Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 230

May 28

Video Analysis: Dwight Howard’s Impact on Defense

Even though Dwight Howard has played well on offense in the last two games for the Orlando Magic, everything starts and ends with his defense. Because the Magic rely so much on Howard’s defense, similarly to how the Cleveland Cavaliers rely so much on LeBron James’ offense, they tend to struggle to win games when he’s dealing with foul troubles or he isn’t making the impact defensively that he normally makes. These instances aren’t the norm but when they happen and Howard is not on the floor, his absence on defense is magnified.

It can’t be understated how much of an intimidating presence Howard is in the paint. During the regular season, opponents shot 57.4 percent at the rim against the Magic — the second-lowest figure in the NBA behind the Chicago Bulls (league average was 61.0 percent). When Howard is in the game, nearly every team in the NBA either struggles to attack the basket or neglects to penetrate in the lane altogether. That’s why it’s hard to quantify how good of a defensive player Howard really is. Sometimes you have to look at the video.

May 28

How is There a Game 6 for the Orlando Magic?

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Photo by Gary Green-Pool/Getty Images

After being left for dead following an embarrassing loss in Game 3, not many people expected to see the Orlando Magic play the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals. The Magic, for lack of a better word, quit in Game 3 and didn’t put forth the effort and energy required to compete against the Celtics, let alone beat them. However, after playing well in Game 4 and really well in Game 5, Orlando has given themselves an opportunity to live to play another day, as long as they can beat Boston in Game 6 on the road.

Tonight’s game will be the toughest road test the Magic will have ever played this season, up to this point, without a doubt. There’s no guarantee that Orlando will win, though at least they put themselves in a position to have a chance.

But how?

What have the Magic done to extend the series to a Game 6?

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May 28

Sneak Preview: Orlando Magic at Boston Celtics, Game 6

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Most things are overstated in the ying and yang of the playoffs, but this is not one of them: Tonight’s the biggest night in the history of the Orlando Magic since 1995. Why? If the Magic win Game 6 against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden, they will have a chance to play their next three games at Amway Arena — an improbable Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, plus the first two games of the NBA Finals. Yes, the championship would go through Orlando, just as it did 15 years ago.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “As it turns out, staving off elimination and winning an overtime nail-biter in Boston in Game 4 was the easy part. And then coming back to gash one of the NBA’s best defensive teams in Game 5 for 13 3-pointers and 113 points, well, that was child’s play by comparison. But now, with the Orlando Magic having the full attention of the Boston Celtics, things expect to get infinitely more difficult in a Game 6 in Boston. And that’s just fine with a Magic team that is oozing confidence out its every pore following two landscape-altering victories that have swung momentum back to their side. Though they know they a face an all-out basketball battle Friday in Boston’s TD Garden and are still staring at a 3-2 deficit, it is the Magic who possess the swagger of the favorites now.”
  • Julian Benbow of The Boston Globe: “Without question, the Celtics are now in a fight. In Game 4, the Magic swung wildly simply to stay alive. In Game 5, the blows left bruises. And even though they’re still fighting off elimination, the Magic are defiant, convincing themselves the past two games that they can become the first team in NBA history to climb out of a 3-0 series hole to win.”
  • Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe: “Don’t go to that dark place, people. Not yet. The Celtics are going to win tonight. They have a healthy Big Three. They have Rajon Rondo ready to answer Jameer Nelson. They have Kendrick Perkins, granted a stay by the NBA’s behavior police. [...] Keep your heads. The Celtics failed to close this out in Game 4 at home. They were predictably beaten at Amway Arena in Game 5. But now they are home. And they are better. And they will end this tonight. Or they have a Sunday date with history and humiliation.”
  • Jarrod N. Rudolph of The Boston Globe: “The Magic have always been resilient. This season alone they’ve fought through suspensions, injuries, slumps, and most recently a 3-0 hole. Their ability to move on to the next game without dwelling on previous disappointments has been their trademark and the one of the biggest factors for their charge back into the series. [...] Winning the last two games has been huge for the Magic, but the Celtics are still leading the series. Orlando knows being confident and having momentum doesn’t mean anything if its performance isn’t the very best.”
  • Ron Borges of the Boston Herald: “There is a time and place for everything. Tonight is the time, and the Garden is the place. It is time for Dwight Howard to be Rambis-ed. [...] It is all well and good to talk of hard fouls and the playoffs being a time to expect them. It is quite another to turn a basketball court into the caged Octagon that made MMA a sport for a new generation. Far be it from me to advocate gratuitous violence, but in the case of the Magic’s elbow-swinging cheap-shot artist, two words come to mind: Why not?”
  • Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald: “The real question is why the Celtics ever stepped foot again in Amway Arena after dancing off the floor on the night of May 18. In Paul Pierce’s moving speech (literally – he was walking off the floor) that evening, he told his listeners he would see them next year, when the Magic are playing in a new building that just might have luxury boxes. But “next year” translated to “a week and a day” when the Celts failed to perform the necessary maintenance in Game 4. Remember, the Magic seemed to be looking simply for a way to expire with dignity when they showed up at the Garden that night, but the C’s decided to wrap Orlando’s self esteem in a victory when they chose not to share the ball or play defense with concerted effort. So the C’s could have taken all the Game 5 weirdness off the table by making sure there wasn’t a Game 5. Let a team hang around on a given night, and you risk a loss. When you let a series hang around, you risk a trip to the offseason.”

May 27

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “So [Vince Carter is] taking a beating, and the media are exploiting the usual talking points about him: he’s soft, he’s not clutch, he’s timid, he doesn’t have a “killer instinct.” And, well, yeah, there’s truth to some of that, insofar as he’s having a pretty terrible series, shooting 35.9% from the floor for 13 points per game. But I don’t have a problem with his aggression in his series; I don’t see him settling for too much. Consider that his percentage of shot attempts at the basket area (28.1%) in this series actually exceeds that figure from the regular season (25.6%) and that his work in the pick-and-roll has led to 4 assists for 9 points, as well as 9 other looks for which his teammates did not reward his unselfishness, per Synergy Sports Technology.”
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie endorses J.J. Redick: “He’s not some per-minute wonder, built up on offensive rebounds and tip-dunks over bench types while averaging 6.7 fouls per 36 minutes. He’s a legitimate contributor that plays more efficiently the more he’s allowed to run the floor and lose the fear of falling short. Because Stan Van Gundy is in this guy’s head, and J.J.’s the only player on this team that works this into a bad thing. SVG helps, for everyone but Redick.”
  • For Jameer Nelson, size doesn’t matter.
  • Matt Moore of Hardwood Paroxysm: “I have to wonder if this isn’t everything Orlando can throw at them. It’s a tentative balance, much more so than it was three days ago. The reason? The Big 3 are sputtering. When any combination of 2 of the Big 3 are hitting, you might as well go home. But last night Pierce struggled with the Magic’s physical play of him, Garnett’s head has been AWOL since the start of Game 4, and Allen, well, Allen’s got the best defender in this series on him like white on rice and is still hitting fairly regularly. The Magic have kickstarted the offense and as much as Celtics fans may not want to admit it, Rashard Lewis DOES look like he suddenly got healthier, playing with more energy and the focus on his release has been better.”
  • The Orlando Magic have been running on Rajon Rondo and the strategy is working.
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk keeps it simple: “It is Game 6 or bust for Boston, it wants no part of a Game 7 back in Orlando. Friday night is the showdown.”
  • Sean Deveney of The Baseline explains why the Boston Celtics lost in Game 5.
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy is NOT the “Master of Panic.”
  • Eric Freeman of The Baseline: “That’s why their wins in Games 4 and 5 take on more importance than just a shift from 3-0 to 3-2. They have momentum and control, and not just because they’d have homecourt advantage in a potential Game 7. They’ve essentially changed the Celtics’ position in the series from on the brink of making their second Finals in three years to grasping at whatever advantage they can find. That’s why Game 6 looks like such a promising game. It’s in Boston, so the Celtics are not without hope, but the Magic have turned this series on its head. It seems difficult to predict which team will take control because the avenues for success are so varied. Will [Dwight] Howard control the paint at both ends once again? Can Rajon Rondo find his mojo again? Will one of the Celtics’ veterans step up? Can Carter wake up and not be a total failure? The list goes on.”

May 27

Blue & White Ignite – Magic Host Official Watch Parties for Game 6 of Eastern Conference Finals

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

As Blue and White Ignite for the 2010 NBA Playoffs, presented by Bright House Networks, the Magic are encouraging the entire Central Florida community to show their spirit and support the Magic at the Official Playoff Watch Parties for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday, May 28. Some highlights of the Official Playoff Watch Parties include drink specials and appearances by Orlando Magic Dancers and the Magic AirTran Flight Crew. Tip-off in Boston is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.

  • Official Playoff Watch Parties for Game 6: On Friday, May 28, the Magic will host two Official Playoff Watch Parties, at The Plaza Courtyard (downtown at the corner of Church Street and Orange Avenue) and at the Orlando Magic Fan Zone at Waterford Lakes Town Center (413 North Alafaya Trail, Orlando, FL 32828). The watch party at the Plaza Courtyard will feature a large projection screen and there will be music provided by DJ D Strong and 102 JAMZ. There will also be Anheuser-Busch drink specials on-site. Waterford Lakes will feature a large projection screen to watch the game along with music provided by Power 95.3 and a pop-a-shot basketball game for fans of all ages.  Both watch party locations will feature the Magic Dancers, the AirTran Flight Crew and giveaways, including rally rackets, car flags and T-shirts. Activities will begin at 8:00 p.m., and tip-off of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals will be at 8:30 p.m.

May 27

NBA Announces Results of Review of Orlando-Boston Game 5 of Eastern Conference Finals

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Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Via the NBA:

Following a review of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic, the NBA has announced the following:

  • Celtics center Kendrick Perkins’ technical foul with 36.1 seconds remaining in the first half has been rescinded.
  • Celtics forward Paul Pierce’s foul with 8:12 remaining in the fourth quarter has been upgraded to a Flagrant Foul 1.

May 27

Jameer Nelson Continues His Damage in the Pick and Roll

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Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

Via ESPN Stats and Information:

Jameer Nelson continued his solid play Wednesday, going off for a game-high 24 points. Much like Game 4, Jameer did the bulk of his damage as a pick-and-roll ball handler.

Games 1-3 Games 4-5
Plays per game 14.7 26.5
PPG 12.7 32.0
Pts/play 0.86 1.21
FG pct 38.2 52.8

May 27

Second Look: Orlando Magic 113, Boston Celtics 92

Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Ever since laying a giant egg and having their hearts questioned after a Game 6 debacle, the [Orlando] Magic have played like a team that reached the NBA Finals last season and won 59 games this season. Like in Game 4, the Magic relied on cornerstones [Dwight] Howard and point guard Jameer Nelson while shooting guard Vince Carter (eight points on 3-of-10 shooting) struggled again. Howard finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks, following up his monster 32-point, 16-rebound effort in Game 4. Nelson added 24 points and five assists, nailing four 3-pointers.”
  • Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Magic, left for dead and wearing everything but a toe tag after the horrendous 94-71 loss in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, gave the Boston Celtics a Beantown beatdown Wednesday night at the Am and moved another step closer to becoming the first team in league history to ever rally back from a 3-0 deficit in a seven-game series. In the annals of the NBA, 93 teams have fallen behind 3-0, and 93 teams have ultimately gone down. But even naturally pessimistic Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, the Eeyore of the NBA, can feel the winds of change blowing in this series.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Orlando started its long-distance assault early. After turnovers on each of their first three offensive possessions, the Magic attempted 3-pointers on their next three possessions. Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis sank one apiece off passes from Nelson. Nelson’s quickness and ability to penetrate into the lane, particularly off picks set on Rajon Rondo, opened up space for Orlando’s outside shooters. As Celtics players collapsed on the diminutive point guard, at least one Magic player on the perimeter found some space. All the Magic needed to do was swing the ball around until they located the open man.”
  • Andrea Adelson of the Orlando Sentinel: “Center Kendrick Perkins picked up two technical fouls on Wednesday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Magic, getting himself ejected from the game. But worse than that, Perkins now faces a one-game suspension because he has seven technicals in the playoffs. Meanwhile, top backup Glen Davis took an elbow to the head from Dwight Howard late in the third quarter and sustained a concussion. He did not return to the game, and his availability is in question. Rasheed Wallace also tweaked his back, and Marquis Daniels sustained a concussion, setting up quite an unpleasant scenario for Rivers to contemplate.”
  • George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel: “They want to share the passion and the pride with a man who knows what it’s like to build a dynasty. Now he is trying to build one with a bunch of young guys, some 60-odd years younger than the date stamped on his birth certificate. At 84, Rich DeVos is the patriarch of the Orlando Magic franchise might be tempted to ask for some divine intervention for the Magic, trying to stay alive in the chase for an NBA title.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “An Orlando Magic team that vowed it was never out of these Eastern Conference Finals – even when it fell into a daunting 0-3 hole – proved that to be true once again Wednesday and will now ride a wave of momentum back to Boston. The suddenly surging Magic pulled back within 3-2 in the series and forced a Game 6 in Boston by throttling the Celtics 113-92 behind two more spectacular performances from co-captains Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson. As blue, black and silver streamers fell from the rafters and the Amway Arena crowd throbbed with raw emotion, public address announcer Paul Porter informed the crowd about a potential Game 7 on Sunday. That, of course, was dripping with the implication that the Magic will now go to Boston and win in Game 6 to force a deciding Game 7.”
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “The way the Magic played tonight and in Game 4 certainly makes one wonder where the heck they were in the first three games. Nelson’s the sparkplug, as he has to be. It’s as though a lightbulb flashed on above his noggin, as he’s clearly figured out how to attack Boston’s defense. Though Nelson is traditionally a halfcourt-oriented, pick-and-roll point guard, he has shifted into a different mode in this series, and is instead pushing the tempo aggressively whenever possible. On two occasions tonight, for example, he grabbed a defensive rebound, dribbled the length of the court, and converted a layup attempt in heavy traffic as the Celtics’ defense kept scrambling. He isn’t content to walk the ball up and run a halfcourt set. No, he’s getting the ball and making things happen with it, usually by dribbling into the paint for either a kickout or a shot attempt. He’s not turning the corner on the pick-and-roll and picking up his dribble, looking for the open man. No, his dribble is live, his improvisation skills high, and his swag phenomenal. He has Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo on his heels. If he keeps playing this way, Orlando will be in great shape come Friday night.”
  • Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe: “So we haven’t seen everything there is to see in Celtics playoff history. Last night was not only Boston’s second consecutive loss in the Eastern Conference finals, extending the series to at least six games, it was one of the strangest and most emotional postseason games in the franchise’s storied history. The Celtics not only were buried, 113-92, at Amway Arena by the suddenly rejuvenated Magic, but they watched as two players left with concussions, and another because of technical fouls. And now the Green have to respond or risk the fate of their hockey counterparts, those Bruins, who won the first three games against the Flyers and then dropped Game 4 in overtime and Game 5 by blowout. Hmmm.”
  • Gary Dzen of The Boston Globe: “The latest came with 7:30 left in the third quarter in last night’s loss to the Magic in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals. Pierce took a hard foul from Magic center Dwight Howard and remained on the floor for almost a minute, clutching his left shoulder. As Pierce writhed, the Amway Arena crowd peppered him with boos. One glance around the arena revealed scattered signs questioning the toughness of the Celtics in general — and of Pierce in particular. [...] Pierce’s reputation hasn’t been quite as clean since Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals against the Lakers. Pierce went down with a knee injury in that game and was famously taken off the court in a wheelchair. Pierce’s return to the game a short time later — and his subsequent performance as Finals MVP — led many to question the severity of the injury and caused some to label Pierce a drama queen.”
  • Jarrod N. Rudolph of The Boston Globe: “Energy and effort were the biggest questions surrounding the Magic entering Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals last night. After dropping the first three games of the series — two at Amway Arena — the Magic played Game 4 with the furious effort that made them a heavy favorite entering the series. Last night they seemed to play even harder. On the strength of their 113-92 victory, the Magic pulled within two games of completing what would be the greatest comeback in NBA history, coming back from a 3-0 deficit to advance to the Finals. They know they still have a lot of work to do, but they’ve proved, at the very least, that if they lose the series it’s not going to be because of a lackluster effort.”
  • Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald: “The C’s lost two important members of their Dwight Howard defense in last night’s 113-92 Game 5 loss at Amway Arena to the Magic, who have climbed back to within 3-2 in the Eastern Conference finals after dropping the first three games. Kendrick Perkins was lost in the second quarter following his sixth and seventh technical fouls of the postseason, then Glen Davis departed with a concussion at the end of the third after taking a Howard elbow to the mouth and losing a tooth. The theme continued when Marquis Daniels left with a concussion early in the fourth, which was followed by an Orlando run-off against a downsized Celtics team that seemed to take their cue from Davis and Daniels.”
  • Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald: “The NBA will render a decision this morning on whether one, both or neither of Kendrick Perkins technical fouls from last night will be rescinded. As it stood when the Celtics left the arena following the 113-92 Game 5 loss to Orlando in the Eastern Conference finals, their starting center had seven techs for the postseason – the magic number for an automatic one-game suspension. Should the ban stand, it would keep him out of tomorrow night’s now critical Game 6 at the Garden.”
  • Ron Borges of the Boston Herald: “They didn’t move the ball on offense. They didn’t move their feet on defense. The one thing they did move was their mouths, which got them three technical fouls and Kendrick Perkins banished to the locker room before halftime with his sixth and seventh techs of the playoffs. The Celtics did more talking than Nancy Pelosi and produced just as few results. Worst of all, a team that prides itself on its defense didn’t get out on Orlando’s 3-point shooters and hence were buried by them, losing 113-“

May 27

Recap: Orlando Magic 113, Boston Celtics 92

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Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

BOX SCORE

In what can only be described as a strange game, the Orlando Magic defeated the Boston Celtics by the score of 113-92 in Game 5 of the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals. The odds are still heavily in the Celtics’ favor to close out the series sooner or later, but the Magic aren’t going quietly. Orlando was led by their captains for a second consecutive game — Jameer Nelson had 24 points on 10 shots, five rebounds, and five assists, and Dwight Howard had 21 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks. Rashard Lewis and J.J. Redick chipped in with 14 points each.

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May 26

Preview: Boston Celtics at Orlando Magic, Game 5

8:30 EDT | ESPN
50-32 @ 59-23
Pythagorean Record: 52-30 Pythagorean Record: 61-21
Pace: 91.6 (22nd) Pace: 92.0 (18th)
Offensive Rating: 107.7 (15th) Offensive Rating: 111.4 (4th)
Defensive Rating: 103.8 (5th) Defensive Rating: 103.3 (3rd)
Amway Arena | Celtics lead series 3-1
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