Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 200

Dec 15

Dwight Howard blocks shots and headbands

Dec 15

StubHub Ticket Giveaway: Enter for a chance to watch the Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers at Amway Center on December 18

NBAE/Getty Images

Today, I’m proud to announce a new partnership between StubHub and Magic Basketball. In short, MBN will occasionally give away free tickets to upcoming Orlando Magic home games with StubHub serving as the provider. How do you enter for a chance to win Magic tickets?

Easy.

Answer a trivia question.

The rules are simple:

  • If you’re able to attend the game, you’re more than welcome to submit your answer in the comments section.
  • Please do not answer more than once or add irrelevant commentary to your submission.
  • Two tickets will be given away, which means you can bring a second person.
  • In future instances, readers will be given 24 hours to submit their answers before a winner is announced. The winner will be determined by random drawing and contacted by e-mail (please make sure to submit a valid e-mail address).

Due to extenuating circumstances for today’s contest, everyone has until 3:30 EST to post a response. That’s six hours from now.

To make things easy the first time, all you have to do is reply to this post.

Enjoy!

Dec 15

Second Look: Denver Nuggets 111, Orlando Magic 94

AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Frustration oozed throughout the Orlando Magic locker room late Tuesday night. Stan Van Gundy dressed down his players after the final buzzer. Later, Jameer Nelson sat at his locker, read the postgame box score, crumpled up the piece of paper and threw it to the ground. In a postgame interview, Dwight Howard all but called out Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis by name for their terrible defense against Carmelo Anthony. The Orlando Magic had just concluded their dreadful West Coast road trip with a 111-94 loss to the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. The Magic performed just as poorly as they did in Portland, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. […] The Magic have lost five of their last six games, a freefall that has prompted their fans to call for a major trade and the players themselves unable to explain why their defensive intensity has dropped off so badly.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “Short-handed because of injuries at absolutely the worst position to have them on this night and dragging at the end of a long and frustrating roadtrip, the Orlando Magic suffered a fourth-quarter meltdown on Tuesday that likely could be felt from the Rocky Mountains all the way back to Florida. And when Denver’s 111-94 demolition of Orlando was complete late Tuesday night, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy was irate and threatening changes, Jameer Nelson wadded up a stat sheet and fired it across the floor and disgusted star Dwight Howard fumed over his team’s defensive lapses and talked of just wanting to get back home again. When Orlando got outscored 32-16 in the final period – getting shredded defensively and coming unglued offensively — it undermined a career night from shooting guard J.J. Redick and a solid effort through three quarters by the team. And it left a Magic team that has openly talked about being on a championship-or-bust mission since training camp somewhat in shambles as far as their confidence is concerned. Orlando (16-9) limped back to its plane for Florida following a disappointing 1-3 record on this four-game, seven-day roadtrip. Orlando lost in Portland, Utah and Denver, but did enough to beat the Clippers in Los Angeles on Sunday night.”
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Against a tough home team like Denver–which is now 11-1 at Pepsi Center–opponents already have a small margin for error. Orlando’s margin shrunk when it learned it would not have the services of [Mickael] Pietrus or [Quentin] Richardson this evening. Overcoming those deficits with only an eight-man rotation–Malik Allen and Chris Duhon did not play–would have been a tall task. The Magic’s performance through the first 36 minutes suggested they were up to it, but the Nuggets doubled them up, 32-16, in the fourth quarter. To fall so hard like that must sting, especially when Redick’s remarkable five-point play gave the Magic a one-point lead with 11:02 remaining. Smith senselessly fouled Redick on a made three-point basket, then earned a technical foul for protesting non-call that occurred on Denver’s previous possession. Redick drained both foul shots to complete the rare feat, but for the rest of the game, Denver stole the show, to the tune of 29-11.”
  • Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post: “The postgame commotion Tuesday night had a something’s-going-down feel to it. After the news conferences, Nuggets executives Masai Ujiri and Josh Kroenke bounced from room to room in the bowels of the Pepsi Center searching for their star player. Carmelo Anthony emerged from an interview room with NBATV, and the trio disappeared into the Nuggets’ training room. […] The vultures are circling. Anthony played as well as he has all season long in the Nuggets’ 111-94 win over Orlando, the team’s 10th straight home victory. His 35 points and 11 rebounds represented his sixth double- double of the season. And all anyone wondered is if his next double-double will come in a different uniform. […] While the Nuggets were beating Orlando, the New Jersey Nets were making moves believed to be in anticipation of putting together a package strong enough to make another run at the Nuggets star. The impending three-team trade between themselves, Houston and the L.A. Lakers, which can be made official today, features draft picks that may be enticing to a Nuggets organization faced with the realization that Anthony is going to have to be moved or it risks losing him for nothing at the end of the season.”

Dec 14

Recap: Denver Nuggets 111, Orlando Magic 94

AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

BOX SCORE

When the Orlando Magic embarked on their four-game road trip to the West Coast, it was said that the players would learn a lot about themselves and as a whole, they’d figure out where they stand vis-a-vis the rest of the NBA elite — the Los Angeles Lakers, the Miami Heat, the Boston Celtics, and the San Antonio Spurs.

After the Magic went 1-3 against the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers, and Denver Nuggets, one thing has become clear.

Orlando isn’t an elite team or a championship contender.

Something is missing from the roster. Against the Blazers, the Magic couldn’t score if their lives depended on it. Against the Jazz, it was a lack of defense. Against the Clippers, after a brilliant first quarter against one of the worst teams in the league, complacency and consistency cropped up as ever-too-familiar issues.

Against the Nuggets? There was little to no defense present from Orlando but more importantly, there was a lack of mental toughness and fight that has plagued the roster since the season began. When the going got tough in the fourth quarter, the Magic wilted and displayed a body language that emitted negativity.

Denver was able to defeat Orlando by the score of 111-94 in a game that was close for 42 minutes. After Vince Carter made a three-pointer at the 6:05 mark of the fourth quarter to pull the Magic’s deficit to one point at 92-91, the Nuggets went on a 19-3 run to turn a competitive game into a blowout. Carmelo Anthony led the way for Denver, putting up 35 points and 11 rebounds. Anthony got plenty of support from his supporting cast, with five players for the Nuggets scoring in double-figures. Orlando was led by J.J. Redick, who had a career-high 29 points on 12 shots — an excellent performance. Dwight Howard finished with 21 points, 14 rebounds, and two blocks. Carter chipped in with 18 points. Unfortunately for the Magic, it was a three-man show offensively between Redick, Howard, and Carter. No one else for Orlando was able to make a significant impact on the game, at least on the offensive side of the ball. The defense?

That was a different story altogether.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 14

Preview: Orlando Magic at Denver Nuggets

9:00 EST | NBA TV
16-8 @ 14-9
Pythagorean Record: 15-6 Pythagorean Record: 13-10
Pace: 91.1 (19th) Pace: 96.5 (2nd)
Offensive Rating: 106.5 (14th) Offensive Rating: 110.5 (6th)
Defensive Rating: 100.9 (3rd) Defensive Rating: 108.6 (18th)
Pepsi Center | First meeting this season

Dec 14

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The next time the [Orlando] Magic see the Denver Nuggets, Carmelo Anthony will be wearing a New York Knicks uniform — or so the story goes. Could he be wearing a Magic jersey? Or another team’s gear? […] Anthony faces the Magic tonight and likely won’t be with the Nuggets for the March rematch in Orlando. Or maybe he will. Approach any trade rumor with care. The Magic haven’t been in the rumor mill for ‘Melo’s services. But I’ve talked to their execs, and they aren’t backing away from trying to swing a deal, whether it’s for Melo, Chris Paul, Tayshaun Prince, Gilbert Arenas, Monta Ellis, Fill-In-The-Blank. Sam Smith of the Chicago Bulls’ website just tossed out a trade scenario involving Memphis and Orlando — involving Vince Carter and Brandon Bass and Zach Randolph and O.J. Mayo. Trade talk is bound to pick up because this summer’s players signed as free agents can be dealt starting Wednesday.”
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy jokingly suggests the Denver Nuggets should sit Carmelo Anthony in tonight’s game: “Well, I’m just concerned about his knee injury for the long term, and I really think more rest is what’s needed for him.”
  • Brandon Bass will start at power forward against the Nuggets.
  • Chauncey Billups may not play against the Orlando Magic later this evening.
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “The point here is that, from at least one standpoint, the current Magic team that seems like such a letdown to many of its fans is actually right on track with the 2008/09 squad, which is so beloved. Scoring margin isn’t everything, of course. I realize that. But the 2009 team went from “pretty good” to “freaking fantastic” once its three-point shooting corrected itself and the defense took it to antother gear, contending for a championship despite subbing the production of two mediocre point guards (Rafer Alston and Anthony Johnson) for one All-Star one (Jameer Nelson) in mid-February. There’s no reason why the current team can’t make a similar advance as the season goes along.”
  • Britt Robson of Sports Illustrated: “A team with the best defender on the planet always merits respect. But with more than one-quarter of the season gone, a trademark of the Magic’s past success, three-point accuracy, is still missing. In the last six games, Orlando hasn’t shot better than 36 percent from behind the arc, and it ranks 17th overall at 35.5 percent. Then there is the team’s recent post-intermission blues: The Magic have outscored their opponents in just one of the past 10 second-half quarters over the last five games. After a relatively light week — at Denver on Tuesday and home against the Sixers on Saturday — the schedule ratchets up with a trip to Atlanta and home games against Dallas, San Antonio and Boston.”
  • No more dunk contests for Dwight Howard.
  • Zach Lowe of The Point Forward kicks around trade ideas: “The wing is crowded in Orlando, with [Quentin] Richardson, Vince Carter, [J.J.] Redick and Mickael Pietrus all fighting for minutes (and Rashard Lewis getting more time at small forward), and it wouldn’t shock me if the Magic somehow addressed the redundancy.”
  • Eric Freeman of Ball Don’t Lie: “Howard’s path from dunk contest fun to retirement is a familiar one for superstars. Players like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter stopped participating in dunk contests to focus on being serious. It didn’t work for all of them — VC will always be mostly fondly remembered for his 2000 victory in Oakland — but the best players around trade in dunk contest hardware for championship rings.”
  • Chris Tomasson of NBA FanHouse opines on Rashard Lewis’ struggles offensively this year.

Dec 14

Orlando Magic All-Star Dwight Howard to present $25,000 donation in support of BETA Center program

AP Photo/Gus Ruelas

Via the Orlando Magic:

NBA All-Star Dwight Howard will present $25,000 to the BETA Center for the second consecutive year on Wednesday, December 15. Howard’s gift will be used to support the newly developed “Dwight Howard Learning Center” at BETA. The learning center is a newly designed program that incorporates innovative activities to empower teen moms to achieve academic and vocational success. Services at the center will include tutoring, college preparation, self-esteem building and more. It will also provide funding to cover college application fees and test preparation booklets, instructional materials and other essential program-related supplies.

The BETA Center donation became a reality due to Howard being named the 2009-10 Rich and Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award winner. Each year at the Orlando Magic Youth Fund Black Tie and Tennies Charity Gala, the Orlando Magic honors a player who has dedicated his efforts off-the-court for the purpose of enhancing others’ lives. In addition to receiving the award, the player is granted $50,000 from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation to donate to the charity of his choice.

Dec 14

Orlando Magic and Orange County unveil fifth community gym

Photo by Gary Bassing

Via the Orlando Magic:

On Monday, December 13, at the Mildred Dixon Community Park, Orange County and the Orlando Magic unveil their fifth and final gym in the Central Florida community. The community gyms were donated and built by the DeVos family and the Orlando Magic. Champions of the Community partners Disney Parks, GEICO, PepsiCo, AirTran Airways, Florida Hospital and Harris Corporation supported the project. Orange County operates and maintains the centers.

Orlando Magic President Alex Martins, Orange County Mayor Richard T. Crotty, Orange County Commissioner Scott Boyd, Magic Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw along with area youth joined together on December 13 for the ribbon cutting of the fifth and final gym dedication in the Central Florida community. The gyms were donated and built by the DeVos family and the Orlando Magic. Orange County operates and maintains the centers.

Dec 14

Sneak Preview: Orlando Magic at Denver Nuggets

AP Photo/Colin E Braley

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Stan Van Gundy doesn’t expect the Orlando Magic to rank near the top of the league in fastbreak points, but the current state of affairs is, in his words, “absurd.” And that’s being charitable. Orlando entered Monday ranked dead last in the NBA in fastbreak points by a shocking margin. The Magic average only 7.6 fastbreak points per game, almost 2.5 fewer than the 29th-ranked team. […] The Magic never will be among the league leaders in fastbreak points because of Van Gundy’s scheme. The coach insists that all five of his players who are on the court, even the guards, hit the defensive boards hard. Some other teams leave the bulk of their defensive rebounding to their frontcourt players, who, in turn, can throw a deep outlet pass to a streaking point guard. Van Gundy knows, therefore, that his team almost certainly won’t be in the top third of the league in fastbreak points. But he still thinks the Magic should be “in the middle of the pack somewhere” and can average 12 to 14 fastbreak points a game. The lack of easy baskets in transition puts pressure on the entire offense. It can relegate the Magic to playing a halfcourt game exclusively, after opponents set their defense and become more difficult to break down.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “Possibly coming to a sideline someday sooner rather than later: A tattooed, twang-talking point guard-turned-coach who is able to command respect both because of the way he visualizes and verbalizes the game and also for the way that he plays it. Clearly, at 35 years old and 12 years into his NBA career, Orlando Magic point guard Jason Williams has hit the twilight of his playing days. That thought has already hit Williams and those around him think that he would someday make a great coach because of his ability to see the game and verbalize it even if it’s often peppered with the aforementioned twang and some blue language. Just imagine — the flashy player once known as `White Chocolate’ could be viewed someday soon as `Old Faithful’ the coach. […] While Williams has admittedly pondered a future in coaching, he’s not ready to let go of his playing days just yet. Back in the mix as Jameer Nelson’s backup at point guard, Williams has given the Magic a spark recently because of his ability to push the ball on the break and get the Magic (15-7) in a good rhythm. He’ll be in that backup spot again Tuesday night when the Magic face the Denver Nuggets (14-9) because of Chris Duhon’s struggles on the court and his lingering lower back pain.”
  • Ryan Casey of The Denver Post: “Back in Denver, away from the New York microscope — origin of the latest round of trade rumors — Carmelo Anthony let out a sigh today in the tunnels of the Pepsi Center. He was welcomed with more questions about a possible trade. The forward was the center of trade talk when the Nuggets were in New York to play the Knicks, withESPN.com reporting that Anthony would only sign a three-year, $65 million contract extension if he was traded to the Knicks. Sunday afternoon, multiple sources refuted that report to The Denver Post.”
  • Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post: “The intoxicating anthem wafted inside Madison Square Garden before and after Sunday’s Nuggets-Knicks game: the new “New York, New York.” […] It’s a song, frankly, that makes you rather be nowhere else. Which, of course, made Carmelo Anthony’s presence that much more eerie. The Nuggets all-star is likely headed to New York (or New Jersey, which soon means Brooklyn, where Melo lived until he was 8). A source told ESPN.com that Anthony will sign a three-year, $65 million contract extension only if he’s traded to the Knicks. But on Sunday afternoon, multiple sources refuted this alleged ultimatum to The Denver Post. All fall, sources have routinely said that Anthony will likely sign the deal and then be traded, by the trade deadline, to either New York or New Jersey. Anthony, meanwhile, has been coy in public. But Sunday, after scoring 31 points in Denver’s defenseless 129-125 loss, Anthony admitted in regard to the extension that “whatever decision that I make, that’s the first thing I get done” is to sign the deal.”
  • Dave Krieger of The Denver Post: “Melo in Manhattan on Sunday was a predictable romantic comedy with a happy ending for the home folks. Unfortunately, it appears that ending is only just now dawning on the Nuggets’ latest brain trust. Even without Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks have a better record than the Nuggets after their entertaining but defenseless win at Madison Square Garden. For Melo, who professes to be all about winning, playing alongside Amar’e Stoudemire is looking better and better. Playing for the Nets, who made the best trade offer from the Nuggets’ standpoint, is looking worse and worse. They’re terrible again. They’re also playing in Newark, N.J., for another year and a half. The Nuggets hoped that waiting to make a deal would help their bargaining position, perhaps by making the Nets appear more attractive than they did a year ago. Instead, it’s had the opposite effect. More and more it’s looking like their only trade option is the Knicks.”

Dec 13

Monday’s Magic Word

  • Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “Orlando Magic forward Mickael Pietrus is shooting 39.1 percent from three-point range this season, the second-highest percentage on the team and the best of his career. On a team where myriad players have struggled with deep shooting – J.J. Redick, Rashard Lewis, Quentin Richardson and Vince Carter are all shooting below their career three-point percentages – Pietrus’ consistency from the outside has been much-needed. The problem is, that’s all he’s contributing on offense. An absurd 75.6 percent of his field-goal attempts have been three-pointers this season, and out of 115 field-goal attempts, only nine of those shots have come at the rim.”
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Yeah, the Magic’s four-game losing streak was hard for fans and not kind to Stan Van Gundy’s blood pressure. But fans better buckle in and brace themselves: The turbulence is far from over. Up ahead next week, and all in succession: Atlanta, Dallas, San Antonio and, on Christmas Day, Boston. The Spurs (20-3), Mavs (19-4) and Celtics (19-4) are the hottest teams in the league. You can look at it two ways, of course: 1) The Magic can continue to stagger or 2) they can regain some traction they lost during this recent slide by beating some of the best. Van Gundy said that this was the team’s toughest stretch of the year, beginning with the West trip. The Magic didn’t respond like he envisioned, and not just because they lost —but it was how they lost.”
  • Dwight Howard provides some words of wisdom: “This is a long season. We’re going to have months where we don’t play well, and there’s no needing everybody, especially the captain of the team, after everybody’s yelling and going back and forth, trying to figure out what we need to do. We’ve just got to play. The more you talk, the more everybody’s just talking about what you’ve got to do, all the frustration just continues to build up. We’re gonna have bad games. I don’t think people understand that. You’re never gonna go 82-0. You’re going to have losing streaks. You’re going to have winning streaks. All that stuff is a part of playing in the NBA.”
  • Howard has more to say on his official blog: “As the captain of this team, I’ve been looking for ways to get our team out of this little slump. We had a meeting the other night after the Portland lost, but I’ve found that it´s better to do less talking and lead with actions in times like these. I actually talked to a really good player on another team who I consider a mentor and he gave me that advice.
  • I wonder who he is?
  • ‘O’ is for Orlando’s offensive woes. Rohan of Hardwood Paroxysm explains: “The primary culprits have actually been an increased tendency to turn the ball over and the slightly lower frequency with which they’ve gotten to the line. So far this year, the Magic have turned the ball over on 15.3% of their possessions, which is the second worst mark in the East and third in the league. And while Jameer Nelson has been turning it over a touch more than we’re used to, the real issue is the ball handling of Chris Duhon. Duhon has turned it over almost once every three possessions; toss in the fact that he’s playing more than 20 minutes a night, and the impact is readily noticeable. Of his 37 turnovers, 26 have come via stolen or bad passes.”
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