Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 61

Jan 31

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Glen Davis will undergo surgery on Friday to repair a fractured fifth metatarsal in his left foot, and Orlando Magic officials expect him to miss eight to 12 weeks, leaving his return by the end of the season in serious doubt.”
  • Jameer Nelson is a master of the trick shot.
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie reacts to news that Glen Davis may miss the rest of the season with a fractured left foot.
  • Ben Golliver of The Point Forward breaks down the repercussions of Davis’ injury: “The Magic sit in 12th place in the Eastern Conference with a 14-31 record. The loss to the Knicks marked their seventh consecutive defeat during what has been Year One of a rebuilding season following the blockbuster trade of All-Star center Dwight Howard last summer. There are still 11 full weeks until Orlando’s final regular-season game of the season. Of course, given their positioning relative to the playoff picture, there’s no reason to rush Davis back into the lineup for meaningless games down the stretch.”
  • With Davis out for the foreseeable future, more playing time could be on the horizon for Andrew Nicholson.
  • Despite standout performances from Nelson and J.J. Redick, the Magic lost to the New York Knicks in last night’s game.
  • Video of Davis’ fracturing his left foot after stepping on Iman Shumpert’s foot while running up the court.
  • With Davis potentially out with a season-ending injury and the Magic having lost 18 of their last 20 games, Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel says it’s time for Orlando to focus on developing players for the future.
  • Amin Elhassan of ESPN Insider: “One of the less heralded pieces of the Dwight Howard trade, Vucevic has quietly emerged as one of the most productive young centers in the league after not playing much in his rookie year in Philadelphia. He’s an elite rebounder on both ends, checking at No. 6 in DRB (27.1) and No. 20 in ORB (12.2). He’s one of only 10 players in the league averaging a double-double.”

Jan 30

Recap: New York Knicks 113, Orlando Magic 97

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Photo by Ray Amati/NBAE via Getty Images

BOX SCORE

The Magic are great at having small successes, but still losing games. The interesting thing is that the small successes, just like the ways they end up losing games, change from night to night. On Wednesday, Orlando had no trouble scoring from the perimeter and did a great job containing Carmelo Anthony, but lost the game in the paint.

As far as defensive schemes go, the Magic did a wonderful job on Carmelo Anthony in the first half and really the entire game. With Maurice Harkless guarding him straight up, Orlando switched in and out of double and even triple teams, and held Carmelo to a meager nine points in the first half.

Melo would finish the night with 20 points (setting a Knicks franchise record with his 30th straight 20-point game), but he shot just 2-for-7 from deep, and, aside from a little scoring burst in the fourth quarter was, at least by his standards, not a huge factor in the game.

And yes, Harkless resembled more than just a decent defender. Even Clyde Frazier pointed out in the broadcast that the reason Harkless is going to be a good player in this league is because he’s a terrific defender. Harkless stayed with Anthony just enough to make sure he didn’t get hot and hang 40 on the Magic. More importantly, he turned Carmelo into a jumpshooter and protected the paint by guiding Melo into help defense.

But Carmelo was not the main attacking option for the Knicks in this one.

For most of the night, Redick and Nelson were getting buckets at will. Nelson absolutely abused Raymond Felton with his first step, and, much like the last meeting with the Knicks, found his way to the rim easily. Similarly, Redick attacked, but more importantly was shooting well from deep. All the while, Carmelo was relatively contained.

The biggest issue for Orlando, though, was their inability to stop Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire in the paint. Chandler and Stoudemire combined to score 35 points and shoot 17-for-18 from the floor. There was truly nothing Orlando could do to stop them and you have to think they felt the loss of Glen Davis (who left the game early in the first quarter with a broken left foot), especially in the moments when Andrew Nicholson was guarding Tyson Chandler.

To sum it up, you can’t go up with Nikola Vucevic and basically no one else, and expect to shut down Stoudemire and Chandler (much less win the game). And that’s an interesting problem to end up with, considering the primary issues at the outset were scoring and containing Carmelo.

Again, it’s a strange year for so many reasons, not the least of which is the constant shifting of successes and struggles for this young Magic team.

MVP (Most Valuable Player)

J.J. Redick. 29 points on 9-for-14 shooting (4-for-7 from three-point range) basically says it all. Redick was lights out and made us all forget for a few moments that Afflalo was not in the lineup.

Defining Moment

After playing the first four minutes of the game, Glen Davis left the court with a broken left foot. His absence left a huge hole in the Magic frontcourt, and opened the flood gates for Chandler and Stoudemire.

That Was … a Waste

It would have been nice to have seen this output from Orlando’s starting backcourt with a fully staffed squad. Instead, the Magic fall for the seventh straight time, and outside of the fantasy world, those 50 combined points from Redick and Nelson were all for naught.

Jan 30

Preview: Orlando Magic at New York Knicks

Essentials

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

Records

  • Magic: 14-30
  • Knicks: 27-15

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • J.J. Redick
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Glen Davis
  • Nikola Vucevic

Knicks:

  • Raymond Felton
  • Jason Kidd
  • Iman Shumpert
  • Carmelo Anthony
  • Tyson Chandler

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 91.4 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 103.2 (23rd of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.5 (24th of 30)

Knicks:

  • Pace: 90.6 (23rd of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 110.5 (3rd of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.0 (16th of 30)

Read about the Knicks

KnickerBlogger

Jan 30

Nikola Vucevic named to 2013 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge

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Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic was named to the 2013 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge to be played Friday, Feb. 15, in Houston during NBA All-Star 2013, as announced today by the NBA. The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge consists of current rookies and sophomores selected to the roster by the NBA’s assistant coaches.

Vucevic leads all second-year players in rebounding at 11.2 rpg., ranking in the NBA’s top five overall. He also ranks in the top ten among all “sophomores” in field goal percentage, shooting .522, and in scoring at 11.9 ppg. Vucevic is the only second-year player in the NBA averaging a double-double.

Others named to the roster include the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving, the reigning Kia NBA Rookie of the Year and a 2013 NBA All-Star, and rookies Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Hornets and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers. Davis, the overall No. 1 selection in the 2012 NBA Draft presented by State Farm, is tied for the rookie lead in rebounds (7.6 rpg) and ranks first in blocks (1.8 bpg). Lillard has won consecutive Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month awards, and is leading first-year players in scoring (18.1 ppg) and assists (6.6 apg).

The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge — televised live nationally on TNT at 9 p.m. ET and broadcast live on ESPN Radio, with live audio also available on NBA.com in multiple languages — features two teams each consisting of nine rookies and sophomores mixed together, drafted from a pool selected by the NBA’s assistant coaches.

Jan 29

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports: “The Magic have dropped six straight and have only won twice in January. There isn’t much hope for optimism ahead with upcoming road games against New York, Boston, Milwaukee and Philadelphia.”
  • Kyle O’Quinn threw a pass directly at Andray Blatche’s face in last night’s game between the Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets.
  • The Nets led by as much as 26 points in their 97-77 win yesterday against the Magic.
  • Video of Glen Davis cradling Gerald Wallace like a big baby.
  • Zach Lowe of Grantland with praise for the Magic broadcasting duo of David Steele and Matt Guokas: “Right up there with Brooklyn’s group as perhaps the very best on your League Pass dial. David Steele is evenhanded on play-by-play, and you can tell Matt Guokas devours every piece of NBA material he can find — lineup data, local coverage, blog posts from all over the Internet, and lots of other stuff. The facts Guokas brings up aren’t the inane talking points other crews spout. In a landscape of mute-worthy homers, we must acknowledge the great work of those trying to bring information over fluff and noise.”
  • Arron Afflalo has been one of the best midrange jumpshooters in the NBA this season. Ironic, given that his shot selection has come under question for not taking enough corner threes.
  • Davis, who has gotten a technical foul in each of Orlando’s last four games, vows to keep quiet from now on and not say anything to the officials.

Jan 29

A midseason review on the Magic

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

The Magic’s season is now 44 games old and and while some characteristics of this team are starting to take focus, others are still a bit hazier. The Magic are somehow simultaneously exactly what we thought they’d be and not really anything like we thought they’d be. Results are inconclusive.

Instead of looking at expectations for this season and grading the Magic accordingly, this is an exercise in bringing everyone up to speed on who exactly the Magic are, what exactly they’re made up of, and how they arrived at a 14-30 record.

You’re only as good as your record
A 14-30 record is bad, but evaluating the Magic at this point is not as simple as citing wins and losses. Looking at a team’s record is what you do when you have a fully stocked and competitive roster that is competing for home-court advantage in the playoffs, and has even an outside chance of winning a championship. Orlando is not in that position. So we should really throw their record out the window.

After all, more than a handful of the Magic’s losses this year have been in close games and against good teams. The problem is that the Magic still lack a serious scorer and in no way have proven that they can close a game out. Competitiveness can only get you so far in a game. At some point, you need someone to take over (preferably multiple options on that front).

You honestly could make an argument that this team could be gunning for a playoff spot if they only had a closer. Think back to a couple weeks ago when the Magic played neck-and-neck with the Knicks for three and a half quarters, only to be bested by Carmelo Anthony down the stretch. The only thing that can really combat that is a Carmelo of your own or something similar.

The point is that we know Orlando is a bad team, but that does not mean that all is bad. Throwing wins and losses around doesn’t really capture what is really going on this season. There is plenty of good, in fact, within this organization at the moment. So if you want to talk about records, consider the fact that Orlando isn’t too far off from being a playoff team when taking into account all the close losses they’ve had.

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Jan 29

Recap: Brooklyn Nets 97, Orlando Magic 77

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Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

BOX SCORE

Let’s just cut to the chase.

With each loss, the Orlando Magic are confirming everyone’s suspicion before the season began that they were going to be one of the worst teams in the NBA.

After beginning the season with a 12-13 record, it seemed like the Magic were going to defy expectations. Orlando’s defense was leading the charge and an overachieving group was coming away with impressive road wins over teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors.

Then reality set in. The Magic regressed defensively and as a result, they went on a season-high 10-game losing streak. Orlando’s surprising 12-13 start seemed so long ago.

The Magic snapped their 10-game losing streak with a thrilling 104-101 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers and followed that up with an impressive win against the Indiana Pacers four days later.

Unfortunately for Orlando, they’ve reverted back to their losing ways. With their latest loss, this time at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets, the Magic are now in the middle of their second-longest losing streak of the season (six games).

The Nets had a strong first half thanks to Deron Williams (18 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the floor). He was scoring from all over the court and there was very little Orlando could do to stop him from doing whatever he wanted on offense. Williams was supplemented by strong first half performances from Brook Lopez (12 points) and Joe Johnson (7 points).

In the third quarter, Brooklyn took their foot off the gas pedal and allowed the Magic to get back into the game. Glen Davis, Maurice Harkless, and Nikola Vucevic combined to score 21 of Orlando’s 23 points in the period and cut the deficit to seven heading into the fourth quarter.

Harkless (who finished with a career-high 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting), in particular, was impressive in the third quarter, nailing two three-pointers from the corners and showing glimpses of the type of player he can be in the NBA — a “3-and-D” specialist.

But the Nets woke up in the final period. Brooklyn went on a 23-4 run to start the quarter and road some hot three-point shooting from their “Bench Mob” to blow the game wide open and put the Magic away.

Aside from Harkless’ career night, there isn’t much else to take away from this game.

After tying a career-high with 31 points against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, J.J. Redick couldn’t hit the broad side of the barn against Brooklyn (2-for-13 shooting). He did, however, set a new career-high with 10 assists. And Nikola Vucevic had another solid performance, finishing with 18 points and nine rebounds.

But the fact of the matter is that Orlando is who we thought they were before the season started — a bad team.

MVP (Most Valuable Player)

Williams did most of his damage in the first half, scoring 18 of his 20 points to give the Nets a 16-point lead at the break. Williams played the role of facilitator in the second half and finished with nine assists.

X-Factor

The “Bench Mob” for Brooklyn were the difference makers against the Magic. The Nets’ second unit outscored Orlando’s bench, 41-14, and helped blow the game wide open in the fourth quarter. 

Defining Moment

After a lackluster third quarter, in which Brooklyn was outscored 23-14 by the Magic and relinquished a double-digit lead, the Nets opened the final period on a 23-4 run and cruised to a 97-77 victory. 

Jan 28

Preview: Orlando Magic at Brooklyn Nets

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Brooklyn Nets
  • Date: January 28, 2013
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: NBA TV
  • Arena: Barclays Center

Records

  • Magic: 14-29
  • Nets: 26-18

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • J.J. Redick
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Glen Davis
  • Nikola Vucevic

Nets:

  • Deron Williams
  • Joe Johnson
  • Gerald Wallace
  • Reggie Evans
  • Brook Lopez

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 91.5 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 103.4 (20th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.4 (24th of 30)

Nets:

  • Pace: 88.1 (30th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 107.7 (9th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.4 (19th of 30)

Read about the Nets

The Brooklyn Game

Jan 28

Recap: Detroit Pistons 104, Orlando Magic 102

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Photo by FPaul Chapman/NBAE via Getty Images

BOX SCORE

The Magic’s offensive strategy in Sunday’s loss to the Pistons was pretty simple: Get the ball to J.J. Redick and hope he can get a three-pointer off. The box score will show that other Magic players had excellent games, namely Jameer Nelson, E’Twaun Moore, and Nikola Vucevic. But Orlando’s offense functioned at its best when the ball was in Redick’s hands.

This couldn’t have been more apparent than in the final five minutes of the first quarter. After starting the game 5-for-5 from beyond the arc and singlehandedly putting the Magic on top, Redick exited as they held onto an 18-17 lead. Over the rest of the quarter, the Pistons proceeded to go on a 12-2 run and end the period leading 29-20.

From there, the momentum was Detroit’s friend, and even though the Magic caught up and led several times throughout the game, it was impossible not to think about how differently things might have turned out if Jacque Vaughn had left Redick in early on when he was the only thing working.

In the second half, the Pistons made a more concerted effort to keep a body on Redick at all times and his shooting cooled considerably. Jameer Nelson hit a few key shots in the half, but for the most part, Orlando’s offense sans Redick was lacking.

Glen Davis had the most Big Baby game imaginable, finishing with 17 points and 12 rebounds but taking 22 shots to get to that mark. And, shockingly, seven of his eight makes came from within the restricted area. Several times he was content to jack up a 22-footer when Redick had a relatively good look from beyond the arc. In other words, business as usual for Big Baby.

Even with these misjudgments on the part of Davis and others, the Magic were right in the game until the final buzzer.

Nelson was fouled shooting a three with 6 seconds remaining in regulation and the Magic trailing 104-100. He hit the first two free throws and intentionally missed the third. Davis corralled the rebound, wasn’t able to get a layup over the Pistons’ bigs (and this was without Andre Drummond in the game), and Orlando blew several second-chance opportunities as the clock expired. The Magic had every opportunity to send the game to overtime and couldn’t get it done.

These types of close losses are starting to run together for the Magic, and after a while, there’s not a lot more they can teach us. The takeaways here are that Redick should shoot a lot and Big Baby shouldn’t. But we knew that.

MVP (Most Valuable Player)

Redick equalled his career-high of 31 points and did so on 10-for-16 shooting. He was unconscious from beyond the arc in the first half, hitting five of his eight threes in the first quarter.

X-Factor

The Pistons won the turnover battle and scored 16 points off the Magic’s mistakes. Eight of Orlando’s turnovers came in the second quarter, when the Pistons opened up a 10-point lead.

Defining Moment

With six seconds remaining, Jameer Nelson missed the third of three free throws and the Magic blew several second-chance opportunities that would have sent the game to overtime.

Jan 27

Preview: Detroit Pistons at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Detroit Pistons at Orlando Magic
  • Date: January 27, 2013
  • Time: 6:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Pistons: 15-27
  • Magic: 14-28

Probable starters

Pistons:

  • Brandon Knight
  • Kyle Singler
  • Tayshaun Prince
  • Jason Maxiell
  • Greg Monroe

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • J.J. Redick
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Glen Davis
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Pistons:

  • Pace: 89.9 (25th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 104.2 (16th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 105.6 (15th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 91.5 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 103.2 (21st of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.2 (24th of 30)

Read about the Pistons

Piston Powered

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