Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 61

Nov 27

Fox Sports Florida to reveal Top 25 Magic moments


Photo by Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

On Friday, Nov. 29 at 10:00 p.m., FOX Sports Florida, the regional television home of the Orlando Magic, will debut a new episode of “Inside the Magic” upon conclusion of the Magic vs. San Antonio Spurs game. Titled “Top 25 Moments,” this episode will take viewers through the different eras of Magic basketball, and along the way, showcase the 25 greatest moments in Orlando Magic history.

From the awarding of the franchise in 1987, to the NBA Finals in 1995 and 2009, this episode is filled with the absolute best moments in franchise history. Buzzer beaters, All-Star games and franchise record setting performances are all included in this truly must-watch episode for Magic fans statewide.

These episodes feature interviews with:

- Orlando Magic first collegiate draft pick / FOX Sports Florida analyst Nick Anderson

- Former Orlando Magic player (2004 – 2008) / FOX Sports Florida analyst Tony Battie

- Former Orlando Magic coach (1993 – 1997 & 2005 – 2007) / FOX Sports Florida analyst Brian Hill

- 25-season veteran Magic reporter / host Paul Kennedy

- Original radio voice of the Magic / FOX Sports Florida play-by-play announcer David Steele

- Orlando Magic inaugural team member / FOX Sports Florida analyst Jeff Turner

- Orlando Magic co-founder / first general manager Pat Williams

- Orlando Magic reporter Jessica Blaylock

- Orlando Magic announcer Dante Marchitelli

Nov 27

Victor Oladipo is still 21 years old

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Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Kids make mistakes, and in the world of the NBA, 21-year-old Victor Oladipo is still a kid. Sure, he’s a pogo stick on the hardwood, but he’s turning the ball over more than you’d like with very few assists to offset those mistakes. He’s not an NBA-level ballhandler yet, and his ability to finish or make decisions after blasting by the first line of defense remains a work in progress.

But ‘Dipo continues to be a fantastic defender, someone Magic fans can count on for the foreseeable future to give a crap about keeping his man out of the lane, going over screens, and using his strength to defend larger shooting guards and wings if they try to post him up. He’s a joy to watch on that side of ball and the team is stingier with him on the court as a whole. But because so often we’re watching games with offense-only blinders, it’s hard not to nag about his blunders out of the gate.

Every time we curse him when gets whistled for double-dribbling or palming, or when he leaves his feet without knowing where he’s going with the ball, or when he tries to thread the needle into an opening that’s no longer there, we forget that until last spring, Oladipo had never legally consumed an alcoholic beverage. He is the Lamb and NBA defenses are the Tyger, even though he’s one of the few recent draftees to have stayed in college for his junior year.

Despite that third year at Indiana, he’s still very, very young, and inexperience is his largest culprit for squiggling his dribble away in the lane. He’s already improved what was once an awful outside shot while at Indiana, and now he can make opposing guards pay when they go underneath that high screen.

But for every double team he tries to split when the defender shows on the other side of that pick, for every palming call he gets called for because he’s a rookie, you just have to smile like you would with a teenager. If you’re coach Jacque Vaughn, you provide encouragement and advice instead of vitriol after every dumb-headed mistake.

I’ve only gone back and looked at ‘Dipo’s performance as a pick-and-roll ballhandler, which makes up 40.9 percent of his offensive possessions that end in a shot, turnover or foul, per Synergy. He’s turning the ball 22.1 percent of the time, which isn’t very good if that’s his predominate method of getting a look.

But whenever you’re watching him forcing the action or playing just a little out of control, remember how out of control you were when your friends took you home following your first night out as a legal drinker.

Then compound that by all the unusual stressors that can knock rookies down before they’ve even gotten settled: the new money, the groupies, the older and usually stronger opponents and teammates that have been doing this professionally for a long time.

Those first couple years after kids get an undergraduate degree can often make or break how their adult life shapes up. That’s where Oladipo stands right now, on the threshold of doing something great. Lets remind ourselves of that the next time he throws the ball directly to a defender.

Nov 27

Grades: Orlando Magic 109, Atlanta Hawks 92


Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images


Orlando Magic 109 Final
Recap | Box Score
92 Atlanta Hawks

Nikola Vucevic
4-7 FG | 4-5 FT | 15 REB | 3 AST | 12 PTS | +15

With his jump shot not connecting from midrange, Vucevic did much of his damage offensively in the paint. And he did it by going up strong at the rim. Just ask Gustavo Ayon, who incurred the brunt of Vucevic’s wrath. Like on one possession late in the first quarter, where Vucevic backed down Ayon and finished with a left-handed dunk.

Victor Oladipo
7-11 FG | 3-3 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 18 PTS | +17

Four first half fouls, which forced Oladipo to start the second half on the bench, was about the only thing that slowed him down. Oladipo was dynamite, particularly in the game’s final stanza, where he exploded for 10 points in the fourth quarter. His right-handed tomahawk dunk over Paul Millsap and Al Horford midway through the fourth was — in a word — spectacular.

Arron Afflalo
9-18 FG | 4-7 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 26 PTS | +12

Afflalo’s efficiency on offense is tied to his 3-point shooting. When he’s drilling 3s, you can pretty much count on him having an efficient night — that’s been the case for him so far this season. About the only thing you can quibble about Afflalo’s performance in this game was that he was abnormally quiet in the rebounds and assists department.

Andrew Nicholson
8-11 FG | 1-2 3P | 1 BLK | 8 REB | 18 PTS | +19

It’s not a stretch to say that Nicholson is the Magic’s most complete player offensively. He put his entire repertoire on display against the Hawks. He scored in the post, from midrange, and behind the 3-point line, and he did it with such grace. It’s rare to see a second-year player in the NBA, who’s only 23 years old, with such a polished offensive game.

Atlanta Hawks

With their blowout victory, Orlando achieved two milestones. First, they snapped an 11-game regular season losing streak versus Atlanta and second, they won their first regular season contest at Philips Arena in exactly four years. And the Magic have Jameer Nelson to thank. He spearheaded a 36-20 third quarter that changed the complexion of the game by picking apart the Hawks’ defense with surgical precision.

Nov 27

Video: Victor Oladipo elevates and detonates

Nov 26

Preview: Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks


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


  • Magic: 4-9
  • Hawks: 8-6

Probable starters


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


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

Advanced stats


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


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

Read about the Hawks


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


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


  • Suns: 6-6
  • Magic: 4-8

Probable starters


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


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

Advanced stats


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


  • 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

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