Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 30

Jan 13

Magic to honor Horace Grant on January 17

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Photo by Fernando Medina/Orlando Magic

Via Orlando Magic press release:

In continuation of the Orlando Magic’s 25th anniversary season-long celebration the team will honor former Magic great, Horace Grant, at the Magic’s January 17 matchup vs. the Charlotte Bobcats, tip-off set for 7 p.m. The night will feature a center court presentation at the end of the first quarter. Grant will join FOX Sports Florida’s broadcasts including Magic Live pregame show with hosts Paul Kennedy and Nick Anderson and join broadcasters David Steele and Jeff Turner for a portion of the game broadcast. He will also be featured on Magic Drive Time radio show with host Dante Marchitelli pregame at 5:30 p.m. on 740 The Game. In addition, the first 2,500 fans will receive a collectible 8×10 photo featuring Grant and Kyle O’Quinn. Grant will be available to the media at 6 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 17 in the Amway Center interview room.

“Legends Nights” is an on-going program which will honor former players/legends throughout the Magic’s Silver Season. Past honorees include Tracy McGrady, Nick Anderson, Pat Williams, Jimmy Hewitt, Dennis Scott and Pat Garrity. In addition to the Magic’s “Legends Nights,” the 2013-14 season will feature the Silver Ticket Sweepstakes and Scratch Off Promotion, special appearances, game entertainment and other events throughout the season.

Grant was originally drafted in the first round (10th overall) of the 1987 NBA Draft by Chicago out of Clemson University. He left the Bulls as a free agent in 1994 to join the Magic and played six plus years for Orlando from 1994-99 and 2001-03. Grant appeared in 411 regular season games for the Magic, the eighth-most in franchise history. While with the Magic, he averaged 11.3 ppg., 8.3 rpg., 2.1 apg. and 1.0 bpg. in 34.6 mpg., and was twice selected to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1994-95, 1995-96). In addition to finishing eighth all-time in games played with Orlando, Grant ranks on the Magic’s all-time franchise list in rebounds (3,353, fourth), blocked shots (415, fourth), minutes played (14,233, sixth) and steals (426, eighth).

Jan 12

Grades: Denver Nuggets 120, Orlando Magic 94

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Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Denver Nuggets 120 Final
Recap | Box Score
94 Orlando Magic

Tobias Harris
8-17 FG | 6-8 FT | 9 REB | 4 AST | 22 PTS | -11

Harris has had his struggles since returning from his ankle injury, but he was the brightest spot in a darkest night for the Magic. He played 41 minutes due to Orlando’s limited player availability, doing his damnedest to battle down low for both boards and points. He was the only Magic player with more than six rebounds, and he led all Orlando scorers with 22 points.

Glen Davis
8-14 FG | 4-6 FT | 1 BLK | 6 REB | 20 PTS | -21

In a game that got out of hand really, really quickly, Davis was one of the few players who kept the Magic within shouting distance. Big Baby tried to keep Denver’s aggressive, energetic bigs off the glass, but between rebounding and defensive woes, Orlando was essentially using papier-mâché in an effort to hold back the inevitable flood of Nuggets points.

Victor Oladipo
6-11 FG | 3-5 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 15 PTS | -18

Oladipo had a solid statistical night — from everywhere but beyond the arc, that is — providing 15 points when scoring was in short supply. A couple of his turnovers seemed avoidable, but he wasn’t extraordinarily sloppy with the ball. For the most part, though, Oladipo had a quiet night. Other than his involvement in Orlando’s defensive breakdowns, it seemed like the rookie was barely mentioned at all.

E’Twaun Moore
5-10 FG | 0-1 3P | 3 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | -15

Sure, it’s only fair to point out that without Arron Afflalo and Nikola Vucevic, the Magic bench was going to be pressed into action for which they might not have been entirely prepared. But with that caveat noted, Moore and the rest of the Orlando reserves were absolutely atrocious. Moore had 10 points on the night, but eight came in the fourth quarter with the game well out of hand.

Denver Nuggets

You don’t get an A+ for beating up on a team like the Magic, weakened by injuries and without two of its best players. But the Nuggets did what they were supposed to do at home, soundly defeating Orlando in a game that, outside of a brief 7-2 Magic run in the middle of the first, was completely in Denver’s control from start to finish.

Jan 11

Preview: Orlando Magic at Denver Nuggets

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Denver Nuggets
  • Date: January 11, 2014
  • Time: 9:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Pepsi Center

Records

  • Magic: 10-26
  • Nuggets: 18-17

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Tobias Harris
  • Glen Davis

Nuggets:

  • Ty Lawson
  • Randy Foye
  • Quincy Miller
  • Kenneth Faried
  • J.J. Hickson

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 94.2 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.1 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 105.5 (17th of 30)

Nuggets:

  • Pace: 96.1 (6th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 106.3 (11th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 105.5 (16th of 30)

Read about the Nuggets

Roundball Mining Company

Jan 11

Grades: Sacramento Kings 103, Orlando Magic 83

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Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Sacramento Kings 103 Final
Recap | Box Score
83 Orlando Magic

Arron Afflalo
3-12 FG | 8-8 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 15 PTS | -6

Somehow, Afflalo was able to salvage a poor shooting night by getting to the free throw line. The more newsworthy item is that Afflalo hurt his right foot in the third quarter when he landed awkwardly on it after he missed a layup in transition. The injury was ruled a strained tendon, which means Afflalo is likely to miss Saturday’s game against the Denver Nuggets.

Tobias Harris
5-10 FG | 4-5 FT | 1 STL | 6 REB | 16 PTS | -24

There’s no question that Harris is better served as a stretch four offensively, given his ability to spread the floor on the perimeter, use his strength to post up opposing threes, and utilize his quickness to blow by opposing fours off the dribble. But Harris’ D still needs a lot of work, as evidenced by the fact that Jason Thompson manhandled him in the interior.

Victor Oladipo
5-14 FG | 2-4 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 13 PTS | -20

After setting the internet on fire with his block on Damian Lillard in Orlando’s loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, it was tempting to expect an encore from Oladipo against the Kings, but it didn’t happen. The only noteworthy highlight from Oladipo versus Sacramento came midway through the fourth quarter when he whipped out his patented spin move and (goaltended) layup finish.

Glen Davis
4-12 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 STL | 12 REB | 12 PTS | -10

You have to feel for Davis. In the Magic’s last two games, he’s had to defend LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMarcus Cousins — two All-Star caliber players. Both times Davis has been overmatched. Aldridge ate him alive and Cousins did much of the same. Despite Davis’ best efforts defensively, Cousins drilled midrange jump shots and got to the rim off the dribble with ease.

Sacramento Kings

One fast break sequence exemplified how much of a beatdown this was. It occurred in the fourth quarter with the game well in hand for Sacramento. After stealing the ball from Kyle O’Quinn, Cousins ran a 4-on-1 break (with Oladipo as the lone trailing defender) and made a no-look bounce pass to Derrick Williams, who finished the play off with a two-handed windmill dunk.

Jan 10

Preview: Orlando Magic at Sacramento Kings

Essentials

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

Records

  • Magic: 10-25
  • Kings: 11-22

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Tobias Harris
  • Glen Davis

Kings:

  • Isaiah Thomas
  • Marcus Thornton
  • Rudy Gay
  • Jason Thompson
  • DeMarcus Cousins

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 94.4 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.4 (26th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 105.3 (15th of 30)

Kings:

  • Pace: 94.8 (14th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 105.8 (14th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 109.7 (30th of 30)

Read about the Kings

Cowbell Kingdom

Jan 10

Grant Hill and the future Orlando can’t predict

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Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images

A historic impending draft — combined with intriguing free agent opportunities during the summer — has the faithful fans in Orlando uttering two of the ugliest words in sports.

Next year.

Every strategy within the organization has been put in place to culminate with an explosion back into success. That culmination might indeed arrive next year, or perhaps the city might have to endure a few more seasons such as the current one. But you get the sense that the organization’s patience, as a whole, will pay off eventually.

The draft has its own pitfalls, monsters, and glories. But with all the financial freedom the Magic will soon have, consider the vast, terrifying expanse that will be free agency. Another pair of words paints the picture well for a Magic fan.

Grant Hill.

Yes, he was a solid contributor at times for the team. But his time in Orlando is a perfect reflection of the reality that no matter how much care you put into building a fire, the weather above is completely out of your control.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 09

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • The Orlando Magic put up a fight against the Portland Trail Blazers for three quarters before succumbing to them in the fourth quarter.
  • Is Andrew Bynum an option for the Magic? The short answer is no, but the reasoning is worth a read.
  • Nikola Vucevic has been sent home to Central Florida to recover from his concussion, which he suffered on Monday versus the Los Angeles Clippers.
  • If Orlando decides to trade Arron Afflalo at the deadline, given that his stock will probably never be higher, what are some good fits for him?
  • Chad Ford of ESPN Insider: “The Magic loved Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart last season and could still take him No. 1 this year. However, I’m hearing lately that the Magic believe Victor Oladipo can make the transition to the point and want to swing for the fences with a player with a huge upside like Wiggins. Wiggins is less NBA-ready than several of the other players in consideration for the No. 1 pick, but his upside is so great, the Magic would have a hard time passing on him given their developmental curve.”
  • ESPN has rolled out their 2014 NBA Lotter Mock Draft machine. Try it out.

Jan 09

Examining Victor Oladipo in the pick-and-roll

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Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Victor Oladipo is a rookie guard, still only 21 years old, so he’s struggled a little bit with the pick-and-roll, the predominate action NBA teams run after the implementation of zone defenses and the end of hand-checking. As such, ‘Dipo’s success or failure in the NBA can be tied to his ability to efficiently score out of the pick-and-roll or help his teammates score.

Except, as noted, he’s a rookie, and navigating the various defenses he’s faced isn’t the easiest thing in the world for a guard that only came into his own offensively in his junior season at Indiana. Before then, he was a hawkish, defensive guard, unused to much ballhandling and the split-second decision making elite point guards perform as naturally as breathing.

As such, we thought it best to note some of Oladipo’s primary mistakes to best acculturate him on the pick-and-roll strategies of the masters: Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Stephen Curry, etc.

Once a big, or a wing, sets a screen, whether its at the top of the key (more likely), or on the wing, Oladipo has to either turn the corner and take it all the way to the iron, pull up for the jumper (usually from midrange), hit the man rolling to the rim, hit the man popping out, or hit the man who is open once Oladipo makes the turn and forces another defender to rotate over. Oh, and he has to do this all within the split-second it takes the defense to react — at least the better defenses (we aren’t talking about the Sacramento Kings here).

Of all of Victor’s possessions ending in a field goal attempt, foul, or turnover, 40.4 percent of them start in the pick-and-roll, per Synergy. That’s a huge percentage of his offensive touches, which is why it’s so important to look at how he’s handling that responsibility within the Magic’s offense. Sure, he’s going to improve, but what are some of the things he needs to work on? What are the early pick-and-roll peccadilloes we can identify, so he can clean them up as the season progresses?

Obviously there are going to be growing pains, but what has ‘Dipo shown us in the pick-and-roll during his first trimester at the NBA level?

Let’s break down the three different results from a pick-and-roll: finishing at the rim, pulling up for a jumper, and turning the ball over.

It’s that last one Oladipo has struggled with through his opening 25-plus games at the NBA level, but it’s important to keep in mind his age and experience. This is constructive criticism and in no way a critique that should extend beyond the usual growing pains of a young NBA guard.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 08

Grades: Portland Trail Blazers 110, Orlando Magic 94

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Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Portland Trail Blazers 110 Final
Recap | Box Score
94 Orlando Magic

Arron Afflalo
7-14 FG | 6-8 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 22 PTS | -20

After struggling on offense in recent games, Afflalo bounced back nicely against the Blazers. Afflalo did much of his damage in the first half, scoring 18 of his 22 points before halftime. You could tell he was in a nice groove offensively when he was making his fadeaway jumpers. But Portland amped up their defensive efforts in the second half and Afflalo went silent.

Jameer Nelson
6-18 FG | 3-9 3P | 5 REB | 10 AST | 17 PTS | -11

For three quarters, Nelson picked apart the Blazers’ defense with his passing and did it mainly with his dribble penetration — his bounce pass to Tobias Harris, who cut backdoor for a layup, late in the third quarter was a beauty. When Nelson was looking to score, and that was quite often, he found the most success in pick-and-rolls with Big Baby.

Glen Davis
7-18 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 16 PTS | -17

The Magic’s defensive strategy against Portland was to single-cover LaMarcus Aldridge and stay at home on the shooters. But Aldridge ate Davis alive, scoring at will in the post and from midrange. You got the sense that head coach Jacque Vaughn could live with that from Aldridge if the rest of Blazers’ offense didn’t go into overdrive in the fourth quarter (but it did).

Victor Oladipo
3-8 FG | 7-8 FT | 2 STL | 4 REB | 14 PTS | -19

It goes without saying, but Oladipo is in the running for Block of the Year honors after he blocked a Damian Lillard dunk attempt. The top play of Oladipo’s career — up to this point — occurred midway through the third quarter. Lillard ran a 2-on-1 fast break with Nicolas Batum and tried posterizing Oladipo. Instead, Oladipo channeled his inner-Schwarzenegger, going to “Eraser” mode and wiping Lillard’s dunk out of existence.

Portland Trail Blazers

Orlando battled the Blazers gamely for three quarters. Although Aldridge was going off, the Magic were able to contain everyone else. Even Lillard. But then the fourth quarter came, Portland’s bench provided a spark, and what was a close game turned into a blowout in the blink of an eye. Oh, and Batum finished with a triple-double.

Jan 08

Video: Victor Oladipo with the Block of the Year?

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