Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 196

Sep 10

Friday’s Magic Word

  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “I don’t think you can argue against this game being tops among [Rashard] Lewis‘ performances with the [Orlando] Magic. There ought not be any debate here. The Magic lost this game in overtime–memorably, Courtney Lee’s wide-open lob layup attempt at the end of regulation was well off the mark–but we aren’t necessarily counting wins and losses in these evaluations. Understand that this game is an unmitigated disaster, along the lines of the Game 1 blowout, without Lewis’ white-hot shooting. He tallied 34 points to lead all scorers, which still stands as his highest mark in a Magic uniform. And yet the raw numbers don’t do enough justice to how crucial he was to Orlando in this hard-fought defeat. Thankfully, we have Popcorn Machine, in addition to our own brains, to fill in the traditional box score’s gaps. Lewis scored 18 of the Magic’s 20 second-period points, on 7-of-10 shooting, while his teammates sputtered to a 1-of-13 mark. The Magic trailed the Lakers by a mere five points at intermission, and rallied in the third quarter to make the game more competitive. As in, having a two-point lead with 47 seconds remaining.”
  • Miami Heat president Pat Riley: “Riley specifically cited Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith and former NBA star turned analyst Charles Barkley as examples of people who took what the Heat president thought were unwarranted shots at the way the Heat went about business this summer. He also mentioned Magic coach Stan Van Gundy — Riley’s former protege in Miami — as well. On the day after Miami signed James to a six-year contract that lured him away from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Smith said, ‘I thought he was, I guess, more of a competitor.’ Riley responded to that Friday, saying Smith made ‘an absolutely stupid remark. He never made any kind of comment like that when he signed Rashard Lewis and he brought him down from Seattle with a $128 million contract.’ ”
  • Told you it was personal between the Orlando Magic and the Heat.
  • Matt Moore of CBSSports.com has more on Riley’s comments: “Riley had to expect this, though. Especially from Van Gundy. Asking ‘what happened’ to Van Gundy? Pat Riley did. And Barkley taking strong sides is nothing new. But this is just the beginning. Every loss to a major team will be played as a revelation that this team isn’t ready to really sacrifice and play together. Every win will be dismissed unless it’s in the Finals, and then it will simply be discussed as ‘They should win! They have the talent!’ ”
  • Aron Phillips of Dime Magazine: “As Season 3 of Gatorade REPLAY kicks off, two major names in Chicago basketball – the Bloom Township Trojans and the Brother Rice Crusaders – will reunite to replay their 2000 super sectional game that ended with a questionable last-second tip-in at the buzzer. But this time, 10 years later, each squad will have the help Dwyane Wade (Bloom Township) or Dwight Howard (Brother Rice) on the bench as honorary coaches for the two teams.”
  • Dwight Howard is a lot like Alonzo Mourning, according to Casey Mack of Dime Magazine: “Dwight Howard is an intimidating defensive force who — despite his oft-criticized offensive game — can still drop 20 points on you at the other end. His strong build and skills as a rebounder and shot-blocker draws a clear comparison to Alonzo Mourning. ‘Zo won two NBA Defensive Player of the Year Awards. Howard has matched that total already, and it’s safe to say a few more are on the way before his career is over.”
  • We reminisce when Vince Carter scored 50 points against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Sep 10

Orlando Magic’s Ryan Anderson and PepsiCo Team Up to Fight Childhood Hunger in Orlando

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Gary Bassing/Orlando Magic

Via the Orlando Magic:

On Wednesday, September 8, Pepsi Beverages Company (PBC) joined forces with Ryan Anderson of the Orlando Magic to fill 750 backpacks with healthy snacks and school supplies. The backpacks were donated to the students of Flora Ridge Elementary School as part of the Backpack Giveaway Agenda. Along with the backpacks, PepsiCo generously provided the school with a $1,000 check to aid in the purchase of student uniforms.

The day began with the stuffing of 750 backpacks with healthy goodies and school supplies by Derek Lewis, Senior Vice President and General Manager, PBC, and two Orlando Magic Dancers. Later in the afternoon, Orlando Magic Forward Ryan Anderson and Magic Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw arrived with the loaded backpacks at the Flora Ridge Elementary School Media Center where they greeted the school’s principal and the eagerly awaiting students. Ryan Anderson led the way, distributing the backpacks to the excited and grateful students. The day was capped off by a photo and autograph session.

The backpacks were provided to benefit the Flora Ridge Elementary students in need. 87 percent of the children are on a free or reduced lunch plan and 50 percent speak English as their second language. Studies have shown that one in four children does not have an adequate amount of food and more than 15 percent of local parents said their kids skipped meals because there was not enough money for food.

Thanks to the efforts of both Pepsi Beverages Company and the Orlando Magic, these children were fueled with food and supplies to ensure a good start for the new school year.

Sep 10

Opening Weekend Takes Shape at New State-of-the-Art Amway Center

Fernando Medina/Orlando Magic

Via the Orlando Magic:

On Friday, October 1, the new Amway Center will open its doors to the Central Florida community for the first time. Opening Weekend at Amway Center will feature a series of free, community events that showcase all of the fan amenities and state-of-the-art technology available only in Downtown Oralndo’s new events center.

Opening day activities will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, October 1 on Church Street in front of the Amway Center. At precisely 10:01 a.m. on 10/01, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orlando Magic President Alex Martins, Orlando City Commissioners and other Central Florida leaders will open the doors to the new Amway Center for the first time to the public. Following the ceremonial ribbon cutting and building dedication, the community will be invited into the lower bowl for Mayor Dyer’s Annual State of Downtown Address. This year, the State of Downtown is a free event where the entire Central Florida community can participate in this historic day.

On Saturday, October 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mayor Dyer invites Central Florida residents back to the Amway Center for a free, community open house. This event will feature self-guided tours, entertainment and local performances, free popcorn and soda and commemorative items to celebrate this historic accomplishment. Representatives from the Orlando Magic and Orlando Predators will also be on-hand. Residents can experience a “taste of the Amway Center” with a sampling of the newest food offerings available for purchase.

The self-guided tour of the Amway Center will take patrons through the most technologically-advanced events center in the country, showcasing two levels of spacious concourses that include an impressive array of concessions; a stop along the way so the kids can climb STUFF’S Magic Castle, then up to the contemporary, open-air setting of Gentleman Jack’s Terrace, then up 100 feet to the Sky Bar spotlighting some of Downtown Orlando’s best views; past the player locker rooms and ultimately in the lower bowl where you can see the largest arena videoboard in the country.

For more information on Opening Weekend activities including how residents can obtain their free ticket to the community open house and free parking options, visit amwaycenter.com. A new, improved and interactive web site – www.amwaycenter.com – is now available to keep Central Florida residents and patrons updated with the latest information about Amway Center events and offerings. The new amwaycenter.com is a one-stop destination for complete information including box office, ticket sale, parking and event calendar details.

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Sep 09

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “As the Orlando Magic’s President and the project manager for the new Amway Center the past four years, Alex Martins can have just about any seat that he wants when the dazzling, $380 million facility throws open its doors to basketball fans on Oct. 10. Instead, Martins plans to stand that night so he can fully see the awed reactions from the patrons when they step inside a building that promises to be the most modern and technologically advanced facility in North America. The Amway Center hit another major milestone in its construction on Wednesday when superstar center Dwight Howard, local politicians and celebrities, students from the Nap Ford Community School and even Martins himself participated in the Drano Royal Flush. For 10 minutes straight, people flushed the 560 toilets in unison, operated the 430 sinks and turned the other 210 drinking fountains and showers on and off. The 875,000-square-foot facility, one that is almost three times the size of the Amway Arena that the Magic played in the previous 21 years, passed the flush test. Up next is the Magic’s Oct. 10 preseason home opener against the New Orleans Hornets and fans first chance to see that the new facility passes their eye test. Martins is eager to see the looks on the fans faces that first night when they get to fully enjoy his labor of love the past four years.”
  • John Krolik and Rob Mahoney of ProBasketball wonder whether or not the “small-ball” era is over: “For example, Dwight Howard doesn’t dominate games by getting the ball on the block and making a move every time the Magic have the ball, because that’s not how things work anymore. However, his ability to guard the paint has become invaluable, because there’s no way to stop faster players from getting into the paint without fouling them on the perimeter. Offensively, Howard’s ability to turn Jameer Nelson‘s penetration into an alley-oop finish is more valuable than it would have been previously, because Jameer now penetrates more.”
  • Dwight Howard’s magical moment with Kay Kellogg.
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports that Denver Nuggets All-Star Carmelo Anthony would prefer Denver deal him to the Chicago Bulls or the New York Knicks. For this site’s purposes, the report is more interesting for which team it doesn’t mention, rather than the teams it does. Indeed, the Orlando Magic are nowhere to be found in Spears’ report, which indicates that ESPN’s panel of experts may have been onto something a few weeks ago when it didn’t list the Magic among contenders to land Anthony. Three weeks ago, Ken Berger of CBS Sports reported that the Magic topped Anthony’s list of possible trade destinations. But the talk linking Anthony to the Magic has calmed considerably since then, with teams like the New Jersey Nets, Houston Rockets, L.A. Clippers–in addition to the Bulls and Knicks–appearing more prominently in the rumor mill.”
  • Jameer Nelson shoots a lot like a shooting guard.
  • Howard is participating in Gatorade’s REPLAY event, where “members of both the Chicago-area Bloom and Brother Rice 2000 high school basketball teams will take part in a rematch between the two schools. Sponsored by Gatorade, the pairing hopes to serve as a bit of closure after Bloom won a highly contested (both in game, and after it) 42-40 Super Sectional win, after Joe Chapman managed a tip in around (some say before, some say after) the final seconds ticked off the clock.”
  • Matt Barnes, former Magic player, is in a heap of trouble with the law.

Sep 09

Who Knew Flushing Toilets Could Be So Much Fun?

Fernando Medina, Orlando Magic

Via the Orlando Magic:

The new Amway Center in downtown Orlando met another milestone as the traditional “Royal Flush” was held September 8, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. at the construction site. The purpose of the Drano “Royal Flush” event was to observe sanitary sewer flows, water consumption and pressure in and around the arena. Approximately 443 toilets were flushed simultaneously; there are 18 men’s and 19 women’s restrooms in the new Amway Center, compared to just four of each in the old facility. [...]

Orlando Magic Center Dwight Howard poses with the students from Nap Ford Community School for the Drano “Royal Flush”. More than 150 people participated in the event with approximately 443 toilets flushing simultaneously. The new Amway Center will have 18 men’s and 19 women’s restrooms. Overall, there are nearly 1,200 plumbing fixtures in the new Amway Center including approximately 560 toilets / urinals, 430 sinks, and 210 other-type fixtures, including drink fountains, showers, and disposals.

Sep 09

A Look Back at Dwight Howard’s First Career Triple-Double

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Make sure to read Ben Q. Rock’s retrospective look at Dwight Howard‘s career night. A must-read.

Sep 08

Dwight Howard to Host Live Fan Chat from Gatorade REPLAY Game

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Via Gatorade:

Dwight Howard will be hosting a live USTREAM fan chat this Friday, September 10 from the Gatorade REPLAY Season 3 game in Chicago where he will act as an honorary coach for the Brother Rice Crusaders. Howard will be joined by fellow honorary coach, Dwyane Wade as they answer fan questions from 6:05 – 6:20pm CST.

To give you some background on REPLAY, Gatorade is reuniting two South Side Chicago high school basketball powerhouses – Bloom and Brother Rice – whose 2000 super sectional game ended after a questionable last second tip in at the buzzer. Dwight Howard and Dwyane Wade are the honorary coaches for the event, and Carlos Boozer is our game day commissioner.

USTREAM Start/End Times:

  • Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard REPLAY Fan Chat: 6:05 pm – 6:20 pm
  • Carlos Boozer REPLAY Half-Time Fan Chat: 8:05 – 8:15 pm
  • REPLAY Post-Game Press Conference: 9:15 – 9:45 pm

Sep 08

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • Via John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “The incurable cancer that has ravaged Kay Kellogg’s body has forced her to contemplate death much sooner than she would have preferred, but the bright and bubbly 62-year-old Orlando Magic fan has vowed that when her time’s up she will leave with a smile on her face. [...] [Dwight] Howard, Orlando’s consensus All-NBA center, brought a ray of happiness to Kellogg recently when he visited her at her Orlando home. Kellogg was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a cancer of the white blood cells in the bone marrow, on Aug. 8, and unfortunately there is no long-term cure for the disease. [...] Orlando’s star center has been a busy man this summer, twice traveling to China for Adidas and an acting role in a basketball movie. He also was in India as part of a promotional tour for the NBA and he’s been in New York and Los Angeles filming a television show and recording a children’s music album. But upon hearing Kellogg’s story, Howard made it a point to visit one of his biggest fans. Howard was scheduled to stay at Kellogg’s house for 30 minutes, but ended up hanging around for almost two hours. The two of them talked cooking, free throw shooting and life. Kellogg said she avoided talking about her cancer diagnosis, but she was touched at how Howard’s mood shifted from playful to serious when she would grimace because of pain in her body.”
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk thinks Adonal Foyle is the perfect man for the job as the director of player development for the Orlando Magic.
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports that EA has released the rosters for Eastern Conference teams in the new version of the NBA Jam videogame. Vince Carter, Dwight Howard, and Rashard Lewis are the Orlando Magic players available, though the team also boasts two legends in Nick Anderson and Scott Skiles. Today, our question is simple: which potential combination–remember, NBA Jam is a two-on-two, arcade-style game–of Magic players are you most excited to use in the new game? There are ten possible combinations, and I’ve listed each in the poll attached to this post.”
  • Go vote at OPP!
  • More on the good three-point shooter/bad free-throw shooter phenomenon from Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference: “I always felt that FT% is the best indicator of pure shooting form, since unless the player resorts to a gimmicky, Rick Barry-style approach, it’s just him, his mechanics, and a basket 15 feet away. Meanwhile, 3P% can be influenced by so many more factors, depending on the player’s style of play and/or role in the offense; for instance, look at Jason Kidd’s magical transformation from a guy nicknamed “Ason” to a 43% 3-point shooter (!!!) in Dallas. FT% is far less dependent on contextual effects, which seems to make it a better indicator of a player’s underlying skill.”
  • Trey Kerby of Ball Don’t Lie comments on the feel-good story involving Kay Kellogg and Dwight Howard: “Occasionally stories come around that push your sadness buttons just enough that your eyes get a bit misty, while at the same time the same story activates your smile sensors because it’s about someone doing something good for another person. You know what I’m talking about.”

Sep 08

Fact or Fiction: Marcin Gortat, Vince Carter, and Brandon Bass Will Remain With the Orlando Magic Until the End of the Season

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Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Fact or Fiction presents both sides of key issues the Orlando Magic will face in the upcoming season.

Marcin Gortat, Vince Carter, and Brandon Bass will all finish this season in a Magic uniform.

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Fact
It can be argued, even if it’s — admittedly — not the strongest argument, that the Orlando Magic are better off keeping the roster as is. Remember, the Magic were first in efficiency differential (+9.25) during the regular season last year and they bring back the same group of guys, sans Matt Barnes after he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent. The only new faces that will be in the rotation, for the time being, are Quentin Richardson and Chris Duhon. Plus, given that Richardson will likely be an upgrade from Barnes, especially on offense, and Duhon is projected to have a good season as Jameer Nelson‘s back-up, it’s safe to say that Orlando shouldn’t miss a beat. Why make a trade just for the sake of making a trade?

In the grand scheme of things, the Magic are still one of the best teams in the NBA as currently constructed. It might be in the best interest of general manager Otis Smith to leave the roster alone and let the players try again.

It’s called a second chance.

Vince Carter and Brandon Bass will get the benefit of playing in head coach Stan Van Gundy‘s system for another season. In Carter’s case, the hope is that he can develop more synergy with Dwight Howard in pick and rolls but it’s a wait-and-see approach. As for Marcin Gortat, there is the expectation is that he’ll bounce back from a sub-par year and play with more energy, as well as cut down on the turnovers — two minor issues that plagued him in 2010.

And at the end of the day, Howard must take his game to the next level if Orlando wants to win a title with their current outfit of players.

Even if the Magic were to acquire someone by trading Gortat and/or Carter and/or Bass, Howard has to open Pandora’s box on offense or else it’s a moot point.

The pressure isn’t on Gortat, Carter, or Bass to produce, which means that they may stick around even if they fail to contribute by their standards.

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Sep 08

Dwight Howard is a Man of the People

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Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Via Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel:

Her bucket list included just one item.

Kay Kellogg didn’t want to climb the Eiffel Tower. Or run a marathon. Or jump out of an airplane. She just wanted to have a nice conversation with her hero.

Dwight Howard is just such a precious, wonderful kid,” she says. “Whenever I watch him play, he just makes me feel good inside.”

And for a woman who feels so bad inside most of the time, this is quite an accomplishment for Dwight.

You think leading the league in rebounding and blocked shots is difficult? Try leading the cancer ward in smiles elicited and hearts warmed.

Kay, 62, is sitting at her apartment Tuesday telling her story. [...]

She has Stage 3 Multiple Myeloma, an aggressive cancer that searches out and destroys the blood plasma in the bone marrow. Her disease is inoperable and incurable, but her demeanor is inspiriting and uplifting.

She lives on a fixed income, but two seasons ago she decided to treat herself to Magic season tickets in the upper level. Watching Dwight play is one of the joys of her life. She showed up at nearly every game that season wearing her blue No. 12 Dwight jersey.

A few weeks ago, her daughter, Arian Clute, had an idea. She contacted the [Orlando] Magic and told them that her mother had but one wish before she died: She wanted to meet Dwight.

And, so, a few days ago, Dwight showed up at her door step. He was supposed to spend 30 minutes and ended up staying nearly two hours.

Take five minutes out of your day, and read this article.

This is about as good as it gets. Dwight Howard really is Superman.

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