Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 61

Mar 23

Highlights: Maurice Harkless puts on a show

Mar 23

Video: Maurice Harkless goes coast-to-coast

Mar 23

Grades: Oklahoma City Thunder 97, Orlando Magic 89

Screen Shot 2013-03-24 at 1.36.51 PM

AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.

 

Oklahoma City Thunder 97 Final
Recap | Box Score
89 Orlando Magic

Maurice Harkless
11-18 FG | 2-3 3P | 4 BLK | 9 REB | 25 PTS | -9

What a game for Harkless. He dazzled Magic fans with numerous highlight-reel worthy plays. His coast-to-coast layup early in the fourth quarter was the best of the bunch. It started with Harkless defending Kevin Martin on the perimeter. It ended with Harkless swiping the ball away from Martin, racing down the court, spinning around Martin to get by him, and finishing the sequence with a layup.

Jameer Nelson
7-17 FG | 2-7 3P | 5 REB | 10 AST | 16 PTS | -7

After a quiet first half, Nelson exploded in the third quarter. He scored 14 points in the period and led the comeback charge, alongside Harkless, for the Magic, helping to erase a 11-point halftime deficit. Nelson was dropping bombs from 3-point range and knifing through the Thunder’s defense for layups. However, he didn’t score a single point in the fourth quarter, as Oklahoma City clamped down on him defensively.

Beno Udrih
5-10 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 13 PTS | -5

After Arron Afflalo had to come out of the game with a strained right hamstring early in the second quarter, Udrih stepped up for Orlando and was a calming presence offensively. Playing alongside Nelson at the two-guard spot, Udrih did an excellent job of facilitating the Magic’s offense as a secondary ball handler, while also providing a steady dose of scoring.

Tobias Harris
3-17 FG | 4-4 FT | 15 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | -8

Harris made two critical mistakes in crunch time that cost Orlando dearly. First, with the Magic trailing 90-88, he forced up a running jump shot against Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka that missed badly with less than a minute to go. Then on the ensuing possession and Orlando down 92-88 with 39.1 seconds left, Harris made a bad inbounds pass that got stolen by Kevin Durant.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Definitely not the best performance for the Thunder, but they got the job done. The key to this game was their interior defense. Time and again late in the fourth quarter, Oklahoma City protected their narrow lead by being able to prevent the Magic from scoring in the paint. Perkins and Ibaka provided a big lift for the Thunder in that regard and were the difference makers.

Mar 22

Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Oklahoma City Thunder at Orlando Magic
  • Date: March 22, 2013
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Thunder: 50-19
  • Magic: 18-51

Probable starters

Thunder:

  • Russell Westbrook
  • Thabo Sefolosha
  • Kevin Durant
  • Serge Ibaka
  • Kendrick Perkins

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Tobias Harris
  • Kyle O’Quinn

Advanced stats

Thunder:

  • Pace: 93.8 (8th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 112.5 (2nd of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 102.9 (8th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 91.9 (15th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 102.1 (25th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 109.3 (26th of 30)

Read about the Thunder

Daily Thunder

Mar 20

Grades: New York Knicks 106, Orlando Magic 94

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Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

 

New York Knicks 106 Final
Recap | Box Score
94 Orlando Magic

Kyle O’Quinn
5-10 FG | 2-4 FT | 14 REB | 4 AST | 12 PTS | +15

Give it up for O’Quinn. It was his best game so far in his rookie season, as he set career-highs in points, rebounds, and assists while notching his first career double-double. And better yet, the Queens native did it in his hometown at Madison Square Garden — the Mecca of basketball. You have to imagine he’ll remember this game when his career is over.

Beno Udrih
5-8 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 13 PTS | +12

With Jameer Nelson having an off night, the Magic were provided with steady point guard play from Udrih instead. Crafty as always, Udrih was excellent in the pick-and-roll, particularly in the second quarter when he and O’Quinn were two-man gaming the Knicks to death. He’s one of the main reasons that Orlando was able to erase a double-digit deficit before the game got away from them in the third.

Andrew Nicholson
5-8 FG | 4-6 FT | 1 STL | 3 REB | 14 PTS | +7

Watching Nicholson go to work in the post is a thing of beauty, especially when he cripples defenders with his sublime footwork. Just ask J.R. Smith, who’s still trying to come down from the rafters after Nicholson faked him out with an up-and-under move on the left block on a possession late in the fourth quarter. The up-fake allowed Nicholson to finish with an easy layup.

Tobias Harris
7-10 FG | 0-1 3P | 5 REB | 0 AST | 14 PTS | -26

What a weird night for Harris. Nikola Vucevic was a late scratch (flu) and missed his first game of the season. That forced Harris, who’s been starting at power forward for the Magic since March 8, to start at center. Probably not what he was expecting when he woke up this morning. The irony is that he probably lucked out by defending Kenyon Martin instead of Carmelo Anthony.

New York Knicks

The Knicks have been decimated by knee injuries in recent weeks, with Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire sitting out with varying ailments. The good news for New York was that they got Melo back after he missed six of the last eight games with a sore right knee, and he looked spry and healthy. And J.R. Swish showed up to play. And the 3-ball was falling for the Knicks.

Mar 20

Video: DeQuan Jones with a nasty stuff

Mar 20

Preview: Orlando Magic at New York Knicks

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at New York Knicks
  • Date: March 20, 2013
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Madison Square Garden

Records

  • Magic: 18-50
  • Knicks: 39-26

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • E’Twaun Moore
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Tobias Harris

Knicks:

  • Raymond Felton
  • Pablo Prigioni
  • Iman Shumpert
  • Carmelo Anthony
  • Kenyon Martin

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 92.0 (15th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 102.0 (25th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 109.1 (26th of 30)

Knicks:

  • Pace: 90.2 (25th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 109.2 (7th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.2 (17th of 30)

Read about the Knicks

Knicker Blogger

Mar 20

Grades: Indiana Pacers 95, Orlando Magic 73

Capture

AP Photo/Darron Cummings

 

Indiana Pacers 95 Final
Recap | Box Score
73 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
4-12 FG | 1-4 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | -11

Vucevic’s night could be summed up in one play. Midway through the third quarter, as Vucevic was fighting for a defensive rebound, he got popped in the face by an inadvertent elbow from Tyler Hansbrough. Vucevic walked off the court to gather himself, which forced head coach Jacque Vaughn to take a timeout. It was a prime example of how the Pacers’ frontline played Vucevic — with brute force.

Maurice Harkless
4-12 FG | 1-2 3P | 4 STL | 8 REB | 10 PTS | -12

It’s ironic that Harkless drew the primary defensive assignment against Paul George because it’s easy to visualize Harkless becoming as good of a defender as him. Heck, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Harkless could become a better defensive player than George. This game provided Harkless with a baseline for who he should thrive to become like on defense.

Arron Afflalo
3-13 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | -12

Defended primarily by George, who is widely seen as one of the best defensive players in the NBA, Afflalo had a hard time dealing with George’s length. Getting many clean looks at the basket, whether it was from the perimeter or at the rim, was a major challenge. George handcuffed Afflalo, with a little bit of help from Gerald Green.

Beno Udrih
3-6 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | -14

Udrih provided the Magic with a bit of a spark at the tail end of the third quarter, but it was all for naught in the grand scheme of things. Considering the circumstances, in which every Magic starter struggled offensively, Udrih was one of the few players for Orlando that could say he had a decent enough outing on offense.

Indiana Pacers

If you didn’t know any better, you would have thought a late ’90s Miami Heat-New York Knicks game broke out in Indiana. It was that ugly of a game, but you can imagine the Pacers enjoyed it. They physically manhandled the Magic, with Hansbrough leading the way. Filling in for an injured David West (sprained lower back), Hansbrough had a double-double and was a Grade A pest.

Mar 19

Preview: Orlando Magic at Indiana Pacers

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Indiana Pacers
  • Date: March 19, 2013
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Records

  • Magic: 18-49
  • Pacers: 41-26

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Tobias Harris
  • Nikola Vucevic

Pacers:

  • George Hill
  • Lance Stephenson
  • Paul George
  • Tyler Hansbrough
  • Roy Hibbert

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 92.0 (15th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 102.4 (25th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 109.2 (26th of 30)

Pacers:

  • Pace: 90.0 (26th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 104.0 (20th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 99.1 (1st of 30)

Read about the Pacers

8 Points, 9 Seconds

Mar 19

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports: “Despite the Magic’s horrible season with Dwight Howard gone, the franchise was wise not to trade for Andrew Bynum. They found a gem when they acquired center Nikola Vucevic from Philadelphia. Poor Sixers.”
  • Zach Lowe of Grantland: “The Magic are bad, but they are surprisingly watchable for an NBA junkie curious about some intriguing and positionally ambiguous young parts. Tobias Harris has done well in extended minutes, combining a power game with a decent 3-point stroke, and Moe Harkless looks like he’s going to be a nice two-way slasher. Pairing that duo with Al Harrington in a funky and smallish front line, with Harrington playing center, makes for some enjoyable (and risky) ball, and replacing Harrington with a traditional center in Nikola Vucevic only ups the “interesting young guy” quotient. Give these guys a watch.”
  • The Indiana Pacers should have little trouble with the Orlando Magic in tonight’s game.
  • The Magic are hoping to take advantage of the tired Pacers, who are playing their fourth game in five nights.
  • General manager Rob Hennigan made the right decision by passing on the chance to acquire Andrew Bynum in the Dwight Howard blockbuster trade: “The Philadelphia 76ers, the hard-luck recipients of Bynum and his balky knees, announced on Monday that the 7-footer would be having season-ending surgery on not one, but both knees. If you’re scoring at home, that’s zero games played, $16.5 million paid out, several dozen questionable hairdos along the sidelines, zero cartilage, mountains of Philly fan angst and two 60-year-old knees in a 25-year-old body.”
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