Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 188

Nov 17

Postponed Orlando Magic at New York Knicks Game Rescheduled for March 28

Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

The Orlando Magic at New York Knicks game that was postponed November 2, has been rescheduled for Monday, March 28 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Madison Square Garden, the National Basketball Association announced yesterday.

Nov 16

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “To paraphrase Brent Musburger, you are looking live at Richie Adubato‘s closet. It’s the biggest one in the roomy house in Heathrow, and it contains more bright, wild colors than a kid’s crayon box. You could probably see the purple smoking jacket and pink tie collection from outer space — without Google Earth. Richie’s doting wife, Carol, is his fashion consultant. She obviously has a flair for the dramatic, given her background as an off-Broadway actress and budding stand-up comedian. A youthful-looking 72, Adubato will tell you he started donning his neon wardrobe to impress players and gain their acceptance at three NBA stops as a head coach (including an interim gig with the [Orlando] Magic) and two jobs with the WNBA. These days, Richie’s on the radio, you see. Or you don’t see. He could wear an entire line from Sears men’s outdoor department and no listeners would be the wiser, even if that plum jacket is louder than a bullhorn. But then Adubato’s very nature is to put technicolor into his job as the Magic’s color analyst, flavored by bold splashes of humor.
  • Give Schmitz’s feature on Richie Adubato a read. It’s fantastic.
  • J.J. Redick is day-to-day with back spasms.
  • Matt Barnes on the Orlando Magic: “When they played [the] Heat, I saw them get blown out because they couldn’t handle the wings. I feel for the guys on the team but it’s definitely a business.”
  • Let the record state that the Magic rank second in Defensive Rating this season and even though it’s early, they’re giving up less points per 100 possessions than last year.
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “Thanks to AirTran Airways’ partnerships with the Orlando Magic and Dwight Howard, a life-sized likeness of Superman himself is now flying through the terrace level of the dazzling, new Amway Center. AirTran, a ‘Champions of the Community’ partner with the Magic, unveiled a suspended, 6-foot-11 likeness of the Orlando’s consensus All-NBA center on Tuesday. The image is a replica of Howard in full-flight from his famous ‘Superman’ dunk from the 2008 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. The display also incorporates AirTran Business Class seats, allowing fans to take their pictures with the image of Howard flying overhead.”
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “[Redick] has struggled mightily with his shot this season, at 27.1 percent from the field and 12 percent from three-point range. As a result, he owns the worst True Shooting mark (37.5 percent) of any perimeter player with at least 150 minutes this season; league-wide, only stone-handed bigs Reggie Evans (27.1 percent), Darko Milicic (33.8 percent), and Greg Monroe (35.2 percent) are worse.
  • Dwight Howard wants to get more friendly with NBA referees.
  • Howard gives Brandon Bass a shout-out on his official blog: “Today, I want to give a shout out to my main man, Brandon ‘Black’ Bass. He’s finally getting to play this season and he’s doing a lot of good things off the bench to help us. The thing about Black is that he plays so hard and that’s what we need out of him. When he does that we play really well. We’re really good friends and we hang out a lot together off the court. I know he was frustrated last season when he wasn’t playing, but he’s doing a better job of focusing on his defense and rebounding now.”
  • Howard visits the Gatorade Sports Science Institute and there’s video of it.
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy is thoroughly impressed with Mickael Pietrus‘ defense — for now.
  • Zach Lowe of The Point Forward on the Magic’s slow start on offense: “The Magic rank just 18th in points per possession after finishing in the top five last season. Your initial instinct might be to dismiss the early drop as the product of a temporary cold-shooting streak. J.J. Redick and Quentin Richardson are both shooting under 30 percent, and Rashard Lewis is barely trumping them at 37 percent. Those numbers will correct themselves soon. Lewis, though, bears watching. He’s 31, and he is coming off the worst season of his career save for his rookie year. His field-goal percentage has declined every year since 2005-06, and his defense this season has looked shakier than ever, regardless of whether Stan Van Gundy has played at him small forward or power forward. About that positional tinkering: I at first chalked it up as a smart move by Van Gundy to make Orlando’s offense less predictable by occasionally shifting Lewis to the 3-spot and integrating both Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderson. But I’m wondering now if it might be Van Gundy’s way of acknowledging that Lewis is not the same player he was two seasons ago. If that’s the case, the foundation of Orlando’s offense might be in jeopardy. This is a team that succeeds in part by surrounding Dwight Howard with long-range shooters, and Lewis’ ability to provide prolific three-point shooting at power forward has been critical to that philosophy. If he can no longer do that reliably, Orlando has more tinkering to do than we thought — unless Anderson can secure consistent playing time and do the job.”
  • Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider breaks down Orlando’s poor three-point shooting.

Nov 16

Another Efficient Performance from Vince Carter

Nov 16

The New and Improved Brandon Bass

Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images

There’s been a lot of talk about Dwight Howard‘s improvements on offense and the praise is well-deserved, but there’s another player for the Orlando Magic that has improved this year as well. So far, at least.

His name is Brandon Bass.

Bass received a lot of criticism last season for several reasons.

First, Bass was not a natural fit in the Magic’s 4-out/1-in offensive scheme, given that his game on offense centered around the mid-range jumper. And as efficient as Bass was with his jumpshot, he wasn’t a more potent option offensively than Rashard Lewis or Ryan Anderson because he wasn’t, and still isn’t, a three-point shooter. As such, Bass had to make up for his stunted level of production on offense in another way. Second, and this segues to the next point, Bass’ defense wasn’t very good. Bass made it tough for Van Gundy to utilize him on the floor because Bass would routinely miss rotations, display a lack of awareness with his positioning on the court, and blow pick and roll coverages. There’s more, but that’s a start. Another problem was that Bass was barely above the league-average in total rebound rate. Although Bass had a knack for crashing the offensive glass, that veracity didn’t translate to the other side of the ball. Because of all these factors, Bass didn’t play a lot and that irked a lot of Magic fans that wanted to see him play.

Thing is, the only way that could happen was for Bass to improve on his defending and rebounding responsibilities. Then, and only then, would Bass merit the playing time that he desired. It’s the same thing that J.J. Redick had to deal with a few years ago when he was trying to get off the bench and make an impact.

Van Gundy gave Bass a simple task — improve on defense, rebound the basketball better, and he’ll play more.

Needless to say, Bass has answered the call. Certainly it’s helped, also, that Van Gundy is utilizing Lewis more at the small forward position, which has allowed Bass to get more minutes than he may have gotten last season.

But still, Bass’ improvement defensively is borderline astounding.

That’s not hyperbole.

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Nov 16

Orlando Magic’s Chris Duhon to Deliver Food to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida

Photo by Gary Bassing

Via the Orlando Magic:

WHO:
Magic guard Chris Duhon, Magic players, STUFF The Magic Mascot, Magic Dancers, Magic staff

WHAT:
Chris Duhon Stand Tall Against Hunger Food Delivery

Orlando Magic guard Chris Duhon will deliver the food collected at the Stand Tall Against Hunger food drive. The delivery will include Duhon, STUFF the Magic mascot, Magic Dancers and closes out a 12-day food drive that took place at Magic home games and all Central Florida FAIRWINDS Credit Union locations from November 4-15.

Fans were encouraged to donate non-perishable food items for Central Florida families in need at all Orlando Magic home games at Fan Fest and Central Florida FAIRWINDS locations.

WHEN:
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
3:30 p.m.

WHERE:
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
1918 W. Princeton Street, Orlando, 32804

Nov 16

Second Look: Orlando Magic 89, Memphis Grizzlies 72

AP Photo/John Raoux

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Orlando Magic would do themselves a favor if they take mental pictures of what happened Monday night and carry those snapshots the rest of this season. They’d see Mickael Pietrus diving to the floor to bust up an opponent’s fastbreak. They’d envision Marcin Gortat rolling around on the parquet to grab a loose ball. They’d visualize Jameer Nelson taking a charge in garbage time. The Magic will be onto something if they reproduce the intensity they used to smother the Memphis Grizzlies 89-72 at Amway Center. After playing horrid defense for parts of five straight games, Orlando finally overwhelmed another team. [...] Memphis shot just 36 percent from the field, a performance so abysmal that Grizzlies players held a players-only meeting in the visitors’ locker room after the final buzzer. Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph, the team’s top scorers, finished with just nine points apiece. Orlando’s suffocating defensive effort covered up plenty of miscues.”
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Magic have been doing things differently to begin a regular season, and even coach Stan Van Gundy concedes it could cause them to “take a step back.” Stan obviously is talking temporarily, maybe a game here or there where experimenting with lineups or rotations costs them a win, unwittingly. The Magic have been lacking in the player-development department. But that doesn’t mean Van Gundy isn’t interested in winning every game. It’s in his DNA. Van Gundy says securing home-court advantage in the playoffs is still huge, maybe not critical, but you’d still rather play more times at Amway Center. [...] Sounds like we’re getting about six months ahead of ourselves. But I bring this up because the Memphis Grizzlies were in town on Monday night, and the Magic couldn’t afford to have a Toronto Raptors flashback. They need to win games like this because they should, for one. And because they all add up at the end of the year to home-court in the playoffs, perhaps.”
  • Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “This morning, Vince Carter said the Orlando Magic had a noticeable focus on defense. It was certainly noticeable in Monday night’s 89-72 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. The Magic held the Grizzlies to 72 points on 94 possessions, forced 18 turnovers and kept the Grizzlies’ shooting percentage at just 36.3 percent. It was a dominant defensive performance for Orlando, made especially sweet because they’ve struggled so much on defense over the past week-and-a-half. Orlando’s perimeter players were more active with their hands, pressing Memphis’ guards, slapping at the ball and contesting every jumper. That was no accident. That was Orlando’s focus entering the game. The end result: a 76.6 offensive rating for the Grizzlies — almost 30 points lower than their season average of 104.9 — and a dominating victory for the Magic.”
  • Dan Savage of OrlandoMagic.com: “Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy challenged his team this week to bring an increased effort on the defensive end and live up to their billing as a shutdown squad. On Monday, the Magic gave their coach the performance he was looking for. The Magic stifled the offensive-minded Grizzlies, limiting them to just 36.3 percent shooting from the field in a hard-nosed 89-72 home victory. [...] Despite continued offensive struggles, the Magic battled against human nature and brought a high level of intensity on the defensive end right from the start. They pressured the ball, forcing Memphis to commit 10 first-quarter turnovers and limiting them to just 12 points in the period, a season-low for a Magic opponent. It was a rude awakening for Grizzlies team that came in to the contest averaging 104.6 points per game, seventh-best in the NBA.”
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “To stymie an offense as potent as Memphis’ is quite an achievement, especially considering the rather complex defensive rotations the Magic made. Orlando doubled Randolph from the weak side on each of his post touches, thus putting pressure on Randolph to give the ball up, but also pressuring the remaining defenders on the weak side to make the right reads. And Orlando, which rarely double teams, executed this help-and-recover scheme to near perfection throughout the night. To be fair, Memphis did its part by missing shots. But the point is the Magic disrupted its offense, time and again, and the young team struggled to get quality looks as a result. Defense keyed the Magic’s win tonight, just the way coach Stan Van Gundy prefers, I believe.”
  • Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal: “The Memphis Grizzlies arrived here as if they were construction workers contracted to complete Amway Center, the new home of the Orlando Magic. Laying brick after brick after brick, the Griz put on one of the worst displays in the opening quarter and continued their offensive malaise Monday until the clock mercifully ran out on an 89-72 loss to the Magic. From there, they turned into armchair psychologists. The Griz (4-7) tried to connect on what’s ailing them in the form of a players-only meeting that immediately followed their third straight loss. If it seems a bit soon for a meeting of the minds, then the Griz at least made clear that the talk was constructive.”

Nov 15

Recap: Orlando Magic 89, Memphis Grizzlies 72

AP Photo/John Raoux

BOX SCORE

In a strange game that involved a lot of turnovers (37 of them in total), the Orlando Magic were able to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies by the score of 89-72. For the Magic, it was — easily — their best performance defensively of the regular season. Orlando was led by Dwight Howard, who had 18 points, 14 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks, setting the tone on defense but he wasn’t alone in his efforts. Vince Carter finished with 19 points on eight shots, performing with excellent efficiency on offense and was only unable to do more damage on that end of the floor due to foul trouble. Jameer Nelson‘s stat-line was a bit underwhelming, with 11 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and three steals, but he was a disruptive force throughout the game and played with a high amount of energy.

For Magic fans, this was not an aesthetically pleasing game to watch.

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Nov 15

Preview: Memphis Grizzlies at Orlando Magic

7:00 EDT | Sun Sports
4-6 @ 6-3
Pythagorean Record: 4-6 Pythagorean Record: 6-3
Pace: 96.7 (5th) Pace: 93.9 (15th)
Offensive Rating: 104.9 (19th) Offensive Rating: 105.3 (18th)
Defensive Rating: 107.6 (17th) Defensive Rating: 98.9 (3rd)
Amway Center | First meeting this season

Nov 15

Rashard Lewis’ Trials and Tribulations on Offense

Photo by Fernando Medina

It’s early in the regular season, but there’s a few players for the Orlando Magic that have been struggling on offense — Chris Duhon, J.J. Redick (more on him later), and Quentin Richardson to name a few. But there’s one player, in particular, that looks out-of-sync right now offensively and that’s Rashard Lewis.

To be frank, Lewis has been horrawful. Horrible and awful.

Lewis has had his moments of brilliance, particularly in the first half of the Magic’s home opener against the Washington Wizards and against the Charlotte Bobcats on the road a little over a week ago, but that’s about it. Coincidentally (or not), in those games, Lewis played primarily at power forward.

It’s no secret that head coach Stan Van Gundy has made a more concerted effort to find minutes for Lewis at the small forward position, mainly with an eye towards the playoffs when Orlando’s ability to mix-and-match their lineups based on their opponents will matter a great deal. However, it seems like it’s thrown Lewis off-kilter a bit on offense and it’s reflected in his numbers. Granted, that excuse can only go so far before a finger needs to be pointed at Lewis for his inability to produce.

Lewis’ primary objective for the Magic is to stretch the floor offensively and, on occasion, post up on the low block whenever the opportunity presents itself. The problem is that Lewis has been unable to do almost anything on offense for Orlando, whether he’s at small forward or power forward. Heck, in the Magic’s loss against the Toronto Raptors on Friday, Lewis didn’t attempt a three-pointer for the first time since 2006. That’s not a good sign.

What gives?

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Nov 15

Orlando Magic Backcourt to Collect Items for Harbor House

Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

WHO:
The Orlando Magic Backcourt (the Backcourt is the Magic players, coaches and basketball operation’s wives, girlfriends and family members)

WHAT:
Orlando Magic Backcourt Drop Box

The Magic Backcourt members will be outside Amway Center to collect items for Harbor House. The collection location will be at Fan Fest (located on Church Street next to Amway Center). Fan Fest is open to the public. Harbor House needed items include:

  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Cleaning Supplies (Bleach, Fabuloso, Windex)
  • Paper Products (Paper towels, toilet paper, tissues)
  • Non-perishable food (canned meat and soup)

All items will be delivered to Harbor House on Monday, November 22. Each person that donates item(s) will receive one raffle ticket to enter into a drawing to win a team autographed basketball. The winner will be announced during the second quarter of the Magic vs. Suns matchup.

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