- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Only 14 teams in NBA history have won a best-of-seven series after trailing 2-0. Like in Orlando’s 98-89 Game 1 victory, [Dwight] Howard again battled through foul trouble, held to another 28-minute night. Backup Marcin Gortat was re-signed at a high price for these situations and again played about 20 minutes. “Hopefully, the refs will start letting Dwight be a little more physical and stop calling such tic-tac fouls on him,” [Matt] Barnes said. “You know, give him a chance to play. As far as the physicality, we welcome that now.” Barnes said Howard receives “no respect. Absolutely, Dwight gets no respect from the refs, from the league, as far as not being mentioned as the MVP.” Asked if he were worried the way the postseason is being officiated, Howard said, “Yeah, it’s a big concern.” What the Magic and the Bobcats can agree on is this: They don’t like the way the whistles are blowing.”
- Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “Once and for all, isn’t it time everybody stopped portraying the Magic as just a bunch of running, gunning, cunning 3-point shooters? Yes, they made more 3-pointers this year than any team in NBA history, but this team would just as soon lock you down as gun you down. Even offensive-minded players like Vince Carter are spouting [Stan] Van Gundy‘s defense-first mantra. “If we’re going to be the last team standing, we’re going to do it with our defense,” Carter said. Coming into this series, the main story line was how the Magic’s rifling offense would deal with Charlotte’s stifling defense. Granted, Charlotte is one of the league’s best defensive teams, but so, too, is Orlando. Has anybody bothered to look at the league stats? It’s Orlando that leads the NBA in field goal percentage defense and defensive rebounding. The Magic have been the toughest team in the NBA to shoot against, allowing opponents a league-low 43.8 percent from the floor. And, oh by the way, they also have a guy by the name of Dwight Howard, who may someday go down as the greatest defensive force the league has seen since Bill Russell.”
- George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel: “We know the deal with Carter: Extremely talented individual player, spotty record with the team concept thing, a veteran looking for a championship ring after years of disappointments with other people and places. This first round NBA playoff series started as badly as it could for him. Only four shots went in; the other 15 bounced here, there and everywhere. Vinsanity indeed, but only in the different context. A lot of folks justifiably judged Carter harshly after his 4-19 effort in Game 1 of the playoff series against the Bobcats. But he wasn’t among the crowd of dissidents while watching game film on Monday. He watched each shot. Every single clunker. Then vowed to be better. His 19 points, on 5 of 10 shooting, was a solid rebuttal. The five Magic starters scored in the teens, reflective of balanced scoring. That’s a good thing, Just ask Stan Van Gundy.”
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Even before the series started, Bobcats officials hinted that they would use their bigs’ 24 available fouls to put Howard on the free-throw line, where the Magic center is at his most vulnerable. But, if anything, Charlotte didn’t foul Howard enough on Wednesday night. Howard attempted 12 foul shots and made only five of them, and in retrospect, the Bobcats would have been better served if they had wrapped up Howard whenever he received the ball within six feet of the rim. One example of a missed opportunity for Charlotte came just two minutes into the third quarter. Howard collected the ball directly underneath the hoop, between two defenders, and as he jumped and twisted toward the foul line, he banked the ball off the window for a reverse layup.”
- Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel: “After a bruising physical game, in which both the Orlando Magic and Charlotte Bobcats pounded at each other, the Bobcats found themselves in an 0-2 hole to begin the franchise’s first playoff series. What did Charlotte learn from Game 2 against the Magic? “We gotta be more physical, more aggressive,” Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace said. “If the referees are gonna let us play, we gotta play.” Charlotte lost Wednesday night to go down 0-2 in the best of seven series against the Orlando Magic. They’ll return for the franchise’s first home playoff games starting Saturday at 2 p.m. Charlotte goes home still hoping for an upset, hoping they can pound their way to one.”
- John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “On the one side, Orlando has a battering ram (Dwight Howard), aerial assault (Vince Carter) and waves of battle-tested troops (Rashard Lewis, Jameer Nelson and Mickael Pietrus). On the other side, Charlotte certainly has a nifty one-two punch (Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace), but little else in the way of dangerous firepower. Clearly, after Orlando smothered Charlotte 92-77 in Wednesday’s Game 2 at noisy Amway Arena, this is looking more and more like a matchup where one team simply overwhelms the other with its embarrassment of riches as it pertains to weapons.”
- Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “I do think that, going forward, Orlando will need to get more production off its bench. Mickael Pietrus lit it up from the outside once again, draining 3 of his 4 three-pointers, but the rest of the second unit contributed just 12 points on 9 shots. Marcin Gortat, once again forced to take on a larger role due to Howard’s foul trouble, played 19 minutes and finished with just 2 points on 1-of-2 shooting (the miss was a wide-open dunk), 2 rebounds, and 1 blocked shot. You expect those numbers from Gortat in, say, 7 or 10 minutes of work, not 19. And he was, once again, not much of a factor on defense. Though he seemed to be more energetic than he was in Game 1, it’s clear that he’s just not getting into his highest gear, to use an automotive analogy. His failure to box out Boris Diaw on a missed Tyson Chandler free throw led to a three-pointer from D.J. Augustin and a 5-point possession for the Bobcats. Those 5 points, incidentally, represent 6% of their total output. Scoring’s at a premium for this team, as it has been for most of the season.”
- Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer: “Every so often Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown dispenses with the technical jargon, and leads a scouting report with something more gut-level: “Don’t get punked,” it will read on the dry-erase board. They’re getting punked, and that’s why they’re down 2-0 in this playoff series following a 92-77 loss to the Orlando Magic.”
- Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer: “Watching the Bobcats in the first quarter felt like cringing at the Carolina Panthers’ offense in their infamous Arizona playoff game. If Jake Delhomme had been playing point guard, it could not have been worse. Of the Bobcats’ first 13 possessions, they failed to score on 12. They turned the ball over six times. They shot an air ball. Quickly, it was 13-3, Orlando. But because Charlotte was playing good defense and Orlando wasn’t raining 3-pointers with its customary regularity, the Magic didn’t put Charlotte away immediately. Instead, it turned into a slow, painful, boring death for Charlotte in Game 2.”
- Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse: “Not since the Detroit Pistons became champions in 2004 has anyone won an NBA title without one dominant scorer, without someone averaging at least 19 points a game. Although playoff time traditionally is when teams shorten their playing rotation, the Magic have played like it’s still the regular season, leaning on two people at every position. In both victories over Charlotte, the Magic played 10 guys nine minutes or more. And in both playoff games, they had five players reach double-figure scoring. They did it 46 times that way in the regular season, winning 40 of those games.”
- John Krolik of ProBasketballTalk: “The Bobcats kept the game close by playing good defense on Dwight Howard. The Magic went to him early and often in the post, as Stan Van Gundy promised they would. It ended up playing into the Bobcats’ hands, as they did a great job frustrating Howard with quick doubles, rotating when he passed out, and putting him on the line instead of giving him easy dunks and layups. It took Howard 10 shots and 12 free throws to get his 15 points, and he turned the ball over six times. He looked like he finally got comfortable on the block at the beginning of the third quarter, but promptly picked up his fourth foul and was forced to sit. Howard was again in foul trouble thanks to some cheap loose-ball fouls, and only played 29 minutes. The surprising thing is that during the 19 minutes Howard sat, the Magic actually managed to out-score the Bobcats by 13 points. Howard is a great player who makes the Magic much better on both ends of the floor, but the Magic seemed more comfortable offensively when Howard sat on Wednesday.”
- Britt Robson of Sports Illustrated: “After a slipshod first period in Game 1, Lewis has defended Boris Diaw extremely well while finding his range for a combined 13-for-23 on field goals — including 6-of-12 from 3-point territory while leading his team in plus/minus in each of the last two games (he’s +31 for the series). After a wretched showing in three regular season games versus the Bobcats, Lewis has joined Pietrus in sealing off the weaknesses in Orlando’s game at both ends.”
- Eric Freeman of The Baseline: “The Magic had a more balanced attack, with all five starters finishing in double figures and Vince Carter (19 points on 5-of-10 from the field and 9-of-11 from the line) and Dwight Howard (15 points on 5-of-10 FG and seven offensive rebounds despite foul trouble) leading the way. It wasn’t always entirely successful — they shot 45.3 percent, good but not great — but this was a team effort, the kind of performance that speaks to just how much talent the Magic have. They got just enough from everyone to make this a comfortable win.”
Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images
In a game where things shifted back and forth between a defensive struggle and a shootout, the Orlando Magic were able to defeat the Charlotte Bobcats by the score of 92-77 to take a 2-0 series lead in the first round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs. The Magic were led by a balanced attack, as all five starters scored in double-figures. Vince Carter had 19 points, five rebounds, and two steals and was, without a doubt, the player of the game for Orlando. And despite being plagued by foul trouble for a second consecutive game, Dwight Howard had 15 points, nine rebounds, two steals, and two blocks in roughly 28 minutes of action. For the Bobcats, Stephen Jackson led the way with 27 points on 10-of-20 shooting.
- Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel: “Vince Carter said he watched film of Game 1 to review his shot selection. He said he liked almost all of the looks he got and will take the same shots if he gets them again. There were a couple times when he said he forced a fadeaway, but otherwise he’s confident he can make all of those shots.”
- Carter’s personal assessment jives with my analysis of his shot selection in Game 1.
- John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “The closeness of the Magic, Carter said, has relieved the stress he always felt in the past to carry a franchise. It was always good to be, The Man, but sometimes it’s good to not have to be The Man, every night. ‘Matt [Barnes] and I have done it, Jameer [Nelson] and Dwight [Howard] and I have done it,’ Carter said of text-messaging with teammates before big games. ‘It’s not something you see that often in this league.’ ‘It’s rare that a group of guys know that they have each other’s back and we’re always making sure we’re on the same page. You can be watching TV, look down at your phone and see that it’s Dwight and then an hour or two later we’ve got everything out and understood.’ ‘None of the teams that I have ever played on have been like this one,’ Carter continued. ‘It’s a very unique team because we have a lot of guys with a lot of ability and have accomplished the same thing. But we also just want to win, we look out for one another and we want the best for one another. You don’t get that a lot in the NBA. You’ve seen great teams in the NBA that doesn’t get along, but this is an easy bunch to be around. We laugh and joke and our free time is spent together. It’s helped us jell even better on the court.’ ”
- Austin Burton of Dime Magazine states that Carter needs a big game tonight.
- Brad Graham of SLAM ONLINE explains why he listed Dwight Howard on his All-NBA First Team: “This season was further proof that the paint monster, Dwight Howard, has no equal. Past greats like Moses Malone, Shawn Kemp, Ben Wallace, Alonzo Mourning and others are referenced when talking about Dwight Hoard in hope of making sense of his beastly play. Truth is, he’s part Centaur, part Mr. Universe, part force of nature, part double-double machine, part dunkoholic and part future of the game, who only seems to have 20/20 vision, pun intended.”
- Award voters are idiots, according to head coach Stan Van Gundy.
- One writer predicts a double-digit victory for the Magic in Game 2.
- How can the Bobcats move Howard away from the basket? Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook offers some suggestions.
- Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference wonders whether or not having momentum heading into the playoffs matters: “As you can see, there isn’t a great deal of a relationship between performance down the stretch of the regular season and playoff rounds won. Although eventual champions did tend to play at their best from February on, the teams that performed even better down the stretch were the ones who lost the earliest in the playoffs, and conference champions who lost the Finals tended to play worse throughout the 2nd half of the season! Perhaps this is because strong teams who have nothing to play for after locking up their seed (the kinds of teams who tend to make, and win in, the Finals) ease off the gas pedal down the stretch, while teams fighting to get into the playoffs scrap and claw for every win in the final stages of the regular season. But whatever the reason, it doesn’t appear that you have to necessarily be at your best at the end of the regular season to be successful in the playoffs, just as long as you bring your “A” game once the postseason begins.”
Via the Orlando Magic:
The Orlando Magic and AirTran Airways are bringing Magic fans an opportunity to travel to watch the Magic in action on the road during the First Round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs with the ‘Magic 1 Day Getaway.’ The Magic and AirTran Airways will release clues on their Facebook pages and on the Magic’s Twitter account, with the seventh and final clue coming on Friday, April 23 that will lead entrants to the “Magic 1 Day Getaway Baggage Check-In” area, where the first team to find the location will receive the grand prize.
The winning team (entrants to the contest must be teamed in pairs of two people) will be escorted from the grand prize location immediately to Orlando International Airport, flown to Charlotte and provided with lodging and two complimentary game tickets for Game 3 of the Magic’s First Round matchup with the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday, April 24 at 2 p.m. The winners will also be supplied with per diem to cover meals and transportation and loaned a Flip Camera to help them document their trip.
Entrants to the contest will also have to meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Be a legal resident of Florida residing within a 75-mile radius of the Amway Arena (600 W. Amelia St. Orlando, FL 32801).
- Be 18 years of age or older at of the beginning of the contest or accompanied by their parent or legal guardian.
- Be part of a group of exactly two (2) members.
- Be wearing clothing that supports the Orlando Magic.
- Have in their possession exactly one (1) piece of luggage that fits the specifications to be carried on to a commercial airplane.
- Say “I need a Magic 1 Day Getaway” whether verbally or through the displaying of a sign once a contestant’s group reaches the “Magic 1 Day Getaway Baggage Check-In” area.
- Be physically present at the ‘Magic 1 Day Getaway’ event site.
- Be able to immediately redeem the grand prize.
If a group fails to meet any of these requirements, they will be immediately disqualified. The winning group will win one grand prize to split between its two (2) members. Travel and lodging accommodations will be paid for by the Orlando Magic and AirTran Airways as set forth in the official ‘Magic 1 Day Getaway’ rule sheet, which can also be viewed at www.magic1daygetaway.com.
As you may have heard by now, yesterday, Dwight Howard was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year for a second consecutive season. By winning the award in back-to-back years, Howard joined the likes of Sidney Moncrief, Dennis Rodman, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning, and Ben Wallace as players that have accomplished the feat. It’s appropriate, actually, that Howard was honored days after amassing nine blocks against the Charlotte Bobcats in Game 1 because that performance exemplifies the enormous defensive impact he has been able to make for the Orlando Magic the past two seasons.
Take a look.
- Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel: “After a long film session and before practice began on Tuesday at the Orlando Sports Complex, Bobcats coach Larry Brown gathered his team in a huddle. “Yesterday, Orlando took the day off,” Brown said. “That’s how seriously they’re taking us.” As the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, Charlotte Bobcats know their places as underdogs against the Orlando Magic. The Bobcats trail the best of seven series 0-1 heading into Wednesday’s game. Heading into Game 2, Charlotte has overcome its pre-playoff nerves and isn’t giving the Magic, or its players, any kind of star treatment.”
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “It shouldn’t surprise anyone that [Stan] Van Gundy has a long list of areas he wants his players to improve on for Game 2 tonight. He wants the Magic to do a better job moving the ball out of its pick-and-roll game. He wants his team to be prepared for the Bobcats to trap more often. Oh, yeah, he also wants to get [Dwight] Howard and [Vince] Carter more involved in the offense. “We certainly need to get the ball to Dwight more, play more effectively out of his double-teams and we need to be able to get the ball to Vince in better spots,” Van Gundy said. “And we need Vince to have a better night, there’s no question about that.” Carter, who made four of 19 shots in Game 1, exuded calmness after Tuesday’s practice, just like he did during his horrid January shooting slump.”
- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Howard recalled that it was after the 2007-08 season when he sat down with [Patrick] Ewing, a Hall of Famer, to evaluate his play. Ewing told him, given his freakish athletic ability, that there was no reason he shouldn’t lead in blocks. “He said he was upset that I didn’t have the award and that I needed to do a better job to get that award,” Howard said. Van Gundy said weeks ago that Howard should have been a shoe-on for the award. “He really doesn’t have a weakness,” he said. Van Gundy said that Howard’s prowess in blocking shots and rebounding is obvious. But he’s just as impressed with some things that often go unnoticed, such as Howard’s innate ability to read defenses, play pick-and-rolls and cover for teammates.”
- Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer: “Tuesday, Howard was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year in a landslide media vote. (Wallace was third, behind Atlanta’s Josh Smith). Howard led the league this season in rebounds, blocks and field-goal percentage. But perhaps the Bobcats were too conscious of Howard in their approach to Game 1. The Bobcats held Howard to five points, more than 13 below his season average. But in doing so, they sold out their perimeter defense, giving up 39 points at the 3-point line. The coaches instructed the centers to hang back with Howard, rather than jump out at the guards as they normally would in pick-and-rolls. That allowed Orlando’s Jameer Nelson to score 32 points.”
- Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer: “Carter had a horrible Game 1 in this series – shooting 4-for-19 and fouling out. Those sorts of numbers would have meant a sure loss for the Toronto and New Jersey teams Carter starred on for his first 11 NBA seasons, but Orlando is so deep that the Magic won anyway. Indeed, Carter struggled for much of the first half of the regular season because he couldn’t figure out where he fit on this loaded Magic team. “He’s always played where he was ‘ the guy,’” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said of Carter. “And with us, he knew there were other people around. It seemed like early in the year he was caught between forcing the issue too much – still trying to be ‘ the guy’ – or saying, ‘Wow, I’m not the guy’ and then becoming passive.” Carter found his place starting in February, Van Gundy said. He averages 16.6 points per game – second to Dwight Howard but a career low for Carter – and developed a good balance between passing and shooting. Carter, 33, regressed against the Bobcats in the series’ first game, however.”
Do you want to donate $3 to a good cause and raise money for the Dwight Howard Fund to support the children of Haiti to have a chance to win a $500 shopping spree to adidas with Dwight Howard himself?
Here’s your chance to do so.
Dwight is urging fans to donate $3 to his fundraising challenge. Dwight has contributed $100,000 himself, helping the children affected by the earthquake in Haiti and now he is calling on you, the fans, to help him raise more money. The plan is to get a lot of people to give a little.
Here are the instructions:
- There are 2 winners — a randomly chosen donor and the person who recruits the most people to the challenge.
- Each $2.99 donation counts as an entry into the drawing (you can donate up to 4 times a day).
- Donors can also recruit people and at the end of the challenge, the person who recruits the most people to the challenge wins the experience as well. For example, if Magic Basketball wins the recruiting challenge, I will be more than happy to raffle off the prize to one of the site’s loyal readers who donated to the challenge.
It’s that simple. Donating takes just a few clicks. Go to Pink Dingo and donate your $2.99 with me as your recruiter. Feel free to sign up and recruit your own people, too. In the end, it’s about helping people out in need. I’m proud to say I donated. You can, as well.
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “The NBA named Dwight Howard its 2009-10 Defensive Player of the Year this afternoon, making the Orlando Magic center just the seventh player in league history to win the award in consecutive years. [...] Magic General Manager Otis Smith said it’s “just short of amazing” that a Magic player has won the award in back-to-back years. “He promised me more than this Defensive Player of the Award,” Smith said. “We like other trophies, but especially the gold one, and he’s promised in the not-so-distant future that that would happen here in Orlando. And he’s pretty much set the table for that, so I am as proud of him as a young man as I’ve been proud of any other player who’s accomplished anything else in this organization or in any others.” Howard finished the 2009-10 regular season as the league leader in rebounding (13.2 per game) and blocked shots (2.78 per game). He became the first player to lead in both statistical categories in consecutive seasons. (The NBA started keeping the blocked shot statistic during the 1973-74 season.)”
- Imagine a world where Emeka Okafor is the starting center for the Orlando Magic.
- John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com has been on fire today, writing articles on a variety of topics. Here they are: Dwight Howard repeating as NBA Defensive Player of the Year, the keys to the game for the Orlando Magic against the Charlotte Bobcats in Game 2, and Jameer Nelson‘s reemergence in the playoffs.
- Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post looks at three adjustments the Magic can make against the Bobcats: “If I’m Van Gundy, I’m showing film of the Magic’s March win against the L.A. Lakers to [Vince] Carter as a blueprint for how to approach Charlotte in Game 2. Against L.A., Carter attacked early and often, and finished the first period with 15 points on 2-of-2 shooting from the floor and 10-of-10 from the foul line. That effort came against Ron Artest, one of the league’s best perimeter defenders. If he can toast Artest like that, he can certainly do the same to Wallace and Jackson, who are no slouches themselves.”
- Thomas “Big Pooh” Jones of Little Brother, a critically acclaimed hip-hop group from North Carolina, chimes in on the series between Orlando and Charlotte: “I had a back and forth with a few of my Twitter friends about this series. Plenty people told me I was crazy for saying that Charlotte could surprise the Magic so I will keep this one short. Vince Carter was 4-19 yesterday. Sounds like the Vince we all know and love during big-game time. Dwight Howard was effective on the defensive end for a little while, but the three centers the Bobcats have kept Howard at the foul line and the rest of the team kept him in foul trouble. Jameer Nelson coming out and having that monster first half coupled with [Mickael] Pietrus going 3-3 after taking his first three 3-point shots, then we might be talking about a Magic loss. Larry Brown played it ultra safe with Stephen Jackson and his knee, believing that this would be a long series and it may come back to be a very important move later on. After all, the Bobcats have no expectations outside of their locker room. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain in this series. Can’t say the same for the Magic, who have championship aspirations.”
- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel has more on Howard becoming the Defensive Player of the Year for a second consecutive season.
- There’s a reason why Rashard Lewis is nicknamed Ice-O: “With SG Vince Carter and C Dwight Howard having off-nights offensively, Lewis played perhaps his best game in a month, scoring 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting. [Stan] Van Gundy took advantage of Lewis’ hot night, calling isolation plays for Lewis when the rest of the offense struggled in the second half. Last year’s playoff run to the NBA Finals also might have calmed Lewis. He felt unusually relaxed for a playoff opener. ‘I used to have chills, but for some reason in that first playoff game I was just ready to play,’ Lewis said. ‘I know what the intensity level’s going to be like. I know the level of play is going to go up. It’s not going to be an easy win. I wasn’t nervous at all. I felt more comfortable going into that first playoff game.’ ”
- Will Jason Williams be in a Magic uniform next year?
Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images
Via the Orlando Magic:
Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic is the recipient of the 2009-10 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award presented by Kia Motors, the NBA announced today, marking the second straight season the All-Star has earned the honor.
The 6-11 center became the first player to lead the league in rebounding and blocks (1973-74 was the first season blocks were kept as an official statistic) in consecutive seasons, averaging 13.2 rebounds and 2.78 blocks. Howard also paced the league in field goal percentage (.612), becoming the first player to lead the NBA in all three of those categories since the NBA started keeping blocked shots. He also became only the fifth player in NBA history to lead the league in rebounding for at least three consecutive seasons.Howard recorded an NBA-high 64 double-doubles, including three 20-point/20-rebound efforts. [...]
Howard received 576 points, including 110 first-place votes, from a panel of 122 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Atlanta’s Josh Smith finished second with 136 points and Charlotte’s Gerald Wallace finished third with 113 points. Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote received.