Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 36

Nov 26

Preview: Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks
  • Date: November 26, 2013
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Philips Arena

Records

  • Magic: 4-9
  • Hawks: 8-6

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Glen Davis
  • Nikola Vuvevic

Hawks:

  • Jeff Teague
  • DeMarre Carroll
  • Kyle Korver
  • Paul Millsap
  • Al Horford

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 95.8 (11th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 102.4 (20th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 105.3 (17th of 30)

Hawks:

  • Pace: 95.8 (10th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 105.2 (12th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 102.5 (9th of 30)

Read about the Hawks

HawksHoop

Nov 25

Grades: Phoenix Suns 104, Orlando Magic 96

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Phoenix Suns 104 Final
Recap | Box Score
96 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
10-16 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 BLK | 10 REB | 20 PTS | -5

On the very first play of the game, Vucevic backed down Miles Plumlee in the post and made a lefty hook with ease. That proved to be a bad omen for Plumlee, who looked overmatched trying to defend Vucevic on the low block throughout the night. It’s a mild surprise that the Magic didn’t try to exploit the mismatch more.

Victor Oladipo
3-12 FG | 0-4 3P | 5 REB | 5 AST | 6 PTS | -8

It’s very much “feast or famine” for Oladipo. After back-to-back solid performances against the two-time defending champion Miami Heat, Oladipo struggled mightily on offense against the Suns. He couldn’t convert at the rim, get to the free throw line, or make any 3-pointers. When none of those things are clicking for him, it neuters his effectiveness offensively. As it did versus Phoenix.

Andrew Nicholson
5-8 FG | 6-6 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 19 PTS | +1

After shooting 4-for-8 (50.0 percent) behind the 3-point line to start the regular season, Nicholson missed his next 10 attempts. Against the Suns, Nicholson was finally able to connect on a couple of corner 3s and get off the schnide. It’s games like these that show Nicholson can do damage by providing instant scoring off the bench for Orlando.

Arron Afflalo
6-14 FG | 4-4 FT | 7 REB | 6 AST | 16 PTS | -8

Getting his third consecutive start at small forward, as head coach Jacque Vaughn has recently elected to use a small-ball lineup to start games, Afflalo was nothing more than average. And he was a victim of an ill-timed palming violation — a point of emphasis from the NBA this season — that occurred late in the fourth quarter that really sapped the team’s comeback hopes.

Phoenix Suns

After jumping out to a double digit lead in the first quarter, the Suns were never severely threatened the rest of the way. Every time the Magic cut the deficit to five or three, Phoenix always had an answer. Case in point: with Orlando mounting a final comeback and trailing 97-92, Goran Dragic responded by going on a personal 7-0 run to close the game out.

Nov 24

Preview: Phoenix Suns at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Phoenix Suns at Orlando Magic
  • Date: November 24, 2013
  • Time: 6:00 p.m.
  • Television: NBA TV
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Suns: 6-6
  • Magic: 4-8

Probable starters

Suns:

  • Goran Dragic
  • Gerald Green
  • P.J. Tucker
  • Channing Frye
  • Miles Plumlee

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Nikola Vuvevic

Advanced stats

Suns:

  • Pace: 95.5 (12th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 103.5 (17th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 101.5 (7th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 96.0 (10th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 102.4 (20th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 104.8 (15th of 30)

Read about the Suns

Valley of the Suns

Nov 24

Video: LeBron makes the go-ahead jumper

Nov 24

Grades: Miami Heat 101, Orlando Magic 99

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Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Miami Heat 101 Final
Recap | Box Score
99 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
5-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | -8

Just like on Wednesday, the Heat subdued Vucevic on offense by trapping him and forcing the ball out of his hands. To counteract that, the Magic tried running pick-and-rolls for Vucevic to free him up for midrange jump shots — executing them quickly in an attempt to beat Miami’s traps — but those plays ended being only mildly successful. Vucevic just couldn’t get into a rhythm.

Victor Oladipo
4-8 FG | 8-9 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 17 PTS | -1

There are games when Oladipo relentlessly attacks the rim and nothing good comes out of it. Then there are games when he’s able to finish through traffic, and also draw fouls and get to the free throw line. This game was the latter. But it wasn’t all rainbows and lollipops, as Oladipo missed a potential game-tying jumper at the end of regulation.

Glen Davis
7-13 FG | 6-8 FT | 2 STL | 5 REB | 20 PTS | +2

297 days. That’s how long it had been since Davis last played in an NBA game. Fully recovered from a fractured left foot, Big Baby didn’t miss a beat. His midrange jumper was falling and he was converting on his running hooks. He played so well off the bench that he was on the court for the entire fourth quarter in his first game back.

Arron Afflalo
7-17 FG | 2-6 3P | 7 REB | 5 AST | 18 PTS | -6

With 15.1 seconds left and the Magic trailing 101-99, Afflalo got the ball at mid-court and drove to the basket but got blocked by Chris Bosh as he went up for a shot. For as well as Afflalo has played this season, he continues to struggle in late-game situations when Orlando gives him the ball and need a bucket to tie or win a game.

Miami Heat

The Heat lollygagged in the first half, then started trying after halftime. The Magic were able to withstand Miami’s increased intensity until the very end when LeBron James made a go-ahead jumper with 15.1 seconds left to give Miami a narrow two-point victory. Despite LeBron’s heroics, it was Dwayne Wade who led the way for the Heat, looking spry and making several spectacular plays.

Nov 24

Video: Victor Oladipo makes an acrobatic layup

Nov 23

Preview: Orlando Magic at Miami Heat

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Miami Heat
  • Date: November 23, 2013
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: AmericanAirlines Arena

Records

  • Magic: 4-7
  • Heat: 9-3

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Nikola Vuvevic

Heat:

  • Mario Chalmers
  • James Jones
  • LeBron James
  • Shane Battier
  • Chris Bosh

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 96.3 (9th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 102.0 (20th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 104.5 (12th of 30)

Heat:

  • Pace: 93.4 (17th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 114.7 (1st of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 104.0 (11th of 30)

Read about the Heat

Heat Index

Nov 21

Orlando’s starting lineup is bad

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

The Orlando Magic’s starting lineup is a typical blend of NBA player archetypes. Scorers, defenders, veterans, youngsters, and leaders — this is a group that makes utmost basketball sense on paper, especially considering the litany of options Jacque Vaughn has at his disposal coming off the bench.

Any critique of the Magic this season necessitates contextualizing the discussion. Orlando has bigger long-term hopes in mind than an immediate and major uptick in wins, and that merits a discerning eye on all organizational decisions.

For the sake of this argument, though, assume Vaughn and the Magic higher-ups are putting the team’s optimum players on the floor to achieve night-to-night success. For or better or worse, the nature of Orlando’s starting lineup suggests that naive optimism anyway.

The Magic ride their starters more than the league’s majority of teams. The five-man unit of Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo, Maurice Harkless, Jason Maxiell, and Nikola Vucevic has played 138 minutes this season, good for 12th-most among any quintet in the NBA.

What better puts this group’s court-hogging in perspective, though, is how its time on the floor relates to different Orlando units. Other than Vaughn’s starters, no other Magic lineup has played more than 20 minutes this season. Simple math helps articulate that incredibly wide disparity: Nelson-Afflalo-Harkless-Maxiell-Vucevic has been on the floor nearly seven times as often as Orlando’s next most frequently used unit.

Some of that is inevitable. Starters will notch at least some court time every game. Indeed, that group is the only one that’s been utilized in all but one game so far (the lone exception being Wednesday’s game against the Miami Heat).

But that caveat only accounts for a small portion of this lineup’s gross misuse, and this is without considering just how terribly it’s performed in all of that court time.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 21

Highlights: Arron Afflalo scores 30 again

Nov 21

Grades: Miami Heat 120, Orlando Magic 92

Capture

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Miami Heat 120 Final
Recap | Box Score
92 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -18

It was a nightmare game for Vucevic. He was swarmed aggressively by the Heat in the post, the pick-and-roll, and on the boards. When he did get his hands on the ball, he struggled shooting it, going 2-for-7 from the field. To cap things off, he fouled out in the third quarter and only logged 23 minutes for the night.

Victor Oladipo
5-12 FG | 8-8 FT | 5 STL | 4 REB | 20 PTS | -19

Oladipo continues to struggle finishing plays on the offensive end, but there were some positive takeaways. He went 8-for-8 from the line, which helped him finish with more points than shots. Where he really shined tonight, though, was on the defensive end. He posted five steals and two blocks, and made Ray Allen look as old as he really is.

Arron Afflalo
9-16 FG | 7-9 3P | 2 REB | 2 AST | 30 PTS | -28

Most wings in the league must be jealous of Afflalo and the type of zone he is in right now offensively. Almost all of his points tonight came within the flow of the offense, too — there weren’t any awkward isolations. Every time the ball came to him with just a few inches of space to work with, the Heat got burned.

Jameer Nelson
5-13 FG | 4-9 3P | 5 REB | 5 AST | 17 PTS | -25

It was a typical game for Nelson. Nothing too special, but it undoubtedly was a good performance nonetheless. He benefited from all the attention the Heat were paying to Vucevic down low in the form of four made 3-pointers. Trade rumors continue to swirl around Nelson right now, but it doesn’t look like it’s hurting his play on the court.

Miami Heat

It took them until the third quarter, but the Heat put away a team they are much better than. They coughed up the ball a lot, but that wasn’t a huge factor because of their blistering 3-point shooting display — Miami shot 15-for-24 beyond the arc. On the flipside, Orlando struggled with the Heat’s hectic, trapping pick-and-roll defense all night.

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