Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 4

Jan 11

Video: Maurice Harkless dunks in transition

Jan 10

Preview: Orlando Magic at Portland Trail Blazers

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Portland Trail Blazers
  • Date: January 10, 2015
  • Time: 10:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Moda Center

Records

  • Magic: 13-26
  • Trail Blazers: 28-8

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Elfrid Payton
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Devyn Marble
  • Channing Frye
  • Nikola Vucevic

Trail Blazers:

  • Damian Lillard
  • Wesley Matthews
  • Nicolas Batum
  • LaMarcus Aldridge
  • Chris Kaman

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 92.9 (22nd of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.5 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.5 (19th of 30)

Trail Blazers:

  • Pace: 94.0 (14th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 108.7 (6th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 101.2 (2nd of 30)

Read about the Trail Blazers

Blazer’s Edge

Jan 10

Grades: Los Angeles Lakers 101, Orlando Magic 84

Screen Shot 2015-01-10 at 11.32.16 AM

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

 

Los Angeles Lakers 101 Final
Recap | Box Score
84 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
6-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 STL | 11 REB | 14 PTS | -18

There was a moment late in the third quarter when Oladipo drove into the lane and drew a foul as he fell to the floor. Vucevic came over to help him up, but he slipped and also fell — there was a wet spot right under the basket. It’s symbolic of the Magic’s fall down the standings after losing their season-high fifth consecutive game.

Victor Oladipo
5-10 FG | 7-10 FT | 2 STL | 3 AST | 17 PTS | -15

Oladipo had a James Harden-esque performance. He continuously attacked the rim (5-for-9) and only attempted one shot from the perimeter. When Oladipo too busy dunking the ball, he was getting fouled — he went to the free-throw line a total of 10 times. It wasn’t pretty to watch (it never really is), but it was an effective strategy.

Tobias Harris
6-16 FG | 1-3 3P | 4 REB | 3 AST | 15 PTS | -13

Coming into the game, Harris was expected to have a matchup advantage over Ryan Kelly. That ended up not happening. In fact, it can be argued that Kelly (13 points, 8 rebounds) played better, given that he was able to space the floor for the Lakers (3-for-5 shooting from 3-point range) and pull down more rebounds than Harris.

Luke Ridnour
5-10 FG | 2-3 3P | 1 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | -5

With Orlando somehow struggling to put up points against the Lakers, who ranked 30th in defensive efficiency entering Friday night’s game (that’s dead-last), coach Jacque Vaughn decided to turn to Luke Ridnour off the bench to run the offense. Ridnour didn’t do much to actually run the Magic’s offense, but he did manage to score a season-high 12 points.

Los Angeles Lakers

It says a lot that the Lakers, one of the laughingstocks in the NBA, out-played Orlando. Basketball is all about effort and the Lakers played with more of it. Case in point: They out-rebounded the Magic 60-36, which included an 18-4 advantage on the offensive boards. That’s all you need to know about the amount of energy that Orlando played with.

Jan 10

Video: Victor Oladipo with an alley-oop dunk

Jan 09

Preview: Orlando Magic at Los Angeles Lakers

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Los Angeles Lakers
  • Date: January 9, 2015
  • Time: 10:30 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Staples Center

Records

  • Magic: 13-25
  • Lakers: 11-25

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Elfrid Payton
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Tobias Harris
  • Kyle O’Quinn
  • Nikola Vucevic

Lakers:

  • Ronnie Price
  • Wayne Ellington
  • Ryan Kelly
  • Ed Davis
  • Jordan Hill

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 92.8 (23rd of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.9 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.6 (19th of 30)

Lakers:

  • Pace: 95.1 (7th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 106.0 (17th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 112.9 (30th of 30)

Read about the Lakers

Forum Blue & Gold

Jan 08

Grades: Denver Nuggets 93, Orlando Magic 90

Capture

Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

 

Denver Nuggets 93 Final
Recap | Box Score
90 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
8-18 FG | 4-6 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 20 PTS | +1

It’s an event when Vucevic dunks the ball because it only happens occasionally. But it happened midway through the second quarter against the Nuggets. Vucevic got the ball on the left block, dribbled past Jusuf Nurkic, and threw it down over J.J. Hickson. It’s a shame that Vucevic doesn’t attack the rim more often, because he’s a strong finisher.

Victor Oladipo
7-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 STL | 6 REB | 17 PTS | -1

Every single made basket for Oladipo was at the rim (7-for-9). Oladipo had the most success in pick-and-roll sets, where he put Denver’s perimeter defenders in a ringer — with the help of a Vucevic or O’Quinn screen — and zipped past them for layups off the dribble. In fact, many of them were contested, but Oladipo was able to convert.

Evan Fournier
4-8 FG | 2-5 3P | 3 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | -6

In his first game back in Denver since being traded by the Nuggets for Arron Afflalo (and the 56th pick in the 2014 draft, which later became Devyn Marble), Fournier played well — and even had one of his better games in recent weeks. The rough runner he made while being fouled early in the fourth quarter was Manu Ginobili-like.

Tobias Harris
5-13 FG | 2-3 3P | 2 BLK | 6 REB | 12 PTS | +7

Harris is a microcosm of the Magic’s offensive struggles this season, which too often devolves into isolations when the primary play breaks down (there is rarely any secondary action). Ironically, when Harris made a field goal, it mostly came on a set play. When Harris missed, it’s largely because he involved himself in an iso that led to a contested shot.

Denver Nuggets

There’s no reason why Denver shouldn’t have blown out Orlando at home in the infamous altitude, other than the fact that the Nuggets aren’t a very good team. Afflalo, a former Magic player from the previous two seasons, played with an extra pep in his step and understandably so. Fournier played with a similar edge against his former team.

Jan 08

Video: Nikola Vucevic throws it down

Jan 07

Preview: Orlando Magic at Denver Nuggets

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Denver Nuggets
  • Date: January 7, 2015
  • Time: 9:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Pepsi Center

Records

  • Magic: 13-24
  • Nuggets: 15-20

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Elfrid Payton
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Tobias Harris
  • Kyle O’Quinn
  • Nikola Vucevic

Nuggets:

  • Ty Lawson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Wilson Chandler
  • Kenneth Faried
  • Jusuf Nurkic

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 92.6 (23rd of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.2 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.9 (19th of 30)

Nuggets:

  • Pace: 95.9 (5th of 30))
  • Offensive Rating: 105.5 (17th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.4 (21st of 30)

Read about the Nuggets

Roundball Mining Company

Jan 07

Poof! Magic’s playoff hopes disappear

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AP Photo/John Raoux

The Magic opened the 2014-15 NBA season playing 19 of their first 28 games on the road. During that stretch, Orlando was 10-18 and No. 9 in the Eastern Conference — two games back of the Nets and the eighth seed. In fact, the Magic’s record could have been better, having lost two games to the Warriors and Wizards on game-winning shots by Stephen Curry and Bradley Beal.

With seven of their next nine games at home (with two consecutives road games sandwiched between a four-game homestand and three-game homestand), and six of them coming against sub-.500 teams, the opportunity was there for the Magic to gain ground in the East standings and improve their playoff odds.

Instead, the opposite occurred. The Magic went 1-6, and now just have a 1.6 percent chance of making the playoffs after losing ground to the Celtics, Hornets, and Pistons, per Hollinger’s Playoff Odds. And in their lone win, the Magic nearly blew a 25-point fourth quarter lead against Boston.

How bad were the Magic in those seven games at Amway Center? Their opponents outscored them by 7.9 points per 100 possessions, per NBA.com. In the last three home games against the Pistons, Nets, and Hornets, Orlando had deficits of 26, 26, and 23, respectively. Rock bottom came during Saturday’s loss, when Charlotte went on a 22-0 run and held the Magic scoreless over the last 6:59 of the second quarter.

That this all happened at home has to be alarming for coach Jacque Vaughn. His team played with very little energy and effort, and showed a lack of mental toughness.

“Fragility” is the buzzword that’s permeating through the walls at Amway. The Magic are fragile right now.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 05

Power Rankings Roundup: Week 10

 
Matt Moore, CBS Sports: No. 24 (Last week: No. 19)

Three straight losses to Pistons, Nets, and Hornets — not exactly a murderer’s row. Orlando tried making a leap this season, but it won’t happen unless it gets a significant talent injection.

Marc Stein, ESPN: No. 26 (Last week: No. 23)

A home defeat to Detroit to close out the calendar year, followed by two more losses at home to Brooklyn and Charlotte to launch 2015, is the last thing Orlando’s bid to hang around the top eight needed. Next up is a four-game trip … followed (ugh) by a Houston/Memphis/Oklahoma City homestand.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: No. 27 (Last week: No. 24)

They Magic got a win in Miami and a near triple-double from Elfrid Payton in a near comeback against Brooklyn last week. But if they wanted to compete for a playoff spot, they needed more from their last 10 games, with seven of them at home and nine of them against teams that are below .500. They went 3-7, scoring less than a point per possession.

Drew Garrison, SB Nation: No. 22 (Last week: No. 21)

The Magic lost to Detroit and Charlotte in the same week, and are embarking on four-game road trip that includes three West teams and ends in Chicago. Then, they come home to face the Rockets, Grizzlies and Thunder. They’ll need some Magic to move up the power rankings over the next few weeks.

Matt Dollinger, Sports Illustrated: No. 24 (Last week: No. 21)

After a scintillating start to the season, Evan Fournier is currently mired in an ugly spell. Since being demoted from the starting lineup eight games ago, Fournier is shooting just 34.9 percent.

Marc J. Spears, Yahoo! Sports: No. 21 (Last week: No. 21)

Rookie Elfrid Payton has been picking up his game recently, averaging 9.2 points, 7.8 assists and 4.6 assists over his past five games.

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