Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 3

Apr 04

TrueHoop TV Live: After Dark Ep. 7

Amin Elhassan of ESPN Insider and I talk about the Orlando Magic.
 

Apr 03

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • How often are the Magic searched on Google compared to the other 29 teams in the NBA? Not that much.
  • During Orlando’s blowout loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, Tobias Harris only played 21 minutes. Was that intentional? Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post entertains the idea: “Given the Magic’s rebuilding situation, fans will no doubt wonder if cutting the minutes of one of the team’s best players in the season’s final weeks signifies an intentional shift toward losing. Harris’ workload down the stretch certainly bears monitoring.”
  • Victor Oladipo is one of the few rookies in the league this season that’s made a positive impact on his team, though he still trails Michael Carter-Williams in the Rookie of the Year race.
  • Where does GM Rob Hennigan rate in ESPN’s #NBAfrontofficerank?
  • Which Magic player leads the team in dunks?
  • Tonight, I’ll be making an appearance on TrueHoop TV: After Dark following the Spurs-Thunder game (8 p.m. ET on TNT) to discuss the Magic. Here’s a link in case you’d like to watch.

Apr 03

Sleep and its effects on the Magic’s rebuild

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AP Photo/John Raoux

The season has nearly reached its merciful conclusion. With just eight games remaining, the Orlando Magic are a few short weeks away from focusing all of their attention on the upcoming draft. Free agency will follow, then the relative quiet of the summer and early fall when the Magic will hibernate for the offseason.

With a months-long slumber on the horizon, sleep seems like an appropriate topic to write about. At last month’s MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, the science of snoozing made for one of the most riveting panels of the weekend.

I know, I know. Riveting? But sleep, especially as it pertains to the NBA as a whole, and the Magic in particular, is of the utmost importance, and we’re not talking about it enough in a society that lionizes those who sleep 10 hours a week — and even then, only in their offices.

Ask Dr. Charles Czeisler, the Harvard Medical school professor and former consultant to the Blazers and Celtics featured on the “Sleeping Giants” panel. Czeisler cited some rather compelling evidence for the primacy of rest:

Losing even one night of sleep significantly impairs reaction time and the ability to quickly spot visual signals. In a sport where tenths of a second are the difference between a timely defensive rotation and a dunk that ends up on SportsCenter, this stuff really matters. Lack of sleep also diminishes testosterone levels — a week of sleeping four hours a night can reduce a 25-year-old’s testosterone level to that of a 36-year-old — and increases the body’s inflammatory response.

That last line should raise all sorts of red flags for Orlando fans. This is a team that will be young for the foreseeable future, adding talent largely through the draft. It stands to reason that the Magic will target young players in free agency, too, the occasional veteran brought in for “leadership” not withstanding.

Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 03

Grades: Cleveland Cavaliers 119, Orlando Magic 98

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AP Photo/John Raoux

 

Cleveland Cavaliers 119 Final
Recap | Box Score
98 Orlando Magic

Arron Afflalo
3-10 FG | 1-5 3P | 4 REB | 5 AST | 7 PTS | -18

Nikola Vucevic
3-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 STL | 7 REB | 7 PTS | -15

Victor Oladipo
4-10 FG | 6-6 FT | 2 STL | 4 AST | 16 PTS | -9

Doron Lamb
3-5 FG | 5-5 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | -4

Cleveland Cavaliers

Apr 02

Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers at Orlando Magic
  • Date: April 2, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Cavaliers: 30-45
  • Magic: 21-53

Probable starters

Cavaliers:

  • Kyrie Irving
  • Dion Waiters
  • Luol Deng
  • Tristan Thompson
  • Spencer Hawes

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Kyle O’Quinn
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Cavaliers:

  • Pace: 92.9 (19th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 103.4 (23rd of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.8 (20th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.9 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.6 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.0 (17th of 30)

Read about the Cavaliers

Cavs: The Blog

Mar 31

Monday’s Magic Word

  • John Schuhmann of NBA.com: “Nikola Vucevic averaged 22.7 points and 14.3 rebounds as the Magic beat two playoff teams (Portland and Charlotte) and almost knocked off another (Toronto) last week. With Vucevic a key piece, the consensus is that the Magic “won” the Dwight Howard trade, but they still have the league’s worst record (41-115, nine wins fewer than any other team) since the deal. That’s the opposite of winning.”
  • Jameer Nelson chipped his teeth during Sunday’s game against the Toronto Raptors. Even though he was wearing a mouthguard, it didn’t help. Ow.
  • Marc Stein of ESPN.com: “They could still use a road win in 2014 against someone — anyone — besides Philly. But Orlando did end one notable drought last week with that stunning home W over Portland. The Blazers are the first team with a winning record to fall in the Magic Kingdom since Indy back on Feb. 9.”
  • Nikola Vucevic was key in the Magic’s wins over the Portland Trail Blazers and Charlotte Bobcats last week.
  • Some good news in Orlando.
  • Andrew Lynch of Hardwood Paroxysm on Nikola “Tesla” Vucevic and the Magic: “Because even as they lose, the Magic have their moments. The young players on the roster are talented, if raw, and capable of extraordinary bursts of play. Vucevic still falls into that category, but as with Orlando, there’s pressure to become what can be as quickly as possible. Vuc flashes his scoring and rebounding prowess with regularity, but his future will be defined by his defense. That’s something he’s still learning. Like the Magic, he’ll need time to get there. Like Orlando, he might not have it.”
  • Has Vucevic gotten better as a player this season? Zach Harper of CBSSports.com isn’t so sure.

Mar 31

Nikola Vucevic named East Player of the Week

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic’s Nikola Vucevic was named the NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, Mar. 24, through Sunday, Mar. 30. It marks the first time that Vucevic has been awarded with the league’s top weekly honor.

Vucevic led the Magic to a 2-1 week, which included wins over the Portland Trail Blazers and Charlotte Bobcats, behind averages of 22.7 points (sixth in the conference) and a league-leading 14.3 rebounds. He posted a point-rebound double-double in all three contests, including a 24-point, 23-rebound effort on March 28 during Orlando’s 110-105 win over Charlotte, his second 20-point/20-rebound game this season.

The San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan was named the Player of the Week for the Western Conference.

Mar 31

Grades: Toronto Raptors 98, Orlando Magic 93

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 12.46.25 PM

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Toronto Raptors 98 Final
Recap | Box Score
93 Orlando Magic

Arron Afflalo
3-9 FG | 1-4 3P | 2 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | +1

Leading up to the All-Star Game, Afflalo and DeMar DeRozan were both in the running to be named a reserve on the East roster. At the time, they were each putting up similar numbers. Ultimately, DeRozan got the nod. Looking back now, it was the right choice. While Afflalo has taken a step back, DeRozan has taken a step forward. Sunday was a perfect example of that.

Nikola Vucevic
10-13 FG | 2-3 FT | 10 REB | 4 AST | 22 PTS | +5

If it wasn’t for Vucevic, the Magic might have been down by 30 points at halftime against the Raptors. That’s not an exaggeration. Vucevic accounted for 18 of Orlando’s 38 first half points in what was his best half of the season. Though he did slow down considerably in the second half, as his teammates finally were able to pick up the slack offensively.

Jameer Nelson
6-11 FG | 2-5 3P | 2 REB | 5 AST | 16 PTS | -2

It was all Nelson in the third quarter, as he scored 12 of his 16 points in the period to help the Magic cut a 21-point deficit to nine heading into the fourth. At one point in the third quarter, Nelson scored 10 straight points. It was a display of offensive aggression that was much-needed for Orlando in a game that could have turned into a blowout.

Victor Oladipo
7-12 FG | 2-4 3P | 2 REB | 4 AST | 16 PTS | -8

Nelson scored 12 of his 16 points in the third quarter. Oladipo scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter. Are you getting a sense of deja vu here? While Nelson was helping the Magic trim a 21-point deficit in half in the third quarter, Oladipo was trying to complete the comeback charge in the fourth before ultimately falling short.

Toronto Raptors

What a strange ending. With the Raptors leading 96-88 with 1:03 left, it seemed like they had the game won. But the Magic were able to pull off a perfect score-stop-score-stop sequence to slice the deficit to three with 8.9 seconds left. But Maurice Harkless committed a five-second violation, thus denying a chance for Orlando to tie things up and allowing Toronto to escape with a victory.

Mar 30

Preview: Toronto Raptors at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Toronto Raptors at Orlando Magic
  • Date: March 30, 2014
  • Time: 6:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Raptors: 41-31
  • Magic: 21-52

Probable starters

Raptors:

  • Kyle Lowry
  • DeMar DeRozan
  • Terrence Ross
  • Amir Johnson
  • Jonas Valanciunas

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Kyle O’Quinn
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Raptors:

  • Pace: 91.9 (23rd of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 108.1 (10th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 104.6 (9th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 94.0 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.5 (28th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.9 (16th of 30)

Read about the Raptors

Raptors Republic

Mar 29

Highlights: Vucevic’s sixth career 20-20 game

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