Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 194

Nov 15

Sneak Preview: Memphis Grizzlies at Orlando Magic

AP Photo/John Raoux

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Stan Van Gundy already has had a heart-to-heart with Rashard Lewis, so he got to him before the rest of us. […] If you’re wondering whether Van Gundy would bench Lewis, the answer is no. Not now, anyway. If Stan didn’t sit Vince Carter through a horrid January last season, I don’t think he’ll turn Lewis into a sixth man. Every time media and fans plead for a benching, I always ask: OK, who takes his place? The options at power forward without Lewis are Brandon Bass, Ryan Anderson and Marcin Gortat. Anderson is embedded in Van Gundy’s doghouse. The Magic need Gortat to be on red alert, given [Dwight] Howard‘s relationship with the refs. That leaves Bass, undersized at 6-feet-8. Bass’ pet mid-range jumper is finding the net (49.1 percent.) He’s still better suited roaring off the bench. The decline of Lewis’ numbers has been steady, for a couple reasons. Vince Carter arrived last season to rob some shots, making Lewis the third option behind Carter and Howard. This season, Van Gundy has experimented with big lineups and more post-ups, shuttling Lewis from power forward to small forward. Even Stan agrees this may have affected his routine.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Brandon Bass continues to impress Stan Van Gundy. Even in hotel ballrooms. Really. Saturday morning, the Orlando Magic gathered in a ballroom in their New Jersey hotel for a walkthrough to prepare to face the New Jersey Nets. The Magic had played a game just 12 hours earlier, and yet Van Gundy still saw Bass paying attention to tiny details, wanting to know every assignment and understand every play. Bass kept up that intensity Saturday night, contributing 14 points — and, best of all from Van Gundy’s perspective — eight rebounds in only 21 minutes.”
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “[J.J.] Redick and Lewis in particular are far too gifted to shoot less than 38 percent on three-pointers over the course of the entire season. But for now, it’s a problem. If we’re pointing out performances from guys who are struggling, it’s only fair to laud the ones making a positive impact. Marcin Gortat has rebounded and defended exceptionally well, and has also made the most of his limited offensive opportunities, making 70 percent of his shots in the early going. Brandon Bass, an afterthought a year ago, worked his way into the rotation with great energy and a better commitment to defense. Though now out of the rotation, Ryan Anderson managed to positively impact the team despite his outside shot not dropping; on a per-minute basis, Anderson ranks second on the team in scoring and third in rebounding.”
  • Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal: “The revolving door between the Grizzlies’ bench and the basketball court is spinning fast. Veteran swingman Tony Allen and rookie point guard Greivis Vasquez spun out of nowhere and gave the team a lift last weekend. Just who will dart out of the reserve tank tonight when the Griz play on the road against the Orlando Magic? That’s anyone’s guess. Griz coach Lionel Hollins is still searching to find a collection of bench players he can count on. He contends that his mantra hasn’t changed and he is going to use the first 20 regular-season games to firm up a substitution pattern. Guys will play their way in and out so one game doesn’t necessarily mean anything.”

Nov 12

Recap: Toronto Raptors 110, Orlando Magic 106

AP Photo/Reinhold Matay

BOX SCORE

“The third quarter was ridiculous professional basketball.”

Head coach Stan Van Gundy uttered those words in his press conference following the Orlando Magic‘s loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, in which they blew an 18-point lead in the third quarter and lost by 10 points. Against the Toronto Raptors, the Magic — no offense to their opponent — played pathetic basketball for four quarters and were defeated by the score of 110-106. By all means, the Raptors deserved to win the game because they played with excellent energy and effort, and performed as if their lives depended on the end result. Toronto was led by DeMar DeRozan, who had a career-high 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting and seven rebounds. Andrea Bargnani finished with 27 points. Sonny Weems was the hero in the game, hitting a go-ahead three-pointer with 7.1 seconds left to put the Raptors up by three points. The Magic tried to tie the ballgame and after calling a timeout for being unable to put the ball in play, Mickael Pietrus‘ inbounds pass on the second try was stolen by Jose Calderon and that was game, set, match.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

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