Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 19

Apr 05

Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Minnesota Timberwolves at Orlando Magic
  • Date: April 5, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Timberwolves: 38-37
  • Magic: 21-55

Probable starters

Timberwolves:

  • Ricky Rubio
  • Chase Budinger
  • Corey Brewer
  • Dante Cunningham
  • Gorgui Dieng

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Kyle O’Quinn
  • Dewayne Dedmon

Advanced stats

Timberwolves:

  • Pace: 97.3 (4th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 109.0 (9th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 105.8 (13th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.8 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.5 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.1 (16th of 30)

Read about the Timberwolves

A Wolf Among Wolves

Apr 05

Grades: Charlotte Bobcats 91, Orlando Magic 80

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Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Charlotte Bobcats 91 Final
Recap | Box Score
80 Orlando Magic

Arron Afflalo
2-10 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | -21

To say that Afflalo’s production has tapered off at the end of the season, as I said on TrueHoop TV Live: After Dark on Thursday, would be an understatement. It’s fallen off a cliff the past week or so, and the Bobcats game was the latest example of that. Afflalo was passive in his approach on offense and it reflected in his numbers.

Victor Oladipo
8-18 FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 21 PTS | +7

Oladipo scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half, as he tried everything he could to help the Magic erase a 17-point halftime deficit. Nearly everything was clicking for him. He was aggressive in attacking the rim. He was pulling up for jump shots (and making them). Ultimately, it was to no avail, as the Bobcats won by double digits.

Tobias Harris
5-12 FG | 4-5 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 15 PTS | +7

Harris was the only other Magic player that had any success offensively. He got his usual numbers and he did it in typical Harris fashion. Midrange jump shots and free throws, with one 3-pointer tossed in for good measure. Oladipo and Harris shouldered much of the offensive load, coming off the bench no less, but they didn’t get much help.

Kyle O’Quinn
5-20 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 BLK | 6 REB | 10 PTS | -6

To put up 10 points, 6 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 3 steals is rather impressive, as O’Quinn did against Charlotte. It goes to show you the type of defensive player that O’Quinn can be, even though he got roasted on the low block defending Al Jefferson. But how the heck did he shoot 20 times? And why? Did Big Baby take over his body?

Charlotte Bobcats

It was a milestone victory of sorts for the Bobcats, as they were able to get to .500 for the first time since November. Big Al (29 points, 16 rebounds) was a big reason for that, as he channeled his inner-Hakeem Olajuwon and dominated in the post. Kemba Walker (13 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) was not too shabby, either.

Apr 04

Preview: Orlando Magic at Charlotte Bobcats

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Charlotte Bobcats
  • Date: April 4, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Time Warner Cable Arena

Records

  • Magic: 21-54
  • Bobcats: 37-38

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Andrew Nicholson
  • Kyle O’Quinn

Bobcats:

  • Kemba Walker
  • Gerald Henderson
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
  • Cody Zeller
  • Al Jefferson

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.9 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.6 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.2 (17th of 30)

Bobcats:

  • Pace: 92.6 (21st of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 103.7 (24th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 104.4 (6th of 30)

Read about the Bobcats

Queen City Hoops

Apr 04

Rebuilding: It’s a magical thing

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Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Throughout the years of the Association’s existence, we’ve seen numerous ways of how teams choose to rebuild. Of how they go about attempting to bring their teams from positions of mediocrity or consistent failure, and into the elusive contender field that is rarely occupied by more than five or six teams from year-to-year.

There are different methods, for sure. Blowing it all up and starting from scratch by building through the draft (don’t make me say tanking), as of recently at least, seems to be the most common way.

Some teams are able to rebuild through free agency. Others are just unintentionally bad, catch a few lucky breaks, and manage to land a high lottery pick who works out, and they’re able to build around that player.

Then there’s what we’re seeing the Magic do right now, which we may have seen a similar version of before.

Back in October of last year, Magic Basketball’s Nate Drexler wrote about the issue surrounding Arron Afflalo and Glen Davis still being on the Magic roster, for they looked as if they would get in the way of developing the young talent. He wrote that dealing them was probably for the best — a near-consensus opinion at the time — as they were both believed to be decent players on relatively fair contracts, therefore they each had solid trade value.

Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 04

TrueHoop TV Live: After Dark Ep. 7

Amin Elhassan of ESPN Insider and I talk about the Orlando Magic.
 

Apr 03

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • How often are the Magic searched on Google compared to the other 29 teams in the NBA? Not that much.
  • During Orlando’s blowout loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, Tobias Harris only played 21 minutes. Was that intentional? Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post entertains the idea: “Given the Magic’s rebuilding situation, fans will no doubt wonder if cutting the minutes of one of the team’s best players in the season’s final weeks signifies an intentional shift toward losing. Harris’ workload down the stretch certainly bears monitoring.”
  • Victor Oladipo is one of the few rookies in the league this season that’s made a positive impact on his team, though he still trails Michael Carter-Williams in the Rookie of the Year race.
  • Where does GM Rob Hennigan rate in ESPN’s #NBAfrontofficerank?
  • Which Magic player leads the team in dunks?
  • Tonight, I’ll be making an appearance on TrueHoop TV: After Dark following the Spurs-Thunder game (8 p.m. ET on TNT) to discuss the Magic. Here’s a link in case you’d like to watch.

Apr 03

Sleep and its effects on the Magic’s rebuild

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AP Photo/John Raoux

The season has nearly reached its merciful conclusion. With just eight games remaining, the Orlando Magic are a few short weeks away from focusing all of their attention on the upcoming draft. Free agency will follow, then the relative quiet of the summer and early fall when the Magic will hibernate for the offseason.

With a months-long slumber on the horizon, sleep seems like an appropriate topic to write about. At last month’s MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, the science of snoozing made for one of the most riveting panels of the weekend.

I know, I know. Riveting? But sleep, especially as it pertains to the NBA as a whole, and the Magic in particular, is of the utmost importance, and we’re not talking about it enough in a society that lionizes those who sleep 10 hours a week — and even then, only in their offices.

Ask Dr. Charles Czeisler, the Harvard Medical school professor and former consultant to the Blazers and Celtics featured on the “Sleeping Giants” panel. Czeisler cited some rather compelling evidence for the primacy of rest:

Losing even one night of sleep significantly impairs reaction time and the ability to quickly spot visual signals. In a sport where tenths of a second are the difference between a timely defensive rotation and a dunk that ends up on SportsCenter, this stuff really matters. Lack of sleep also diminishes testosterone levels — a week of sleeping four hours a night can reduce a 25-year-old’s testosterone level to that of a 36-year-old — and increases the body’s inflammatory response.

That last line should raise all sorts of red flags for Orlando fans. This is a team that will be young for the foreseeable future, adding talent largely through the draft. It stands to reason that the Magic will target young players in free agency, too, the occasional veteran brought in for “leadership” not withstanding.

Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 03

Grades: Cleveland Cavaliers 119, Orlando Magic 98

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AP Photo/John Raoux

 

Cleveland Cavaliers 119 Final
Recap | Box Score
98 Orlando Magic

Arron Afflalo
3-10 FG | 1-5 3P | 4 REB | 5 AST | 7 PTS | -18

Nikola Vucevic
3-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 STL | 7 REB | 7 PTS | -15

Victor Oladipo
4-10 FG | 6-6 FT | 2 STL | 4 AST | 16 PTS | -9

Doron Lamb
3-5 FG | 5-5 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | -4

Cleveland Cavaliers

Apr 02

Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers at Orlando Magic
  • Date: April 2, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Cavaliers: 30-45
  • Magic: 21-53

Probable starters

Cavaliers:

  • Kyrie Irving
  • Dion Waiters
  • Luol Deng
  • Tristan Thompson
  • Spencer Hawes

Magic:

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

Advanced stats

Cavaliers:

  • Pace: 92.9 (19th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 103.4 (23rd of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.8 (20th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.9 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.6 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.0 (17th of 30)

Read about the Cavaliers

Cavs: The Blog

Mar 31

Monday’s Magic Word

  • John Schuhmann of NBA.com: “Nikola Vucevic averaged 22.7 points and 14.3 rebounds as the Magic beat two playoff teams (Portland and Charlotte) and almost knocked off another (Toronto) last week. With Vucevic a key piece, the consensus is that the Magic “won” the Dwight Howard trade, but they still have the league’s worst record (41-115, nine wins fewer than any other team) since the deal. That’s the opposite of winning.”
  • Jameer Nelson chipped his teeth during Sunday’s game against the Toronto Raptors. Even though he was wearing a mouthguard, it didn’t help. Ow.
  • Marc Stein of ESPN.com: “They could still use a road win in 2014 against someone — anyone — besides Philly. But Orlando did end one notable drought last week with that stunning home W over Portland. The Blazers are the first team with a winning record to fall in the Magic Kingdom since Indy back on Feb. 9.”
  • Nikola Vucevic was key in the Magic’s wins over the Portland Trail Blazers and Charlotte Bobcats last week.
  • Some good news in Orlando.
  • Andrew Lynch of Hardwood Paroxysm on Nikola “Tesla” Vucevic and the Magic: “Because even as they lose, the Magic have their moments. The young players on the roster are talented, if raw, and capable of extraordinary bursts of play. Vucevic still falls into that category, but as with Orlando, there’s pressure to become what can be as quickly as possible. Vuc flashes his scoring and rebounding prowess with regularity, but his future will be defined by his defense. That’s something he’s still learning. Like the Magic, he’ll need time to get there. Like Orlando, he might not have it.”
  • Has Vucevic gotten better as a player this season? Zach Harper of CBSSports.com isn’t so sure.
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