Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 204

Nov 15

Recap: Orlando Magic 89, Memphis Grizzlies 72

AP Photo/John Raoux


In a strange game that involved a lot of turnovers (37 of them in total), the Orlando Magic were able to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies by the score of 89-72. For the Magic, it was — easily — their best performance defensively of the regular season. Orlando was led by Dwight Howard, who had 18 points, 14 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks, setting the tone on defense but he wasn’t alone in his efforts. Vince Carter finished with 19 points on eight shots, performing with excellent efficiency on offense and was only unable to do more damage on that end of the floor due to foul trouble. Jameer Nelson‘s stat-line was a bit underwhelming, with 11 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and three steals, but he was a disruptive force throughout the game and played with a high amount of energy.

For Magic fans, this was not an aesthetically pleasing game to watch.

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Nov 15

Preview: Memphis Grizzlies at Orlando Magic

7:00 EDT | Sun Sports
4-6 @ 6-3
Pythagorean Record: 4-6 Pythagorean Record: 6-3
Pace: 96.7 (5th) Pace: 93.9 (15th)
Offensive Rating: 104.9 (19th) Offensive Rating: 105.3 (18th)
Defensive Rating: 107.6 (17th) Defensive Rating: 98.9 (3rd)
Amway Center | First meeting this season

Nov 15

Rashard Lewis’ Trials and Tribulations on Offense

Photo by Fernando Medina

It’s early in the regular season, but there’s a few players for the Orlando Magic that have been struggling on offense — Chris Duhon, J.J. Redick (more on him later), and Quentin Richardson to name a few. But there’s one player, in particular, that looks out-of-sync right now offensively and that’s Rashard Lewis.

To be frank, Lewis has been horrawful. Horrible and awful.

Lewis has had his moments of brilliance, particularly in the first half of the Magic’s home opener against the Washington Wizards and against the Charlotte Bobcats on the road a little over a week ago, but that’s about it. Coincidentally (or not), in those games, Lewis played primarily at power forward.

It’s no secret that head coach Stan Van Gundy has made a more concerted effort to find minutes for Lewis at the small forward position, mainly with an eye towards the playoffs when Orlando’s ability to mix-and-match their lineups based on their opponents will matter a great deal. However, it seems like it’s thrown Lewis off-kilter a bit on offense and it’s reflected in his numbers. Granted, that excuse can only go so far before a finger needs to be pointed at Lewis for his inability to produce.

Lewis’ primary objective for the Magic is to stretch the floor offensively and, on occasion, post up on the low block whenever the opportunity presents itself. The problem is that Lewis has been unable to do almost anything on offense for Orlando, whether he’s at small forward or power forward. Heck, in the Magic’s loss against the Toronto Raptors on Friday, Lewis didn’t attempt a three-pointer for the first time since 2006. That’s not a good sign.

What gives?

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Nov 15

Orlando Magic Backcourt to Collect Items for Harbor House

Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

The Orlando Magic Backcourt (the Backcourt is the Magic players, coaches and basketball operation’s wives, girlfriends and family members)

Orlando Magic Backcourt Drop Box

The Magic Backcourt members will be outside Amway Center to collect items for Harbor House. The collection location will be at Fan Fest (located on Church Street next to Amway Center). Fan Fest is open to the public. Harbor House needed items include:

  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Cleaning Supplies (Bleach, Fabuloso, Windex)
  • Paper Products (Paper towels, toilet paper, tissues)
  • Non-perishable food (canned meat and soup)

All items will be delivered to Harbor House on Monday, November 22. Each person that donates item(s) will receive one raffle ticket to enter into a drawing to win a team autographed basketball. The winner will be announced during the second quarter of the Magic vs. Suns matchup.

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Nov 15

Sneak Preview: Memphis Grizzlies at Orlando Magic

AP Photo/John Raoux

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Stan Van Gundy already has had a heart-to-heart with Rashard Lewis, so he got to him before the rest of us. […] If you’re wondering whether Van Gundy would bench Lewis, the answer is no. Not now, anyway. If Stan didn’t sit Vince Carter through a horrid January last season, I don’t think he’ll turn Lewis into a sixth man. Every time media and fans plead for a benching, I always ask: OK, who takes his place? The options at power forward without Lewis are Brandon Bass, Ryan Anderson and Marcin Gortat. Anderson is embedded in Van Gundy’s doghouse. The Magic need Gortat to be on red alert, given [Dwight] Howard‘s relationship with the refs. That leaves Bass, undersized at 6-feet-8. Bass’ pet mid-range jumper is finding the net (49.1 percent.) He’s still better suited roaring off the bench. The decline of Lewis’ numbers has been steady, for a couple reasons. Vince Carter arrived last season to rob some shots, making Lewis the third option behind Carter and Howard. This season, Van Gundy has experimented with big lineups and more post-ups, shuttling Lewis from power forward to small forward. Even Stan agrees this may have affected his routine.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Brandon Bass continues to impress Stan Van Gundy. Even in hotel ballrooms. Really. Saturday morning, the Orlando Magic gathered in a ballroom in their New Jersey hotel for a walkthrough to prepare to face the New Jersey Nets. The Magic had played a game just 12 hours earlier, and yet Van Gundy still saw Bass paying attention to tiny details, wanting to know every assignment and understand every play. Bass kept up that intensity Saturday night, contributing 14 points — and, best of all from Van Gundy’s perspective — eight rebounds in only 21 minutes.”
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “[J.J.] Redick and Lewis in particular are far too gifted to shoot less than 38 percent on three-pointers over the course of the entire season. But for now, it’s a problem. If we’re pointing out performances from guys who are struggling, it’s only fair to laud the ones making a positive impact. Marcin Gortat has rebounded and defended exceptionally well, and has also made the most of his limited offensive opportunities, making 70 percent of his shots in the early going. Brandon Bass, an afterthought a year ago, worked his way into the rotation with great energy and a better commitment to defense. Though now out of the rotation, Ryan Anderson managed to positively impact the team despite his outside shot not dropping; on a per-minute basis, Anderson ranks second on the team in scoring and third in rebounding.”
  • Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal: “The revolving door between the Grizzlies’ bench and the basketball court is spinning fast. Veteran swingman Tony Allen and rookie point guard Greivis Vasquez spun out of nowhere and gave the team a lift last weekend. Just who will dart out of the reserve tank tonight when the Griz play on the road against the Orlando Magic? That’s anyone’s guess. Griz coach Lionel Hollins is still searching to find a collection of bench players he can count on. He contends that his mantra hasn’t changed and he is going to use the first 20 regular-season games to firm up a substitution pattern. Guys will play their way in and out so one game doesn’t necessarily mean anything.”

Nov 12

Recap: Toronto Raptors 110, Orlando Magic 106

AP Photo/Reinhold Matay


“The third quarter was ridiculous professional basketball.”

Head coach Stan Van Gundy uttered those words in his press conference following the Orlando Magic‘s loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, in which they blew an 18-point lead in the third quarter and lost by 10 points. Against the Toronto Raptors, the Magic — no offense to their opponent — played pathetic basketball for four quarters and were defeated by the score of 110-106. By all means, the Raptors deserved to win the game because they played with excellent energy and effort, and performed as if their lives depended on the end result. Toronto was led by DeMar DeRozan, who had a career-high 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting and seven rebounds. Andrea Bargnani finished with 27 points. Sonny Weems was the hero in the game, hitting a go-ahead three-pointer with 7.1 seconds left to put the Raptors up by three points. The Magic tried to tie the ballgame and after calling a timeout for being unable to put the ball in play, Mickael Pietrus‘ inbounds pass on the second try was stolen by Jose Calderon and that was game, set, match.

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Nov 12

Friday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Looking to give his players some stability night-in and night-out, Stan Van Gundy has settled on one starting lineup for the foreseeable future. Van Gundy said following his team’s shootaround today that he’ll start Jameer Nelson at point guard, Vince Carter at shooting guard, Quentin Richardson at small forward, Rashard Lewis at power forward and Dwight Howard at center each game, regardless of the matchups opposing teams present. […] Also, Mickael Pietrus will return to the rotation, while Ryan Anderson is out of the rotation — at least for the time being. Brandon Bass will be the first power forward off the bench. […] All that said, Lewis will still sometimes shift to small forward during games. Marcin Gortat will sometimes play at power forward, though usually not in the first quarter.”
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy talks about the Toronto Raptors.
  • Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel on Ryan Anderson’s benching: “The fact that Anderson’s taking the high road on the decision isn’t surprising. Anderson’s one of the nicest and most even-keeled players on the team, and he knows that another opportunity for playing time will most likely arise this season. Rotations rarely stay the same all season, and injuries haven’t hit the frontcourt yet.”
  • One person approves Van Gundy’s decision to settle on a rotation.
  • Julius Erving talks about the Magic: “They’re one of the elite teams, they’re one of the top eight teams in the league. And there’s times during the season when they’ve had the best record and have been the best team. Top eight in the league, you’ve got creds and now you’ve have a responsibility to service your fans with that new building. With that new building, they need to step up and win games because that’s a beautiful place. They have talent, they got good coaching and they just have to make some breaks for themselves. Don’t rely on luck, you know, prepare yourself and go out and do battle every night.”
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post comments on the Amway Center’s technology.
  • John Hollinger of ESPN Insider, on the eve of Anderson being demoted in the Orlando Magic’s rotation, thinks he should be playing more: “With Rashard Lewis struggling mightily and the Magic’s small forwards largely ineffective thus far, the obvious solution seems to be handing Anderson the keys to the power forward spot and moving Lewis to the 3 for long stretches. The Magic have started games this way recently but seem reluctant to stick with it, even though Anderson’s career numbers suggest he’ll more than offset any defensive shortcomings with his wicked outside shooting and underrated board work.”
  • Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse: “If Magic center Dwight Howard was looking for sympathy when it comes to his early-season technical foul trouble — stemming from the new, low-tolerance rule — he won’t find any with his own general manager. Old-school GM Otis Smith likes the new rule, which has cracked down on the unsightly and constant complaining about calls by officials.”
  • Allen Kim of SLAM ONLINE believes the Magic could use Steve Nash.

Nov 12

Preview: Toronto Raptors at Orlando Magic

7:00 EDT | Fox Sports Florida
1-7 @ 5-2
Pythagorean Record: 1-7 Pythagorean Record: 5-2
Pace: 95.0 (15th) Pace: 93.2 (18th)
Offensive Rating: 105.5 (17th) Offensive Rating: 106.5 (14th)
Defensive Rating: 110.2 (27th) Defensive Rating: 97.8 (1st)
Amway Center | First meeting this season

Nov 12

Marcin Gortat Channels His Inner-Dennis Rodman


Beginning at the 1:19 mark in the first quarter, Marcin Gortat dives all over the place. Fun.

Nov 12

Stan Van Gundy Settles on a Rotation for Now

Photo by Elsa/tml/Getty Images

Via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

It wouldn’t be a surprise if Stan Van Gundy alters his rotation somewhat when the Orlando Magic play the Toronto Raptors tonight at Amway Center.

On Wednesday, before the Magic faced the Utah Jazz, Van Gundy said he had decided that his fifth starter would be either Ryan Anderson or Quentin Richardson. At the time, Van Gundy said Anderson would start at power forward and Rashard Lewis would start at small forward when the Magic faced teams with bigger frontcourts. Richardson would start at small forward and Lewis would start at power forward against smaller teams.

But that fifth-starter plan could be in flux after Van Gundy played Anderson for just 94 seconds against the Jazz. Van Gundy said he didn’t like Anderson’s approach or Anderson’s two turnovers.

Van Gundy indicated after the 104-94 loss to the Jazz that changes could be in the offing.

“We’ve got to decide what to do,” Van Gundy said. “You’re not going to overreact to one game, but at all our positions, I’m pretty patient, but we’ve got some guys that just really aren’t being very productive. So, we’ve got other guys sitting down. They’re going to have to get a chance to play if other guys are not going to produce. We’ve got too many good players to just give people minutes for a long period of time.”

UPDATE: More from Robbins via Twitter.

Anderson is out, Mickael Pietrus is in, and we have a static 10-man rotation.

Let’s how long this move lasts.

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