Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 3

Dec 07

Video: Channing Frye makes miraculous 3-pointer

Dec 06

Preview: Orlando Magic at Sacramento Kings

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Sacramento Kings
  • Date: December 6, 2014
  • Time: 10:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Sleep Train Arena

Records

  • Magic: 8-14
  • Kings: 10-9

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Victor Oladipo
  • Evan Fournier
  • Tobias Harris
  • Channing Frye
  • Kyle O’Quinn

Kings:

  • Darren Collison
  • Ben McLemore
  • Rudy Gay
  • Jason Thompson
  • Ryan Hollins

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.4 (17th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.7 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.9 (18th of 30)

Kings:

  • Pace: 92.8 (20th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 107.7 (11th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.6 (22nd of 30)

Read about the Kings

Cowbell Kingdom

Dec 06

Grades: Orlando Magic 98, Utah Jazz 93

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AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

 

Orlando Magic 98 Final
Recap | Box Score
93 Utah Jazz

Tobias Harris
7-18 FG | 6-7 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 22 PTS | +9

The Jazz were down by as many as 17 points early in the third quarter before chipping away at the deficit and cutting it down to as little as three in the fourth quarter. However, it was Harris’ 12 points in the final period that kept the Jazz at bay and allowed the Magic to escape Utah with a victory.

Victor Oladipo
9-12 FG | 1-1 3P | 1 REB | 6 AST | 20 PTS | +13

After a slow start the season, as Oladipo tried to get his feet under him and regain his game conditioning, this West Coast road trip has shown that he’s got his explosive first step back. On four separate possessions, the Magic ran 1-5 pick-and-rolls with Oladipo at the top of the key and he blew past whichever Jazz defender was guarding him for layups.

Kyle O’Quinn
5-7 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 BLK | 4 REB | 13 PTS | +12

O’Quinn got off to a hot start, scoring 10 points in the first quarter, before cooling down the remainder of the night. Yet he finished with 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks in just 18 minutes of playing time. Make no mistake. O’Quinn, who’s a restricted free agent at the end of the season, is going to get paid during the offseason.

Ben Gordon
5-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | -3

Ever since he signed a two-year, $9 million contract (which is really a one-year deal, given that the second year is fully unguaranteed) with the Magic in the offseason, Gordon has been an easy target for jokes. And yet, he’s been quietly solid this season. He’s shown that he can still make shots. That’s all Orlando needs from him.

Utah Jazz

Utah got big games from Derrick Favors (21 points, 13 rebounds, 5 blocks) and Trey Burke (13 points, 11 assists), but it didn’t matter, as Orlando had firm control of the game from the opening tip. The Jazz made things interesting in the fourth quarter, as they tried to complete their comeback bid, but they ultimately came up short.

Dec 05

Preview: Orlando Magic at Utah Jazz

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Utah Jazz
  • Date: December 5, 2014
  • Time: 9:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: EnergySolutions Arena

Records

  • Magic: 7-14
  • Jazz: 5-14

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Victor Oladipo
  • Evan Fournier
  • Tobias Harris
  • Channing Frye
  • Kyle O’Quinn

Jazz:

  • Trey Burke
  • Gordon Hayward
  • Rodney Hood
  • Derrick Favors
  • Enes Kanter

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.9 (11th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.0 (28th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.7 (17th of 30)

Jazz:

  • Pace: 90.6 (28th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 106.4 (16th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 113.3 (29th of 30)

Read about the Jazz

Salt City Hoops

Dec 05

The similarities between O’Quinn and Gortat

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AP Photo/Ben Margot

Kyle O’Quinn missed 15 of the Magic’s first 16 games of the regular season because of a sprained left ankle. Since returning to the rotation on November 26, O’Quinn has put up modest numbers off the bench, averaging 8.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game in 15.7 minutes per game.

O’Quinn’s 25.0 PER is the best out of any Magic player on the roster, but it’s also the product of an extremely small sample size (94 minutes played, to be exact). He’s also wielding a .573 True Shooting percentage — not a gaudy figure by any means, but a good one.

Prior to tip-off on Tuesday, it was announced that Nikola Vucevic (back spasms) was not going to play against the Warriors. Vucevic suffered the spasms during pregame shootaround. Subsequently, Vaughn gave O’Quinn the starting nod at center.

Even without Vucevic, the Magic demonstrated an encouraging performance against the Warriors, winners of their 11 consecutive games dating back to November 11 and one of the NBA’s best teams so far this season. O’Quinn was a big reason why Orlando nearly beat Golden State on the road, if not for Stephen Curry being Stephen Curry. O’Quinn finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds in 27 minutes.

Starting in place of Vucevic again on Wednesday, O’Quinn played eight minutes before he was ejected for committing a flagrant 2 foul against Blake Griffin with 5:54 left in the first half against the Clippers. Without their best interior defender, nobody on the Magic effectively contained Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, who were free to dominate the paint the remainder of the game. Orlando subsequently lost in a blowout, 114-86.

For Vaughn and GM Rob Hennigan, having O’Quinn is a luxury, but the Magic will need to decide how valuable that luxury is, and the amount of money they’d be willing to pay in order to keep him.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 04

Tobias Harris’ true position remains in question

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Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Following a down year that was riddled with injuries, Tobias Harris is putting up the best numbers of his career so far this season. And yet, even with that being the case, Harris’ skills aren’t being utilized in the best way possible.

With Victor Oladipo sidelined to start the regular season as he recovered from a facial fracture, the Magic’s starting lineup lacked firepower on the offensive end. As a result, Harris carried the bulk of the scoring load in Oladipo’s absence. He was forced to do much more than he’s used to, such as run pick-and-rolls, spot-up on the perimeter, and push the ball on the fast break, none of which is his forte.

Much of that has to do with coach Jacque Vaughn playing Harris almost exclusively at small forward, which isn’t his natural position. Since entering the league in 2011, Harris has spent 57 percent of his total minutes playing power forward, per Basketball-Reference. So far this season, 67 percent of his minutes have been at small forward.

Harris has always been a tweener, and that allows him to play both forward positions depending on the lineups at hand. What has prevented him from playing more minutes at the small forward position throughout his career, though, is his jump shot. While he has evolved as a shooter over the years, he’s not someone who is going to stretch the floor on a consistent basis. If anything, it’s an added luxury to his game.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 04

Grades: Los Angeles Clippers 114, Orlando Magic 86

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Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Los Angeles Clippers 114 Final
Recap | Box Score
86 Orlando Magic

Tobias Harris
7-11 FG | 2-3 3P | 2 STL | 8 REB | 16 PTS | -28

Harris led the Magic in scoring and rebounding, and also was a team-worst minus-28 for the game. Single-game plus/minus stats are noisy and usually should be taken with a grain of salt, but it is interesting that Harris — despite being the best player on the floor for Orlando — had the worst impact of any Magic player. It makes you wonder.

Victor Oladipo
2-8 FG | 6-8 FT | 2 STL | 1 REB | 11 PTS | -28

Despite the presence of DeAndre Jordan, who has become one of the best rim protectors in the NBA, Oladipo deserves credit for attacking the rim and drawing fouls. Unfortunately for Oladipo, that’s about all he could do against the Clippers. Meanwhile, Chris Paul (19 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds) showed Oladipo how it’s done at point guard.

Ben Gordon
4-8 FG | 3-3 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 11 PTS | -7

You know it was a blowout loss for Orlando when Ben Gordon finished the night tied with Oladipo for the second-most points on the team. Coach Jacque Vaughn continues to bring Gordon and Willie Green together off the bench (at shooting guard and small forward?) for the Magic, but that pairing has been underwhelming to say the least.

Dewayne Dedmon
4-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | -11

Things turned for the worst for Orlando when Kyle O’Quinn was ejected midway through the second quarter after committing a hard foul on Blake Griffin that was called a Flagrant 2 from the officials. Without Nikola Vucevic out for a second straight game due to back spasms, that forced Dedmon to play the emergency center role. He did okay, all things considered.

Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers swept the season series versus the Magic and did it with ease. In their first meeting, Griffin struggled mightily with his jumper — he shot 1-for-8 from midrange. It was a different story on Wednesday, as Griffin shot 6-for-10 from midrange and made Orlando pay for leaving him wide-open on the perimeter. He finished with 21 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals.

Dec 04

Video: O’Quinn receives flagrant 2, gets ejected

Dec 03

Preview: Orlando Magic at Los Angeles Clippers

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Los Angeles Clippers
  • Date: December 3, 2014
  • Time: 10:30 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Staples Center

Records

  • Magic: 7-13
  • Clippers: 12-5

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Victor Oladipo
  • Evan Fournier
  • Tobias Harris
  • Channing Frye
  • Kyle O’Quinn

Clippers:

  • Chris Paul
  • J.J. Redick
  • Matt Barnes
  • Blake Griffin
  • DeAndre Jordan

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.6 (14th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.7 (26th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.2 (15th of 30)

Clippers:

  • Pace: 93.7 (12th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 112.2 (3rd of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 105.8 (13th of 30)

Read about the Clippers

ClipperBlog

Dec 03

Grades: Golden State Warriors 98, Orlando Magic 97

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Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Golden State Warriors 98 Final
Recap | Box Score
97 Orlando Magic

Victor Oladipo
10-14 FG | 3-4 3P | 4 REB | 4 AST | 27 PTS | -1

This was easily Oladipo’s best game of the season so far. He got off to a quick start in the first quarter and never looked back. He splashed in 3-pointers and midrange jump shots. He attacked the rim — he had a vicious dunk in the third quarter. Yet in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter, he barely touched the ball.

Kyle O’Quinn
9-16 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 STL | 11 REB | 21 PTS | -7

With Nikola Vucevic out due to back spasms, which he suffered during pre-game warmups, O’Quinn stepped in at center and the Magic didn’t miss a beat. He had 21 points (two shy of his career-high) and 11 rebounds in 27 minutes of playing time. Its performances like these that show O’Quinn is more than capable of being a starter in the NBA.

Tobias Harris
6-14 FG | 5-5 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 17 PTS | -1

Harris was the hero and the goat. It was his running bank shot that gave Orlando a 97-95 lead with 38.4 seconds left. And it was his inability to close out on Stephen Curry in transition, eliminate his airspace, and prevent him from shooting his game-winning 3-pointer that cost the Magic a hard-fought win on the road that they had earned.

Evan Fournier
4-13 FG | 2-6 3P | 3 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | +5

Fournier made a minimal impact. He made a layup, midrange jumper, and two 3-point shots, and that was it. Something to keep an eye on moving forward is Fournier playing alongside Elfrid Payton (who was stellar against the Warriors, despite his modest stat line) and Oladipo in a small ball lineup. Coach Jacque Vaughn used it against Golden State and it was effective.

Golden State Warriors

Steph Curry. With the Dubs on the brink of having their 9-game winning streak snapped by the Magic, Curry came through in the clutch with a game-winner. After Payton missed a layup that could have iced the game with Orlando up 97-95, Curry got the ball in transition and pulled up for a 3-pointer that you knew was going to go in as soon as he released it.

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