Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 188

Dec 01

Recap: Orlando Magic 107, Chicago Bulls 78

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

BOX SCORE

The Orlando Magic played one of their best games of the regular season and were able to defeat the Chicago Bulls by the score of 107-78, winning their season-high fifth consecutive game of the year. For the Magic, they blew the game wide-open by halftime after putting up a 33-15 margin in the second quarter. Orlando was led by a balanced attack, as five players scored in double-figures. The Magic’s starting backcourt was excellent, as Jameer Nelson finished with 24 points, nine assists, and two steals while outplaying Derrick Rose head-to-head, while Vince Carter had 22 points and six rebounds. Dwight Howard had another pedestrian game for his standards, chipping in with 13 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks. Rashard Lewis had 13 points before leaving the game early with a left knee injury (it’s not considered serious). And once again, Brandon Bass contributed off the bench with 17 points.

This was a weird game.

J.J. Redick had to sit out with a stomach flu and unfortunately for Orlando, a virus that has been going around the team had Mickael Pietrus vomiting in the second quarter. With Redick and Pietrus absent, the Magic were short-handed on wing players which resulted in extended minutes for Quentin Richardson, Chris Duhon, and Carter to shore up part of the rotation.

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Dec 01

Preview: Orlando Magic at Chicago Bulls

8:00 EDT | Sun Sports
13-4 @ 9-6
Pythagorean Record: 12-5 Pythagorean Record: 9-6
Pace: 91.7 (19th) Pace: 93.9 (11th)
Offensive Rating: 107.5 (12th) Offensive Rating: 106.0 (17th)
Defensive Rating: 100.1 (1st) Defensive Rating: 102.7 (8th)
United Center | First meeting this season

Dec 01

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “Suddenly, Rashard Lewis’ stats are meaning out to his career average. Lewis made 7-of-10 field goals for a game-high 20 points in the Orlando Magic’s 90-79 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night, and his horrid start to the season appears to be what he’s said all along – not that big of a deal. […] Lewis – and his 7-year, $118 million dollar contract that gets mentioned as much as his name – began the year looking washed up, averaging 10.3 points and shooting just 30.6 percent from three-point range. Because Lewis contributes very little outside of scoring, his poor shooting put him in the crosshairs of upset fans. At the time, Lewis let the negativity roll off his back and expressed confidence his shot would come around. He’s in his 13th season, after all – he’s been through a few shooting slumps in his day.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Orlando faced some tests early in the season. There was a game in Miami on the second leg of a back-to-back. There were home games against the Atlanta Hawks and the Utah Jazz. And the team faced the San Antonio Spurs in Texas and the Miami Heat at Amway Center during a three-day span. But the fact remains that the Magic played 11 of their first 17 games against teams that currently have losing records. The Magic started their season 13-4, but the team notched wins at New Jersey, at Indiana and at Washington only after Jameer Nelson or Dwight Howard scored go-ahead baskets in the games’ final minute. The Bulls, the Pistons and the Milwaukee Bucks should be just as tough, if not tougher.”
  • Charles Barkley thinks the Chicago Bulls are going to win the Eastern Conference.
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post with the biggest Orlando Magic-related news of the day: “The Orlando Magic have engaged the Washington Wizards in an ongoing trade dialog centered around Wizards shooting guard Gilbert Arenas, Orlando Pinstriped Post has learned. What Orlando would send Washington in return for the three-time All-Star is less clear, but the proposed deal likely includes shooting guard Vince Carter, according to a source. Wizards big man Andray Blatche, Magic forward Rashard Lewis, and Magic center Daniel Orton could also be involved. Both teams have a mutual understanding of what the trade might include, the source says, and it’s unclear what factors are holding up the trade. What is clear around the league, however, is that Magic President of Basketball Operations Otis Smith has his eye on Arenas. If Orlando is to make a major trade this season, Arenas will likely be the target.”
  • Royce Young of CBSSports.com chimes in on Dunlap’s report: “An interesting deal, especially if Blatche were involved, considering the Wizards just locked him up to be part of their future. But swapping Carter for Arenas makes sense because it gives the Magic the scorer they want and with Carter’s deal being up soon, the Wizards have a nice contract to come off the books in the near future, plus can hand the reins of the team completely over to Wall.”
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk wonders if Gilbert Arenas is the answer for the Magic.
  • Zach Lowe of The Point Forward: “Taking on Arenas without getting rid of other long-term obligations puts Orlando in a difficult cap situation and could easily result in the team’s being stuck with a long-term core of Arenas, Lewis, Dwight Howard and Nelson. That’s not a bad core, but it’s not a championship-level core, either, unless Orlando can find supplementary talent elsewhere.”
  • Arie Stark of Dime Magazine remembers when Shaquille O’Neal, who left Orlando as a free agent in 1996, made his first return to the City Beautiful as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers: “Shaq left Orlando on bitter terms with the organization after not being compensated adequately. In his first trip back to Orlando after signing with the Lakers after the 1995-96 season, Shaq produced 20 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks but was outshined that night by Nick Anderson who went off for 30 points – including the game-winning three-pointer. To add insult to injury, Anderson mocked Shaq’s celebratory dance after his big shot.”
  • Dwight Howard makes fun of Derek Anderson’s now-infamous rant.
  • Ken Berger of CBSSports.com: “Since being reinserted into the starting lineup eight games ago, Arenas has been consistently exceeding 30 minutes a night and has scored at least 20 points in five of those games. While the Magic have let it be known that they’re willing to make a big deal if it involves trading anyone except Dwight Howard, sources say there has been no movement on the Arenas front since the aforementioned discussions fell apart.”

Dec 01

Orlando’s Amway Center tower to turn red in honor of World AIDS Day on December 1

Via the Orlando Magic:

One of Orlando’s newest and most iconic landmarks – the Amway Center Tower – will be illuminated red to mark World AIDS Day on Wednesday, December 1 and to raise awareness of the commitment of the global health community to work together to virtually eliminate the transmission of HIV from mother to child by 2015.

Orlando is one of more than 30 major cities in the United States that will light their most distinctive landmarks in red, joining New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Miami, Seattle and others. The lightings will highlight the attainable goal of ending mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015, creating the first generation of babies born HIV-free in 30 years. Despite the fact that HIV/AIDS is preventable and treatable, UNAIDS statistics published last week estimate 370,000 children are infected with the disease, down from 430,000 in 2008. About 90% of these babies are born in sub-Saharan Africa.

In addition to the landmark lightings, (RED) partners Starbucks and Dell will make special added contributions to the Global Fund from purchases made on and during the week of World AIDS Day. Starbucks will contribute 5 cents/5 p for every handcrafted beverage purchased in participating stores in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Ireland on December 1; Dell will be doubling their contributions on (PRODUCT)RED™ items in the U.S. and the U.K. for the full week of November 29 – December 3. Converse will also be recognizing World AIDS Day, by turning their newly launched flagship retail stores on Newbury Street in Boston and in SoHo in New York City (RED).

Since its launch in 2006, (RED) partners and events have generated $160 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, supporting HIV and AIDS programs in Africa that have reached more than 5 million people with testing, counseling, medication and services. For more information on (RED), please visit www.joinred.com.

Dec 01

Orlando Magic assign Daniel Orton to New Mexico of the NBA D-League

Via the Orlando Magic:

The Orlando Magic have assigned center Daniel Orton to the New Mexico Thunderbirds of the NBA Development League, President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Otis Smith announced today.

Orton (6’10”, 255, 8/6/90) has not played during the 2010-11 regular season. He was selected by the Magic in the first round (29th overall) of the 2010 NBA Draft.

Orton played in all 38 games during his freshman season at the University of Kentucky, averaging 3.4 ppg., 3.3 rpg. and 1.39 blkpg. in 13.4 minpg. Orton helped the Wildcats reach the Elite Eight during the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

Dec 01

Recap: Orlando Magic 90, Detroit Pistons 79

AP Photo/John Raoux

BOX SCORE

It was another lackadaisical performance but the Orlando Magic were able to defeat the Detroit Pistons by the score of 90-79. For three quarters, the Magic were in cruise control and only led by three points heading into the fourth quarter. Yet Orlando was able to flip the switch, as they say, in the last period and put the Pistons away in a decisive manner. Rashard Lewis led the way for the Magic with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Dwight Howard had a quiet game for his standards, finishing with nine points, 14 rebounds, three steals, and two blocks. In fact, it was a combination of Mickael Pietrus and J.J. Redick coming off the bench to combine for 23 points, including 5-of-11 shooting from three-point range, that gave Orlando just enough oomph offensively to come away with a victory.

Needless to say, the first quarter was a bit of a disaster for the Magic.

Not sure what the deal is but Orlando is not learning their lesson about playing inferior opponents with a lack of energy and effort. Detroit was running circles around their familiar foe, jumping out to an 18-6 lead that was sparked by a 14-0 scoring run. It got so bad that head coach Stan Van Gundy was forced to take two timeouts in the span of less than six minutes and berate his players.

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Nov 30

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “As of Monday, [Dwight] Howard, the reigning two-time Defensive Player of the Year, was in the top 5 in rebounding and blocks. Scoring weighs heavily in MVP voting, as overrated as it is. ‘Voters don’t look at Dwight’s affect on the game as a whole. It’s not sexy,’ General Manager Otis Smith said. ‘Scoring 30 points a night is sexy.’ Howard is trying to sex it up with his offensive expansion. He’s risen to No. 12 in scoring — a high-water mark for him if the season ended today — at a career-best 22.6 points per game. He’d crack the top 10 easily and gain more attention if he’d improve at the free-throw line (53.8 percent), where he’s leaving points on the floor and damaging his MVP campaign. He’s also in the top 5 in field-goal percentage, double-doubles and efficiency rating.”
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy won’t limit Vince Carter‘s minutes when he plays.
  • Van Gundy talks about the Detroit Pistons.
  • Tracy McGrady on the future his career: “I’m not what I once was, but I think I’m a smart enough basketball player to be able to modify my game. It’s just working on fine-tuning what I can and what I can’t do on the basketball court. Everything is an adjustment. As long as I’m healthy, I feel good about my future.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “Sunday was a day off for the Orlando Magic after playing in Washington, D.C., the night before and not arriving back in Central Florida until 3 a.m. But not for veteran guard Vince Carter, who arrived early at the team headquarters and took advantage of the solitude inside the gym. With only an athletic trainer looking on, Carter wanted to test out the bruised left knee that had kept him out of the previous three Magic wins against Miami, Cleveland and Washington. On his own, Carter wanted to push the injured knee and clear whatever mental hurdle that might have existed in the recesses of his mind. So for a couple of hours, Carter simulated game-like conditions with shooting drills, cutting exercises and full-court sprints. And he liked that there was no pain and a return of his explosiveness. […] Carter got a good look at what he will be facing while trying to guard Detroit veteran guard Richard Hamilton when he chased Orlando’s J.J. Redick around screens on Monday. Hamilton has been effective for years by staying in motion and running over a series of screens along the baseline. Carter took a deep sigh when asked about having to check Hamilton, but said the test will prove to himself and others that his knee is sound structurally.”
  • Howard is getting a lot of MVP love.

Nov 30

Preview: Detroit Pistons at Orlando Magic

7:00 EDT | Sun Sports
6-11 @ 12-4
Pythagorean Record: 6-11 Pythagorean Record: 12-4
Pace: 89.5 (28th) Pace: 92.2 (17th)
Offensive Rating: 105.4 (20th) Offensive Rating: 107.5 (13th)
Defensive Rating: 110.2 (25th) Defensive Rating: 100.5 (1st)
Amway Center | First meeting this season

Nov 30

Video Analysis: Orlando Magic’s Pick and Roll Attack

As I wrote at the Heat Index last week when previewing the grudge match between the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat, the key to victory for the men in blue came down to one thing.

Pick and rolls.

That’s it.

Scouting the Heat’s loss against the New Orleans Hornets and witnessing Chris Paul butcher a defense in the pick and roll made me realize that the Magic could do the same thing (a fun exercise is to watch to compare both games and see how similar they are in terms of offensive execution).

Instead of Emeka Okafor on the receiving end of alley-oop passes from Paul, it’d be Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard. Instead of David West and Jason Smith on the receiving end of open looks for mid-range jumpers in pick and pops, it’d be Rashard Lewis and Brandon Bass. Head coach Stan Van Gundy is one of the most diligent coaches in the NBA when it comes to scouting opponents and he must have seen the same footage.

Even though Nelson isn’t as great as Paul, he’s good enough to break down Miami’s defense as long as he was aggressive offensively and attacked. And that’s what Nelson did on Wednesday. Orlando ran a steady diet of pick and rolls from the opening tip until the final buzzer and Nelson was the orchestrator of a systematic breakdown of one of the best defenses in the league.

Nov 30

Video Analysis: Jameer Nelson’s Fourth Quarter Onslaught

If there was any doubt that Jameer Nelson has fully returned to being an All-Star caliber point guard like he was in 2009, his performance against the Miami Heat proved that he’s playing to the peak of his ability once again.

Led by Dwyane Wade, the Heat made a furious comeback in the fourth quarter after trailing by as many as 12 points earlier in the game. All it took was a 12-3 run that spanned roughly three minutes for Miami to take an 88-87 lead. Magic fans had seen this movie too many times before, and it seemed like Wade was going to steal another win for the Heat against their rival.

However, Nelson — with a verbal push from Brandon Bass — “let it fly” in the late stages of the fourth quarter when the Magic needed buckets. Nelson scored 11 points in the period and Orlando was able to come away with a much-needed win versus Miami, even if they’re not playing to their full potential. With that scoring flurry, Nelson reminded everyone why he’s the engine that makes the Magic go.

The one thing that stands out the most from the video, however, is that on two separate possessions, the Heat elected to use Wade and LeBron James to defend Nelson on the perimeter. Didn’t work. And this last point won’t comfort supporters of Miami but at the 0:33 mark of the video, look at Chris Bosh’ worthless attempt at help defense as Nelson attacks the basket.

Instead of meeting Nelson as he enters the paint, Bosh waits until the very last minute before putting up any resistance defensively.

Something to keep in mind when the Magic and Heat face off again.

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