Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 20

Feb 10

Monday’s Magic Word

  • As the trade deadline nears, Arron Afflalo’s name keeps popping up as a player the Orlando Magic could possibly trade but only if “they get a significant talent in return.”
  • John Schuhmann of NBA.com: “All of a sudden, the Magic have won three straight games and are one of four teams (Denver, Portland and Toronto are the others) to have beat both the Pacers and Thunder. Let’s not hand Michael Carter-Williams the Rookie of the Year trophy just yet. Victor Oladipo has averaged 19.0 points on 60 percent shooting over the three games and made the big play setting up Tobias Harris’ game-winner.”
  • Outside of Victor Oladipo, the Magic are willing to talk trade with NBA teams according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
  • With impressive showings against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Indiana Pacers, the two best teams their respective conferences, Oladipo is mounting a midseason push for Rookie of the Year.
  • Oladipo scored 13 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter to help Orlando beat the Pacers on Sunday.
  • The Magic’s mascot, Stuff, proposed to supermodel Kate Upton during the Thunder game on Friday. She didn’t say no.
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk on Oladipo’s impact in Orlando: “His relentless aggressive, hard play is a good piece of the future for this franchise.”
  • With back-to-back wins against Oklahoma City and Indiana, are the rebuilding Magic beginning to make progress?
  • Chad Ford of ESPN Insider: “Not sure how to explain a three-game win streak that included wins over the Thunder and Pacers this weekend. The best I can offer is that with All-Star Weekend coming up, the Magic are catching a few older teams in cruise control. Victor Oladipo is playing great basketball lately, averaging 19 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists in the three wins.”
  • Orlando made the biggest jump out of any NBA team in Marc Stein’s Power Rankings.
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com on Maurice Harkless’ recent strong play off the bench: “Harkless’s growth is the ultimate testament to the Magic’s process bettering their players for the greater good of the team. Harkless said he’s having the most fun he’s had in two NBA seasons, and it’s because the Magic are closer as a team than they ever have been before.”
  • The Magic aren’t tanking correctly.
  • Paul George posterized Glen Davis, but Orlando got the last laugh by beating the Pacers in a thrilling game.
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Magic’s victories over the Thunder and the Pacers marked the first time in 47 years that an NBA team at least 20 games under .500 won back-to-back games over the teams with the NBA’s two best records.”

Feb 10

Magic to honor Penny Hardaway on February 21

penny

Photo by Fernando Medina/Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

In continuation of the Orlando Magic’s 25th anniversary season-long celebration the team will honor former Magic great and four-time NBA All-Star, Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, at the Magic’s February 21 matchup vs. the New York Knicks, tip-off set for 7 p.m. The night will feature a center court presentation at the end of the first quarter. Hardaway will join FOX Sports Florida’s broadcasts including Magic Live pregame show with hosts Paul Kennedy and Nick Anderson and join broadcasters David Steele and Jeff Turner for a portion of the game broadcast. He will also be featured on Magic Drive Time radio show with host Dante Marchitelli pregame at 5:30 p.m. on 740 The Game and at halftime on ESPN 580 Orlando. In addition, the first 2,500 fans will receive a collectible 8×10 photo featuring Hardaway and E’Twaun Moore. Hardaway will be available to the media at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21 in the Amway Center interview room.

“Legends Nights” is an on-going program which will honor former players/legends throughout the Magic’s Silver Season. Past honorees include Tracy McGrady, Nick Anderson, Pat Williams, Jimmy Hewitt, Dennis Scott, Pat Garrity, Jeff Turner, Sam Vincent and John Gabriel. In addition to the Magic’s “Legends Nights,” the 2013-14 season will feature the Silver Ticket Sweepstakes and Scratch Off Promotion, special appearances, game entertainment and other events throughout the season.

Hardaway was selected by the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the 1993 NBA Draft (third pick overall), but was traded along with three future first-round picks to the Magic for the rights to first overall pick Chris Webber. He played six seasons for Orlando from 1993-1999 averaging 19.0 ppg., 6.3 apg. 4.7 rpg. and 1.9 spg. in 37.2 mpg. The four-time NBA All-Star (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998) was twice selected to the All-NBA First Team (1995, 1996). Hardaway ranks on the Magic’s all-time franchise list in points (7,018, seventh), steals (718, third), assists (2,343, fourth), blocked shots (191, ninth), rebounds (1,752, ninth), field goals made (2,542, sixth) and minutes played (13,721, seventh).

Feb 09

Grades: Orlando Magic 93, Indiana Pacers 92

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 11.47.06 AM

AP Photo/John Raoux

 

Orlando Magic 93 Final
Recap | Box Score
92 Indiana Pacers

Arron Afflalo
3-10 FG | 1-3 3P | 3 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | -11

Nikola Vucevic
6-16 FG | 7-8 FT | 2 STL | 13 REB | 19 PTS | -5

Victor Oladipo
8-18 FG | 6-7 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 23 PTS | +3

Tobias Harris
5-13 FG | 3-3 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | +10

Indiana Pacers

Feb 09

Preview: Indiana Pacers at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Indiana Pacers at Orlando Magic
  • Date: February 9, 2014
  • Time: 6:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Pacers: 39-10
  • Magic: 15-37

Probable starters

Pacers:

  • George Hill
  • Lance Stephenson
  • Paul George
  • David West
  • Roy Hibbert

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Tobias Harris
  • Glen Davis
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Pacers:

  • Pace: 93.4 (18th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 105.1 (19th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 93.4 (1st of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 94.0 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.1 (26th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.8 (17th of 30)

Read about the Pacers

8 Points, 9 Seconds

Feb 08

Grades: Orlando Magic 103, Oklahoma City Thunder 102

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 11.22.56 PM

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Orlando Magic 103 Final
Recap | Box Score
102 Oklahoma City Thunder

Arron Afflalo
3-11 FG | 9-10 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 16 PTS | -9

Nothing came easy for Afflalo on offense, given that he was being checked by Thabo Sefolosha — one of the better wing defenders in the NBA. Afflalo had to work for his points, but he got them nonetheless by getting to the free throw line (9-for-10). That being said, Sefolosha deserves credit for using his length to disrupt Afflalo all night long.

Nikola Vucevic
4-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | 0

Vucevic had a modest game. He managed to get a double-double, despite struggling to make jump shots, layups, and putbacks (basically everything). The latter of the two had more to do with Serge Ibaka’s interior defense than anything else. Ibaka didn’t block any of Vucevic’s shot, but he disrupted quite a few of them. That’s why Ibaka is an elite defender.

Tobias Harris
6-17 FG | 6-6 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 18 PTS | +1

Wow. What a magical comeback (pun intended). It was Harris’ game-winning dunk, on a fast break no less, that gave Orlando an improbable, upset win over the Thunder — the best team in the Western Conference. Was it a better moment than when Darrell Armstrong stole an inbounds pass and made a game-winning layup against the Philadelphia 76ers in 1999? Take your pick. There’s no wrong answer.

Victor Oladipo
5-7 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 14 PTS | +10

Although Harris was (rightfully) the hero of the game, Oladipo was the architect of Orlando’s come-from-behind victory. He corralled the rebound and triggered the fast break that led to Harris’ game-winning dunk. But even before that, Oladipo and the rest of the “Young Guns” helped erase OKC’s lead in the fourth quarter that led to the penultimate play. It was a fearless effort from the rookie.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Depending on how the Thunder’s season plays out in their quest for the No. 1 seed in the West, they may regret letting this one slip away. Despite excellent performances from Kevin Durant (29 points, 12 assists, five rebounds) and Serge Ibaka (26 points, six rebounds, five blocks), Oklahoma City blew a 17-point lead to a Magic squad they should have beaten.

Feb 07

Video: Magic beat Thunder on game-winning dunk

Feb 07

Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Oklahoma City Thunder at Orlando Magic
  • Date: February 7, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Thunder: 40-11
  • Magic: 14-37

Probable starters

Thunder:

  • Reggie Jackson
  • Thabo Sefolosha
  • Kevin Durant
  • Serge Ibaka
  • Kendrick Perkins

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Tobias Harris
  • Glen Davis
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Thunder:

  • Pace: 95.1 (10th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 109.9 (5th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 101.9 (4th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 94.1 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.8 (26th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.7 (18th of 30)

Read about the Thunder

Daily Thunder

Feb 07

The battle for .500

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 1.11.44 PM

Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Magic have a chance to be winners this year. Just not in the usual sense. Playoffs? Not likely. Championship? Only if the starters from all other teams opt for swift, unexplainable early retirements. Or if they split and start their own exclusive pro league without inviting Orlando or Milwaukee.

No, the young Orlando roster can win in a different way that still carries plenty of honor and pride with it. They can keep their franchise win-loss record above .500 this season (993-978).

After Wednesday’s win over Detroit, it will only take eight victories to keep the franchise record from dipping below that equidistant mark, nine to stay above it. Only one other franchise has a closer number difference between its total wins and losses. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Part of the close gap has to do with the youth of the franchise. There are others with a win percentage closer to .500, but the Magic are actually closer because they have played fewer total games.

You might call them a “middle team.” Located in the middle of the state. Great success balanced with awful seasons. And their franchise win percentage is almost exactly in the middle compared to the rest of the league: 15th out of 30 teams. Stuff the Magic Dragon better watch his back. A hobbit is sounding like the perfect mascot right about now.

Despite the middling data, the Magic up to this point have been able to call themselves a winning franchise. That’s a special honor. It’s the result of a body of successful work that not every team can lay claim to. If there is any true, tangible goal for this year’s team during the actual season, defending the winning tradition is a worthy one.

As I mentioned, there is one team even closer in total win/loss numbers; the Knicks have only 10 more losses than wins overall (2634-2644). To reach .500 this season, they’ll need quite the resurgent turnaround. A 22-11 finish would put them above the mark. They haven’t looked like a team consistent enough for that, but they have the talent for it.

For the Magic, there is enough youth and inconsistent talent present to fall short of even eight more wins. So the challenge is twofold: finish above .500 and win the “Battle of the Middle Dwellers.”

Now there are two more storylines to follow. The Magic can be winners this year, even with a losing record, if they defend the franchise. Fans can also pretend the team has made it to the finals this years, against the Knicks. It’s a sad substitute, but you have to kindle the flames of passion for your team somehow, right? So we’ll track this epic battle and see who lands on the better side of history.

Fortunately for Orlando, they’re getting a pretty generous handicap.

Feb 06

Arron Afflalo selected to Three-Point Contest

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Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Foot Locker Three-Point Contest pits the NBA’s premier three-point shooters against one another in one of All-Star Weekend’s most hotly anticipated contests. Afflalo will be the ninth Magic player in franchise history chosen to participate in the long-distance shootout, which originated during the 1986 NBA All-Star Weekend.

Selected in the first round (27th overall) of the 2007 NBA Draft by Detroit, Afflalo leads the Magic in scoring with 19.9 ppg. and is currently tied for eighth in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage (.427). Afflalo has led (or tied) the team in scoring a team-best 27 times, scored in double figures 45 times, had 20+ points 24 times and 30+ points four times, including a career-high 43 points on Dec. 3 at Philadelphia. Afflalo, who has connected on at least three three-pointers in 13 games this season, hit 8-of-11 attempts from long distance on Nov. 13 vs. Milwaukee and knocked down five in the third quarter, tying the franchise record for most three-pointers made in a quarter.

Feb 06

Victor Oladipo selected to Skills Challenge

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Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Taco Bell Skills Challenge was introduced at NBA All-Star 2003 and features players competing in a timed obstacle course consisting of dribbling, passing and shooting stations. Oladipo is the second Magic player to be selected to the competition. Jameer Nelson was chosen as a participant in 2009, but was unable to participate due to an injury.

Oladipo has also been selected to participate in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge as part of 2014 NBA All-Star Weekend. The Rising Stars Challenge will take place on Friday, February 14 at 9 p.m. ET and will consist of both NBA rookies and sophomores selected by the NBA’s assistant coaches.

Selected in the first round (second overall) of the 2013 NBA Draft by Orlando, Oladipo was named the NBA’s Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month in December. He has led (or tied) the Magic in scoring seven times, in rebounding twice and in assists 12 times. Oladipo has scored in double figures 40 times and had 20+ points seven times, including a career-high 35 points on January 15 vs. Chicago. He tallied his first career triple-double with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists on December 3 at Philadelphia.

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