Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 45

Nov 02

Highlights: Arron Afflalo drops 30 on the Pelicans

Nov 01

Grades: Orlando Magic 110, New Orleans Pelicans 90

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AP Photo/John Raoux

 

Orlando Magic 110 Final
Recap | Box Score
90 New Orleans Pelicans

Nikola Vucevic
4-6 FG | 2-4 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | +24

The Pelicans shot 13-for-38 (34.2 percent) at the rim against the Magic and Vucevic — alongside Jason Maxiell, Kyle O’Quinn, and Andrew Nicholson — was one of the reasons for that low percentage. Taking a page out of Roy Hibbert’s playbook, Vucevic did a nice job of using the “law of verticality” to contest shots without fouling. Interior defense is a group effort and Vucevic did his part.

Victor Oladipo
4-10 FG | 1-2 3P | 6 REB | 6 AST | 10 PTS | +12

The one play that stands out the most from Oladipo, who had several spectacular sequences on both sides of the ball, was his weak-side block on Greg Stiemsma’s dunk attempt late in the third quarter. Dwyane Wade comparisons have been thrown around for Oladipo because of their similar playing styles, and with plays like that, it’s easy to see why.

Arron Afflalo
10-14 FG | 4-5 3P | 4 REB | 4 AST | 30 PTS | +12

Afflalo couldn’t have played any better. He abused various Pelicans defenders in the post and got his fadeaway jumper to fall. He went to the free-throw line plenty. But what fueled his efficient outing was his 3-point shooting — the corner 3 specifically. Maybe this is Afflalo’s first step towards reconciliation with corner 3s after abandoning that shot in 2012-13.

Maurice Harkless
6-10 FG | 6-8 FT | 4 STL | 8 REB | 20 PTS | +18

After practically looking invisible against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday (2 points in 19 minutes), Harkless’ aggressiveness versus the Pelicans stood out like a sore thumb. He was looking to score. So much so that, for a moment, Harkless was on pace to set a new career-high in points before the game got out of hand in the second half.

New Orleans Pelicans

In case you haven’t heard, New Orleans has made a lot of changes since last season. They changed their name. They acquired Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans to bolster their backcourt. They have a creepy new mascot that will haunt your dreams. But the one thing that hasn’t changed, so far, is the losing, as evidenced by their 0-2 start to the regular season.

Nov 01

Video: The steal, the dish, the slam

Nov 01

Preview: New Orleans Pelicans at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: New Orleans Pelicans at Orlando Magic
  • Date: November 1, 2013
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Pelicans: 0-1
  • Magic: 0-2

Probable starters

Pelicans:

  • Jrue Holiday
  • Eric Gordon
  • Al-Farouq Aminu
  • Anthony Davis
  • Jason Smith

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Jason Maxiell
  • Nikola Vuvevic

Advanced stats

Pelicans:

  • Pace: 91.5 (28th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 98.3 (20th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 103.8 (15th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 98.5 (11th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 97.5 (23rd of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 104.7 (18th of 30)

Read about the Pelicans

Bourbon Street Shots

Nov 01

Solomon Jones suffers torn meniscus

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Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

Orlando Magic forward/center Solomon Jones has suffered a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today. Jones will undergo surgery and will be out indefinitely. He suffered the injury during Orlando’s overtime loss on Oct. 30 @ Minnesota.

Jones (6-10, 235, 7/16/84) was signed as a free agent on Sep. 27. He has played in two games this season, averaging 2.0 ppg. and 5.0 rpg. in 13.7 mpg. Jones also appeared in seven preseason outings, averaging 4.6 ppg., 4.3 rpg. and 1.29 spg. in 16.0 mpg.

A graduate of nearby Mount Dora High School, Jones was originally selected in the second round (33rd overall) of the 2006 NBA Draft by Atlanta. He has appeared in 272 career NBA games with Atlanta, Indiana, New Orleans, the Los Angeles Clippers, New York and Orlando, averaging 3.1 ppg. and 2.4 rpg. in 11.1 mpg. Collegiately, Jones played two years at Daytona Beach Community College, then two years at the University of South Florida

Nov 01

Orlando Magic announces Hall of Fame

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Photo taken by Fernando Medina

Via John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com:

Eager to honor and celebrate the great players, coaches and executives who have been a part of their illustrious 25-year history, the Orlando Magic are planning to create a Magic Hall of Fame that will be on display at the Amway Center.

Magic CEO Alex Martins made the announcement on Friday morning – just hours before the Magic’s home-opener to begin the 25th anniversary season – that the Hall of Fame will be a way to help bridge the past with the future of Magic basketball. Initial plans are for it to be designed so that Magic fans can enjoy the exhibits on game nights at the Amway Center.

“We’ve been trying to find a way to recognize the great players who have played for us that in some way memorializes them within the building for our fans,” Martins said. “We feel like this is the perfect way to do it. It will be a nice recognition for players, coaches and executives who have been a part of our history.’’

Nov 01

Appreciating T-Mac

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Photo by Fernando Medina-NBAE via Getty Images

There really isn’t a fresh angle to take when writing about the impact that Tracy McGrady had in Orlando that hasn’t already been covered.

He’s being honored tonight at Amway Center, and the Magic faithful will likely roar like a pack of lions for one of the most unbelievable talents to ever suit up in an NBA uniform. And if you’re attending the game but not planning on roaring, I suggest you read this piece as I cover the broad strokes of T-Mac’s career. Who knows? Maybe you’ll change your mind and let out a roar yourself.

McGrady was LeBron
When I was first learning about advanced statistics, Eddy Rivera had a pretty simple way of explaining PER to me: 15 is the league average, 20-24 is All-Star level, 25-29 is MVP level, and anything over 30 is LeBron territory. For the most part, he’s been right in that basic assessment.

So let’s compare apples-to-apples. In his transcendant 2002-03 season, the third year that T-Mac was with Orlando, he averaged 32.1 points to go along with 6.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game. By comparison, LeBron James averaged 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game in 2012-13 — regarded almost unanimously as the finest statistical season of his career.

Oh, and McGrady’s 30.3 PER in 2003 was a hair behind LeBron’s 31.6 PER in 2013. But perhaps the most ironic comparison is that T-Mac was LeBron before LeBron. McGrady was a 6-foot-8 maestro that bent the game to his will on the court with incredible ease. Sound familiar?

And in case there is any question about this, allow me to put it to rest. At his zenith in 2003, Tracy McGrady was the absolute best player in the league — better than Shaquille O’Neal, better than Tim Duncan, and better than Kevin Garnett. McGrady was a king among giants.

Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 31

Grades: Minnesota Timberwolves 120, Orlando Magic 115 (OT)

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Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

 

Minnesota Timberwolves 120 Final
Recap | Box Score
115 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
9-15 FG | 4-6 FT | 16 REB | 3 AST | 22 PTS | +8

Vucevic played out of character against the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday, but he looked more like himself versus the Minnesota Timberwolves, notching his first double-double of the season — with the added bonus that it came against fellow countrymen Nikola Pekovic. Vucevic returned to form by sticking with what he does best: scoring off of midrange jumpers and offensive rebound putbacks, and sucking up rebounds like a vacuum.

Victor Oladipo
5-14 FG | 1-5 3P | 6 REB | 4 AST | 14 PTS | -5

In the Magic’s first close game of the season, Oladipo was on the court in crunch time. And for literally a split-second, it looked as though he was going to be the hero after he made two clutch free-throws with 12.5 seconds left to give Orlando a 103-100 lead. But Kevin Love proved to be even more heroic with his game-tying 3-pointer, which came seconds later.

Arron Afflalo
11-22 FG | 3-5 3P | 9 REB | 5 AST | 28 PTS | +4

What’s worse? The fact that Afflalo was caught in no man’s land and defending nobody on Love’s game-tying 3-pointer? Or the fact that, on the ensuing possession, Afflalo held the ball in isolation for several seconds before clanking a fadeaway jumper to try to win the game? Bonus question: why did head coach Jacque Vaughn draw up an isolation play for Afflalo in the first place?

Jameer Nelson
7-17 FG | 3-11 3P | 4 REB | 8 AST | 18 PTS | -3

The Timberwolves’ strategy in defending Nelson in the pick-and-roll was by going under the pick and forcing him to shoot jumpers. And Nelson did that, making several 3-pointers off the dribble in pick-and-roll sets. But what was more surprising was that he was still able to get to the rim for layups, thanks to his foot speed. Father Time hasn’t caught up to Nelson yet.

Minnesota Timberwolves

With the Magic leading by the score of 103-100 in the closing seconds of regulation, it seemed like the obvious decision would have been to foul Minnesota before they attempted a 3-point shot. But that didn’t happen. Instead, Love made a wide-open 3-pointer to tie the game and send it into overtime, and the Timberwolves ultimately came away with a victory.

Oct 30

Video: Kevin Love’s game-tying shot

Oct 30

Preview: Orlando Magic at Minnesota Timberwolves

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Date: October 30, 2013
  • Time: 8:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Target Center

Records

  • Magic: 20-62
  • Timberwolves: 31-51

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Jason Maxiell
  • Nikola Vuvevic

Timberwolves:

  • Ricky Rubio
  • Kevin Martin
  • Corey Brewer
  • Kevin Love
  • Nikola Pekovic

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 92.2 (14th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.6 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 109.1 (24th of 30)

Timberwolves:

  • Pace: 92.8 (11th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 102.9 (25th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 105.4 (13th of 30)

Read about the Timberwolves

A Wolf Among Wolves

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