Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 270

Apr 23

Video Analysis: Vince Carter and the Pick and Roll

AP Photo/John Raoux

Vince Carter is your classic “love/hate” player.

For whatever reason, Carter stirs the emotions of almost any basketball fan one way or the other and it usually leads to heated debates praising or criticizing him at every turn. That being said, it came as no surprise that after Carter struggled mightily in Game 1 against the Charlotte Bobcats, shooting 4-of-19 from the field and playing with a lack of aggressiveness, his critics seemed to line up around the block to say “see, I told you so.” However, after Carter returned to form in Game 2, his backers are saying the same thing.

Rather than get into more frivolous banter that is all ado about nothing, let’s take a look at how Carter was able to play very well and singlehandedly breakdown the best defensive team in the NBA. It’s an important question to answer because it’ll have ramifications for the Orlando Magic moving forward in the playoffs, assuming they advance past the Bobcats in the first round. As they say, don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

Anyways …

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Apr 23

Video Highlights: Dwight Howard

It’s been an uphill battle for Dwight Howard to stay on the floor against the Charlotte Bobcats and make an impact on both ends of the court but he’s been doing the best he can, considering the circumstances. Credit needs to be given to the Bobcats because they have done an excellent job of neutralizing Howard offensively in the series, so far. Charlotte hasn’t been perfect, though. In Game 2, Howard was able to get his offense going a little bit.

Apr 22

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy is letting his opinions fly and — another $35,000 later — he’s learning freedom of speech isn’t free. Not in the NBA. We’ll get to another topic — what Van Gundy thinks about Michael Jordan, his Charlotte Bobcats and Jordan’s place in basketball history as the supposed all-time greatest player in a second. You’ll want to stick around for that.But late Thursday, Van Gundy and Magic small forward Matt Barnes — the team’s two most outspoken members — were fined $35,000 each for their public comments regarding the officiating after Wednesday night’s Game 2 against the Bobcats at Amway Arena. Van Gundy and Barnes were talking to the media about how star center Dwight Howard is being treated by the referees in the first-round series. Orlando leads Charlotte, 2-0.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “[Marcin] Gortat, who averaged 13.4 minutes per game this season, has played about 20 minutes in each of the first two games. Howard only has managed around 28 minutes per game — about 10-12 minutes fewer than the Magic expected to play him this postseason. ‘I think it’s always good to have a back-up center. Everybody wants them, but there are not a ton of them,’ said GM Otis Smith, who matched the Mavs’ five-year, $34-million offer sheet for Gortat, a restricted free agent. ‘Marcin comes in and keeps us somewhat whole. He’s not the same guy (as Howard), doesn’t demand the same respect, but he can hold his own at the position when Dwight’s in foul trouble.’ ”
  • Click here to read what Barnes and Van Gundy said to get fined by the NBA. Van Gundy, not surprisingly, stands by his comments in defense of Dwight Howard.
  • John Denton of examines Howard’s foul troubles: “Van Gundy’s theory that Howard is the most foul-prone superstar in the league certainly seems true when analyzing numbers from the regular season. Howard was whistled for 287 fouls this season, most in the NBA. His 3.5 fouls a game were the third-most in the NBA behind Portland’s Greg Oden (4.0), Sacramento’s Jason Thompson (3.7) and Memphis’ Marc Gasol (3.7). Indiana’s Roy Hibbert (3.5), Utah’s Paul Millsap (3.5) and Carlos Boozer (3.5) were tied with Howard. Of the five players expected to be on the first-team All-NBA team this season – Cleveland’s LeBron James (1.56 fouls a game), Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant (2.08), Miami’s Dwyane Wade (2.35), Los Angeles Kobe Bryant (2.56) and Howard (3.50) – the Magic’s big man is far and away the most foul-prone.”
  • Basketball Prospectus proudly reveals the first Internet Basketball Awards. Take a look.
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie chooses his Defensive Player of the Year: “By March, or even February, this was a foregone conclusion. Dwight Howard changes games. He changes a team’s offensive game plan before it even has the chance to hit the floor, and then once the ball goes up, Howard changes shots. He changes plays, he changes the arc on a shot taken within his vicinity, and he changes the chances a team has at a second shot should it escape his grasp and carom off the rim. No other player in the NBA changes things, defensively, as much as Dwight Howard. No guard, no other big man, no roaming wing. Nobody.”
  • Henry Abbott of TrueHoop chimes in on the Jekyll and Hyde act of Vince Carter, with an excerpt from yours truly.
  • Austin Burton of Dime Magazine compares Howard to Shaquille O’Neal in that they are two of the most difficult players to referee: “Last night’s Magic/Bobcats matchup was another case of the refs not knowing how to deal with Dwight. He got his first foul when Theo Ratliff was literally hugging him in full view of the refs, but no whistle blew until Dwight used an elbow to free himself. His third foul was also pretty weak, and then Dwight picked up his fourth when he blocked Gerald Wallace at the rim but the refs called him for body contact. I’ve seen plenty of similar plays where dudes like Joel Anthony would get away with that; you expect a superstar like Dwight to get away with it, too. Just like in Shaq’s prime, the refs can’t figure it out because Dwight is so strong and so physical.”
  • Rob Mahoney of Hardwood Paroxysm: “This series is just ugly. That’s fine, honestly. I’m sure Orlando doesn’t mind facing a pretty tough defensive opponent in the first round, even if it makes things a bit more difficult than they could have been. That’s exactly what’s happened in Games 1 & 2: Orlando has struggled to develop an offensive rhythm, even with Dwight Howard seemingly providing a mismatch against Charlotte’s bigs. Good defense and questionable foul-calling have limited Dwight’s effectiveness in both games, and his 15 points and six turnovers are definitely manageable for the Cats. The rest of Orlando’s starters’ scoring — Jameer Nelson’s 13, Rashard Lewis’ 13, Vince Carter’s 19, Matt Barnes’ 11 — also seems fairly pedestrian, until you realize just how slow this game was. There were 80 possessions. That’s it. 80. That’s a full 10 possessions slower than the slowest team in the league (Portland), and even more impressive given the combined 33 turnovers. That’s 33 possessions ended early, one way or another, and yet the pace just hit 80. Not only is that a bit of a slog, but it’s actually kind of impressive, when you think about it.”
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post provides commentary on the Orlando Magic’s commitment, as an organization, to winning a championship.
  • Eric Freeman of The Baseline doesn’t give the Bobcats a good chance of coming back and winning their series against the Magic.
  • Bethlehem Shoals of NBA FanHouse asks a few interesting questions about Carter and Howard.
  • Ric Bucher and Chris Broussard of ESPN Insider wonder which player currently in the playoffs needs a championship ring the most.
  • John Hollinger of ESPN Insider explains why the matchup between Orlando and Charlotte has been one of the top stories in the playoffs, so far: “Theoretically, Charlotte-Orlando should be a competitive matchup between the league’s top two-ranked defenses, and a compelling chess match between arguably the two best coaches in the East, Larry Brown and Stan Van Gundy. It hasn’t been, however, because only one of these two teams can play offense. While the Magic have been able to shrug off bad games from their two key offensive performers — in Game 1, Dwight Howard had five points and Vince Carter shot 4-for-19, and they still won easily — every possession from the Charlotte side has been excruciating.”

Apr 22

Superman Makes an Appearance

Apr 22

Second Look: Orlando Magic 92, Charlotte Bobcats 77

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

  • 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 “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.”

Apr 21

Recap: Orlando Magic 92, Charlotte Bobcats 77


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.

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Apr 21

Preview: Charlotte Bobcats at Orlando Magic, Game 2

7:00 EDT | Fox Sports Florida, TNT
44-38 @ 59-23
Pythagorean Record: 45-37 Pythagorean Record: 61-21
Pace: 90.4 (26th) Pace: 92.0 (18th)
Offensive Rating: 104.4 (24th) Offensive Rating: 111.4 (4th)
Defensive Rating: 102.8 (1st) Defensive Rating: 103.3 (3rd)
Amway Arena | Magic lead series 1-0

Apr 21

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • 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 “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.”

Apr 21

Magic Fans Can Win ‘Magic 1 Day Giveaway’ to Charlotte for Game 3

Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

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

Apr 21

Video Analysis: Dwight Howard’s Block Party

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.

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