Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 251

Apr 14

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel: “You could sense Magic coach Stan Van Gundy was going to say something typically and hilariously Stan when asked about his thoughts on Amway Arena’s impending demolition. Was he sad? Was he reliving his three years calling the building home? Not quite. “It’s a building,” Van Gundy said. “It doesn’t have feelings, it’s a building.” He later added, “Sorry guys, I’m not going to shed a tear when a building comes down. Unless it’s my house.” There wasn’t much nostalgia about the Orlando Magic’s final regular season game at Amway Arena among players, either. That will be tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers.”
  • This is, arguably, the greatest thing invented. Ever. You have the opportunity to give head coach Stan Van Gundy a makeover. Life is now complete.
  • Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference reveals his 2009-2010 APBRmetrics awards. Unfortunately for Rashard Lewis, he ends up with the dubious distinction of winning an award for finishing with the lowest total rebound percentage out of any player in the NBA that is 6’10” or taller.
  • Help Dwight Howard‘s cause by making a donation to his fund to help the kids of Haiti affected by the earthquake that struck the island in January.
  • Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus: “My colleague Bradford Doolittle did find the importance of balance in a recent study, however, and it’s these kind of subtle effects I annually hope to tease out by comparing playoff teams to their most similar predecessors. My method compares the 16 playoff squads to the most similar playoff teams of the last 14 years (from the 1996 through 2009 postseasons) based on their Offensive and Defensive Ratings and pace of play (half weighted), all adjusted for league average. Each of the past teams has had their playoff performance rated, getting a point for each playoff win, losing a point for each loss and getting four points for making the playoffs (three prior to 2003, when the first round was extended to seven games) and four points for winning a series. [...] Statistically, Orlando has emerged as the league’s best team, ranking second in Defensive Rating and atop the NBA on the offensive end. That kind of balance should translate very well in the postseason, and while the Magic’s comparables are not overwhelming, they are very solid. The 2000 L.A. Lakers were the lone similar team to break through and win a championship.”
  • J.J. Redick, an unsung player? Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post explains: “How can he be unsung? I’m not sure many people realize just how much he’s improved this year. He’s assisted on just 62.9% of his field goals, including a remarkably low 50.9% at the rim, which means he’s learned to create for himself off the dribble, something many NBA observers doubted he’d be able to do at this level, given his lack of size (6’04”) as an NBA two-guard. Additionally, he’s second on the Magic in foul-drawing rate; only Dwight Howard, whom many teams foul strategically, earns more trips to the foul line relative to his shot attempts. In short, Redick’s much more than a spot-up shooter or three-point specialist. He’s refined his game and is playing a key role, backing up a potential Hall-of-Famer in Vince Carter, on a championship-caliber team. And if you didn’t know that by now, well, now you do.”
  • George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel states the Lakers have directly motivated the Magic as the playoffs loom.

Apr 14

NBA’s Dwight Howard Launches Dwight Howard Fund; Challenges Fans to Give Back

Gary Bassing, Orlando Magic

Via the Orlando Magic:

Dwight Howard, 2009 NBA Defensive Player of the Year and 4-time winner of the Rich and Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award, is proud to launch his Dwight Howard Fund with the mission to help at-risk youths around the world.

The “Dwight Howard Fund” (DHF) was kicked off by the NBA player at his teammate, Adonal Foyle’s, Gala Dinner & Caribbean Fête for the Kerosene Lamp Foundation (KLF) in Orlando, Florida. Howard has tapped KLF to manage the fund on his behalf. Foyle, a recent inductee into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame, founded KLF to empower youth to grow into healthy and well-educated adults.

“Adonal has been giving back for many years, so it felt great to partner with him on my new fund and benefit from his experience,” said Howard. “I’m excited to make a difference for kids in Haiti, and I’ll be counting on my fans to help me make some great things happen.”

Howard has made an initial personal investment of $100,000 to directly help at-risk Haitian children affected most by January’s devastating earthquake in Haiti.

Apr 14

Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend

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AP Photo/Brian Cleary

Although Amway Arena, also referred to as the “O-Rena” by the locals, won’t be officially closing its doors tonight, it will be hosting the last ever regular season game for the Orlando Magic. That’s 21 years and 844 regular season games, for those keeping count.

A number have writers (like Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel, for example) have taken a retrospective look at the arena’s history but John Denton’s article at OrlandoMagic.com stands out from the rest, as he goes above and beyond to interview Magic players, executives, and coaches who have spent the majority of their professional careers in Orlando:

Amway Arena, one of the NBA’s most intimate and noisiest venues, has been host to many of the grandest moments in the 21-year history of the Magic history. From the first preseason victory in 1989 against the defending World Champion Detroit Pistons to the Game 7 defeat of Indiana in 1995 that put the Magic into the Finals for the first time to the conquest of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East Finals last spring, Amway Arena has seen its share of magical moments. [...]

Of course, Amway Arena’s most memorable moment of all was Nick Anderson’s steal of Michael Jordan in the second round of the playoffs in 1995, a play that resulted in a game-winning dunk by Horace Grant. Rarely does a game go by that Anderson isn’t reminded of the play that defined his storied career with the Magic.

“The fans remind me about it more so than me reminding myself,” said Anderson, Orlando’s first-ever draft pick. “I get people all the time saying I was there that night that Nick Anderson stole the ball from Michael Jordan. The fans remind me, and it’s a good feeling that the fans remember and respect some of the things that I did out on the floor back in the day.”

Apr 14

How Did the Orlando Magic Get to This Point?

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

For Billy Donovan and Stan Van Gundy, it’s a tale of two stories for two head coaches that are in two different positions right now. While the Florida Gators are currently undergoing a rebuilding phase after winning back-to-back NCAA men’s basketball national championships in 2006 and 2007, the Orlando Magic are enjoying an era of prosperity not seen since the mid-’90s when Penny Hardaway and Shaquille O’Neal were household names. It’s no secret that Donovan and Van Gundy will forever be linked in Orlando lore after the drama that unfolded in the summer of 2007. Long story short, Donovan accepted then declined the Magic’s offer to become head coach after Brian Hill was fired and as a result, Van Gundy ended up with the job. The question is, how did we get here? How did Orlando become a powerhouse in the NBA?

Look no further than the man that “replaced” Donovan.

There’s no doubt that other people should be credited with returning the Magic to prominence, including the DeVos family (for paying the luxury tax), general manager Otis Smith, and others. But at the end of the day, Van Gundy is at the epicenter of this era. Van Gundy is defining the narrative that is unfolding in Orlando and it’s an interesting one, to say the least.

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Apr 13

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus: “I’m not even going to bother discussing the decision at the top of the ballot. LeBron James deserves to be a unanimous selection, and that’s that. By sitting out the last three games, James did cost himself any chance at surpassing last year’s total of 26.9 WARP, which was fifth in modern NBA history. James currently is sitting on 25.4 WARP this season. The more interesting race is for second place. I think you could justify placing Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard and Dwyane Wade in any order. I went with Howard, my Defensive Player of the Year, in second because of his importance to the league’s best defense and its second-best offense. Wade has used possessions at the league’s highest rate (35.1 percent), and while his efficiency is down from a year ago, it’s still incredible given how much he does. Durant, meanwhile, has become the league’s best scorer and made dramatic strides at the defensive end as well.”
  • Mickael Pietrus is goofy.
  • Matt Moore of Hardwood Paroxysm notes that the Charlotte Bobcats have their work cut out of them against the Orlando Magic in the first round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs: “But for right now, put this one in the back of your head. Because even if they can’t do it. Even if Jackson’s tendencies and the poor passing of the bigs and the length of the Magic derail their intentions, the Bobcats get it, just like Bonnell’s headline suggests. They know what it’s going to take. You want to beat the Magic? Are you the most talented team in the league? No? Then you’re going to have to punch them in the mouth. And you’re going to have to do it every quarter for as many games as it goes and pray that a few three pointers rattle out.  The only shot the Bobcats have is to take this out of the spread-it-out, make-it-rain game that Orlando adores and into a painful, brutal grind, something subterranean of the type of game the Celtics aspire to. They need to get so deep beneath the surface into the muck and grime that the sulfer singes their nostrils.”
  • Howard Beck and Jonathan Abrams of Off the Dribble state their cases as to who should be the Defensive Player of the Year and the choice isn’t unanimous between the two of them.
  • Kyle Stack of SLAM ONLINE talks about how more and more NBA arenas are becoming LEED-certified, including the Magic’s new arena: “Henson made similar remarks, citing social responsibility as a primary factor to the importance of becoming a LEED building. [...] More teams apparently feel that way, as indicated by the possibility of more LEED arenas in the NBA’s future. The Orlando Magic, who are set to open Amway Center in October, plan on becoming LEED-certified by incorporating features which include remediating a brownfield site that lies adjacent to many high density residential, retail and community developments; installing landscaped plazas at arena entrances; treating storm water runoff; and implementing low-flow plumbing features.”
  • The votes are in at ESPN.com and Dwight Howard was named the Defensive Player of the Year by every single writer except for one. Can you guess who didn’t choose Howard?

Apr 13

Orlando Magic to Honor Fans with “Fan Appreciation Night”

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Photo by Scott Miller/NBAE via Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

The Orlando Magic will honor their fans when they host Fan Appreciation Night on Wednesday, April 14 as they face the Philadelphia 76ers in the last regular season game in Amway Arena.  Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. and doors will open at 7 p.m.

Highlighting Fan Appreciation Night will be a jersey presentation to 13 randomly selected Magic season ticket holders and representatives from 13 community partners, who will each receive a game-worn jersey from a Magic player prior to the tip-off of the game.  The night will also include a number of activities centered around the fans, including pregame festivities and in-game activities.

Additional highlights include:

  • Orlando Magic team posters presented by Tobacco Free Florida, Sun Sports and FOX Sports Florida will be given away to the first 10,000 fans in attendance.
  • A pregame highlight video of the top-10 Orlando Magic plays of the year and a fan highlight video.
  • 10 autographed basketballs will be given away during the game as part of the Magic Text presented by T-Mobile Text2Win Promotion.
  • The Orlando Magic Dunking Dancers will be performing at halftime.
  • A halftime presentation to the Aleve-Publix Hustle Player of the Year.
  • All fans are invited to take a lay-up on the court following the game.

Apr 12

Recap: Orlando Magic 118, Indiana Pacers 98

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Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

BOX SCORE

In a game that was pretty much over with in the first quarter, the Orlando Magic were able to defeat the Indiana Pacers by the score of 118-98 for their fifth win in a row. As an aside, the Magic now know their first round opponent is the Charlotte Bobcats after the Miami Heat beat the Philadelphia 76ers to assure that the Bobcats get the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference. Anyways, seven players scored in double-figures for the Magic but it was the starters that led a balanced attack against the Pacers when things mattered. Orlando’s starting backcourt played well, in particular, as Vince Carter had 21 points on 11 shots and Jameer Nelson had 15 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, and only two turnovers. Indiana’s lone star, Danny Granger, was held to 18 points on 19 shots.

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Apr 12

Preview: Orlando Magic at Indiana Pacers

7:00 EDT | Sun Sports
57-23 @ 32-48
Pythagorean Record: 59-21 Pythagorean Record: 32-48
Pace: 91.9 (18th) Pace: 97.0 (2nd)
Offensive Rating: 110.0 (6th) Offensive Rating: 103.9 (26th)
Defensive Rating: 103.1 (3rd) Defensive Rating: 106.8 (13th)
Conseco Fieldhouse | Magic lead season series 2-1

Apr 12

Orlando’s Dwight Howard Named NBA Eastern Player of the Week

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Photo by Gregory Shamus/NBAE via Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

[Dwight] Howard averaged 21.3 points on .730 shooting (second in the East), 12.0 rebounds, and an Eastern Conference-leading 3.3 blocks, helping Orlando to a 3-0 week. On April 11, Howard recorded 22 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks, leading the Magic to a 98-92 win over Cleveland, handing the Cavaliers only their sixth home loss this season. This is Howard’s third Player of the Week nod this season. [...]

Here is a recap of the week for Howard [...]:

Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
April 7 vs. Washington: Recorded 17 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks, two assists and a steal in a 121-94 win over the Wizards.
April 9 vs. New York: Posted 25 points, 13 rebounds, two assists and a block in a 118-103 win over the Knicks.
April 11 @ Cleveland: Scored 22 points, and added 13 rebounds, six blocks and three assists in a 98-92 win over the Cavaliers.

Apr 12

Dwight Howard to Make Announcement at Adonal Foyle’s Charity Gala Dinner & Caribbean Fête

AP Photo/John Raoux

Via the Orlando Magic:

WHO: Adonal Foyle is a native of St. Vincent & the Grenadines, professional basketball player and inductee into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame in 2009. Dwight Howard was the number one draft pick in the NBA in 2004 selected by the Orlando Magic, winner of the 2009-10 Rich and Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award for the third consecutive year and named 2009 NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

WHAT: NBA veteran Adonal Foyle founded Kerosene Lamp Foundation (KLF) to empower youth to grow into healthy and well-educated adults. Adonal will host their 1st Annual Gala Dinner & Fête to launch “Adonal’s All-Star Student Athletes” and celebrate KLF’s work with at-risk youth in the U.S. & Caribbean. Dwight Howard will also make an important announcement at the event. Proceeds from the event will support “Adonal’s All-Star Student Athletes” as well as a basketball court refurbishment project for inner-city youth in New Orleans, Louisiana. Event to feature Caribbean entertainment and a silent auction with one-of-a-kind items.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 13, 2010, 6:30 to 10:30 PM

WHERE: Kerosene Lamp Foundation Annual Gala Dinner & Fête

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