Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 19

Feb 20

Grades: Cleveland Cavaliers 101, Orlando Magic 93

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AP Photo/Tony Dejak

 

Cleveland Cavaliers 101 Final
Recap | Box Score
93 Orlando Magic

Arron Afflalo
7-14 FG | 7-8 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 23 PTS | -7

Games like these are a big reason why Afflalo is attracting attention at the trade deadline. As he showed against the Cavaliers, he’s a scorer that can get his points efficiently. He can get to the free throw line. He can make corner 3s. And he’s an efficient midrange jump shooter. Which playoff contender wouldn’t want that on their team?

Nikola Vucevic
8-15 FG | 4-6 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 20 PTS | +1

Like a majority of his Magic teammates, Vucevic played a lethargic first half. But he woke up after halftime, scoring 15 of his 20 points in the second half. He had everything working for him — layups, midrange jumpers, he even tossed in a lefty hook for good measure. Vucevic did his job in punishing a Cavaliers’ frontline that was missing Anderson Varejao.

Tobias Harris
6-14 FG | 5-8 3P | 7 REB | 3 AST | 19 PTS | +1

Harris had a monster third quarter. He scored 12 of his 19 points in the period and it’s the way he scored that was eye-opening. Harris has struggled making spot-up 3s all season long, yet he made two of them in the third. If Harris wants to be a full-time small forward, it’ll hinge largely on his ability to make spot-up 3s, particularly from the corners.

Kyle O’Quinn
5-8 FG | 2-3 3P | 1 STL | 8 REB | 10 PTS | +7

Glen Davis left the game midway through the first quarter with a sore right achilles and didn’t return, which forced head coach Jacque Vaughn to play Kyle O’Quinn at the power forward position in Davis’ place. O’Quinn acquitted himself nicely, finishing the game two rebounds shy of a double-double while showing great chemistry playing alongside Harris and Vucevic in the frontcourt.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers won their sixth consecutive game thanks in large part due to the Magic’s poor play in the first half. Cleveland jumped on a lazy Orlando team, building a 19-point lead at halftime that ballooned to as many as 21 early in the third quarter. The Magic tried to come back in the second half, but they dug themselves too large of a hole.

Feb 19

Preview: Orlando Magic at Cleveland Cavaliers

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Date: February 19, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Quicken Loans Arena

Records

  • Magic: 16-39
  • Cavaliers: 21-33

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Tobias Harris
  • Glen Davis
  • Nikola Vucevic

Cavaliers:

  • Kyrie Irving
  • Jarrett Jack
  • Luol Deng
  • Tristan Thompson
  • Tyler Zeller

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.8 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.1 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.7 (17th of 30)

Cavaliers:

  • Pace: 93.1 (20th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 102.5 (24th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.4 (19th of 30)

Read about the Cavaliers

Cavs: The Blog

Feb 19

Grades: Milwaukee Bucks 104, Orlando Magic 100

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AP Photo/Tom Lynn

 

Milwaukee Bucks 104 Final
Recap | Box Score
100 Orlando Magic

Arron Afflalo
9-15 FG | 3-6 3P | 1 REB | 1 AST | 21 PTS | +2

Afflalo tried to play the role of hero, but it didn’t work out so well for him. After a Nate Wolters 3-pointer gave the Bucks a 99-97 lead, Afflalo had the ball stolen from Giannis Antetokounmpo on the ensuing possession. Then with the Magic trailing 100-97, Afflalo missed a 3-point shot from the right wing that would have tied the game.

Nikola Vucevic
7-10 FG | 5-6 FT | 1 BLK | 9 REB | 19 PTS | +4

When his midrange jump shot is falling, Vucevic is a really good player. And his jumper was falling against Milwaukee. For a moment, it seemed like Vucevic was going to help Orlando steal a win on the road after trailing for most of the evening. His baseline jumper with 50.1 seconds left gave the Magic a 97-96 lead before Wolter’s theatrics.

E’Twaun Moore
6-12 FG | 3-6 3P | 2 BLK | 1 REB | 17 PTS | -10

The Young Guns struggled against the Bucks. That is, everyone except Moore. With Victor Oladipo sputtering offensively, Moore stepped up to provide the Magic with much-needed bench scoring, finishing the game with a season-high 17 points. Moore was most impressive at the end of the third quarter, when he finished the period with a flurry by scoring Orlando’s last seven points.

Tobias Harris
6-11 FG | 2-3 3P | 9 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | -4

It was a quiet night for Harris. He got his numbers, but it never felt like he had an impact on the game’s outcome. He was just there. Maybe with Antetokounmpo around, someone that made big plays in crunch time and was a difference-maker in Milwaukee’s win, Bucks fans can move on from the Harris trade (if they haven’t already) now that almost a year has passed.

Milwaukee Bucks

In continuing with this season’s trend, the Magic lost on the road. This time to Milwaukee, owners of the worst record in the NBA. As has been the case throughout the regular season, Orlando didn’t play with the requisite energy and effort needed to win away from home. As a result, the Magic’s road record is now 3-24. Not good.

Feb 18

Preview: Orlando Magic at Milwaukee Bucks

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Milwaukee Bucks
  • Date: February 18, 2014
  • Time: 8:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: BMO Harris Bradley Center

Records

  • Magic: 16-38
  • Bucks: 9-43

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Tobias Harris
  • Glen Davis
  • Nikola Vucevic

Bucks:

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

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.8 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.9 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.6 (17th of 30)

Bucks:

  • Pace: 91.8 (25th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 99.2 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 109.4 (30th of 30)

Read about the Bucks

Bucksketball

Feb 17

Monday’s Mini-Magic Word

  • Tom Haberstroh of ESPN Insider says the Orlando Magic and Memphis Grizzlies should make a deal before the deadline. The trade? Arron Afflalo and Jason Maxiell for Ed Davis, Tayshaun Prince, and a 2017 first round pick (top eight protected).
  • Rob Mahoney of The Point Forward suggests a swap of his own between the Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves — Jameer Nelson for Shabazz Muhammad and J.J. Barea.
  • Matt Moore of CBSSports.com: “It’s going to take the league a few weeks to figure out the Magic have become “that dangerous young bottom feeder team you don’t want to run into in a Tuesday trap game.”
  • Orlando plans on continuing to use Victor Oladipo as a combo guard.
  • The Magic are hoping to perform better on the road.

Feb 13

Grades: Memphis Grizzlies 86, Orlando Magic 81

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AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

 

Memphis Grizzlies 86 Final
Recap | Box Score
81 Orlando Magic

Arron Afflalo
4-9 FG | 1-3 3P | 4 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | -3

In the game’s closing seconds, Afflalo committed a critical error that hurt the Magic’s chances of winning. With Orlando trailing 80-79, Nelson missed a go-ahead 3-pointer with 39.9 seconds left. Courtney Lee rebounded the ball, raced down the court in transition, and was fouled from behind by Afflalo. Unfortunately for Afflalo, it was a clear path foul. Lee made both free throws and Memphis held on to win.

Nikola Vucevic
6-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 13 PTS | -5

Vucevic had his moments. He had a monstrous block on Nick Calathes late in the first quarter. And Vucevic made a big jumper with the shot clock expiring as the Magic and Grizzlies traded punches in crunch time. But other than that, it was a pedestrian outing for Vucevic. He picked up a double-double, but he also benefitted from Marc Gasol missing most of the second half with a knee injury.

Tobias Harris
4-10 FG | 5-5 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 13 PTS | +8

The problem isn’t that Harris had a decent performance. The problem is that Tayshaun Prince outplayed him. The same Prince that entered tonight’s game with a 7.7 PER and 42.3 True Shooting percentage — both career-worsts. That can’t happen. Harris isn’t entirely to blame for Prince having one of his best games of the season, but he’s certainly somewhat culpable.

Glen Davis
6-11 FG | 3-3 FT | 1 STL | 3 REB | 12 PTS | -3

In a battle between two power forwards with negative verticals, Z-Bo won his matchup versus Big Baby. He made two key baskets late in the fourth quarter, a midrange jump shot and a running lefty hook (while also getting away with a traveling violation), that allowed the Griz to escape Orlando with a victory. Davis was outmatched on those plays.

Memphis Grizzlies

This game was not aesthetically pleasing by any means and that’s entirely because of Memphis’ plodding style of play. The Grizzlies rank 11th in defensive efficiency and 30th in pace, so it should come as no surprise that they were able to win a low-scoring affair. The Griz controlled the tempo from the opening tip and got themselves a hard-earned victory.

Feb 12

Video: Victor Oladipo with a fast break dunk

Feb 12

Preview: Memphis Grizzlies at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Memphis Grizzlies at Orlando Magic
  • Date: February 12, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Grizzlies: 28-23
  • Magic: 16-37

Probable starters

Grizzlies:

  • Nick Calathes
  • Courtney Lee
  • Tayshaun Prince
  • Zach Randolph
  • Marc Gasol

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Tobias Harris
  • Glen Davis
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Grizzlies:

  • Pace: 89.6 (30th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 105.0 (20th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 104.8 (11th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 94.0 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.0 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.7 (17th of 30)

Read about the Grizzlies

3 Shades of Blue

Feb 11

Tuesday’s Mini-Magic Word

  • Will Arron Afflalo, Jameer Nelson, or Glen Davis — the three veterans on the roster for the Orlando Magic — be traded at the deadline on February 20?
  • Tyler Lashbrook of Orlando Pinstriped provides three takeaways from the Magic’s wins over the Oklahoma City Thunder and Indiana Pacers.
  • Zach Lowe of Grantland is a big fan of Kyle O’Quinn’s beard: “It’s not ‘Look at me!’ weird like Harden’s beard-slash–marketing device, but O’Quinn may have the league’s best facial hair. His beard is somehow thick, bushy, and well groomed at the same time, and like Mike Woodson’s magical goatee, it emanates a confident masculinity. It’s just a great beard.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com details how Orlando’s second unit — the “Young Guns” — have thrived as of late.
  • Victor Oladipo is now the favorite to win Rookie of the Year according to Matt Moore of CBSSports.com. What’s changed? “Oladipo takes over Michael Carter-Wiliams on account of the Sixers’ recent struggles, MCW’s health issues, and the quality wins for Orlando (wins over Indiana and OKC that Oladipo was pivotal in). He carries the preseason cache, is the best defender of the group, and has the most responsibility.”

Feb 11

3-on-3: Evaluating the Magic’s future

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Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The Orlando Magic made headlines after coming back from 17-point deficits to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder and Indiana Pacers in back-to-back games — teams with the two best records in the NBA. Is Orlando starting to figure things out? Our 3-on-3 team weighs in on this and more topics related to the Magic’s future.

1. What is the best way for the Magic to build a contender?

Jacob Frankel: I’m really not sure there is a best way. The Magic have committed to finding talent through the draft, but that doesn’t foreclose the option of trading that talent and picks for a proven star or using upcoming cap space to sign good players.

Spencer Lund: Without spilling over into tank mode. No fans should have to sit through awful basketball, but the law of averages necessitates some awful teams, regardless. With the current CBA, the draft and the max rookie salaries combine to form the best way to improve without becoming cap-strung and hitting a dead-end.

Andrew Lynch: On a macro-level, making good decisions and being adaptable. Planning one route is a recipe for failure. That said, champions are generally reliant on superstars, and the best way to get a superstar is the draft. Yet it’s far from a sure thing. A well-timed tank can do wonders, but perpetual losing creates an environment that sets a team back for years.

2. Can the current roster eventually become a contender?

Frankel: Absolutely. The Magic have tons of tradable young pieces, Victor Oladipo, Arron Afflalo, and a high pick in the upcoming draft. If the young guys can continue to develop, the Magic hit on their upcoming picks, and solid veterans can be signed, this could be a title contending team in a few years.

Lund: No. Not even close, but there are pieces that should stick around. Even though it’s not definitive, Vucci Mane could be a starting center on a title team. I’d like to think Tobias Harris can clean up his defense enough to start on a title contender, but that’ll take time. Same with ‘Dipo.

Lynch: To me, this question boils down to whether the young core can grow into a championship contender. I like Vucevic, Oladipo, and Harris, as well as the other “Young Guns” and I’m excited for their development. But nothing about that group screams “title.” Orlando might see their future as as Pacers-esque, with a young core that can become elite together, but their likelier path is akin to Houston, stockpiling assets to trade for a bigger name.

3. Can Arron Afflalo be part of a core that competes for a title?

Frankel: Yes, but I also think his greatest value is as a trade asset. He could work as the centerpiece of a deal along with, say, some young assets like Maurice Harkless and Kyle O’Quinn, to bring in a star — similar to what the Rockets did with Kevin Martin to get James Harden.

Lund: Afflalo is 28, and he was on the cusp of the All-Star team this year. Many felt he deserved a nod, and he’s playing some great offensive basketball in what we would consider the beginning of his prime. So yes, he can be part of a core to compete for a title down the road, but he’ll return the most if dangled in a trade before February 20.

Lynch: Afflalo can be a substantial part of a team vying for a title, but that’s different than being part of a core. At this point, Afflalo’s more of an auxiliary piece — important in everything that he provides, but not essential to the success of the squad.

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