Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 212

Nov 06

Recap: Orlando Magic 105, New Jersey Nets 90

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack


After a competitive half of basketball, the Orlando Magic were able to defeat the New Jersey Nets by the score of 105-90. The Magic trailed by three points at halftime but were able to take control of the game in the third quarter, leading by as much as 20 points before coasting to a victory. Orlando was led by three of their four All-Stars — Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson, and Vince Carter. Howard was dominant, finishing with 30 points, 16 rebounds, two steals, and one block. Nelson had 20 points and six assists, while Carter had 19 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Rashard Lewis chipped in with 12 points, though it came at the price of inefficiency (5-of-15 shooting from the field).

This was an interesting game.

Lewis and Ryan Anderson started at the forward positions for the Magic, but that alignment didn’t last long. At the 5-minute mark of the first quarter, head coach Stan Van Gundy replaced Anderson with Quentin Richardson and eventually Mickael Pietrus to play not only the 4-out/1-in offensive scheme that everyone is accustomed to seeing but also to matchup better with Travis Outlaw, who torched Orlando. It seems a little absurd that the Magic needed to tweak their defensive assignments for a player of Outlaw’s caliber, but he was playing extremely well on offense and the necessary changes needed to be made. Still, Outlaw finished with 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting so it’s not like he was contained.

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Nov 05

Friday’s Magic Word

  • Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “Rashard Lewis is a team-first guy, always quick to mention his teammates before himself when asked about his individual achievements or desires. But throughout the preseason and the early part of the season, one thing’s evident: Lewis loves playing small forward. He played the four during the first three years in Orlando after playing the three his entire career in Seattle. Playing power forward, a position many critics didn’t think he could play, was something Lewis did without complaint. Tonight he will get his second start at small forward as a member of the [Orlando] Magic, and he’s again doing so without complaint. In his first start at the three, he admitted feeling “anxious” before the game and it showed in his play. He’s feeling better before tonight’s game.”
  • Ryan Anderson calls Brook Lopez “a horrible friend.”
  • Can head coach Stan Van Gundy keep the point guards happy?
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Owing to the cancellation of their preseason finale and the postponement of a game earlier this week against the New York Knicks, the Orlando Magic haven’t played many games lately, suiting up just three times in the last eight days and ten times in the last 31. That’s strange enough. Potentially weirder, though, is the Magic haven’t so much as played a competitive game in far longer. […] Indeed, we have to go back to May 24th–a 96-92 overtime Orlando win over Boston in Game Four–to find the last compelling contest the Magic played. That’s 165 days without a particularly competitive Magic game.”
  • Is tension a good thing for the Orlando Magic?
  • Scott Carefoot of The Basketball Jones on Dwight Howard: “It’s still early, but those off-season sessions spent learning post moves from Hakeem Olajuwon look like they paid off. Previously, he was unlikely to try to score outside of the low-post unless there was no other option. Based on the assortment of turnaround and mid-range jumpers he’s showcased in this first three games this season, it should only be a matter of time before the Magic start running their offense through him. Oh yeah, he’s still pretty all right on defense and on the boards.”
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk keeps it real: “Players like routine. They like minutes, but they also like regular rotations. Van Gundy may be less into the routine than other coaches, but [Mickael] Pietrus has to live with it. Want more minutes? Defend, ball hard, force him to play you because he can’t take you out. At the end of the day, that’s all you can do.”

Nov 05

Preview: New Jersey Nets at Orlando Magic

7:00 EDT | Sun Sports
2-2 @ 2-1
Pythagorean Record: 1-3 Pythagorean Record: 3-0
Pace: 91.1 (26th) Pace: 95.7 (13th)
Offensive Rating: 101.0 (25th) Offensive Rating: 107.9 (14th)
Defensive Rating: 105.4 (14th) Defensive Rating: 92.3 (3rd)
Amway Center | First meeting this season

Nov 05

Revisiting the Issue of Playing Time

AP Photo/Jeffrey M. Boan

Via Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel:

Coach Stan Van Gundy and General Manager Otis Smith met Thursday before the Magic’s practice. […]

Their meeting came in the wake of small forward Mickael Pietrus‘ shouting match with Van Gundy near the bench on Wednesday night.

Frustrated with his dwindling role, Pietrus was pulled out of the game by Van Gundy after just three minutes into the final period during the Magic’s blow-out victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Amway Center.

Teammates, including co-captain Dwight Howard, tried to calm Pietrus. One player said that MP wanted to be traded if he’s not playing regularly, although MP told me he didn’t want to leave a contender.

Van Gundy and Pietrus both confirmed Thursday to the Sentinel that they exchanged words.

“MP was unhappy about when he went into the game and he was unhappy about me telling him to play defense,” Van Gundy said. “He didn’t like what I was saying and I didn’t like his response, so I took him out of the game.”

This was bound to happen sooner or later. The Orlando Magic have so many rotation-quality players, there are going to be instances when someone on the roster isn’t going to be happy with playing time. Last season, that was either Brandon Bass or Ryan Anderson. This year, because head coach Stan Van Gundy is making a concerted effort to play Rashard Lewis more at the small forward position, someone like Mickael Pietrus is feeling the pinch.

This situation won’t go away anytime soon, so it’ll be interesting to see how Van Gundy balances everything. Van Gundy has dealt with this before, so it’s not like it’s something new to him.

Nov 05

Video Analysis: The Art of the Pick and Roll

There’s not a lot that needs to be said about the Orlando Magic‘s tour de force against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, in which the men in blue set a franchise record by scoring 78 points in the first half and then winning the game by a margin of 42 points. Still, it’s worth noting how the Magic were able to come away with a first round knockout (Mike Tyson reference) against the Timberwolves.

Look no further than one of Orlando’s favorite plays in the playbook — the pick and roll.

Every team in the NBA run pick and rolls with regularity but for the Magic, it’s one of the staples of their offensive scheme. For Minnesota, they found out the hard way in the first quarter. Orlando was ruthless in the pick and roll (especially off-the-ball), and it helped spark excellent performances offensively from Vince Carter, Ryan Anderson, and others.

Take a look.

Nov 05

Nick Anderson, Pat Garrity, Alex Martins to Chat Live Tonight During Magic Game

Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

Via Fox Sports Florida:

Magic LIVE pregame (6:30p) will be setup outside Amway Center with live fan interaction and the following segments:

  • Pat Garrity and Matt Guokas square off in the Friday Faceoff
  • A look at the New Respect For The Game Rules and the increase in Technical Fouls this year in the NBA
  • Dwight Howard vs Brook Lopez – A Match-up of 2 the best Centers in the League

Then, during the game, viewers can participate and ask questions 2 ways:

  • Via live in-game chat on with special guest chatters – Nick Anderson, Pat Garrity, Alex Martins & Paul Kennedy.
  • Via “Ask the Magic” portal on

Nov 04

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The [Orlando] Magic haven’t taken part in a competitive game since camp began, all their games lopsided one way or the other, speaking of the Miami Heat. […] Strangely, [Otis] Smith said he could see it coming, given the Magic were on a back-to-back, had rolled through the preseason and were the Heat’s guest on an emotional opening night. […] After the Magic were trounced in Miami, I wrote that they will not be fine, not at playoff time against Miami or Boston. I believed before the game that this team — this season or next — needs to trade for more star power to beat the Heat and Celtics. More than a few e-mailers agreed. Writers and fans are one thing. Then there’s coach Stan Van Gundy. Van Gundy said after the loss to the Heat that his team does not have a player who can routinely create his own shot. It was not a new observation from Stan, just a recent reminder. Smith told me Stan’s comment didn’t bother him. He didn’t totally disagree with the analysis, either.”
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy was pleased with the ball movement in last night’s game.
  • Dwight Howard likes to send blocks out-of-bounds, unlike Bill Russell.
  • Trey Kerby of The Basketball Jones has more on Howard’s ‘philosophy’: “We’ve all heard the stories about how Bill Russell would block shots. He’d do his best to get a hand on every shot he could. When he did, he’d try to tip it to a teammate or himself in order to start a fast break. Those shot-blocking techniques are just a part of the huge legacy that Russell built as one of the NBA’s most prominent winners. The guy was so unselfish that even his blocks were part of a team concept. Dwight Howard goes about blocking shots in a very similar manner, except for the exact opposite. Dwight’s content to toss a weak shot attempt in to the stands, even if that means the other team still gets the ball back. That’s his way of not showboating.”
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk chimes in on Howard’s decision to play in the 2012 Summer Olympics: “I guess we’re doing this now. It’s not like we are 19 months and basically two full NBA seasons away from the USA Basketball camps where the team for the London Olympics will be chosen. We’re asking now who wants to go.”
  • Jack Jensen of Dime Magazine with a must-read article on Howard: “With so many expectations and the weight of an entire fan base and team counting on Dwight each game to produce, Orlando can only hope the pressure to succeed doesn’t wear on their young star. He does have a mean streak – any one of his flailing elbow’s victims will agree – but maybe Dwight really is too nice to get it done by himself. Maybe Superman 2.0 needs a dominant Justice League co-pilot to lead him through the playoffs and into the Promised Land. Shaq had Kobe and Dwyane. Garnett had Pierce. Duncan had Parker. Orlando has … balance. The Magic have surrounded Dwight with arguably the best collection of all-around talent in the League, but a consistently dominant go-to star has yet to emerge. Hedo Turkoglu looked like he might have become that guy during Orlando’s 2009 run to the Finals, but he bolted out of Central Florida that summer, and 33-year-old Vince Carter is coming off the worst season of his career. Still, Howard whole-heartedly believes he can lead Orlando’s current squad to a ring, despite the growing concern that he often downplays his toughness. Is Dwight too forgiving to get it done riding solo? It’s something that he’s ready to put firmly to rest once and for all.”

Nov 04

Orlando Magic Inaugural Spanish Telecast Set For Friday Night

Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

For the first time in team history, the Orlando Magic will broadcast 17 home games and two road games in Spanish. The home games will be produced by Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida, while the road contests will be produced by the local Fox Sports regional network.

The broadcasts will be seen in both Orlando and Tampa via Bright House Networks. News 13 En Espanol, Channel 613 and 130, will televise games in Orlando, while Bay News 9 En Espanol, Channel 900 and 154, will broadcast games in Tampa. The first of 19 games televised in Spanish will be Friday, November 5 vs. New Jersey.

The home games will be called by familiar voices as Joey Colon, entering his 13th season with the Magic’s Spanish radio broadcasts, will continue with his play-by-play duties for television. Colon’s partner, Ramon Rivas will serve as the color analyst in his sixth year with the broadcast team.

The Magic also continue with their Spanish radio broadcasts announcing their partnership in mid-October with Radio Luz 1270 AM (WRLZ) as the new flagship station for all radio broadcasts. Every preseason, regular season and postseason Magic game will be broadcast on the WRLZ network. VIVA 1160 AM will also return for its second season as part of the Magic Spanish Radio Network.

In an effort to further connect to the growing Hispanic fan base in Central Florida, the Orlando Magic launched in early October. The new and improved Spanish website serves as the official source for the Hispanic community. The site features original content and coverage of the Magic including in-depth game coverage, breaking news, features, video clips, photo galleries, podcasts, press releases and team information in Spanish.

Nov 04

Recap: Orlando Magic 128, Minnesota Timberwolves 86

Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images


That was easy.

In a game that was over practically from the start, the Orlando Magic were able to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves by the score of 128-86. In the process, the Magic were able to set a franchise record by scoring 78 points in the first half. For Orlando, it was a balanced attack as seven players scored in double-figures. And despite playing 23 minutes, Dwight Howard was able to lead the way for the Magic by putting up 18 points, 16 rebounds, and eight blocks. Vince Carter finished with 20 points, seven assists, four rebounds, and two steals. Ryan Anderson, earning his first start of the regular season at power forward, had a strong performance with 19 points and three blocks. Not to be outdone by his positional counterpart, Brandon Bass had 19 points and eight rebounds.

To be frank, there’s not much to say.

The Timberwolves were playing on a back-to-back after losing to the Miami Heat the previous night. Add the fact that Minnesota continues to be a work-in-progress trying to execute the triangle offense in addition to sporting one of the worst defenses in the NBA, and it’s easy to see why this was a blowout victory in Orlando’s favor.

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Nov 03

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “Dwight Howard is 6-for-10 on mid-range jumpers this season, a promising statistic for the future of his offensive game. After making more than half of his jumpers during the preseason, it’s looking more and more like it’s a real part of his game. Howard himself is tired of talking about the jumpers. When a reporter asked Howard about his newfound jump-shot today, Howard responded, ‘Can we talk about something else, please?’ Howard’s been hearing about the jumpers since training camp, and he’s grown tired of the same questions. But that doesn’t mean others aren’t willing to talk about the exciting portion of Howard’s expanding offensive repertoire. Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said the jumper’s an evolution of Howard’s game that will continue for years, the same way other great players saw their game move away from the basket later in their careers.”
  • Dwight Howard will play in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
  • Dan Savage of the “There are few superstars in any sport that are as media friendly as Dwight Howard. He’s engaging, humorous and will answer just about any question thrown at him. But there’s one question that’s becoming a little redundant for the All-NBA center this season: ‘How’s your jumper coming along?’ As someone who covers Orlando’s Superman day-in and day-out, I must admit, even I’m sick of hearing the question. At nearly every media session it comes up, usually with someone completely shocked that he now has this weapon in his arsenal. Howard is a talented basketball player, who has been able to accomplish nearly anything he’s set his mind to during his NBA career. So why is it a surprise to everyone that he’s starting to develop a mid-range game?”
  • Michael Beasley is expected to play later tonight.
  • Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse: “The Orlando Magic were both a little surprised and amused Wednesday to hear LeBron James already being touted in Miami for Defensive Player of The Year. Magic center Dwight Howard has won the award the last two seasons, but the Heat crushed the Magic last week in Miami with an impressive performance. […] The mini-debate stemmed from comments made Tuesday by Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who mentioned the award when discussing the defensive prowess of James. […] Both James and Howard have been first-team All Defense each of the last two seasons. Howard has led the league in both blocked shots and rebounding those two season. James is considered one of the league’s premier perimeter defenders, capable of smothering opponents in the open court.”
  • Tom Haberstroh of ESPN Insider defends the Magic as title contenders: “So, if the Magic are dominant on both ends on the floor, what’s holding them back from winning it all? When it comes down to it, they’ve picked some pretty awful times to turn ice cold. The Magic shot just 30 percent from downtown in Games 1 and 2 against the Boston Celtics and lost by a combined seven points. As trivial as it sounds, the fate of the Magic has been decided by some missed free throws here and a rimmed out 3-pointer there. That’s how narrow the margin for error is in the playoffs. When great regular season teams come up short in the postseason, we tend to attribute non-random factors for their demise — lack of toughness, lack of heart, lack of leadership. But more often than not, these intangible indictments are nothing more than journalistic shortcuts that intentionally gloss over the inherent randomness of sport. Randomness is equally boring as it is real. And the reality is that if luck were on Orlando’s side, they’d have been just a series away from a Finals rematch with the Lakers.”
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