Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 189

Nov 12

Friday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Looking to give his players some stability night-in and night-out, Stan Van Gundy has settled on one starting lineup for the foreseeable future. Van Gundy said following his team’s shootaround today that he’ll start Jameer Nelson at point guard, Vince Carter at shooting guard, Quentin Richardson at small forward, Rashard Lewis at power forward and Dwight Howard at center each game, regardless of the matchups opposing teams present. [...] Also, Mickael Pietrus will return to the rotation, while Ryan Anderson is out of the rotation — at least for the time being. Brandon Bass will be the first power forward off the bench. [...] All that said, Lewis will still sometimes shift to small forward during games. Marcin Gortat will sometimes play at power forward, though usually not in the first quarter.”
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy talks about the Toronto Raptors.
  • Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel on Ryan Anderson’s benching: “The fact that Anderson’s taking the high road on the decision isn’t surprising. Anderson’s one of the nicest and most even-keeled players on the team, and he knows that another opportunity for playing time will most likely arise this season. Rotations rarely stay the same all season, and injuries haven’t hit the frontcourt yet.”
  • One person approves Van Gundy’s decision to settle on a rotation.
  • Julius Erving talks about the Magic: “They’re one of the elite teams, they’re one of the top eight teams in the league. And there’s times during the season when they’ve had the best record and have been the best team. Top eight in the league, you’ve got creds and now you’ve have a responsibility to service your fans with that new building. With that new building, they need to step up and win games because that’s a beautiful place. They have talent, they got good coaching and they just have to make some breaks for themselves. Don’t rely on luck, you know, prepare yourself and go out and do battle every night.”
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post comments on the Amway Center’s technology.
  • John Hollinger of ESPN Insider, on the eve of Anderson being demoted in the Orlando Magic’s rotation, thinks he should be playing more: “With Rashard Lewis struggling mightily and the Magic’s small forwards largely ineffective thus far, the obvious solution seems to be handing Anderson the keys to the power forward spot and moving Lewis to the 3 for long stretches. The Magic have started games this way recently but seem reluctant to stick with it, even though Anderson’s career numbers suggest he’ll more than offset any defensive shortcomings with his wicked outside shooting and underrated board work.”
  • Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse: “If Magic center Dwight Howard was looking for sympathy when it comes to his early-season technical foul trouble — stemming from the new, low-tolerance rule — he won’t find any with his own general manager. Old-school GM Otis Smith likes the new rule, which has cracked down on the unsightly and constant complaining about calls by officials.”
  • Allen Kim of SLAM ONLINE believes the Magic could use Steve Nash.

Nov 12

Preview: Toronto Raptors at Orlando Magic

7:00 EDT | Fox Sports Florida
1-7 @ 5-2
Pythagorean Record: 1-7 Pythagorean Record: 5-2
Pace: 95.0 (15th) Pace: 93.2 (18th)
Offensive Rating: 105.5 (17th) Offensive Rating: 106.5 (14th)
Defensive Rating: 110.2 (27th) Defensive Rating: 97.8 (1st)
Amway Center | First meeting this season

Nov 12

Marcin Gortat Channels His Inner-Dennis Rodman

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Beginning at the 1:19 mark in the first quarter, Marcin Gortat dives all over the place. Fun.

Nov 12

Stan Van Gundy Settles on a Rotation for Now

Photo by Elsa/tml/Getty Images

Via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

It wouldn’t be a surprise if Stan Van Gundy alters his rotation somewhat when the Orlando Magic play the Toronto Raptors tonight at Amway Center.

On Wednesday, before the Magic faced the Utah Jazz, Van Gundy said he had decided that his fifth starter would be either Ryan Anderson or Quentin Richardson. At the time, Van Gundy said Anderson would start at power forward and Rashard Lewis would start at small forward when the Magic faced teams with bigger frontcourts. Richardson would start at small forward and Lewis would start at power forward against smaller teams.

But that fifth-starter plan could be in flux after Van Gundy played Anderson for just 94 seconds against the Jazz. Van Gundy said he didn’t like Anderson’s approach or Anderson’s two turnovers.

Van Gundy indicated after the 104-94 loss to the Jazz that changes could be in the offing.

“We’ve got to decide what to do,” Van Gundy said. “You’re not going to overreact to one game, but at all our positions, I’m pretty patient, but we’ve got some guys that just really aren’t being very productive. So, we’ve got other guys sitting down. They’re going to have to get a chance to play if other guys are not going to produce. We’ve got too many good players to just give people minutes for a long period of time.”

UPDATE: More from Robbins via Twitter.

Anderson is out, Mickael Pietrus is in, and we have a static 10-man rotation.

Let’s how long this move lasts.

Nov 12

Orlando Magic Hosts Seats for Soldiers Night Presented by Harris Corporation for Tonight’s Game

Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

For the fifth year overall, the Orlando Magic and Harris Corporation, an international communications and information technology company, have teamed up to honor military men, women and their families with Seats for Soldiers Night on Friday, November 12, 2010 at 7 p.m. when the Magic take on the Toronto Raptors. The Magic, players and Harris Corporation will donate tickets to men and women in the military from military bases such as the Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, the Naval Air Force Station in Jacksonville and other Orlando area military affiliates.

“It is our privilege to honor the bravery of the men and women who dedicate their lives in service of our great nation,” said Orlando Magic Vice President of Community Relations and Government Affairs Linda Landman-Gonzalez. “Together with Harris Corporation, we recognize the sacrifices made by the families left behind and we thank them, because they too are heroes.”

In honor of the annual Seats for Soldiers Night, several events will take place including a military-themed fan fest, taped messages throughout the game, a pregame dinner with the family of fallen Oviedo Soldier, Staff Sergeant Robert Miller, as well as a special halftime presentation by Orlando Magic President Alex Martins honoring Sgt. Miller. Outside the arena, Fan Fest will include military Humvees, a rock wall, simulators and an obstacle course for fans. Other highlights include volunteer uniformed officers distributing game programs to fans entering the Disney Atrium, the national anthem performed by a military member and a military-themed performance by the Orlando Magic Dancers.

“It is personally inspiring and moving to spend these evenings with our service members and their families, and to hear first-hand about the sacrifices they are making on our behalf,” said Howard L. Lance, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Harris. “Our hope is that the Seats for Soldiers events help to convey the deep appreciation we all feel for their service to our country.”

Nov 11

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Stan Van Gundy sent a message to Brandon Bass before the Orlando Magic started training camp. The coach told Bass that his playing time would be determined by how well he rebounds and plays defense. Message received, loud and clear. Perhaps no Magic player has improved from last season to this one as much as Bass. His rebounding numbers have soared. His defense has become more reliable. And, not coincidentally, his playing time also has increased. [...] Bass could play a significant role when the Magic play the Toronto Raptors on Friday night at Amway Center. Van Gundy has been disappointed lately with power forward Ryan Anderson, and Anderson’s difficulties might open the door for Bass to play more in the days and weeks ahead. Bass played a career-high 36 minutes, 37 seconds in Orlando’s loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night. All that playing time stemmed from Anderson’s struggles and a need to match Bass against bruising Utah power forward Paul Millsap. But it also reflected Van Gundy’s increased confidence in Bass.”
  • A.J. Pierzynski is a fan of the Orlando Magic: “I think they’re awesome. I think they have a chance to win everything. Everyone’s talking about the [Miami] Heat and I’ve already been on national radio, national t.v saying the Magic are going to beat the Heat in the end. I think as long as Vince Carter is healthy, Dwight Howard has improved his game and Jameer Nelson stays healthy, I like their chances.”
  • Vince Carter’s restaurant, aptly named Vince Carter’s, is getting rave reviews.
  • Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “Did the Orlando Magic abandon the inside game Wednesday night? Dwight Howard attempted zero field goals in the fourth quarter and rarely touched the ball. The Jazz were playing a zone defense – making it difficult to pass Howard the ball in a traditional post situation – but the Magic were unable to get Howard involved in any way, shape or form. Howard’s made huge strides this summer on the offensive end, and the Magic need to utilize that offensive aptitude in the fourth quarter. In Wednesday’s loss to the Jazz, they didn’t.”
  • The statistical revolution in the NBA continues to gain a foothold.
  • Tom Ziller of NBA FanHouse on Dwight Howard’s MVP candicacy: “Speaking of elite big men: Dwight’s still the first name that rolls off the tongue. Howard has exploded on offense, taking more shots and free throws than ever while still hitting a great clip on the former and a completely mediocre clip on the latter. He’s blocking a league-best 8.1 percent of opponent shots when on the floor, and if he played 36 minutes a game (to which he has come close in recent years, despite being at 30.7 this season), he’d be averaging 27/13/3. An absolute beast. Also, he’s still 24 years old.”
  • Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook eloquently breaks down the Utah Jazz’s zone defense, and shows how the Magic couldn’t execute offensively against it.
  • Who’s the better shooter in the NCAA history? J.J. Redick or Salim Stoudamire?
  • Speaking about Redick, he’s been underperforming this season.

Nov 11

Orlando Magic Basketball 101 Telecast Friday

Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Via Fox Sports Florida:

Our theme for tomorrow night’s “Friday Night Magic” game telecast on FOX Sports Florida is “Basketball 101,” which will provide explanation of basic basketball rules, offensive and defensive plays, and techniques for younger kids to improve their basketball skills.

Included:

  • [Orlando] Magic Asst. Coach Steve Clifford hits the chalkboard and breaks down some basic offensive plays and defensive schemes that the Magic implement in each game. For the younger viewers, Coach Clifford will demonstrate some basic basketball techniques to help them improve their skills.
  • Matt Guokas joins former Magic player Jeff Turner and the Lake Highland Prep Basketball team in breaking down the key elements to running and defending the Pick and Roll.
  • Throughout the game, we’ll graphically display terms and definitions to foul calls and plays that occur on the court.
  • And our viewers at home can log onto FOXSportsFlorida.com and submit their basketball related questions to David Steele and Matty via the “Ask The Magic” box.

Nov 11

Video Analysis: How Not to Beat a Zone Defense

Zone defenses.

Teams in the NBA rarely utilize them because, well, they don’t work very often. This is basketball at its highest level, not high school varsity, so a 2-3 matchup zone isn’t going to last long against the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers and others.

And the last team that people think a zone defense would work against is the Orlando Magic, given their ability to spread the floor and shoot threes with reckless abandon but also have a dominating inside presence in Dwight Howard to balance everything out offensively.

Yet the Utah Jazz last night, with head coach Jerry Sloan admitting that he had ran out of options, used the zone to erase an 18-point deficit in roughly 13 minutes of game time. It also helped that the Jazz began to run their flex offense to perfection, but their defense played a big role in allowing them to comeback and win by 10 points against the Magic.

Note two things: lack of ball movement and dribble penetration.

Want to make it easy on a zone defense? Do those things.

Nov 11

Second Look: Utah Jazz 104, Orlando Magic 94

AP Photo/John Raoux

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “What upset Stan Van Gundy most is that he had seen it all before. Once again, his team stopped defending after it built a big lead. Once again, his team turned the ball over in bunches. Once again, his team missed lots of free throws. This time, it spelled disaster. An 18-point lead late in the third quarter slipped away, and the Orlando Magic lost 104-94 to the Utah Jazz, who are quickly becoming the comeback kings of the NBA. [...] And also a loss that left Van Gundy puzzled. Just four days earlier, Orlando built an 18-point lead against the Charlotte Bobcats and almost lost. How could the veteran Magic roster fail to learn from that experience? Indeed, what occurred Wednesday night — before a sellout crowd at Amway Center, no less — seemed all too familiar. The Magic turned the ball over 21 times. They missed 11 of their 25 free-throw attempts. They allowed an opponent to shoot 50 percent from the field. Not exactly a championship-caliber performance, was it?”
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Just hours after Stan Van Gundy had finally decided on a starting lineup — really, truly, he meant it this time — it went kaboom. It started ticking after only a minute and a half, and before you knew it, bits and pieces of the Ryan Anderson plan were all over the floor. Later, and with plenty of warning, so were the rest of the Magic. Van Gundy might be fiddling around too much with the lineup, but he was right about one thing: Despite the debris from the decision to name Anderson the starting power forward, the Magic still forged an 18-point lead against Utah on Wednesday night. When it was over, the Jazz had claimed another Florida victim, coming back to beat the Magic 24 hours after coming back to stun the Miami Heat. Afterward, Van Gundy conceded he might need to go back in his laboratory and start over.”
  • Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “The zone defense is a rarely used tactic in the NBA, and it’s especially rare to see it against a sharp-shooting team like the Orlando Magic. But on Wednesday night, a second-half switch to a zone defensive scheme powered the Utah Jazz to a 104-90 win in Orlando. The Jazz were out of ideas after trailing by as much as 18, and toward the end of the third quarter they mixed things up defensively by going away from man-to-man. [...] The Jazz ended the third quarter on an 9-0 run, cutting a hefty Magic lead to nine. Utah remained in zone defense in the fourth quarter, and the results were negative for Orlando: Howard scored just one point and the Magic made 26.3 percent of their shots in the quarter. The Jazz clicked on offense and outscored the Magic 39-20 in the period.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “The Magic were forced to deal with a painful lesson on Wednesday night when they squandered an 18-point lead following one turnover after another and having no answer defensively for Williams and Al Jefferson. The result – a 104-94 loss to the surging Jazz – was one that Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy dubbed as “disturbing.” The Magic (5-2) saw their four-game winning streak come to an end and they suffered the first-ever loss at the dazzling new Amway Center when they made several uncharacteristic plays late in the second half. Orlando led by 18 points with 96 seconds left in the third period, but came unglued with three straight turnovers and couldn’t slow down Utah (5-3) in a 39-point fourth quarter. Williams scored 17 of his 30 points in the final period.”
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “The starting lineup, an issue which Van Gundy seemed to have solved earlier in the day, when he announced Quentin Richardson would start at small forward against smaller teams, and Ryan Anderson at power forward against bigger teams, is suddenly in flux again; Brian Schmitz covered this topic in exceptional depth for the Orlando Sentinel. For the second time in four outings, he benched Anderson in the first quarter and did not play him again. Brandon Bass got the call in Anderson’s place. In the first 90 seconds, Anderson let Millsap establish deep post position and yielded a layup, and also committed two turnovers. Sloan shrewdly cross-matched small forward Andrei Kirilenko, giving him the Anderson assignment, and the 10-year vet used his long arms to poke the ball away from Anderson twice. Van Gundy said he didn’t like Anderson’s “approach” at the start of games. It seems to me–and I don’t know this for sure, it’s only speculation–that Anderson will not see the starting lineup for quite a while.”
  • Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune: “It was the hard burn in Deron Williams’ eyes. The sight of a Jazz bench jumping skyward with raised fists, bared teeth and smiling faces. And the image of a cast of reserves racing out along the hardwood to bump chests and slap hands, congratulating their teammates as Utah accomplished the improbable once again. All captured the spirit of a team that is quickly becoming defined by its collective heart and strong will. And they represented the fierce fight of a Jazz team that rallied from an 18-point late-third quarter deficit to defeat the Orlando Magic 104-94 on Wednesday night at Amway Center. [...] Utah’s self belief is blooming. The Jazz have now knocked off the Heat and Magic — two of the premier contenders in a top-heavy Eastern Conference — during back-to-back nights on the road, delivering each team its first home defeat. Factor in a double overtime victory over the Los Angeles Clippers last Friday — featuring an 18-point rally and a last-second game winner by Williams — and a Utah team that just a week ago was searching for its early-season identity has suddenly begun to find one.”

Nov 10

Recap: Utah Jazz 104, Orlando Magic 94

AP Photo/John Raoux

BOX SCORE

A night after the Utah Jazz pulled off an improbable comeback against the Miami Heat to win in overtime, it was the same song but difference dance versus the Orlando Magic in front of a nationally televised audience. The Jazz, trailing by as much as 18 points in the second half, utilized a zone defense for more than a quarter and were able to overcome a double-digit deficit to beat the Magic by the score of 104-94. Utah was led by Deron Williams, who had 30 points, 14 assists, and five rebounds. Paul Millsap finished with 23 points, five rebounds, and two steals while Al Jefferson contributed with 21 points and eight rebounds. Orlando was led by a balanced attack, as five players scored in double-figures. That being said, Jameer Nelson and Vince Carter made the biggest impacts. Nelson had 19 points, five rebounds, seven assists, and two steals. Carter chipped in with 20 points. Ryan Anderson started the game for the Magic at power forward but after a few turnovers in the first quarter, he turned over the reigns to Brandon Bass who played a majority of the minutes at power forward the rest of the way.

So what happened?

Read the rest of this entry »

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