Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 32

Jan 28

Preview: Orlando Magic at Detroit Pistons

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Detroit Pistons
  • Date: January 28, 2014
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: The Palace of Auburn Hills

Records

  • Magic: 12-33
  • Pistons: 17-27

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Tobias Harris
  • Jason Maxiell
  • Glen Davis

Pistons:

  • Brandon Jennings
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
  • Josh Smith
  • Greg Monroe
  • Andre Drummond

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 94.2 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.9 (26th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.8 (18th of 30)

Pistons:

  • Pace: 94.8 (13th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 104.4 (20th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 108.1 (22nd of 30)

Read about the Pistons

Piston Powered

Jan 27

Monday’s Magic Word

  • John Schuhmann of NBA.com: “To add more pain to the Bucks’ train wreck of a season, Tobias Harris is starting to put up big numbers again. He had 28 points and 20 rebounds in Friday’s win over the Lakers and has averaged 17.7 points (on 50 percent shooting) and 9.7 boards over his last 10 games. In the Rookie of the Year race, Michael Carter-Williams may have Victor Oladipo on numbers, but Oladipo’s still got him on highlights.”
  • Arron Afflalo will find out if he makes the All-Star team in the Eastern Conference as a reserve on Thursday.
  • As the games go by, Oladipo continues to show glimpses of star potential.
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk: “After missing the start of the season with an ankle injury Tobias Harris has found his groove again — he’s averaged 17.7 points and 9.7 rebounds his last 10 games. That includes dropping 28 and 20 on the Lakers’ “defense” last week.”
  • Slowly but surely, Tobias Harris is returning to form after a slow start to the season.
  • Marc Stein of ESPN.com: “The only NBA game on the Super Bowl Sunday schedule sends the Magic into Boston. The same Magic who have lost eight straight road games … and whose 11-52 road record since the start of the 2012-13 season is the league’s worst. Dare I say, it’ll still trump any Super Bowl pregame show.”
  • The Orlando Magic could not stop Anthony Davis, who had a monster game and led the New Orleans Pelicans to a 100-92 victory on Sunday.
  • Could a backcourt pairing of Marcus Smart-Victor Oladipo be in the Magic’s future?

Jan 27

In praise of Arron Afflalo

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 1.41.26 PM

Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images

Before the season, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Arron Afflalo’s long-term impact on the Magic would be through the assets he’d net in a trade. He was one of the players constantly brought up in the “perfect role player for a good team” conversation.

He could spread the floor for the shooting-starved Grizzlies, or replace Thabo Sefalosha in the starting lineup and provide an offensive upgrade for the Thunder. On the right team, the thinking among NBA experts was that Afflalo could do serious damage as a secondary scorer.

These conversations were entirely fair, given everything Afflalo had shown in the past. He had a well-defined role in his three seasons with Denver. He played around 30 minutes a game, shot 3s at a 40 percent clip, used less than 20 percent of his team’s possessions, and generally played solid wing defense. At the time, a player of his caliber being the centerpiece of the Dwight Howard mega-deal was rather laughable.

It became even more laughable last season, as Afflalo struggled to keep his head above water as one of the Magic’s primary scoring options in his first season with the team. His True Shooting percentage fell below the league average, his turnover rate skyrocketed, and his free throw rate fell off a cliff. He was overwhelmed trying to replace Howard as the first option on offense. Affalo’s role was pushed over the limit.

Just when it seemed like he was incapable of shouldering a heavy load offensively, Afflalo’s 2013-14 season has flipped that assumption on its head. His 24.0 usage rate is a career-high and, miraculously, his .589 True Shooting percentage is the second-highest mark of his career. His 18.3 assist rate is also a career-high, and he’s become a player the offense can legitimately be run through — breaking free from his assumed complementary role.

Most Magic fans haven’t thought of Afflalo as a piece for the future. When Orlando acquired him, the assumption was that he would eventually be flipped for a younger piece (ala the Redick-for-Harris swap). Now, I’m not so sure. At this point, the Magic seem better off keeping him as a steady veteran presence on this young team. Especially since his contract ($7.5 million through 2014-15 with a player option in 2015-16) has now become a bargain, considering he’s putting up a career-best 17.9 PER while averaging 20-4-4.

He’s 28, and likely at the peak of his career, but Afflalo deserves a lot of credit for working to become a better player after last season, even though he’s playing on a team not meant to win. Life may have been easier had he rejected the role thrust on him and simply went through the motions until being traded to a contender.

But instead, he’s been a spark of rejuvenation during a dismal season and has embraced his role of being “the guy.” He’s transformed into the Magic’s best player and having an All-Star caliber season.

Jan 26

Grades: New Orleans Pelicans 100, Orlando Magic 92

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 12.51.41 PM

Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images

 

New Orleans Pelicans 100 Final
Recap | Box Score
92 Orlando Magic

Arron Afflalo
9-14 FG | 6-8 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 25 PTS | -1

Victor Oladipo
6-12 FG | 6-6 FT | 5 STL | 3 REB | 18 PTS | -8

Tobias Harris
7-14 FG | 3-3 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 17 PTS | -8

Jameer Nelson
6-14 FG | 2-6 3P | 3 REB | 8 AST | 15 PTS | -1

New Orleans Pelicans

Jan 26

Video: Victor Oladipo with the steal and slam

Jan 26

Preview: Orlando Magic at New Orleans Pelicans

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at New Orleans Pelicans
  • Date: January 26, 2014
  • Time: 6:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: New Orleans Arena

Records

  • Magic: 12-32
  • Pelicans: 17-25

Probable starters

Magic:

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

Pelicans:

  • Brian Roberts
  • Eric Gordon
  • Al-Farouq Aminu
  • Anthony Davis
  • Alexis Ajinca

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 94.2 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.9 (26th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.7 (18th of 30)

Pelicans:

  • Pace: 92.6 (23rd of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 107.8 (10th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 110.1 (30th of 30)

Read about the Pelicans

Bourbon Street Shots

Jan 25

Highlights: Tobias Harris’ first career 20-20 game

Jan 25

Grades: Orlando Magic 114, Los Angeles Lakers 105

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 1.14.23 PM

Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

 

Orlando Magic 114 Final
Recap | Box Score
105 Los Angeles Lakers

Arron Afflalo
7-12 FG | 7-9 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 23 PTS | +4

After an uncharacteristic six-point performance against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, Afflalo responded with a bounce-back game offensively versus the Lakers. As has been the trend for him all season long, Afflalo was economical with his touches (23 points on 12 shots). His efficiency was fueled primarily by his ability to get to the foul line and make his free throws.

Tobias Harris
9-15 FG | 9-11 FT | 20 REB | 4 AST | 28 PTS | +3

The silver lining with Vucevic (concussion) being out indefinitely is that it’s allowed Harris to slide to the power forward spot, which is his best position. Harris made his point loud and clear against the Lakers, as he picked up his first career 20-20 game — systematically destroying Ryan Kelly in the process — and was a bucket away from a 30-20 game.

Jameer Nelson
7-11 FG | 4-6 3P | 4 REB | 6 AST | 22 PTS | +1

With Harris’ 20-20 game and Oladipo’s fast break theatrics, it’s easy to overlook the fact that Nelson had another excellent outing (which has been the norm for him in the month of January). And Nelson did practically all of his damage after halftime, scoring 20 of his 22 points in the second half. It’s easy to get hot on offense when you’re being left open.

Victor Oladipo
5-14 FG | 4-6 FT | 12 REB | 5 AST | 15 PTS | +10

Oladipo had the play of the game, which occurred late in the third quarter. After Nick Young botched a layup in transition, Oladipo rebounded the miss and led a 3-on-2 fast break. Oladipo passed the ball to Afflalo, who passed it back to Oladipo, who then made a through-the-legs bounce pass to a trailing Harris for the layup and the foul.

Los Angeles Lakers

It’s crazy to think about how far both franchises have fallen since the 2009 NBA Finals. A game between the Magic and Lakers used to be a marquee matchup. On Friday, it was a battle between two lottery teams that were missing key players (namely Kobe). The lone bright side was that it was an entertaining game that featured very little defense.

Jan 25

Video: Orlando runs a “Showtime” fast break

Jan 24

Preview: Los Angeles Lakers at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Los Angeles Lakers at Orlando Magic
  • Date: January 24, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Lakers: 16-27
  • Magic: 11-32

Probable starters

Lakers:

  • Kendall Marshall
  • Jodie Meeks
  • Welsey Johnson
  • Jordan Hill
  • Pau Gasol

Magic:

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

Advanced stats

Lakers:

  • Pace: 97.2 (3rd of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 103.3 (22nd of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 108.7 (26th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 94.0 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.6 (26th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.8 (17th of 30)

Read about the Lakers

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