  • Is Victor Oladipo now the favorite to win Rookie of the Year?
  • Royce Young of CBSSports.com on the Magic’s season up to this point: “I suppose they’re accomplishing their goal, right? Be terrible and get another high lottery pick? Well good job! Since Jan. 1, they’re 9-25, but amazingly, that hasn’t been enough to be worse than the Bucks or 76ers, who out-tanking them. Still some time left, though. They’re just four ahead of the Bucks in the loss column. There’s still time play worse.”

Mar 11

Grades: Milwaukee Bucks 105, Orlando Magic 98

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Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Milwaukee Bucks 105 Final
Recap | Box Score
98 Orlando Magic

Arron Afflalo
4-14 FG | 1-5 3P | 4 REB | 4 AST | 12 PTS | 0

In the Magic’s first three games against the Bucks this season, Afflalo averaged 26.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game, and posted an obscene .800 True Shooting percentage. Unfortunately for Afflalo, he was unable to match those gaudy numbers on Monday. His jump shot was off and he ended up having an inefficient outing offensively because of it.

Nikola Vucevic
6-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | 0

There was one stretch midway through the third quarter when Vucevic committed three fouls in the span of three minutes. The first two were offensive fouls — both drawn by Zaza Pachulia — and the third was a silly shooting foul on Khris Middleton. Vucevic got his customary double-double along the way, but he had his struggles versus Milwaukee.

Maurice Harkless
5-10 FG | 3-7 3P | 2 STL | 4 REB | 14 PTS | +8

For the first three quarters, Harkless was outplaying Middleton. He was making his corner 3s and playing solid defense. Then the script flipped in the final period. Middleton went on a 3-point scoring binge, making three triples en route to a 13-point fourth quarter. Middleton was one of the biggest reasons why Milwaukee came back to beat Orlando after trailing by as many as 18.

Jameer Nelson
5-9 FG | 3-5 3P | 3 REB | 7 AST | 13 PTS | +2

Just when it seemed like the Bucks had this one in the bag in the game’s closing seconds, Nelson made things interesting (just for a moment). With the Magic trailing 97-91, Nelson drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing with 35.8 seconds left to cut the deficit to three. Then E’Twaun Moore played spoiler by making a head-scratching foul on the ensuing possession.

Milwaukee Bucks

Early in the second quarter, Orlando was up 31-13 on Milwaukee. Tobias Harris had just knocked down a baseline jumper to give himself 11 points in the span of three minutes. The end of the world was nigh for Bucks fans. Then something funny happened. Harris didn’t score the rest of the night, and the Bucks erased the 18-point deficit and won. Crisis averted.

Mar 10

Preview: Orlando Magic at Milwaukee Bucks

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Milwaukee Bucks
  • Date: March 10, 2014
  • Time: 8:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: BMO Harris Bradley Center

Records

  • Magic: 19-45
  • Bucks: 12-50

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Kyle O’Quinn
  • Nikola Vucevic

Bucks:

  • Brandon Knight
  • Nate Wolters
  • Khris Middleton
  • Ersan Ilyasova
  • Zaza Pachulia

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.9 (17th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.5 (28th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.0 (17th of 30)

Bucks:

  • Pace: 91.7 (26th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.6 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 110.5 (30th of 30)

Read about the Bucks

Bucksketball

Mar 10

Magic to honor Darrell Armstrong on March 14

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Photo by Fernando Medina/Orlando Magic

Via Orlando Magic press release:

In continuation of the Orlando Magic’s 25th anniversary season-long celebration the team will honor former Magic great, Darrell Armstrong, at the Magic’s March 14 matchup vs. the Washington Wizards, tip-off set for 7 p.m. The night will feature a center court presentation at the end of the first quarter. Armstrong will join FOX Sports Florida’s broadcasts including Magic Live pregame show with hosts Paul Kennedy and Nick Anderson and join broadcasters David Steele and Jeff Turner for a portion of the game broadcast. He will also be featured on Magic Drive Time radio show with host Dante Marchitelli on Thursday, March 13 at 5:30 p.m. on 740 The Game. In addition, the first 2,500 fans will receive a collectible 8×10 photo featuring Armstrong and Doron Lamb. Armstrong will be available to the media at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 14 in the Amway Center interview room.

“Legends Nights” is an on-going program which will honor former players/legends throughout the Magic’s Silver Season. Past honorees include Tracy McGrady, Nick Anderson, Pat Williams, Jimmy Hewitt, Dennis Scott, Pat Garrity, Jeff Turner, Sam Vincent, John Gabriel, Bo Outlaw, Horace Grant and Penny Hardaway. In addition to the Magic’s “Legends Nights,” the 2013-14 season will feature the Silver Ticket Sweepstakes and Scratch Off Promotion, special appearances, game entertainment and other events throughout the season.

Armstrong’s professional career began in 1991 playing for the Atlanta Eagles/Trojans of the USBL, from there he spent the next four years playing for teams in the CBA, GBA and overseas. Prior to his stint overseas, he volunteered as an assistant basketball coach and worked the night shift at a yarn factory in Gastonia, NC. He was discovered by then Magic GM John Gabriel and signed as a free agent for the Magic during the 1994-95 season. Armstrong played nine seasons for Orlando from 1994-2003. While with the Magic, he averaged 11.7 ppg., 5.1 apg., 3.3 rpg., and 1.7 stlpg. in 28.4 mpg., and received the NBA Most Improved Player Award and the NBA Sixth Man Award in the same season (1999). In addition to finishing fifth all-time in games played with Orlando (502), Armstrong ranks on the Magic’s all-time franchise list in points (5,898, ninth), assists (2,555, third), steals (830, second), minutes played (14,234 fifth) and 3-point field goals made (654, sixth).

Mar 09

Grades: San Antonio Spurs 121, Orlando Magic 112

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AP Photo/Darren Abate

 

San Antonio Spurs 121 Final
Recap | Box Score
112 Orlando Magic

Arron Afflalo
7-18 FG | 2-3 3P | 3 REB | 4 AST | 17 PTS | -16

Afflalo wasn’t bad in his second game back from a sprained right ankle, but it’s never a great thing when a player has more shots (18 for Afflalo against the Spurs) than points (17). San Antonio did a good job of chasing Afflalo off the 3-point line. Had he managed a few more attempts from deep, perhaps this would have been a different game.

Nikola Vucevic
7-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 13 REB | 3 AST | 19 PTS | -13

Vucci Mane had his hands full against a healthy Spurs frontline, but he acquitted himself well against stiff opposition. He got his routine double-double, and neither Tim Duncan nor Tiago Splitter made a huge impact on offense, thanks in part to Vucevic’s post defense. The problems came when San Antonio ran pick-and-roll, with Vucevic caught out of position a few times en route to Tony Parker’s 30-point scoring burst.

Tobias Harris
11-16 FG | 2-3 3P | 2 BLK | 8 REB | 23 PTS | -4

The game against the Spurs was a mixed bag for Harris. Individually, he played exceptionally well. He was efficient from the field, grabbed eight boards, added a few big defensive plays and, most importantly, avoided foul trouble. His contributions resulted in his getting 32 minutes of playing time. But Harris was part of that lineup that surrendered the game to San Antonio, so he gets a slight demerit.

Maurice Harkless
4-14 FG | 3-4 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 12 PTS | -10

Not a whole lot went right for Mo on Saturday night against the Spurs, but he gets some credit for being active on the offensive glass at least. His 4-for-14 shooting night looks worse than it was, in a sense — several of those field goal attempts came on tips and putbacks around the rim that happened to come up short.

San Antonio Spurs

It might be time for the rest of the NBA to start paying attention to the Spurs once again. San Antonio is healthy for the first time in a while, and when they have the full depth and breadth of their roster, this is a terrifying team. Parker headlined the Spurs’ offensive efforts with his 30 points. And Manu Ginobili was his usual wonderful, off-the-bench self, adding 24 points.

Mar 08

Preview: Orlando Magic at San Antonio Spurs

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at San Antonio Spurs
  • Date: March 8, 2014
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Magic: 19-44
  • Spurs: 45-16

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Kyle O’Quinn
  • Nikola Vucevic

Spurs:

  • Tony Parker
  • Danny Green
  • Kawhi Leonard
  • Tiago Splitter
  • Tim Duncan

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.8 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.4 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.7 (16th of 30)

Spurs:

  • Pace: 94.7 (13th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 109.6 (8th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 102.8 (4th of 30)

Read about the Spurs

48 Minutes of Hell

Mar 06

Thursday’s Mini-Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “From Nov. 26 through Jan. 14, O’Quinn didn’t play at all in nine separate Magic games. And when he did play in other games, he usually played sparingly. But everything changed when starting center Nik Vucevic suffered a concussion in early January. Vucevic’s absence gave O’Quinn a chance to play, and O’Quinn made the most of that chance. He played so well that coach Jacque Vaughn continued to give him regular playing time once Vucevic returned from his injury. Since Jan. 15, O’Quinn has averaged 19.8 minutes, 7.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.”
  • Kyle O’Quinn isn’t the only Magic player that’s been playing well lately. So has Maurice Harkless, who has been putting up some impressive numbers in his last five games.
  • One NBA writer doesn’t agree with Orlando honoring Dwight Howard with a video tribute when the Houston Rockets played the Magic at Amway Center.
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post details the reaction that Magic fans gave when Howard’s video tribute was shown on the JumboTron: “Fans booed at the start of the tribute video and at its conclusion as public address announcer Paul Porter said Howard’s name, but did not sustain the boos for the duration of the video. Overall, one could fairly assess the reception Howard receive as negative, but not overwhelmingly so.”
  • Chandler Parsons, a Magic fan when he was growing up and a teammate of Howard’s on the Rockets, said he would have booed Howard on Wednesday.

Mar 06

Grades: Houston Rockets 101, Orlando Magic 89

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AP Photo/John Raoux

 

Houston Rockets 101 Final
Recap | Box Score
89 Orlando Magic

Arron Afflalo
8-16 FG | 0-4 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 18 PTS | -5

Afflalo had his hands full defending James Harden, who scored 31 points (including 25 in the second half). On two consecutive possessions midway through the fourth quarter, Afflalo was draped all over Harden on the perimeter. Yet it didn’t matter, as Harden made back-to-back contested jumpers right in Afflalo’s grill. That’s why The Beard is the best shooting guard in the Western Conference.

Nikola Vucevic
7-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 10 REB | 4 AST | 15 PTS | -7

It was Vucci Mane vs. Superman and the latter won the matchup. Even though Vucevic had a double-double, he got outclassed by Dwight Howard. Particularly in the third quarter, when Howard went on a rampage offensively on the interior and scored 11 points in the period. It was dunks and layups galore for Howard, and Vucevic was helpless to stop him.

Maurice Harkless
6-10 FG | 2-3 3P | 5 STL | 2 REB | 15 PTS | -21

It was another solid showing for Harkless, who’s been in a really nice groove on offense in the Magic’s last five games (including tonight’s game). Perhaps the most impressive sequence from Harkless came midway through the first quarter when he got out in transition, caught a pass from Ronnie Price, and finished with a one-handed tomahawk dunk on Patrick Beverley.

Tobias Harris
3-12 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | -7

The theme of the night was the Rockets’ starters winning every positional battle. Terrence Jones completely Tobias Harris and had the play of the game to show for it. Late in the third quarter, Jones had Harris isolated on the right wing with the shot clock winding down. He made a quick crossover move, which buckled Harris’ ankles, and he finished with a layup.

Houston Rockets

Orlando was able to jump on Houston in the first quarter. The Magic played with a bundle of energy, while it looked like the Rockets were stuck in quicksand, given that they were playing on a back-to-back after a thrilling win at home against the Miami Heat on Tuesday. Then reality set in after the opening period and Houston took care of business, dispatching Orlando with ease.

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