- 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.
Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images
Via the Orlando Magic:
The Orlando Magic have opened a one-stop shop for fans at the team’s Official Playoff Headquarters in the Altamonte Mall, the Magic announced today. The grand opening will be Tuesday, April 20.
Located on the first floor outside of Dillard’s, the retail store will have a vast selection of 2010 Playoffs and Blue & White Ignite gear, including T-shirts, hats, jerseys and an extensive line of adidas apparel that you can’t find anywhere else. The store will be open for the remainder of the playoffs and will operate from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from Noon-6 p.m. on Sunday.
When Sunday arrived and the Orlando Magic faced off against the Charlotte Bobcats in Game 1, it was generally assumed that Vince Carter was going to do what he’s been doing for the past few months. What’s that?
Play good basketball.
It’s no coincidence that the Magic took off in the second half of the regular season and performed — statistically, at least — like the best team in the NBA, in large part because Carter had settled in comfortably as the No. 2 option alongside Dwight Howard. Carter dominated games for stretches at a time (see his 48-point performance against the New Orleans Hornets), performed efficiently, and played exactly the way everyone envisioned he would play when he was acquired in the off-season by general manager Otis Smith. By contrast, when Carter struggled in January, it was because he settled for jumpers, played passively, and generally looked out of sorts.
So, when Orlando needed offense from someone not named Rashard Lewis or Jameer Nelson, especially in the second half, Carter tried to pick up the slack but the results weren’t pretty. To be frank, they were downright awful.
The question that many people are asking, of course, is why did Carter struggle on offense? What did Carter do wrong?
- Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel: “Stephen Jackson said his left knee was sorer today than yesterday, but expects to start Game 2 of the Charlotte Bobcats’ series against the Orlando Magic. Jackson hyperextended his left knee on Sunday after a collision with Gerald Wallace. An MRI on Monday revealed no structural damage, but a small bone bruise. He is officially listed as day-to-day, but will remain listed as a starter.”
- Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Magic won Game 1 against the Bobcats, but they didn’t play championship basketball. Not even close. Vince Carter drove to the hoop for the Magic’s first bucket but barely ventured into the paint again for the entire game. He needs to be more aggressive and take the ball to the basket if he indeed is going to be “amazing” in these playoffs as [Dwight] Howard predicted. And Howard needs to start playing smarter and stop picking up dumb fouls. Yes, he is reigning Defensive Player of the Year because he aggressively contests shots (eight blocks in the first half Sunday), but the Magic need him to stay on the floor for offensive purposes as well.”
- John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com looks back at some of the biggest moments in the Orlando Magic’s win against the Charlotte Bobcats in Game 1.
- Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace make it perfectly clear that they are going to continue to attack the basket against Dwight Howard, knowing that he can’t block every shot.
- Eric Freeman of The Baseline explains that even though the Bobcats’ franchise is new to the playoffs, the players on the team are familiar with the setting: “Stephen Jackson is an NBA champion and quite memorably makes love to pressure. Boris Diaw played a key role in several playoff runs for the Suns. Larry Hughes, while a mess on the court, at least knows what the playoffs are. Tyson Chandler has won a playoff series. Theo Ratliff is roughly 732 years old. That leaves Gerald Wallace and Raymond Felton as the only members of the core without significant playoff experience. But if the playoffs are about mental toughness and playing hard at every opportunity, Gerald isn’t exactly someone you need to be worried about. Felton had some trouble containing Jameer Nelson early, but even if that’s related to inexperience, it wouldn’t explain the collective screw-up Charlotte evinced to begin the game. Oh, plus their coach is Larry Brown, whose name is essentially synonymous with hard-working veteran playoff basketball.”
- Charlotte won the battle but lost the war. Rob Mahoney of ProBasketballTalk explains: “From the Bobcats’ perspective, this is exactly what they want. Howard wasn’t frustrated into making too much of a negative impact (he often forces shots or commits turnovers when he feels he’s been wronged), but to hold Dwight to five points in the opening bout is certainly impressive. Charlotte not only showed that they’ll be competitive in this series but that they’re capable of neutralizing (or at least hedging the impact of) Orlando’s post game, which seemed like an unknown heading into the series. Now if they could just figure out Jameer Nelson…”
- At Orlando Pinstriped Post, Ben Q. Rock takes a quick look at Ryan Anderson’s playoff debut and in a guest post, John Schuhmann of NBA.com offers some context for Magic fans after Vince Carter struggled yesterday by looking back at his recent postseason history with the New Jersey Nets.
- Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook shows how the Bobcats blew a chance to steal a win against the Magic after they were down five with two minutes remaining in the game.
- Bethlehem Shoals of NBA FanHouse offers some commentary: “Orlando-Charlotte was unexpectedly tight — and fun. When Dwight Howard was blocking a shot every time down the floor, it certainly didn’t seem headed in that direction. But Howard ended up in foul trouble, and it was left to Jameer Nelson to carry the team. Little man who was the issue last year goes for a career-high while the celebrated big man gets upstaged by a 6-foot-7 swingman. I can write that out in symbolic logic if you really want. That swingman in question was Gerald Wallace, who went for 25 points and 17 boards. This one — above the rim, over Howard — deserves a poster. If they even make posters for rebounds.”