Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 247

Apr 16

Interview with Brett Hainline of Queen City Hoops

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

When it comes to reading up on everything you should know about the Charlotte Bobcats, there’s only two people you need to read — Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer and Brett Hainline of Queen City Hoops. Bonnell is one of the best beat writers in the NBA and Hainline is not only an excellent writer in the blogosphere but also a bright mind when it comes to the numbers. For instance, Hainline created a Swap Tool, which uses a player’s Offensive and Defensive Ratings to determine how swapping one player out for another would improve a team’s overall performance. If you haven’t toyed around with the tool at QCH, you’re missing out. I digress.

A few days ago, I was able to ask Hainline a few questions to preview the first round series between the Orlando Magic and the Charlotte Bobcats.

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One of the major storylines for the Charlotte Bobcats is that this is their first playoff appearance in franchise history. What does that mean, not only for the team but for the city and the fanbase?

It is a degree of validation for the moves made largely by Michael Jordan, in his role as head of basketball operations. 6 years to get to the playoffs would normally be acceptable to a fan base, but because the Hornets were here previously (and were still pretty good when they left), expectations have been different than they are for most new franchises. A winning season and some bonus basketball are a good start to winning the city over, as evidenced by the significant increase in attendance this season.

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Apr 15

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel: “Vince Carter smiled, playfully. Matt Barnes started chuckling. Rashard Lewis called it a “once every blue moon” occurrence. It’s not often Magic coach Stan Van Gundy says nice things about the team he coaches. You know, the one with the second-best record in the NBA, that’s only lost five games since the all-star break and set an NBA record for three-pointers made while still being one of the best defensive teams in the league. At the end of a regular season in which the Magic (59-23) barreled through opponents to the finish, Van Gundy took some time to compliment his players.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “Van Gundy takes seriously the fact that the Magic are hitting the playoffs just as the team is seemingly peaking. The Magic not only beat foes down the stretch, but usually smashed them in resounding fashion. Orlando won a NBA-best 39 games by at least 10 points this season, something that shows the professionalism of the team and willingness to strive for greatness, Van Gundy said. “I appreciate what our team has done,” Van Gundy said. “Sometimes when everybody is just waiting for the playoffs there’s not enough appreciation for the grind of the regular season and how hard you have to work and play to be good every night. I mean, it’s not like our team was screwing around and winning by four or six points against these teams that we’re supposed to beat,” Van Gundy continued. “We pretty much drilled them all. That level of focus every night, I can really appreciate that. And it means a helluva lot to me.” Now, comes a different kind of grind for Van Gundy and the Magic. Whereas the marathon regular season is often a test of wills and energy, the playoffs boils down to which team is better four times in a seven-game window.”
  • Click here to get to know more about Shannon Van Gundy, head coach Stan Van Gundy’s daughter. It’s certainly a different but more personable perspective on the ol’ coach.
  • Dan Devine, Kelly Dwyer, and Trey Kerby of Ball Don’t Lie preview the first round series between the Orlando Magic and the Charlotte Bobcats. Here’s a snippet from Dwyer: “If you’re a fan of the Magic, you’re right chuffed that the Magic face the Bobcats first. That [Jameer] Nelson and Lewis will have to answer the bell early. That [Dwight] Howard will have to flex his muscles while trying to stay on the court for 35 minutes. This is absolutely what Orlando needs, and while Charlotte is nobody’s prefight sparring partner, I can’t help but think the Magic depth and talent will win out.”
  • John Hollinger of ESPN Insider predicts how the 2010 NBA Playoffs will shape up from beginning to end. According to Hollinger, he sees the Magic losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals: “Welcome to the real NBA Finals. These have been the league’s two best teams all season, and the winner of this series will be an overwhelming favorite to claim its first championship. [...] My numbers like Orlando because of its dominance down the stretch of the season, but Cleveland was with the Magic step for step in the Power Rankings until Shaq and Anderson Varejao went out. We still haven’t seen what the Cavs are capable of with Antawn Jamison, Varejao and O’Neal on the court together, but I suspect the answer is ‘awesomeness.’ Most importantly, the Cavs have the best player in the league. A year ago, James’ 38-8-8 series averages weren’t enough because Cleveland couldn’t stop the Magic at the other end. This time around, he has more help, and I think he gets it done in a seven-game slugfest.”
  • Austin Burton of Dime Magazine lists the top 10 players he thinks will get rich from the NBA postseason. J.J. Redick makes the cut for Orlando: “It wasn’t that long ago when J.J. looked like he’d be joining Trajan Langdon in Russia before he’d ever be an impact player in the NBA. It took four years, but now he’s finally getting enough minutes and shots to show what he can do. Granted, 9.6 points in 22 minutes a night doesn’t make J.J. the next Dan Majerle, but he’s proven he can be a valuable bench guy on a contender or even a starter on some teams.”
  • As Emperor Palpatine once said to Luke Skywalker in the Return of the Jedi, “let the hate flow through you.” With that, J.A. Adande of ESPN.com thinks the Magic are the angriest team out of the 16 teams in the playoffs: “In 2010 you won’t find an angrier team than the Orlando Magic. Dwight Howard leads the league in technical fouls. He leads the league in rebounds and blocked shots — again — and can’t get any serious run for MVP. He had to watch the Lakers celebrate their championship last year in his house.”
  • John Krolik of ProBasketballTalk explains why Orlando is capable of winning a championship this year.
  • Howard is well represented on M. Haubs’ ballot at The Painted Area.
  • Want to know what the offensive tendencies are for the Magic and the Bobcats head-to-head? Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post has got you covered: “Indeed, three-pointers comprise a shade more than 40% of the Magic’s shot attempts against the Bobcats this season. Put another way, they averaged 32 three-point attempts per game against the Bobcats, compared to a season-long average of 27.4 per game, which led the league. Shooting the three plays into Charlotte’s strategy; it yields a league-high 20.7 triple-tries per game, while limiting teams to the second-lowest percentage in the league. Larry Brown has his team playing smart on D, as it forces its opponents to take shots that it defends well. There’s a trap here, though. The three-pointer is, historically, the league’s most efficient shot that isn’t a layup or dunk. The Bobcats tend to get away with letting people shoot it because they’re confident in their ability to guard that shot. But against Orlando? With guys with hair-trigger releases like Jason Williams, J.J. Redick, Ryan Anderson, and Mickael Pietrus? That’s what one might call playing with fire.”
  • Check out The Basketball Jones’ preview of the matchup between Orlando and Charlotte.
  • Lang Whitaker of SLAM ONLINE picks Howard as his Defensive Player of the Year.
  • Which player is on the spot to perform in the playoffs? According to Sean Deveney of The Baseline, it’s Vince Carter: “The Magic traded for Carter last year—letting Hedo Turkoglu go shortly thereafter—in hopes that Carter’s ability to slash to the basket and create his own shot would help the Magic keep the offense going on nights when their 3-point shots weren’t falling. At times, it has worked. At times, it’s been a disaster. Carter averaged 16.6 points but frequently had to be prodded to attack the basket throughout the year. Ultimately, though, Orlando was hoping that Carter could be a difference-maker in the playoffs, though Turkoglu did a very good job in playoff situations last year.”

Apr 15

Sun Sports/FOX Sports Florida Orlando Magic First Round Playoff Schedule Announced

Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

Sun Sports and FOX Sports Florida have announced its local television coverage of the Orlando Magic’s first round, best-of-seven series vs. Charlotte. Sun Sports will air Games 1, 3 and 4 of the series, while FOX Sports Florida will broadcast Game 2. “Magic LIVE” will air 30 minutes before each game, while the Magic’s television partner will also have a live post-game show following each contest.

Orlando Magic’s first round, best-of-seven playoff series vs. the Charlotte Bobcats

  • Game 1 – Sunday, April 18, 5:30 p.m., Sun Sports (Orlando)
  • Game 2 – Wednesday, April 21, 7:00 p.m., FOX Sports Florida (Orlando)
  • Game 3 – Saturday, April 24, 2:00 p.m., Sun Sports (Charlotte)
  • Game 4 – Monday, April 26, Time TBD, Sun Sports (Charlotte)
  • Game 5 – Wednesday, April 28, Time/TV TBD, (Orlando), If necessary
  • Game 6 – Friday, April 30, Time/TV TBD (Charlotte), If necessary
  • Game 7  – Sunday, May 2, Time/TV TBD (Orlando), If necessary

*All Times Eastern

*All games on Magic Radio Network (Flagship: AM 580 WDBO) and in Spanish (AM 1030 WONQ).

Apr 15

Orlando’s Van Gundy Named NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the Month

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

The Orlando Magic’s Stan Van Gundy [was] named the NBA Eastern [Conference Coach] of the Month, respectively, for games played in April.

Van Gundy led Orlando to an NBA-best 7-1 (.875) record in April, including wins over Cleveland and Dallas. Orlando outscored its opponents by over 12 ppg in April, while shooting .517 from the field. Orlando secured the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference and finished the season with the NBA’s second-best overall record – the Magic’s 59 wins trailed only the Cavaliers’ 61.

Apr 15

Orlando Magic Sign Bright House Networks as Postseason Presenting Partner

AP Photo/Reinhold Matay

Via the Orlando Magic:

Returning for the second consecutive season, the Orlando Magic announced today that Bright House Networks will serve as the presenting partner of the 2010 NBA Playoffs. The partnership will include a co-branded playoff logo, presence in Amway Arena for playoff games as well as many other components surrounding the team’s “Blue and White Ignite” postseason run.

“We are excited to have Bright House Networks back as the presenting partner for the playoffs,” Orlando Magic Chief Operating Officer Alex Martins said. “We believe that once again, this partnership will enhance the platform of our postseason campaign and will be able to ignite our fans as we continue our quest to bring a World Championship to the Central Florida community.

To promote its Interactive Television and High Definition programming, Bright House Networks will receive branding in key aspects of the Magic’s marketing and communications surrounding the playoffs, including on the Orlando Magic’s Web site, in print and on broadcast productions, and with signage at Amway Arena. Bright House Networks will also sponsor the “Legends Lounge” at every pregame Fan Fest, where fans will be able to meet Magic Community Ambassadors and former players Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw; in addition, they will also sponsor a T-shirt giveaway for fans at the first home game of each round of the playoffs, along with rally rackets at select games, window clings and an in-game prize launch.

Apr 15

Second Look: Orlando Magic 125, Philadelphia 76ers 111

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Cameras flashed throughout the game as the sell-out crowd sensed the historic closing after the postseason. The club will begin play in October in the new Amway Center. Jameer Nelson led the Magic with 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting against the 76ers and Vince Carter added 17, going 4-of-5 from 3-point territory. Dwight Howard scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Matt Barnes had 12 points as Orlando shot a sizzling 59.8 percent. Orlando broke an NBA single-season record for most 3-pointers made, with 841, passing the 837 by the 2005-06 Phoenix Suns. “Sometimes, all anybody cares about is the playoffs and we know what that’s all about,” [Stan] Van Gundy said. “But what these guys have done for six-and-a- half months… it has been a very professional group of people.” Magic players, to a man, say they are ready to make a run at a title.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “Just for old time sake Wednesday night, fans inside the sold-out Amway Arena broke out the wave one last time for a regular-season game. And fittingly enough, the Orlando Magic followed suit with a style that has worked wonders for them all season long. Three-pointers from practically every corner of the 21-year-old Amway Arena put the Magic in the NBA record books, and heavy doses of Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson on the outside and Dwight Howard on the inside helped Orlando throttle Philadelphia 125-111 and win for the 59th time this season.”
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Yes, the regular season wound to a close tonight with the successes listed above. But I don’t think coach Stan Van Gundy can be happy with the way his team closed the season on the defensive end of the floor. We like to have fun with Van Gundy when he burns timeouts in seemingly silly situations, but when Marreese Speights cut right down the center of the lane and threw down a nasty, one-handed slam early in the fourth period to cut Orlando’s lead to 23 points, Van Gundy was 100% right to call timeout immediately to try to wake his team up defensively. In the 82nd game, defensive breakdowns like that just shouldn’t happen. And that is, to me, the Magic’s biggest concern heading into the playoffs. While the team’s playing great ball for the most part, the defensive slippage here is too great to ignore. Since beating the Mavericks in Dallas two weeks ago, the Magic have allowed opponents to score 110.3 points per 100 possessions, which is much higher than league average, and much much higher than Orlando’s usual standard.”
  • Kate Fagan of The Philadelphia Inquirer: “On Wednesday night, almost six months after being tossed around by Orlando in the season opener, the Sixers bowed out of the 2009-10 season with a 125-111 loss to the Magic. In the season opener Oct. 28, Orlando won, 120-106. The Sixers finished the season 27-55; Orlando finished 59-23 and headed for the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Magic, who looked as if they were playing an exhibition game, a tune-up for the playoffs, led by as many as 28 points and ran their plays with clever smiles as if they knew the Sixers would trail a double screen or collapse to the middle on penetration. All over the court, guys in white jerseys were open.”
  • Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News: “The snowball started to roll on that squelching day in late October in Orlando. It mercifully ended last night in the last game to be played at Amway after 21 seasons, as a new, state-of-the-art arena will be ready next season. The Magic closed out the last regular season at the old arena in style. The Sixers again allowed the Magic to basically conduct a shooting practice – for the fourth time this season – as Orlando shot 59.8 percent from the floor (49-for-82). They also made 11 of 25 from three-point range, finishing their four wins against the Sixers shooting 58-for-108 (53.7 percent) from beyond the arc. That has been a problem all year for the team, an inability to correct shortcomings. [Eddie] Jordan often perplexed his players with his substitution patterns, and that led to confusion, frustration and, well, bad basketball.”

Apr 15

First Round Playoff Schedule for the Orlando Magic

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

The National Basketball Association has announced the schedule for the Orlando Magic’s first round, best-of-seven playoff series vs. the Charlotte Bobcats:

  • Game 1 – Sunday, April 18, 5:30 p.m., TNT (Orlando)
  • Game 2 – Wednesday, April 21, 7:00 p.m., TNT (Orlando)
  • Game 3 – Saturday, April 24, 2:00 p.m., TNT (Charlotte)
  • Game 4 – Monday, April 26, Time/TV TBD (Charlotte)
  • Game 5 – Wednesday, April 28, Time/TV TBD (Orlando), If necessary
  • Game 6 – Friday, April 30, Time/TV TBD (Charlotte), If necessary
  • Game 7 – Sunday, May 2, Time/TV TBD (Orlando), If necessary

*All Times Eastern

*Sun Sports/FSN Coverage To Be Announced

*All games on Magic Radio Network (Flagship: AM 580 WDBO) and in Spanish (AM 1030 WONQ).

Apr 14

Recap: Orlando Magic 125, Philadelphia 76ers 111

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AP Photo/John Raoux

BOX SCORE

After 21 years, it’s ironic — props to Matt Guokas and David Steele for pointing this out in their television broadcast — that the Orlando Magic played the Philadelphia 76ers in the final regular season home game at Amway Arena. Why? Because the “godfather” of the Magic, Pat Williams, had ties with the 76ers way back when as their former general manager. And Guokas, Orlando’s first head coach in 1989, also had Philadelphia connections as a player and a coach. So, it’s fitting on a night where fans reminisced on the good times at the O-Rena that the Magic defeated the Sixers by the score of 125-111 to officially clinch the overall No. 2 seed and secure themselves home-court advantage against any team they would potentially face in the NBA Finals from the Western Conference, if they got that far. Orlando’s starting backcourt was outstanding, as Vince Carter had 17 points and six assists while Jameer Nelson had 21 points and four assists. Dwight Howard chipped in with 15 points and 12 rebounds but more importantly, secured his name in the record books by becoming the first player in NBA history to lead the league in blocks and rebounds for a second consecutive year. Plus, Orlando broke the record set by the 2005-2006 “Seven Seconds or Less” Phoenix Suns for the most threes made (841) in a season. Two impressive accomplishments, without a doubt.

With the win, the Magic finish the regular season with an identical 59-23 record as last year.

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Apr 14

Matt Barnes Earns Aleve-Publix ‘Hustle Player of the Year’ Honors

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Via the Orlando Magic:

Matt Barnes was named the Aleve-Publix ‘Hustle Player of the Year’ at halftime of the Orlando Magic’s regular season finale Wednesday evening against the Philadelphia 76ers. At the conclusion of every Magic home game this year, Aleve and Publix presented the Hustle Board, which provided stats derived from heart, hustle and passion shown during that particular game. Due to his constant commitment to playing every game with more excitement than the last, Barnes was selected as the recipient of the 2009-10 Aleve-Publix ‘Hustle Player of the Year’ honor.

Barnes accepted the award from Larry Bond with Bayer Healthcare, who represented Aleve, and Dwaine Stevens with Publix Super Markets. In honor of Barnes’ accomplishments, Aleve is donating $5,000 to the Matt Barnes Foundation. The Matt Barnes Foundation was created to raise funds for research to help defeat cancer and ensure that families may one day live in a world that is cancer free.

Apr 14

Preview: Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic

8:00 EDT | Sun Sports
27-54 @ 58-23
Pythagorean Record: 30-51 Pythagorean Record: 60-21
Pace: 91.6 (23rd) Pace: 92.0 (18th)
Offensive Rating: 105.9 (20th) Offensive Rating: 111.0 (5th)
Defensive Rating: 110.0 (22nd) Defensive Rating: 103.0 (3rd)
Amway Arena | Magic lead season series 3-0
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