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Via the Orlando Magic:
For years, the city of Orlando has generally been branded as the place where Mickey Mouse roams, Shamu performs and kids play.
Although that certainly has not changed, there is a new item on the docket for everyone to enjoy and admire.
Amway Center, which officially opened on Friday during a memorable ribbon-cutting ceremony, is now another item on the checklist.
The new home of the Orlando Magic is undoubtedly the most technologically advanced sports and entertainment facility in North America. There are 1,100 high definition video displays at the dazzling venue.
After a very elaborate ceremony outside the main entrance, thousands of people piled into the Amway Center for Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s annual State of Downtown Address.
Via the Orlando Magic:
The Orlando Magic have exercised their fourth-year team option on forward Ryan Anderson, President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Otis Smith announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deal are not disclosed. Anderson is now under contract through the 2011-12 season.
Anderson (#33, 6’10”, 240, 5/6/88) played in 63 games last season for the Magic, averaging 7.7 ppg. and 3.2 rpg. in 14.5 minpg., while shooting .370 (78-211) from three-point range. He started in six outings, averaging 15.0 ppg. and 5.0 rpg. in 25.6 minpg. during that span. Anderson also appeared in nine playoff games, averaging 2.6 ppg. and 3.4 rpg. in 9.9 minpg.
Originally selected in the first round (21st overall) of the 2008 NBA Draft by New Jersey, Anderson was acquired by the Magic from the Nets, along with Vince Carter, in exchange for Rafer Alston, Tony Battie and Courtney Lee on June 25, 2009. He has played in 129 career NBA regular season games with New Jersey and Orlando, averaging 7.6 ppg. and 4.0 rpg. in 17.2 minpg, while shooting .368 (147-400) from three-point range.
Shaquille O’Neal’s stat line against the Timberwolves — 53 points, 18 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks.
Here’s Part II of my interview (click here for Part I) with Matt Guokas, the television color analyst for the Orlando Magic. In this segment, Matt talks about the Magic’s quest for a championship this season and more.
Do you think that Matt Barnes’ inability to hit threes at a proficient rate compared to his teammates was an achilles heel for the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics?
Yeah. One of the big problems, Eddy, was … the Magic were not really … the way the schedule broke, they did not get a lot of competitive games in the last 41 [regular season games]. Maybe four or five tough games. The teams were hurt or resting people when they played the good teams or they just weren’t playing competitive teams. And then even in the first two rounds, Charlotte and Atlanta just seemed totally unprepared. They did not put up any resistance whatsoever and I’m not saying that’s an excuse, but I think the Magic kind of got into a routine of saying ‘hey, this is pretty easy.’ And then by not winning one of those first two games in the Boston series, that’s what kind of cost them. That’s what hurt. Boston just brought it. They were riding the high. I think they were more surprise than anybody that they were able to get by Cleveland and they saw that fold in Game 5. They looked like the most shocked team in the world. They were like, ‘they’re just going to give this to us’ and Cleveland basically did, so now Boston was playing with a little bit of confidence. And then by winning the first two in Orlando, that obviously set the direction of the series but I would not point a finger at Matt Barnes for poor three-point shooting in the Boston series. I thought it was more about giving Boston more credit and the fact that the Magic weren’t as mentally ready as they normally would be had they been tested a little bit more
Via the Orlando Magic:
Pounds of concrete used to build the Amway Center.
Pounds of total steel used to build the Amway Center, including six, 380-foot, 150-ton roof trusses which were locally fabricated just six miles from the arena site. The total length of all arena steel roof framing equals 55,287 feet or 10.5 miles.
Number of LED lights in the center-hung videoboard, the tallest and most high-definition in an NBA venue measuring in at 42 feet high and weighing in at 80,000 pounds.
Square footage of the new Amway Center – almost triple the size of the old 367,000 square foot arena.
Gallons of water saved annually in the environmentally-friendly building which employs a rain water collection system for irrigation and high-efficiency water flow fixtures in restrooms. Water consumption will be reduced by 40 percent over a comparably sized building.
Estimate dollars in annual energy savings because of the high efficiency “green” systems in place in the Amway Center. Overall the environmentally-friendly systems will cut energy consumption by 24 percent over a comparable, code compliant, designed building.
Maximum number of seats in the flexible Amway Center. Orlando Magic seating will be 18,500.
Number of light fixtures in the building.
Number of parking spaces within a 10-minute walk of the arena.
Number of Magic tickets priced $25 or less, including the first-time ever introduction of $5 tickets (while supplies last).
Number of construction workers who built the Amway Center.
Number of plumbing devices in the building, including 563 toilets/urinals.
Number of high-definition video displays in the new Amway Center.
Combined number of devices used (240) to make the Amway Center wireless, and touch screen control-based units (230) for patrons to order food, beverages and merchandise.
Number of pieces of art work (140 original pieces and 200 museum quality photographs) in the Amway Center, as part of the public arts program for the building. Fourteen Central Florida artists contributed an estimated 110 pieces to the collection.
For Magic fans, Matt Guokas is a legend of sorts. Guokas will forever be linked with the beginning of the Orlando Magic, serving as the head coach of the 1989 expansion team that featured the likes of Terry Catledge, Jerry “Ice” Reynolds, Reggie Theus, among others, and remaining with the team until 1993 when Brian Hill replaced him after Shaquille O’Neal’s rookie year.
Fast forward to today, Guokas is the television color analyst for the Magic and will be teaming up with play-by-play announcer David Steele for their seventh year as a tandem. It should be noted that Guokas is a forward-thinking analyst, not afraid to cite metrics like team efficiency, pace, and whatever else. For team announcers, amidst the statistical revolution in the NBA, that’s still a rarity.
Did I mention that Guokas played with Wilt Chamberlain, Billy Cunningham, and Hal Greer with the Philadelphia Sixers, winning a championship alongside them in 1967 against the then-San Francisco Warriors? Good times.
Needless to say, Guokas’ experience and knowledge of the league is impeccable.
Yesterday, I was able to speak with Guokas about a variety of topics, including his thoughts on the new-look Miami Heat, Dwight Howard‘s continued development as a player, and more.
What’s your take on the Miami Heat now that they have LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh?
Anytime you have three very, very talented guys like that, it’s going to be good.
They’re going to make some of the lesser players better, although there are big question marks with the other seven or eight guys that are going to have to do a lot of the playing. Most of them are veterans, have been around, and certainly can contribute like Mike Miller. Mario Chalmers has a few years under his belt.
They’ll be good. They’re still going to have … there’s going to be a lot of pressure obviously from being under the microscope. Any time there’s a game, there’s going to have to be all kinds of explanations as to how can a talented team do this and all that. I think they’ll be well-guided in terms of not paying so much attention to what it is they do record-wise in the regular season. They’re going to win a lot of games anyway. It’s just how they come together as a team and what their results are in the playoffs.
Via the Orlando Magic:
Orlando Magic guard Jason Williams will undergo arthroscopic surgery tomorrow on his left knee, General Manager Otis Smith announced. Williams is expected to miss approximately four weeks of action.
Williams (#44, 6’1”, 190, 11/18/75) played in all 82 games last season for the Magic, averaging 6.0 ppg., 3.6 apg. and 1.5 rpg. in 20.8 minpg., while shooting .380 (84-221) from three-point range. He started in 18 outings, averaging 8.6 ppg., 5.1 apg., 2.7 rpg. and 1.11 stlpg. in 29.6 minpg. during that span. Williams ranked seventh in the NBA in assists-to-turnover ratio (3.43, 298/87). He also appeared in all 14 playoff games, averaging 2.6 ppg. and 1.6 apg. in 13.7 minpg.
Originally selected in the first round (seventh overall) of the 1998 NBA Draft, Williams has played in 761 career NBA regular season games with Sacramento, Memphis, Miami and Orlando, averaging 10.8 ppg., 6.0 apg., 2.3 rpg. and 1.21 stlpg. in 30.1 minpg. He has also played in 67 career playoff contests, averaging 8.3 ppg., 3.3 apg. and 1.9 rpg. in 25.9 minpg. Williams was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team in 1998-99, currently stands as Memphis’ all-time leader in assists (2,041) and helped Miami capture the 2005-06 NBA Championship.