Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 190

Nov 26

Orlando Magic Players Dwight Howard and J.J. Redick Give Thanks

Photo by Gary Bassing

Via the Orlando Magic:

On Tuesday, November 23 Orlando Magic players Dwight Howard and J.J. Redick each distributed Thanksgiving meals to over 400 families, complete with turkeys and all the trimmings. Howard’s took place at the Dr. James R. Smith Center and Redick’s at the Rosemont Community Center.

Orlando Magic’s J.J. Redick and his wife Chelsea distributed turkeys and all the trimmings to local residents at the Rosemont Community Center on Tuesday, November 23. Redick works on a variety of community projects and last year spread holiday cheer to youth through a gift card distribution and visit to children in the hospital. This year, Redick will distribute gift cards again to youth and take them shopping for the holidays. The Rosemont Community Center opened in October 2005 and offers a variety of adult and youth after school programs. The center also houses a computer lab, arts and crafts room, game room, and teen room.

Nov 25

Giving Back to the Central Florida Community on Thanksgiving

Photo by Gary Bassing

Via John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com:

Jameer Nelson vividly remembers a time as a child when his family often had trouble making ends meet and holiday meals weren’t quite so hearty while growing up in a rough part of Chester, Pa.

So when Nelson got word that Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy was funding a Thanksgiving breakfast on Thursday morning for more than 600 homeless people of Central Florida and families in desperate need, the standout guard made it a point to attend.

“Everybody’s not as fortunate as we are. I’ve been through rough times myself, I know what it is to be down and out and I know what it is to not have certain benefits that you might want,’’ said Nelson, who defied the odds as an undersized player and made it to the Magic where he is the team’s co-captain.

“Coach made it very clear where his heart is and where his thoughts are with this event and I just wanted to be supportive of him and do what I could to help.’’

Magic CEO Bob Vander Weide, team president Alex Martins, Van Gundy, Nelson and 175 staffers from the organization did what they could to help on Thursday morning, brightening the day of more than 600 people at the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida.

It’s the 18th consecutive year that the Magic have put together a function on Thanksgiving morning, and the benefits of the hot meal, warm hospitality and a fun-filled kids’ carnival could be seen splashed across the faces of those who attended.

Nov 25

Recap: Orlando Magic 104, Miami Heat 95

Photo by Fernando Medina

BOX SCORE

Orlando, we have a rivalry.

In a hotly contested game that captured the imaginations of a sellout crowd at the Amway Center and nationally televised audience, the Orlando Magic were able to defeat the Miami Heat by the score of 104-95. This is the matchup that everyone expected to see when the season began. Sure, basketball was played but there were words exchanged, players ejected, and animosity that grew exponentially as the evening wore on. Rest assured, the Magic and Heat don’t like each other and last night confirmed that yet again. Orlando was led by a balanced attack, as five players scored in double-figures. Dwight Howard had 24 points, 18 rebounds, and one block, providing a dominating presence for the Magic on both ends of the court. Jameer Nelson had one of the best games of his career, slicing and dicing Miami’s defense and finishing with 17 points and a career-high 14 assists. J.J. Redick, filling in for Vince Carter, snapped out of his shooting funk and chipped in with 20 points, five assists, and four rebounds. Brandon Bass played his best game in an Orlando uniform, scoring 18 points on an efficient 9-of-12 shooting. Lastly, Rashard Lewis was able to contribute with 14 points.

For the Heat, it was LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and little else. The SuperFriends combined for 64 of Miami’s 95 points. Despite an inferior supporting cast that is hurting with the absences of Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem, the Heat were able to have a chance to win with talent alone.

Unfortunately for Miami, several things cost them — an unimaginative offense that relied too much on isolations, pick and rolls, and little else, an inability to punish the Magic in transition with James and Wade, and shaky pick and roll coverage that undermined their defense.

As was stated before the game, Orlando’s ability to get a victory against their rival relied on — literally — one thing.

Pick and rolls.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 25

Second Look: Orlando Magic 104, Miami Heat 95

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Night and day. The Orlando Magic team that suffered a blowout loss to the Miami Heat on Oct. 29 wilted under pressure, played stagnantly on offense and looked just plain awful. The Magic team that defeated the Heat 104-95 on Wednesday night answered a late Miami run, played energetically and hit big shots. […] The Magic received big performances from Jameer NelsonJ.J. RedickDwight Howard and Brandon Bass to deal the sputtering Heat their third straight loss. Nelson spent much of the night passing the ball. Until a teammate corrected him. With the Heat about to complete a fourth-quarter comeback, Bass took Nelson aside. […] Nelson did exactly that. With the score tied at 89, Nelson hit a pull-up jumper from the foul line. On the next possession, he drove down the lane and sank a floater. On the possession after that, he logged his career-high 14th assist, driving to the foul line and kicking the ball out to Redick for a jumper.”
  • Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “It’s hard to believe the Orlando Magic played the same team Wednesday night they played on Oct. 29 in Miami. The Magic played better in every facet of the game: they passed more, shot better, played crisper and protected the ball. Nearly a month ago, the Magic were embarrassed by the Heat. On Wednesday night, the Magic showed the world that game was an anomaly. Perhaps the adrenaline from the first game really did propel the Heat on Oct. 29. Maybe the Magic are a better team than the Heat — at least right now. Maybe Jameer Nelson is capable of carving up Miami’s defense the way Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo have.”
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The first time it was Miami’s Big Three against Orlando’s Only One and it wasn’t a fair fight on Oct. 29. Wednesday night, in the rematch with the Heat, Dwight Howard received plenty of help to even the season series and continue Miami’s free-fall to 8-7. Jameer Nelson made key baskets down the stretch and set a career high with 14 assists to go with 17 points. J.J. Redick, starting for injured Vince Carter, scored 20 points and looked like a guy who starred in a shooting video. Brandon Bass scored 18 points off the bench and — get this — was even inserted late for defensive purposes. Rashard Lewis added 14 points, dodging foul trouble. And, of course, Howard was brilliant, scoring 24 points, grabbing 18 boards and keeping the Heat thinking more about outside shots. (Most amazing stat from Howard: zero fouls).”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “Considering the heartbreaking fashion with which the Orlando Magic lost two days earlier maybe it was only fitting that they had to scrap and claw down the stretch on Wednesday night for their biggest victory of the season. Tied with arch-rival Miami with 4:36 to play, the Magic strung together four straight baskets by guards Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick and used a game-sealing 12-2 run to smother the Heat and win 104-95 at noisy Amway Center. The way the Magic (10-4) hung tough in a pressure situation, continued to move the ball and got key defensive stops allowed them to beat a Heat team that continues to plunge downward in a bizarre spiral. […] The Magic’s victory was sweet revenge after they were humiliated 96-70 by the Heat in Miami on Oct. 29. The two teams play next on Feb. 3 in Orlando. They close the season series on March 3 in Miami. Both games, just like the first two meetings, will be nationally televised. But this one, clearly, meant quite a bit to the Magic.”
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Miami didn’t lead at all in the second or third periods, but stormed back early in the fourth period, with scores on 7 of its first 9 possessions, taking an 88-87 lead on Wade’s three-point play at the 6:48 mark. At that point, though, the Magic’s defense stiffened once more and turned the Heat into an ineffective, jump-shooting group despite the presence of James and Wade, two of the league’s most dynamic drivers. On their next nine trips, the Heat scored 1 point and took 7 jumpers; Bass fouled Bosh on a layup attempt for Miami’s only point during that span, and Bosh fumbled away a lob pass in what proved to be the Heat’s only inside shot attempt. Zydrunas Ilgauskas missed two open pick-and-pop looks, Wade and Eddie House missed three three-pointers, and Wade and James missed two long two-point tries. It’s important to note, though, that one of House’s threes came after Nelson batted away an attempted alley-oop pass, a play which doesn’t show up in the stat sheet but nonetheless affected the game in a major way. Also important: at no point in the fourth quarter did Orlando permit Miami any second looks, as it grabbed all 12 available defensive rebounds. For the entire fourth, the Heat’s offense was one-and-done, a huge coup for the Magic.”
  • Shandel Richardson of the Sun-Sentinel: “The Heat was hardly the team that defeated the Magic by 26 points at AmericanAirlines Arena less than a month ago. They looked like a group still searching for an identity, offensively and defensively. The Magic led most of the way before Wade broke free from a shooting slump. He entered having made 1 of his last 23 field goals, and hit just 5 of 18 against the Magic. But Wade scored seven of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, his 3-point play giving the Heat an 88-87 lead with 6:48 remaining. From there, the Magic (10-4) went on a 10-1 spurt behind point guard Jameer Nelson to regain control and close things out.”
  • David J. Neal of the Miami Herald: “How you view the Heat’s 104-95 loss in Orlando depends all on perspective. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade saw a great effort Wednesday night. The NBA standings will see it as a loss. James and Wade saw it as just one of those nights against a good team on the road. Fans will see it as a loss against the kind of opponent the Heat needs to start beating. […] They didn’t get it, in the end, because Orlando point guard Jameer Nelson snatched the game. In addition to his 11 fourth-quarter points, Nelson dished off to J.J. Redick for a short jumper and drew a couple of fouls before taking his game and going home. Nelson was called for his second technical foul with 39 seconds left.”
  • Israel Gutierrez of the Miami Herald: “Just take a snapshot of the Heat 15 games into the season. It’s a hideous picture. Dwyane Wade hasn’t looked this out of sorts, maybe ever. You can see him second-guessing his shot as he’s releasing it. He missed a couple of layups in the first half against Orlando that he could have made in his sleep. He tried to reincorporate a midrange game that has been nonexistent this season, and it looked out of rhythm. He threw up an airball three-pointer with no one near him. He recovered for a few minutes in the final quarter, but that happened with James on the bench. When James came back in, Wade’s short-lived flame fizzled. Coincidence? Maybe. But it won’t be looked at that way. Not on this team. Not when the losses are piling up and the gettin’ is good. And James? He’s the picture of confusion at the moment. He talked about having fun playing basketball, but it seemed to ignore all the other elements required for success.”
  • Kevin Arnovitz of The Heat Index: “A few seasons ago — back when the Celtics has just assembled their big 3, the grizzled Pistons were still competent and the Cavaliers were riding LeBron James, — the Magic assumed the role as the up-and-comers in the East. Dwight Howard was still a pup on the block. Van Gundy surrounded him with shooters, and a system was born. Van Gundy might look like an unmade bed, but the schemes he has implemented in Orlando over the past few years are crisp and clean. Howard and Nelson have been the foundation of the Magic’s system. On Wednesday night, the Magic’s lethal big-small combination executed the playbook with precision as Orlando racked up 104 points in a methodical game that featured only 90 possessions — an outstanding rating of 115.6 against Miami’s fourth-ranked defense. The first principle of Orlando’s offense is to attack. That’s Nelson’s function, whether it’s a dribble-drive with a kickout to a shooter, or via a pick-and-roll. Nelson was brilliant against Miami, racking up a career-high 14 assists to go along with 17 points before his unceremonious ejection for mouthing off to Eddie House.”
  • Brian Windhorst of The Heat Index: “There were six minutes left and the Miami Heat were ahead by one point. Dwyane Wade had just scored two baskets and assisted on two others by baiting the defense and finding the open man. The Heat had eliminated the Orlando Magic’s once sizable lead. The horn sounded and LeBron James tore off his warm-up and bounced onto the floor. The crowd at Amway Center was worried, so worried it forgot to boo James as it had been doing all night. So this was it. Wade and James on the same team and ready to take control of a close road game against an elite team as they’ve done so often in their careers. When they were on that Miami stage back in July it was these moments they were dreaming of, eventually in June it was assumed. Double-barreled superstars in superstar time, right? No, it was more like Wile E. Coyote pulling the trigger only to display a little sign that read “bang.” Wade and James did nothing in those final six minutes save for a couple garbage-time baskets for James and a couple of free throws for Wade when the Heat were down nine points with 30 seconds left.”
  • Michael Wallace of The Heat Index: “If Spoelstra’s seat on the bench is growing warmer by the loss to Orlando, it very well could reach a boiling point should the Heat hit rock bottom with a defeat at home on Friday to Philadelphia. Injuries have depleted the Heat’s bench. Wade and James continue to be more oil and water right now than basketball’s version of Crockett and Tubbs. There are still some lapses in effort, energy and focus, although there were signs of improvement in those areas against the Magic. But during a stretch that has included five losses in the past eight games, the Heat have bounced between demoralizing losses and moral victories. At this stage, the only solution to Miami’s issues is accountability. The question is, who assumes that burden? “

Nov 24

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Stan Van Gundy is one of the most candid coaches in professional sports, but as Wednesday night’s highly anticipated game between the Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat approached, he did not deviate from a time-honored cliché. Although he acknowledged the game would reveal areas where his team needs to improve, Van Gundy insisted that the matchup against the Heat had no special importance. […] It would be easy to dismiss Van Gundy’s contention as “coachspeak,” but at the same time, it cut to the heart of a question the NBA has faced ever since the 1983-84 season, the first year the league allowed 16 teams to qualify for the playoffs. Just how important is a game in November if a league plays an 82-game regular season and allows more than half of its franchises to qualify for the postseason? That question is especially interesting in the case of the Heat and the Magic, two franchises closely connected by geography, star-studded rosters and enormous expectations.”
  • Dwight Howard is not friends with the Miami Heat.
  • For the Orlando Magic, tonight is just another game.
  • The Heat’s plea to their fans to show up on time at American Airlines Arena is “embarrassing.”
  • Vince Carter will not play against the Heat.
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy sounds off on Phil Jackson: “First of all, to second-guess the other coach and comment on a situation he knows nothing about, it’s inappropriate and it’s also ignorant. I don’t mean that commenting on Phil’s intelligence. He’s obviously a very smart guy. I mean it as ignorant. He doesn’t know what that situation was and he doesn’t know what the situation in Miami is now. I don’t think that, unless their relationship’s changed drastically, that he and Pat talk on a regular basis. So, I would doubt that he would have any information whatsoever on what’s going on in Miami.”
  • Shandel Richardson of the Sun-Sentinel on Miami’s addition of Erick Dampier: “I never imagined a guy who played in the 1996 NCAA Final Four would receive so much attention on a team that features LeBron, Bosh and Wade. Dampier likely won’t play tonight, but his name has been on the minds of fans and media since the Heat’s struggles began. Time will tell if he can help. Dampier had a poor workout the last time he auditioned for the Heat. If he’s in solid shape like he says, then I could see him bringing muscle to a team lacking physical toughness. If not, the Heat will have wasted their time and added to the already existing chemistry problems.”
  • Is Orlando ready to play on prime-time? Sekou Smith of the NBA’s Hangtime Blog tries to answer that question: “There is nothing more entertaining than a supremely talented team struggling to find its motivation. And make no mistake about it, these Magic are one of the three most talented teams in the league — and are a group rarely spoken about around these parts. They went flat in the Eastern Conference finals last season against Boston and it’s like we’re all scared to take them seriously since then. It certainly doesn’t help the cause when Dwight Howard and his boys fail in measuring-stick games — the Heat routed them by 26 points in Round 1 of the Sunshine State Classic in Miami on Halloween weekend, the Jazz stunned them with a monster comeback win Nov. 10 and the Spurs handled them Monday night.  Tonight’s rematch against the Heat in Orlando provides the perfect opportunity for Stan Van Gundy’s team to show us that they are free of the psychodrama that has plagued them since the Eastern Conference finals.”
  • Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse has more on Van Gundy’s comments towards Jackson.
  • Howard likes to perform on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie: “Van Gundy, to his everlasting credit (and bank account statements) has steadfastly stuck with the company line ever since. And who knows, the company line might be the correct line, but we’re also correct in pointing out how all signs point to an unceremonious departure for Van Gundy back in 2005, and how it mirrors what’s happening right now. And it’s not cool for Phil to say what’s on his and our minds … why? He’s not allowed to say what has been on the tip of every sports writers’ tongue, seriously, since it became news that the Heat were going to clear cap space to try and add another star two years ago? Pull up some cable chat show from two years ago, and I guarantee that’s the first quip out of someone’s mouth.”
  • How overpaid is Rashard Lewis? No one really knows.

Nov 24

Preview: Miami Heat at Orlando Magic

7:30 EDT | ESPN
8-6 @ 9-4
Pythagorean Record: 11-3 Pythagorean Record: 9-4
Pace: 91.6 (21st) Pace: 92.7 (17th)
Offensive Rating: 109.7 (4th) Offensive Rating: 105.4 (19th)
Defensive Rating: 101.1 (5th) Defensive Rating: 98.6 (1st)
Amway Center | Magic trail season series 1-0

Nov 24

Dwight Howard Likes to Play NBA Jam

Nov 24

It’s Not All About Dwight Howard

Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images

As seen on The Heat Index.

Before the Orlando Magic faced off against the Miami Heat on October 29, the conversation surrounding the matchup centered on Dwight Howard‘s ability to exploit the Heat’s front line. Nearly everyone said, “Who is going to stop him?”

Yet few bothered to ask how the Magic would score on the perimeter against LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, two of the best wing defenders in the NBA.

In the first half of their initial meeting in Miami’s regular season home opener, Orlando got a lot of production from Howard but little else from the likes of Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter and others. Howard was dominant in the first two quarters. He executed to near perfection on the low block and displayed an array of lefty and righty hooks, spin moves and jump shots.

Unfortunately for the Magic, Howard was a one-man show because head coach Erik Spoelstra elected not to double-team the big fella in the low post and instead concentrated on stopping the perimeter attack.

Let Howard get his, and stop everyone else on the Magic’s roster.

It’s a strategy similar to the one Boston Celtics employed to beat Orlando in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals. In this case, Wade shut down Carter while James acted as a rover on defense, using his elite athleticism to make it nearly impossible for Orlando shooters to get clean looks from the perimeter.

The strategy worked, as the Heat were able to pull away from the Magic in the third quarter thanks to a barrage of shots from James and Wade. The Magic posted their worst offensive night in more than two years as they fell 96-70 in Miami.

What can Orlando do differently this time around?

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Nov 24

Interview with Michael Wallace of The Heat Index

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

On October 29, the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat faced off in one of the most highly anticipated regular season games in NBA history. After a first half in which the Magic and Heat traded blows like a pair of heavyweights, things changed quickly at the onset of the third quarter. Miami tightened up their defense, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade caught fire from the perimeter, and — in the blink of an eye — an intense game between two rivals turned into a rout.

So much for a matchup living up to the hype. That was nearly a month ago.

My, how things have changed.

After a triumphant victory against the Magic, the Heat have looked mortal and are struggling with an 8-6 record. Injuries have taken their toll on Miami, sure, but this is a roster that looks lifeless and zombie-like. And with each loss, the shadow of president Pat Riley looms larger over head coach Erik Spoelstra. Cue Michael Corleone’s infamous quote from Godfather Part III.

So to preview the inner happenings of the Heat, I gathered the intelligent observations of Michael Wallace of the Heat Index. Formerly of the Miami Herald, Wallace has covered Miami for five seasons and knows what the deal is.

Wallace provides his opinion on Spoelstra’s future, the impact of the Heat losing Udonis Haslem for (possibly) the rest of the season, and more.

_______

On Twitter, you said that the Miami Heat’s loss to the Indiana Pacers on Monday was the worst loss you’ve seen in the five years you’ve covered the team. What was it about the game that made you feel that way?

When you weigh the talent level and expectations against the effort and performance the Heat played with against the Pacers, the disparity between those two sides was never greater in any of the games I’ve covered on this beat. That’s no knock against Indiana. But the Heat didn’t defend, didn’t play with passion, didn’t execute anything resembling offensive structure and really didn’t seem to take the loss as seriously, based on their postgame comments, as they probably should. Getting blown out at home by the Pacers simply isn’t acceptable for this team. Or, at least, it shouldn’t be.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 24

Sneak Preview: Miami Heat at Orlando Magic

Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Surprise, ahem, is in the voice of the Heat these days. Now that their force field of arrogance has been shattered, the Heat wobble into Amway Center at a ho-hum 8-6, misfiring on offense and missing some spare parts (Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller). All their woes place a ton of pressure on the 9-4 Magic tonight for Orlando-Miami II. What do you make of the [Orlando] Magic if they can’t beat the reeling, luke-warm Heat and square the series? […] The Magic said that the Spurs game was a measuring stick. If that was a barometer, isn’t the Miami rematch, especially after Orlando was embarrassed Oct. 29 in South Florida? Absolutely. If the Heat aren’t vulnerable now, then when? At least against the Spurs, the Magic played well until the final minutes when they kicked the ball around. They could leave Texas feeling upbeat. It’s no wonder [Jameer] Nelson and teammates have nightmares of their 96-70 loss to the Heat, visions of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh shutting them down in mismatches. They left Miami’s building feeling deflated, not only wondering if all the hype about this South Florida steamroller was warranted but whether they’d stand a chance at playoff time. Other teams have poked holes in the Heat hysteria since then. The Magic need to join them, particularly since they are playing at home. Magic-Heat II is the biggest game yet at new, cavernous Amway Center. I haven’t been overwhelmed by the home-court atmosphere. Time to break it in proper.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Vince Carter received some welcome news on the injury front Tuesday. An MRI on his injured left knee revealed no significant structural damage, an Orlando Magic spokesman said. Carter might play when the Magic host the Miami Heat on Wednesday. He will be a gametime decision. The 33-year-old shooting guard sustained the injury Monday, midway through the fourth quarter of the Magic’s 106-97 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Carter made a gorgeous spin move and converted a layup on the play, but he landed awkwardly on his left foot. He didn’t return to the game.”
  • Dave Hyde of the Sun-Sentinel: “The Heat has consecutive losses to Memphis and Indiana. It’s Spoelstra now on the [Stan] Van Gundy Hot Seat. And Spoelstra knows the rules. He’s a big boy and a good coach, no matter what anyone says today. But you don’t get handed the keys to a team like this without the wild expectations that come with it. Of course, that previous sentence is part of the dilemma itself. This team has significant holes, especially with Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller on the shelf. At the crux of the question Jackson raises is this: Do superstars in the NBA, the most diva of sports leagues, need to be coached by superstars? That’s why Jackson was brought to Los Angeles with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. It’s also why Van Gundy got run out of Miami by his own players, mainly Shaq, even if modern legend claims it all Riley’s doing. Since this pertains to the Heat’s current situation, let’s take a quick history lesson. Shaq was upset Van Gundy kept running plays for an injured Dwyane Wade in Game 7 of the previous spring’s Eastern Conference Finals. Wade had nothing left by the fourth quarter. Plays kept going to him. Detroit won. Shaq decided, then and there, he was done with Van Gundy.”
  • Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel: “Erick Dampier is in, Jerry Stackhouse is out, and Udonis Haslem may be gone for the season. In the wake of one of the franchise’s ugliest losses in years, Monday’s 93-77 setback to the visiting Indiana Pacers, the Miami Heat quickly found their focus turned to personnel issues at Tuesday’s practice at AmericanAirlines Arena. On the practice court, Dampier, the veteran center, was working with coaches on the team’s playbook, after signing a one-year contract at the veteran minimum. Gone from the scene was Stackhouse, with the Heat electing to release the veteran shooting guard, rather than one of the four centers already on the roster. […] Although the team would not confirm the extent of Haslem’s injury other than to say he would be out indefinitely, a source familiar with the procedure said it is a season-ending injury for most players. The source said the opinion had nothing to do with the possibility of the Heat seeking salary-cap relief for a replacement, which only would come if Haslem was deemed sidelined for the season by Nov. 30.”
  • Israel Gutierrez of the Miami Herald: “One day after a numbing home loss to the Pacers temporarily shattered the Heat, the theme for Tuesday’s practice was reconnecting. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra wanted his team to rediscover the elements that would make the team successful — none of which showed up during Miami’s 16-point loss Monday. One of those key elements, though, won’t be reconnecting anytime soon. Possibly not for the rest of the regular season. Udonis Haslem had surgery Tuesday to repair a torn Lisfranc ligament in his left foot. The procedure was called a success, but the typical recovery period for that type of surgery is at least four months. If that were the case for Haslem, it would keep him out until at least late March. In Haslem’s absence, the Heat signed center Erick Dampier, a 14-year veteran, and waived Jerry Stackhouse.”
  • Michelle Kaufman of the Miami Herald: “If three of the biggest NBA stars aren’t enough to get Heat fans in their seats on time, maybe $2 off a hotdog, and a gentle scolding by team management will do the trick. Or, maybe not. In most NBA cities, the prospect of seeing Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh on the floor together would be enough to have fans captivated by tipoff. But this is Miami, where socializing and showing up fashionably late is as much a part of the culture as ignoring stop signs. Heat management — tired of seeing thousands of empty seats at the start of game broadcasts — recently launched a “Fan Up” campaign in an attempt to get fans to be more punctual and spirited. That could prove more difficult than winning another NBA title. They may have to lock the arena doors at tipoff to get fans in on time.”
  • Kevin Arnovitz and Tom Haberstroh of The Heat Index: “A season ago, the Orlando Magic were the proud owners of the league’s second best offense in the league but it’s slid 6.1 points per 100 possessions since then. What’s the problem? Magic point guards have been uncharacteristically sloppy with the ball. That’s especially true for newcomer Chris Duhon whose turnover rate so far in a Magic uniform has doubled his career norm. Jameer Nelson and Duhon combined for 5 turnovers in the Oct. 29 matchup. The Heat should be licking their chops since the transition game is the only thing that seems to be working offensively and turnovers award them those opportunities. Additionally, if the Heat seek to disarm Dwight Howard defensively, causing turnovers and jumping out in transition will be their best option.”
  • Brian Windhorst of The Heat Index: “LeBron James will be the first member of the Miami Heat introduced in the starting lineup on Wednesday night at Amway Center. The Magic home crowd, like every other crowd outside Miami this season, will likely boo him. And then when James touches the ball early in the game there will probably be more boos. The boos will follow James as he travels the league this season, whether he’s checking in at the scorer’s table or walking to the foul line. The volume might vary based on region, the competitiveness of the game or general level of interest, but the pattern figures to be consistent. This is the new norm for James and one of the many things he admits he’s adjusting to as a member of the targeted Heat. James admitted last week after another night of routine boos in Memphis that he’s been perplexed by some of the grief he’s received on the road this season.”
  • Michael Wallace of The Heat Index: “Erick Dampier should have been signed two months ago when he first met with Pat Riley and Erick Spoelstra before the Miami Heat’s training camp. But that doesn’t mean his arrival Tuesday in advance of Wednesday’s clash with Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic didn’t come right on time. The Heat are hurting right now, both figuratively and literally. The pain of their disappointing 8-6 start to the season has been compounded by the the loss of their leading rebounder, co-captain and resident tough guy, Udonis Haslem, for what might be the duration of the season. On the same day Haslem had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left foot, the Heat tried to regain their balance by signing Dampier to help fill their rebounding void and need for another big man with some semblance of a mean streak to bang inside.”
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