Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 20

Mar 03

Monday’s Magic Word

  • The Rookie of the Year race is heating up between Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo as the regular season winds down, but don’t expect the Magic to campaign for Oladipo’s candidacy.
  • John Schuhmann of NBA.com: “Two games against the Sixers helped the Magic get within one of last season’s win total. They outscored Philly 60-35 in the two fourth quarters and are a plus-50 in the fourth over their last 11 games. For the season, only the Pacers have improved more from the first half to the second half of games than the Magic, who have been outscored 9.4 points in the first half and just 0.6 in the second half.”
  • Oladipo’s goal is to play all 82 games this season.
  • Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports: “Orlando hasn’t had much of an opportunity to evaluate center Dewayne Dedmon, but he is expected to land a second 10-day contract.”
  • Matt Dollinger of Sports Illustrated: “Following the Thunder blueprint, the Magic are doing a terrific job developing their young talent and giving them minutes to grow. Orlando could be one of the most fun teams to watch next season, depending on the lottery results. The Magic already have four promising talents in Nikola Vucevic (23 years old), Victor Oladipo (21), Tobias Harris (21) and Moe Harkless (20).”
  • Tobias Harris, who scored a career-high 31 points against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, gets an “A” for his performance.
  • Harris has been on an offensive surge lately.
  • Get to know more about Adonis Thomas, who joined Orlando on a 10-day contract recently.
  • Tyler Lashbrook and Sam Vecenie trade e-mails and chat about Zach LaVine, an NBA prospect from UCLA.
  • Oladipo, who takes a lot of hard falls in games, said that he plans to work on landing better onto the floor during the offseason to help preserve his body.
  • The odds of the Magic finishing with the worst record in the league are slim-to-none.
  • Marc Stein of ESPN.com: “The good news: Orlando has legitimately been better than advertised at home of late and finally found a way to halt that stubborn 16-game road losing streak as part of a two-win week. Now for the bad news: Celebrations were naturally muted because both wins came at the expense of the 76ers.”
  • Harris is reminding everyone — with his career night against the Sixers — that he was the steal of last season’s deadline.
  • Kyle O’Quinn has become Orlando’s go-to inbounder.
  • What record will the Magic end up with as the season comes to a close for them? A closer look at their schedule in March may provide a clue.

Mar 03

Highlights: Tobias Harris scores career-high 31

Mar 03

Grades: Orlando Magic 92, Philadelphia 76ers 81

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 1.00.22 AM

AP Photo/John Raoux

 

Orlando Magic 92 Final
Recap | Box Score
81 Philadelphia 76ers

Nikola Vucevic
7-14 FG | 4-7 FT | 17 REB | 3 AST | 18 PTS | +5

If it seems like Vucevic always plays well versus his former team, it’s because he does. Entering tonight’s contest, Vucevic was averaging 15.4 points and 15.8 rebounds per game against the Sixers for his career (in five games). Those are gaudy numbers. So it should come as no surprise that Vucevic nearly dropped a 20-20 game on Philadelphia.

Tobias Harris
11-20 FG | 9-9 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 31 PTS | +11

Harris scored a career-high 31 points, and he did it by attacking the rim and making layups or getting to the free throw line. That’s a big reason why he’s such a matchup nightmare at the power forward position. He can blow by opposing fours off the dribble. Even a fellow small-ball power forward like Thaddeus Young, who struggled to contain Harris at times.

E’Twaun Moore
4-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | +21

It’s not every day that you see Moore dunk, but that’s what happened early in the fourth quarter when he was briefly isolated on the perimeter against Byron Mullens in a mismatch. Moore channeled his inner-Allen Iverson, crossing up Mullens and finishing the sequence off with a two-handed slam. It was a rare display of ballhandling guile and athleticism from Moore.

Maurice Harkless
4-9 FG | 1-4 3P | 3 BLK | 6 REB | 10 PTS | +12

Harkless had one of the plays of the game when he blocked Hollis Thompson’s 3-point shot midway through the third quarter. Thompson caught a pass from James Anderson and had a clean look from the left corner for a split-second. But Harkless recovered in time, using his speed and length to close out on Anderson and block the shot out of bounds.

Philadelphia 76ers

When Tony Wroten made a 3-pointer from the left corner to give the Sixers a 67-58 lead with 2:51 left in the third quarter, it started to feel like Philadelphia was actually going to win. Then the Magic — led by their second unit — went on a 21-4 run that started in the third and carried over to the fourth, and the Sixers ended up losing. Again.

Mar 03

Video: E’Twaun Moore with a killer crossover

Mar 02

Preview: Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic
  • Date: March 2, 2014
  • Time: 6:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Sixers: 15-44
  • Magic: 18-43

Probable starters

Sixers:

  • Michael Carter-Williams
  • James Anderson
  • Hollis Thompson
  • Thaddeus Young
  • Henry Sims

Magic:

  • Ronnie Price
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Tobias Harris
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Sixers:

  • Pace: 100.1 (1st of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 98.9 (30th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 109.6 (28th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.7 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.6 (26th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.1 (17th of 30)

Read about the Sixers

Hoop76

Mar 01

Grades: Miami Heat 112, Orlando Magic 98

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AP Photo/Alan Diaz

 

Miami Heat 112 Final
Recap | Box Score
98 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
9-14 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 STL | 10 REB | 18 PTS | -15

Tobias Harris
6-11 FG | 7-7 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 20 PTS | -9

Kyle O’Quinn
6-10 FG | 2-6 3P | 15 REB | 2 AST | 14 PTS | -2

Maurice Harkless
5-11 FG | 1-3 3P | 3 STL | 4 REB | 14 PTS | -14

Miami Heat

Mar 01

Video: Maurice Harkless with the steal and slam

Mar 01

Preview: Orlando Magic at Miami Heat

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Miami Heat
  • Date: March 1, 2014
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: AmericanAirlines Arena

Records

  • Magic: 18-42
  • Heat: 41-14

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Tobias Harris
  • Nikola Vucevic

Heat:

  • Mario Chalmers
  • Dwyane Wade
  • LeBron James
  • Shane Battier
  • Chris Bosh

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.8 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.5 (26th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.9 (17th of 30)

Heat:

  • Pace: 92.4 (22nd of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 111.8 (2nd of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 105.3 (12th of 30)

Read about the Heat

Heat Index

Feb 28

HoopIdea: Putting the 4-pointer into practice

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 12.04.55 PM

Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

The odd prospect of a 4-point shot in the NBA has many writers envisioning the scenario and wondering how teams would be affected.

The whole story is gaining more traction than it ought: it’s tough to watch this video and say the NBA president of basketball operations (Rod Thorn) isn’t smirking like a candy-covered kid during the whole thing.

But that won’t stop us from outlandish hypotheticals, will it? So how would the Magic fare if the rule changed tomorrow? Quite well, actually. I was genuinely surprised at the statistics I found for them at long, long range.

While I don’t know exactly where a 4-point line would be put in reality, I’ve been seeing a lot of people throw out 28 feet, almost five feet behind the 3-point line. A search for shots taken from 28-35 feet this season produces some interesting information in favor of Orlando.

Out of the whole NBA, Jameer Nelson is tied for fourth in field goals made. He has eight. The Magic are one of only two teams (Houston) with three players to make multiple shots: Nelson, Victor Oladipo (two) and Arron Afflalo (two). And they are shooting a solid 43.3 percent as a team (13-for-30). It’s obviously a tiny sample size, but 43.3 percent from that distance, even out of only 30 shots, is pretty impressive.

I can’t imagine many coaches drawing up plays for 4-point shots other than in late-game situations, but guess who would be the most prolific testers of the heave? Those young, experimenting teams looking to grow. Teams like Orlando. In such a scenario, they might even be the pioneers for a radical shift in the game.

You wouldn’t have Gregg Popovich letting the Spurs launch 4-point bombs whenever they wanted. Most teams would probably be very tentative incorporating it into their game plans.

But a team like the Magic, whose immediate goal is not necessarily to win every game, would be more willing to try it out. Essentially, they would test the worth of the shot for the rest of the league.

The only other question would be the exact range for the shot. Would there be a league-wide expansion of the court, as Thorn also alluded to, so another arc could fit neatly behind the 3-point one? Would shots be worth more in designated areas, like the Harlem Globetrotters have been trying out for a few years? Now that one would be fun: just imagine a team down four points at the end of the game going to the 4-point circle and facing a wall of five players in front of it!

Or would four points be awarded only for half-court shots? In that case, would the backcourt violation have to be reevaluated? And would big men become go-to players, since they’re stronger and can shoot that distance with less effort?

Who knows? You can (almost) never say never, but I would be absolutely shocked if we ever saw a shot like this cross into reality. There would be bricks flying all over the place, and the game would never be the same.

It could happen, but it won’t.

But it could.

Feb 27

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • The latest 2014 NBA mock draft from Sports Illustrated.
  • Watch Victor Oladipo block Thaddeus Young’s duck attempt in the Magic’s 101-90 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.
  • Orlando will not be participating in the league’s Noche Latina program this season. The Magic had been involved the previous two seasons.
  • Oladipo has had a number of amazing blocks this season. Which one of them stands out the most?
  • Should Orlando pursue Jimmer Fredette? He and the Sacramento Kings finalized a buyout agreement today.
  • Could a phone call by Horace Grant persuaded Shaquille O’Neal to stay in Orlando when he became a free agent in 1996? Grant wonders aloud to Bill Simmons on the B.S. Report during All-Star weekend in New Orleans.
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