Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 242

Apr 29

Otis Smith Offers His Take on Vince Carter and Marcin Gortat

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

We know the story by now.

After the Orlando Magic made it to the 2009 NBA Finals and lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games, general manager Otis Smith made the choice to reconstruct the roster during the off-season.

Arguably, the two biggest decisions made by Smith was replacing Hedo Turkoglu and bringing in Vince Carter, as well as surprising many people by matching the Dallas Mavericks’ offer sheet and re-signing Marcin Gortat to the full mid-level exception to remain the Magic’s back-up center.

Smith shares his take on Carter …

Via Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel:

I think that’s why we brought [Vince Carter] in. We brought him in for the postseason. Getting some attention off Dwight [Howard], which he’s been able to do. And to help carry his share of the load. We’re not asking him to carry the full load, which we don’t ask anyobdy to do. Our biggest load-carrier is Dwight. Everyone else has to do his part. [...] Probably the positive with him for me is he understands the game better than we thought. He had to understand we’re going to work hard every day. That’s something he had to grow into here. we don’t take a whole lot of days off. When we practice, we practice.

And Gortat?

I think we signed him for a reason. To back up Dwight. Dwight will get in foul trouble and when he does we need a backup center. We insert Marsh. Marsh does a very good job of holding down the fort. Has done a very good job of holding down the fort the few years. I don’t know if that’s satisfaction. Like I said before, we’re in a league that probably only has 10 centers. We just happen to have two. It’s a luxury.

Apr 29

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “[Orlando] Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, who put his team through an arduous, two-hour workout on Thursday with three 12-minute quarters of game-like action, said his team will practice on Friday as if they will play Milwaukee, “because that’s the only team we can face on Sunday.” And if the start of the next series is pushed to Tuesday – an eight-day stretch from the end of the Charlotte sweep — the Magic might take Saturday off and push Sunday’s workout back to after a Hawks-Bucks Game 7. [...] Several of the Magic players talked on Thursday about the need to keep their conditioning intact and to stay sharp mentally. Small forward Matt Barnes said Thursday’s practice “felt like we played three games in one day,” and point guard Jameer Nelson pointed out that the workout was as intense as any the Magic have had in some time. Nelson, easily Orlando’s most consistent player in the four-game sweep of the Bobcats, said the Magic are determined to not let a long layoff distract their focus from the ultimate prize of a championship.”
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy shares his thoughts on the Milwaukee Bucks.
  • Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel thinks the Orlando Magic should fret facing the Bucks in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Semfinals: “If I’m the Magic, I’d rather play the Hawks because they are a team that really has no intestinal fortitude. In contrast, the Bucks, coached by the fiery Scott Skiles, have shown they have the grit and guts to compete even when the situation looks hopeless.”
  • Van Sias of SLAM ONLINE has a tip for fans of the Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, and the Golden State Warriors, three teams not participating in the playoffs — root for the Magic instead: “Probably the last team you want to pull for is the Lakers, state pride be damned, so why not take it as far out of Cali as near possible and roll with the Magic men? Dwight Howard’s always gonna get his, so you don’t have to worry about your big man not showing up. Plus, they’re already in the conference semis after putting the broom to Charlotte. Hook up with them and you’re on your way!”
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk: “Dwight Howard lost his head in the Charlotte series. Sure, there were some borderline calls that went against him, but he didn’t deal with it well. He kept picking up silly fouls, not just accepting some of the banging but retaliating. Then he sat. Then his teammates nicknamed him Foul on You. Watch the video and see for yourself. [...] Superman needs to sit down with the other Superman and talk about this — Shaquille O’Neal has been there. It takes some maturity as a strong, physical player to accept the cheap shots and not retaliate, to see calls that would be made on others ignored on you because your strong enough to power through them, to have other people flop and get calls. But Howard let it get into his head.”
  • Are the Magic still disrespected? Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post attempts to find an answer to that question.
  • Trey Kerby of Ball Don’t Lie chimes in on Howard’s $35,000 fine.

Apr 29

“Blue & White Ignite” – Special Fan Activities Announced for Eastern Conference Semifinals

Photo by Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

It’s time for Magic fans and the community to jump into the excitement as Blue & White Ignite for the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Magic encourage their fans to show their spirit and wear Blue and White to ignite the team in the 2010 NBA Playoffs. Some highlights of the fan activities surrounding the 2010 Orlando Magic Playoffs, presented by Bright House Networks, will include:

  • For Game 1 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, 9,000 blue and 9,000 white “Blue & White Ignite” T-shirts, presented by Bright House Networks, will be given away, along with 10,000 rally rackets.
  • Following Game 1 and Game 2, 10,000 fans will receive car flags when they exit Amway Arena.

The first 10,000 fans in attendance for Game 2 will receive a drawstring bag presented by T-Mobile. In addition, the first 1,000 children in attendance will receive a STUFF photograph.

  • Fan Fest will take place on the north side of Amway Arena for all home playoff games. The Fan Fest will feature the Legend’s Lounge presented by Bright House Networks for autographs with Community Ambassadors Bo Outlaw and Nick Anderson. The Fan Fest will open two hours prior to tip-off and will have an official playoff merchandise trailer and food and beverage will be available for purchase. This will be a huge fan zone with a tailgate atmosphere that will give fans a reason to arrive early for the festivities.

Apr 29

Video Analysis: Dwight Howard’s “Foul-umentary”

A few days have passed since the Orlando Magic swept the Charlotte Bobcats in the first round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs but there is still a lot to talk about from the matchup. Like Dwight Howard‘s foul troubles. Long story short, the Bobcats used their trio of big men — Tyson Chandler, Nazr Mohammed, and Theo Ratliff — to frustrate Howard as much as possible and coax him into committing silly fouls whenever possible. Mission accomplished. The fact that Charlotte was unable to win a game in the series is irrelevant. What is relevant is that Howard was always seemed to commit a foul when he played. The Magic were able to get away with having Howard serve the role as spectator on the bench for prolonged stretches in games but it can’t be understated how important it is that he’s on the floor for Orlando, especially on defense. If Howard can’t stop fouling, the Magic are going to be in trouble later in the postseason.

Some people may be wondering, how did Howard commit his fouls? Well, at the behest of several people, I made a “foul-umentary” to chronicle all of Howard’s fouls from Games 1-3 against the Bobcats. I was unable to include Game 4 due to technical difficulties.

The video is for educational purposes only.

Enjoy?

Apr 28

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “From either his spot along the baseline near the Orlando Magic’s bench or in his family suite high above the crowd, Rich DeVos likes what he sees when he peers out across the arena that bear his company’s name. He certainly enjoys the product out on Amway Arena’s parquet floor what with his Magic having breezed through the first round of the playoffs and once again being legitimate contenders to win the NBA championship. But when the 84-year-old DeVos attends games – and he likes to come more than the once-a-week edict his wife, Helen, gave him recently – he sees beyond the action on the court.  He sees kids’ basketball teams being honored at midcourt during timeouts, church choir groups singing the national anthem and teenagers scurrying in the stands for t-shirts shot out from those cannons. But mostly, DeVos – a family man’s man – sees dads and daughters interacting, husbands and wives smooching on the kiss cam and grandfathers talking basketball with their grandsons.  It’s moments like these that DeVos is delighted to be the owner and steward to Orlando’s deepest-rooted, longest-lasting professional franchise.”
  • The odds that Dwight Howard is fined for his comments on his official blog yesterday are very high. UPDATE: It’s official.
  • Ben Q Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel begins the “rest versus rust” debate here, and some commenters in these pages have wondered if the Magic would have been better off if the Bobcats gave them a rougher go of it in the first round. Could the Magic have used an additonal 48 or 96 minutes as they gear up for their championship run? Will the long layoff between series work against them? These are valid concerns, but ultimately, the Magic should be just fine. [...] Howard, their go-to guy, has been monstrously efficient. [Rashard] Lewis, [Vince] Carter, [Matt] Barnes, [Mickael] Pietrus, and [Jason] Williams have been on fire from the outside. Lewis doesn’t score much, but does it efficiently. Carter hasn’t scored much relative to most other high-profile wing performers, but he’s still putting up better than a point every two minutes on reasonable percentages, which is in line with his season averages. [Jameer] Nelson, on whom the Magic leaned heavily in the first round, and [J.J] Redick are the only two players in the Magic’s top ten who have struggled after long rests.”
  • Also, make sure to check out OPP for a look back at some of the major storylines from the Magic’s first round series against the Charlotte Bobcats. Topics include: Howard’s foul trouble and the production (or lack thereof) from the bench.
  • Darren Rovell, CNBC Sports Business Reporter, takes a look at the changing dynamics between agents and athletes: “If there are too many agents in the sports world today, blame the movie Jerry Maguire, which despite its cautionary tale, hooked almost every kid who didn’t make it as a pro athlete. [...] In the 1996 movie, which is still the fifth highest grossing sports movie of all time, Jerry was constantly fighting to keep his client Rod Tidwell. But those fights were against the rest of the agent world. Today? Sure, there’s client stealing going on. But there are also the athlete’s friends and relatives who get into the business and convince a star that it makes sense to go in another direction.”

Apr 28

Orlando Magic’s David Steele Named NSSA Florida Sportscaster of the Year

Via the Orlando Magic:

Orlando Magic Television Play-by-Play Announcer David Steele was named the Florida Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA), Executive Director Dave Goren announced today. The award marks the first of Steele’s broadcasting career.

Steele is in his 21st season with Orlando Magic basketball and his 12th as the television play-by-play announcer, calling the action for Sun Sports and FOX Sports Florida. He was named as the television play-by-play voice for the Magic in March of 1998 after handling radio play-by-play duties for the team’s first nine seasons. In addition to his Magic responsibilities, Steele handles play-by-play for Sun Sports telecasts of University of Florida football.

A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Steele’s professional broadcasting career began in 1975 as sports director for WJHG-TV in Panama City, Fla. He also served as sports director at WLOS-TV in Asheville, NC and was the football/basketball play-by-play announcer at Western Carolina University.

Steele, along with the other 106 winners of the State Sportscaster and Sportswriter of the Year Awards, will be honored at the NSSA Awards Banquet May 3 in Salisbury, NC. Also at the awards banquet, baseball’s Peter Gammons and football’s John Madden will be inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame, while National Sportscaster of the Year Jim Nantz of CBS Sports and National Sportswriter of the Year Bob Ryan of The Boston Globe will also be honored.

Apr 28

Dwight Howard Maintains Top 5 Ranking on Most Popular NBA Jerseys List

Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

The Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard has maintained his position in the top 5 on the NBA’s Most Popular Jerseys List, the NBA announced today. Howard appeared on the list in the top 5 for the first time when the rankings were released in January 2010. The list is based on sales at the NBA Store in New York City and on NBAStore.com since the start of the 2009-10 NBA season through April 2010. Both stores are having record sales years with a combined increase of 20 percent over last year.

Thirteen players competing in the 2010 Playoffs appear on this year’s list. The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant once again tops the NBA’s list of most popular jerseys, where he has reigned as No. 1 since the start of the 2008-09 season. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James remains No. 2 and the Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett climbed one spot from last year to No. 3. Chicago Bulls sophomore Derrick Rose continues to make a name for himself, coming in at No. 4.

The Orlando Magic also rank in the top 10 on the list of Most Popular NBA Team Merchandise, holding down the No. 7 spot.

Apr 28

The Issue of Rest vs. Rust for the Orlando Magic

Photobucket

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Rest vs. rust … ah, yes.

It’s a common theme that spans across all sports, particularly in the playoffs, and the question that is usually posed is whether or not getting rest is a blessing or a burden? For the Orlando Magic, it would seem to be the latter, given that they’ve been playing their best basketball at the perfect time. For example, including a first round sweep against the Charlotte Bobcats, the Magic are 24-3 in their last 27 games and currently on a franchise-best 10-game winning streak. The last thing Orlando needs is rest, right?

There’s a way to find out.

Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 27

Schedule Scenario Update

Photobucket

Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

If Atlanta and Milwaukee is finished in six games, Orlando will host Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals vs ATL/MIL on Sunday, May 2 @ 1 pm. Televised by ABC.

The Atl/Milw. series is currently tied 2-2 with Game 5 scheduled for Wednesday night and Game 6 scheduled for Friday night.

Other schedule information to be determined.

Orlando Magic Playoff Ticket Update — Eastern Conference Semifinals (opponent/dates to be determined)

Orlando Magic season ticket holders are given the first priority for playoff tickets.

Full season tickets are now available for next season by calling 407-89-MAGIC or logging on to orlandomagic.com.

Ticket highlights for next season in the new Amway Center include: 2,500 seats priced $15 or less, 7,000 seats priced $25 or less, and for the first time ever a $5 per game ticket.

Following the season ticket holder presale, remaining Eastern Conference Semifinal playoff tickets will go on sale to the general public Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.

While supplies last, single game tickets for the 2010 Orlando Magic playoffs, presented by Bright House Networks, are available for purchase:

  • Online at www.orlandomagic.com
  • At the Amway Arena box office(cash, MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover)
  • At the Orlando Magic ticket office (RDV Sportsplex, Monday-Friday)(cash, MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover)
  • At all TicketMaster outlets (cash only)
  • By calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover)
  • Playoff tickets start at $18.

Apr 27

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “You have to wonder if Skip Bayless was persuaded into calling the Orlando Magic’s playoff performance “bologna” on ESPN’s First Take just for the sake of debate Tuesday morning. [...] ”I still don’t trust a team that’s built largely on Dwight Howard and Vince Carter. And I know he came on at the end of the year. I just think it’s going to be different in the next round and the next round. And I’m going to say this for the last time, I still say the Charlotte Bobcats would have been a tough matchup for LeBron James because they have four guys who are his size, 6-foot-8, long and athletic who can guard him and frustrate him which is why the Bobcats beat them the last three times.” After his criticism, Skip Bayless praised the Magic’s impressive three-point shooting and said Orlando turned in one of the most devastating three point performances he’d ever seen.”
  • Is Dwight Howard going to Hollywood in the summer?
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk chimes in on the possibility that Howard skips the 2010 FIBA World Championships.
  • Colin Powers of SLAM ONLINE: “You could probably argue all day about the relative merits of Carter (who really struggled for a good portion of the season) and Turkoglu (who really struggled for the entirety of the season with Toronto). Nonetheless, such a focus obstructs us from giving proper acknowledgment to that which is truly the greatest change to the Magic roster: Jameer Nelson. The 28 year-old guard just finished catalyzing Orlando toward their four game sweep of Charlotte, aggressively taking it to Ray Felton and DJ Augustin and driving the largely Howard-less Magic on in their journey for 16 wins this post-season. Nelson came into this series off of a fairly pedestrian regular season. His shooting numbers and scoring were down, particularly from 3-point range, and he seemed to have once again fallen into that trap of inconsistency that plagued his earlier years in the League. Orlando ran 12 deep all season, with positional versatility and a new sense of toughness that was certainly a progression from their ‘08-09 incarnation. But without Jameer making plays and putting some fear into opposing defenses, they just didn’t seem like a championship team.”
  • Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook takes a look at how the Magic were able to sweep the Bobcats.
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post on “Playoff Pietrus” — Mickael Pietrus‘ alter-ego: “For whatever reason, Pietrus really dials himself in after the 82nd game. Consider that, in terms of True Shooting, the best evaluation of shooting efficiency, Pietrus’ 63.1% mark in the last two postseasons combined exceeds any other NBA swingman’s regular-season marks in each of the last two seasons. Boston Celtics All-Star Ray Allen came the closest to matching Pietrus, with a 62.4% clip last season. Now, Allen scores more than Pietrus because he’s a bigger part of Boston’s offense. The takeaway is that, in the postseason, Pietrus is slightly more efficient than one of the game’s purest shooters has been, despite his own goofy, fading away release off his back foot, while bringing his hands back to his chest.”
  • Howard is frustrated, but happy: “Ya’ll know that that series against Charlotte drove me crazy. I mean it was almost comical at times how I was getting fouls called on me. There was nothing I could do our there and I felt like I couldn’t even move without getting that whistle blown on me. I’m not looking to say anything to get myself in trouble with the league, but I just don’t see other star players getting called for fouls the way I get them. No star player in the league is outta games the way I am. I even talked to Pat Ewing about his career and he said he never had foul trouble like what I’m going through. I gotta say this is the most frustrating stretch of my career. I’ve never been through four games in a row like that. But hey, we won the series and we’re moving on. I’m so so so hoping that things will be different next series against ATL or Milwaukee.”
  • Want to see some rare photos of Howard? Click here.
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