- Teams: Los Angeles Clippers at Orlando Magic
- Date: November 6, 2013
- Time: 7:00 p.m.
- Television: Fox Sports Florida
- Arena: Amway Center
- Clippers: 3-1
- Magic: 2-2
- Chris Paul
- J.J. Redick
- Jared Dudley
- Blake Griffin
- DeAndre Jordan
- Jameer Nelson
- Arron Afflalo
- Maurice Harkless
- Jason Maxiell
- Nikola Vuvevic
- Pace: 99.6 (5th of 30)
- Offensive Rating: 119.5 (1st of 30)
- Defensive Rating: 112.9 (30th of 30)
- Pace: 97.1 (12th of 30)
- Offensive Rating: 105.1 (8th of 30)
- Defensive Rating: 98.6 (5th of 30)
Read about the Clippers
Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
One week into the 2013-2014 season, the Orlando Magic are 2-2. They’ve won two consecutive games against playoff contenders by more than 20 points, lost in overtime at Minnesota, and put a legitimate scare into the undefeated Indiana Pacers on the road in the season opener. The Magic currently rank in the top 10 in offensive efficiency, defensive efficiency, total rebound percentage, and True Shooting percentage.
This start, basically, seems like no fluke — Orlando has been very good. And while this sample size is so small as to render any takeaways close to meaningless, the eye test confirms what advanced metrics suggest. In a vacuum, without crucial context, the Magic would be considered a surefire postseason threat after these first four games.
The scary thing is that Orlando could be even better.
Tanking, rebuilding, constructing — call the big-picture goal of 2013-14 whatever you like, but winning games is just a small portion of it. This season, first and foremost, is meant to develop young talent and build Orlando’s stable of assets ahead of next summer’s loaded draft. But Rob Hennigan’s patient primary objectives differ from those of his coaches and players. There’s only so much big-picture perspective he can implement on game night from a press box above the floor.
Jacque Vaughn appears compliant with front office directives. No coaching staff — no matter how seemingly doomed its team prospects are for a current season — would ever employ on-court strategy that encourages failure, and Vaughn is no different. He has the Magic’s intricate half-court offense firing on all cylinders, and his players rarely deviate from the team’s strong principle values on defense. To that end, Vaughn’s done nothing to discourage those who saw his first season as a head coach promising. In fact, it’s actually quite the opposite.
When looking at things from a rotation standpoint? Hennigan might as well be calling the shots.
- Victor Oladipo can dunk and sing. He’s a master of all trades.
- Miles Wray of The Classical: “After the Howard/Bynum trade scorched the earth for more than one NBA team, it is now obvious that Orlando—initially mocked for not acquiring any “big names” in the deal—definitively won the trade, acquiring their present nucleus of quiet, blue-collar hustlers. Meaning that a team with Stuff the Magic Dragon as its mascot is the same team most likely to appeal to the sort of hoop fundamentalists who appreciate a firmly set pick, tucked-in shirts, and no trash talk. They’re building towards something, whether we watch it or not.”
- There are a number of reasons why Jameer Nelson, a veteran player on a rebuilding team, is still in Orlando.
- That being said, Nelson is a perfect trade candidate for a playoff team.
- No. Really. Oladipo can sing.
- A look ahead at the storylines for the Magic’s games this week.
- Oladipo’s top plays of the week.
- Little by little, Orlando is getting better as a team, and it starts with the relentless work ethic of the young players on the roster.
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel provides this statistical nugget: “Magic rookie guard Victor Oladipo has scored a total of 55 points in his first four regular-season games. According to George Galante, the Magic’s director of communications, only one other player in Magic history has scored more points in his first four games: Shaquille O’Neal. O’Neal scored 100 points during the Magic’s 3-1 start in 1992-93.”
- Former Magic player Grant Hill has transitioned smoothy into retired life.
Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images
A short, semi-fictional play about Orlando forward, Tobias Harris, who’s out indefinitely with an ankle injury.
- Bus driver
- Tobias Harris
A country road halfway between Jacksonville and Orlando abutting a bus stop late at night. Rony is lying on a concrete bench nursing a hangover. Stan is looking him over morosely.
Stan: (Shakes him.) Wake up. I need to rest my legs.
Rony: Wha—Who are you?
Rony: Any relation to Stan Van G—
Stan: Who? No. Can you please move over so I can sit down? The bus isn’t coming until 2 p.m. and I’ve been on my feet all day. (This was a lie.)
Rony: Right, sure. I’ve had a lot to drink, so please no more shaking.
(Stan sits down, and within five minutes, Rony is fast asleep on Stan’s shoulder. He tries to wiggle him off, but only succeeds in waking Rony up.)
Rony: What the hell is your problem, mister? I’m just trying to get some shut-eye.
Stan: I’ve got to pick up a very important person for work soon, and I can’t have your drool on my shirt. (He points to a splotch of dark brown on his collar.)
Rony: Oh sorry, I can’t breathe through my nose, so I drool a lot. Not as much as some of the Magic cheerleaders make me, though. (Laughs.) Know what I mean?
Stan: I do, but it’s uncouth.
Rony: What’s uncouth?
Rony: Do you like the Magic? (Glances at Stan’s clothes.) The Magic are a basketball team in Orlando.
Stan: I know. I work for them.
Rony: Oh WOW. Nice to meet you. (Grabs Stan’s hand and and shakes it aggressively.)
Stan: (Pointedly wipes hand on shirt sleeve.)
Rony: What do you do? (Assesses his outfit.) I’ll bet you’re in the marketing department, or you look after the books?
Stan: (Stan was an accountant, but he didn’t like the implication, so he lied.) No, I arrange travel for players and do the leg work when they need to be picked up or transported somewhere for a team event near Orlando.
Rony: So you’re a lackey?
Stan: No. (More angry.) It’s an important position. (… one where I am compensated handsomely and which affords me a certain amount of respect within the organization and from the public at large, he didn’t add, but wanted to.)
Rony: Awesome man. (Attempts to slap five with Stan and is met with a blank stare.) Do you know Tobias Harris? Where has he been?
- It’s early, but the defense for the Orlando Magic has been very good so far to start the season. After four games, the Magic rank fourth in defensive efficiency.
- Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports: “With Sunday’s victory over Brooklyn, Orlando has won back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 19, 2012. Rookie guard Victor Oladipo scored 19 points versus the Nets, but also had seven turnovers.”
- Matt Dollinger of Sports Illustrated: “The Magic sneaked up on a contender for the first time Sunday, throttling the veteran Nets in a 21-point rout. No Orlando player caught Brooklyn more off guard than rookie Victor Oladipo, who scored 19 points in 21 minutes off the bench and threw down a 360 dunk as the Nets hopelessly watched. With the Clippers, Spurs and Heat (twice) later this month, we’ll see if other elite teams learn from the Nets’ mistake.”
- The Magic spoiled Jason Kidd’s head coaching debut on Sunday.
- Tobias Harris is out indefinitely with an ankle sprain.
- Orlando is off to a 2-2 start and has looked solid thanks to good defense.
- Did Oladipo travel on his 360-degree dunk? Arron Afflalo thinks so.
- The Magic’s tanking quest is off to a shaky start.
- Marc Stein of ESPN.com: “While I think we can all agree it’s too early for any firm pronouncements, you had to come away from Orlando’s home blasting of New Orleans and subsequent spoiling of Jason Kidd’s coaching debut with the sense that Vucevic, Oladipo and Co. form one of the most intriguing young cores going.”
- John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “The Orlando Magic’s already-impressive footprint in downtown Orlando will soon be expanding after The City Council agreed on Monday to sell land next to the Amway Center where the Magic will build a multi-purpose entertainment complex. By a unanimous 7-0 vote, Orlando City Council approved a plan where SED Development LLC — a sister company of the Magic — will pay the city $12.7 million for land across the street from the Amway Center to build a 650,000-square-foot development.”
- Andrew Nicholson worked tirelessly during the offseason to expand his game on offense and, so far, the results are paying off.
- Oladipo wants to be in the dunk contest, but he needs to get approval from the Magic veterans first.
- “The day Victor Oladipo becomes a starter in the NBA will be a happy one.”
- If the Magic beat the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, they would go over the .500 mark for the first time since November 7, 2012.
- Orlando is not tanking correctly.
Photo by Fernando Medina/Getty Images
Via Orlando Magic press release:
In continuation of the Orlando Magic’s 25th anniversary season-long celebration the team will honor the Magic’s first-ever draft pick, Nick Anderson, at the Magic’s November 8 matchup vs. the Boston Celtics, tip-off set for 7 p.m. The night will feature a center court presentation and pregame meet and greet with members of the military as part of Seats for Soldiers Night presented by Harris Corporation. Anderson will also join David Steele and Jeff Turner for a portion of FOX Sports Florida’s broadcast and be featured on Magic Drive Time radio show with host Dante Marchitelli on Thursday, November 7 at 5:30 p.m. on 740 The Game. In addition, the first 2,500 fans will receive a collectible 8×10 photo featuring Anderson and Tobias Harris.
“Legends Nights” is an on-going program which will honor former players throughout the Magic’s Silver Season. 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.
The Magic’s first-ever NBA Draft selection out of the University of Illinois (11th overall, 1989 NBA Draft), Anderson played 10 seasons for Orlando from 1989-99. In 692 career regular season games with the Magic, he averaged 15.4 ppg., 5.3 rpg., 2.8 apg. and 1.45 spg. Anderson ranks as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer with 10,650 points. He also stands as the Magic’s all-time leader in games played (692), field goals made (4,075), steals (1004), field goals attempted (8,976), three-point field goals attempted (2,480) and minutes played (22,440). Anderson has served as the Magic’s community ambassador since 2006.
AP Photo/John Raoux
9-14 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 BLK | 12 REB | 19 PTS | +17
Another day, another double-double for Vucevic. He was physical inside with Brook Lopez, and had some nice defensive chemistry with Jason Maxiell early in the game. And although they didn’t all register as assists, he made a few passes for corner 3 attempts off the pick-and-roll, a pass that is ever so critical to the modern big man.
8-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 19 PTS | +11
Oladipo absolutely took over in the third quarter. He was a whirling dervish going to the rim, spinning off the Nets’ big men en route to uncontested layups. He even flashed his jumper, too. His defensive effort was on display once again as he hounded both Deron Williams and Shaun Livingston. There was also this ridiculousness. What a game for the rookie.
6-13 FG | 5-5 3P | 1 BLK | 11 REB | 17 PTS | +11
Nicholson’s barely into his second season as a pro, but he plays like a veteran. He tooled both the massive Brook Lopez and the quick-and-athletic Andrei Kirilenko in the post, and didn’t get knocked around on the other end. His aggressiveness and physicality on the boards was a pleasant surprise. Though the 3-ball didn’t fall tonight, he was confident shooting it and the form looked great.
5-14 FG | 3-5 3P | 6 REB | 8 AST | 16 PTS | +16
Afflalo didn’t have the most efficient game, but made up for it it in other areas. His passing was excellent and his drive-and-kicks were a big part of the Magic’s excellent offensive production in this game. He still looks out of place in isolations, but he’s a lot more comfortable on an island than he was last season and seems to have a bit more of a plan now.
This team sure didn’t look like a top-flight contender. Deron Williams was disengaged pretty much his entire time on the floor, Joe Johnson played 23 minutes and took five shots, and Kevin Garnett played just 22 minutes. The Nets’ offense was vanilla for a team with so many great players, and both Kirilenko and Garnett played poorly defensively.