Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 2

Jan 21

Preview: Orlando Magic at Detroit Pistons

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Detroit Pistons
  • Date: January 21, 2015
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: The Palace at Auburn Hills

Records

  • Magic: 15-29
  • Pistons: 16-26

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Elfrid Payton
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Devyn Marble
  • Channing Frye
  • Nikola Vucevic

Pistons:

  • Brandon Jennings
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
  • Kyle Singler
  • Greg Monroe
  • Andre Drummond

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.8 (15th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.0 (28th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.1 (20th of 30)

Pistons:

  • Pace: 93.5 (17th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 103.5 (22nd of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 105.5 (13th of 30)

Read about the Pistons

Piston Powered

Jan 21

Victor Oladipo to participate in dunk contest

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

The Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo and Orlando Magic’s Victor Oladipo have committed to participating in the All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk contest, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Brooklyn Nets center Mason Plumlee and Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Zach LaVine also will be a part of the competition, sources told Yahoo Sports.

The dunk contest is set as the final event of All-Star Saturday night on Feb. 14 at the Barclays Center in New York.

The All-Star game is Feb. 15 at Madison Square Garden.

Jan 21

Magic get thunderstrucked by Oklahoma City

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Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

In retrospect, we probably should have seen this coming. With Oklahoma City rumbling into Amway Center on Sunday with two of the NBA’s top five players in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, and facing off against an Orlando team that has recently embraced a run-and-gun philosophy, the possibility was there for the Thunder to run the Magic out of their own building. Well, it happened. OKC won in a rout, 127-99.

Durant and Westbrook are two supernaturally gifted athletes, supported by athletic teammates like Serge Ibaka, Reggie Jackson, and Dion Waiters, that can play an up-tempo style if need be and thrive. Durant and Westbrook proved it by leading the Thunder to their best half in franchise history with a 79-point first half against the Magic.

It was also the most points allowed by Orlando in a half. Ever. The Rockets held the previous record with 78, which happened on April 8, 1990 during the Magic’s inaugural season.

The Thunder jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter before the Magic could respond with points of their own, cutting the deficit to as little as nine midway through the period. That was the closest Orlando would get.

Things quickly got out of hand from there, as the game devolved into an audition for Oklahoma City players to make the Thunder’s highlight reel for the 2014-15 season — one player that won’t be on it will be Andre Roberson, who badly airballed a free-throw late in the second quarter. Westbrook won the auditions with his one-handed reverse dunk midway through the third quarter that would have won last year’s slam dunk contest.

For a team trying to find its identity by playing at a faster tempo, it was a humbling lesson for the Magic.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 19

Power Rankings Roundup: Week 12

 
Matt Moore, CBS Sports: No. 20 (Last week: No. 27)

Ran into a buzzsaw in Oklahoma City, but overall have played much better. Victor Oladipo is a star in the making that no one is really paying attention to.

Marc Stein, ESPN: No. 21 (Last week: No. 28)

Before getting bullied by Memphis and obliterated by OKC, Orlando not only posted two very good wins back-to-back but took their cue from a surging Victor Oladipo to score 120-plus points in consecutive games — those wins in Chicago and over visiting Houston — for the first time since February 1996.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: No. 23 (Last week: No. 27)

The Magic kept their playoff hopes somewhat alive by getting two impressive wins early last week, getting highlight dunks from Nikola Vucevic and Victor Oladipo along the way. The weekend didn’t go so well, but their offense has been respectable with Oladipo and Elfrid Payton on the floor since they started playing more minutes together.

Drew Garrison, SB Nation: No. 26 (Last week: No. 27)

The Magic went 2-2, but this was still one of their better weeks in recent memory because of two nice wins over the Bulls and Rockets. Aaron Gordon is also back in their lineup, scoring eight points and grabbing three rebounds in 11 minutes on Sunday.

Matt Dollinger, Sports Illustrated: No. 23 (Last week: No. 27)

With Orlando’s rebuild plan somewhat stuck in limbo, the Magic are desperately looking for someone to take the lead. Victor Oladipo might be the man. The second-year guard topped 30 points in back-to-back games last week and is averaging 21.5 this month.

Marc J. Spears, Yahoo! Sports: No. 28 (Last week: No. 28)

Rookie Aaron Gordon is returning from foot surgery just in time to make a late push to get selected for the Rising Stars Challenge.

Jan 18

Grades: Oklahoma City Thunder 127, Orlando Magic 99

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Oklahoma City Thunder 127 Final
Recap | Box Score
99 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
7-19 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 16 PTS | -22

The most noteworthy thing that happened for Vucevic in tonight’s game was when he picked up a technical foul midway through the third quarter. He and Steven Adams, who’s notorious for being able to get under a player’s skin, got tangled up under the Magic’s basket trying to fight for a rebound. After getting called for a loose ball foul, Vucevic got frustrated and shoved Adams.

Victor Oladipo
7-18 FG | 7-7 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 23 PTS | -30

In a blowout like this, it’s always interesting to look at the box score and see all the lopsided plus-minus stats. Unfortunately for Oladipo, he held the dubious honor of being a team-worst minus-30. Was he that bad? No. In fact, Oladipo was probably Orlando’s best player in the game. That doesn’t mean much in a lopsided loss, but still.

Elfrid Payton
9-17 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 8 AST | 19 PTS | -15

Although the Magic were down by as many as 38 points late in the second quarter, Payton never stopped trying and he should be commended for that — some players would have mailed it in. And even though Payton got a front-row seat to the Russell Westbrook show, he held his own with a 19 point-8 assist-4 rebound-3 steal stat line.

Aaron Gordon
2-4 FG | 1-1 3P | 3 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | -11

After missing 31 games with a fractured left foot, Gordon finally returned to action and played limited minutes. His first stint came in the second quarter, where he was tasked with defending Kevin Durant. His second stint came in the fourth quarter when the game was already decided. The good news was that it gave Gordon a chance to shake off the rust.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Dominant. That’s the one word that aptly describes the Thunder’s performance. They shot 72.7 percent (32-for-44) in the first half en route to a 79-45 halftime score. It was the most points Oklahoma City scored in a half in franchise history and it was also the most points Orlando allowed in a half in franchise history. Oh, and Westbrook did this.

Jan 18

Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Oklahoma City Thunder at Orlando Magic
  • Date: January 18, 2015
  • Time: 6:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Thunder: 19-20
  • Magic: 15-28

Probable starters

Thunder:

  • Russell Westbrook
  • Andre Roberson
  • Kevin Durant
  • Serge Ibaka
  • Steven Adams

Magic:

  • Elfrid Payton
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Devyn Marble
  • Channing Frye
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Thunder:

  • Pace: 94.2 (11th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 104.8 (19th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 104.0 (9th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.5 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.2 (28th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.8 (19th of 30)

Read about the Thunder

Daily Thunder

Jan 17

Highlights: Elfrid Payton’s 22 points, 12 assists

Jan 17

Grades: Memphis Grizzlies 106, Orlando Magic 96

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AP Photo/John Raoux

 

Memphis Grizzlies 106 Final
Recap | Box Score
96 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
8-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 18 PTS | -1

If there’s a player that Vucevic should strive to be, it’s Marc Gasol. They both have similar offensive games, but that’s where the comparison ends because Gasol is a vastly superior defender to Vucevic. Although Vucevic is playing at an All-Star caliber level this season (as is Gasol), he still has a ways to go to be a complete two-way player.

Elfrid Payton
9-16 FG | 4-5 FT | 4 REB | 12 AST | 22 PTS | -3

Against the Grizzlies, one of the elite teams in the Western Conference, Payton set career-highs in points and assists. Even though Payton’s ability to score with his jump shot is limited for now, he’s been able to circumvent that by attacking the rim. He did so against Memphis, using his 6-foot-4 frame to his advantage against Beno Udrih and Nick Calathes.

Channing Frye
5-12 FG | 4-9 3P | 8 REB | 2 AST | 18 PTS | -4

Frye got off to a quick start, scoring eight points in the first quarter, before slowing down the remainder of the game. He was two points shy of matching his season-high. As long as the Magic continue to play with pace, Frye should continue to churn out these kind of performances. The up-tempo style suits him the best.

Victor Oladipo
7-17 FG | 2-6 3P | 4 REB | 4 AST | 16 PTS | -3

Unfortunately for Oladipo, he got posterized by Jeff Green, who threw down a vicious one-handed dunk midway through the third quarter. The Grizzlies ran a simple backdoor play for Green, who threw an entry pass to Zach Randolph on the right wing, cut to the basket, got the ball back, and dunked on Oladipo, who came over from the weak-side to try and draw a charge. And-one.

Memphis Grizzlies

This was a classic grit ‘n grind performance from Memphis, even without Mike Conley (sprained right ankle). The Grizzlies slowed down the pace — especially in the second and third quarters when they paraded to the free-throw line — and got key contributions from Gasol (12 points, 18 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks) and newcomer Green off the bench (21 points, 5 rebounds).

Jan 16

Preview: Memphis Grizzlies at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Memphis Grizzlies at Orlando Magic
  • Date: January 16, 2015
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Grizzlies: 27-11
  • Magic: 15-27

Probable starters

Grizzlies:

  • Mike Conley
  • Courtney Lee
  • Tony Allen
  • Zach Randolph
  • Marc Gasol

Magic:

  • Elfrid Payton
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Devyn Marble
  • Channing Frye
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Grizzlies:

  • Pace: 91.8 (27th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 108.2 (10th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 104.1 (10th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.4 (19th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.2 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.7 (18th of 30)

Read about the Grizzlies

3 Shades of Blue

Jan 16

Aaron Gordon cleared to play

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 6.49.18 PM

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

Orlando Magic rookie forward Aaron Gordon has been cleared to play in games and appears on track to play tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies at Amway Center.

If Gordon returns tonight, it would be exactly two months since the team announced Gordon had suffered a fractured fifth metatarsal in his left foot. Gordon underwent surgery on Nov. 21 to have a screw placed into the bone.

“I’m back, so that’s a good thing,” Gordon said at the Magic’s shootaround this morning. “It’s still up to the organization on how they want to go from here, but my foot feels great. I’m just happy to be playing basketball again.”

Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said that Gordon has been cleared fully to play in games, but Vaughn added he hadn’t decided which players will be on the team’s 13-man active list for against the Grizzlies. If Gordon is activated, someone will have to be deactivated.

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