Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 65

Mar 11

Grades: Orlando Magic 99, Philadelphia 76ers 91

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Orlando Magic 99 Final
Recap | Box Score
91 Philadelphia 76ers

Nikola Vucevic
7-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 BLK | 17 REB | 14 PTS | -1

Just another day in the office for Vucevic. You can’t help but wonder what Sixers head coach Doug Collins was thinking as he watched Vucevic post his second double-double against Philadelphia this season (out of three regular season meetings) and his 35th double-double overall. The same player that Collins benched in the playoffs last season in favor of Lavoy Allen and Spencer Hawes.

Jameer Nelson
9-17 FG | 5-9 3P | 5 REB | 10 AST | 24 PTS | +7

Jameerkat emerged from his burrow to play an excellent ballgame. He played distributor early on, with seven of his 10 assists coming in the first quarter. But as the night wore on, Jameer became much more aggressive offensively — particularly in the pick-and-roll. And it was his baseline jumper with the shot clock winding down and the Magic up 96-91 with 32.8 seconds left that iced the game.

Arron Afflalo
7-14 FG | 2-3 3P | 0 REB| 4 AST | 17 PTS | +5

Not a bad week for Afflalo. He was clutch in Orlando’s win against the New Orleans Hornets and he came up big again against the Sixers. Afflalo made back-to-back buckets in crunch time that allowed the Magic to pull away from Philadelphia, including a corner three with 59.8 seconds left that served as the dagger. Needless to say, Afflalo isn’t afraid to take a big shot.

Tobias Harris
7-16 FG | 1-4 3P | 7 REB | 3 AST | 15 PTS | +11

Harris had the highlight of the night when he threw a nifty behind-the-back pass to Vucevic for a dunk in the second quarter. Even though it’s admirable that Harris isn’t shy about trying to score, it’s nice to see that he’s capable of setting up his teammates every now and then. That sort of playmaking will go a long way in helping Harris become a more complete player offensively.

Philadelphia 76ers

What a strange game for the Sixers. Thaddeus Young went bonkers, Damien Wilkins somehow hurt Orlando as a scorer, and Jrue Holiday — Philadelphia’s lone All-Star this season — looked downright terrible at times. Then you had Hawes having one of his random good games. The Sixers, as a team, were all over the map en route to another loss.

Mar 11

Video: Tobias Harris with a nifty pass

Mar 10

Preview: Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic
  • Date: March 10, 2013
  • Time: 6:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Sixers: 23-38
  • Magic: 17-46

Probable starters

Sixers:

  • Jrue Holiday
  • Evan Turner
  • Charles Jenkins
  • Thaddeus Young
  • Spencer Hawes

Magic:

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

Advanced stats

Sixers:

  • Pace: 90.9 (21st of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.9 (28th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 105.3 (12th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 91.6 (17th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 102.2 (25th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 109.2 (26th of 30)

Read about the Sixers

Hoop76

Mar 09

Grades: Indiana Pacers 115, Orlando Magic 86

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AP Photo/John Raoux

 

Indiana Pacers 115 Final
Recap | Box Score
86 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 BLK | 6 REB | 12 PTS | -23

During his 25-point, 21-rebound performance against the Miami Heat on Wednesday, at times it seemed like Vucevic was that one big kid playing against a bunch of little kids at a local rec league, using his height to score and rebound at will. Against the 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert and the Pacers, a team known for their length, that size advantage went out the window quickly.

Arron Afflalo
6-13 FG | 2-5 3P | 1 REB | 1 AST | 18 PTS | -20

The highlight of the night for Afflalo was his little fracas with Paul George early in the first quarter. The altercation began after Afflalo drove to the basket against Roy Hibbert and George, and drew a non-shooting foul on Hibbert. Afflalo and George got entangled under the basket after the play was over, then threw an elbow at each other, which triggered a double-technical.

Jameer Nelson
3-10 FG | 2-5 3P | 3 REB| 6 AST | 10 PTS | -22

After picking apart the Heat’s defense two days ago, Nelson had a much harder time breaking down Indiana defensively. And Hibbert, an elite defender that deserves consideration for Defensive Player of the Year, was the main reason for that. He lorded over the paint and that made it tough for Nelson to wreak havoc with dribble penetration.

Beno Udrih
5-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 7 AST | 12 PTS | -7

There isn’t much to say about Udrih’s performance, given that most of his stats came in garbage time when the Pacers had already put the game to bed. If there’s anything to note, it’s that Udrih scored all of his points in the fourth quarter. He did much of his damage running pick-and-rolls and pulling up for midrange jumpers, which is what he does best.

Indiana Pacers

After getting embarrassed by the Magic in a 97-86 loss on January 16, Indiana exacted a bit of revenge this time around. D.J. Augustin and Tyler Hansbrough provided a nice boost coming off the bench, helping the Pacers build a double-digit lead in the second quarter. Then George put the nail in the coffin by scoring 18 third quarter points and helping to blow the game wide open.

Mar 09

Video: DeQuan Jones with a tomahawk jam

Mar 08

Preview: Indiana Pacers at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Indiana Pacers at Orlando Magic
  • Date: March 8, 2013
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Pacers: 38-23
  • Magic: 17-45

Probable starters

Pacers:

  • George Hill
  • Lance Stephenson
  • Paul George
  • David West
  • Roy Hibbert

Magic:

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

Advanced stats

Pacers:

  • Pace: 89.7 (26th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 103.4 (20th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 98.7 (1st of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 91.6 (17th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 102.4 (25th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 109.0 (26th of 30)

Read about the Pacers

8 Points, 9 Seconds

Mar 07

Nikola Vucevic: the Magic’s big bargain

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Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

When Bill Simmons wrote at Grantland last week that Nikola Vucevic has the 11th-best bargain contract in the NBA, he was not just whistling Dixie. Not only is Vucevic averaging a double-double (12.3 ppg and 11.4 rpg), he’s also shown the capacity to put up huge numbers (just ask the Miami Heat). And the kicker is that he’s doing it all for $1.7 million this season.

Simmons breaks down his bargains, but I tend to think there are only two real types of value contracts in the landscape of the new CBA: 1.) a superstar on a max contract like LeBron James or Kevin Durant and 2.) a player on a rookie-scale contract that’s already a stud — guys like Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis come to mind immediately.

Vucevic definitely belongs in the second category. I think the best way to realize his ridiculous value is to compare his production with those around him and then find out what his contemporaries are getting paid.

For instance, right now Vucevic has a Player Efficiency Rating (17.4) that’s on par with Emeka Okafor (16.3) and DeAndre Jordan (16.8), who make $13.5 million and $10.5 million respectively. Vucevic, I repeat, makes $1.7 million this season and is putting up comparable numbers when examining all three players side-by-side. That alone shows that Vucevic is a bargain for the Orlando Magic.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 07

Highlights: Nikola Vucevic’s 20-20 game in Miami

Mar 07

Video: Maurice Harkless finishes the alley-oop

Mar 07

Grades: Miami Heat 97, Orlando Magic 96

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AP Photo/J Pat Carter

 

Miami Heat 97 Final
Recap | Box Score
96 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
11-16 FG | 3-3 FT | 21 REB | 4 AST | 25 PTS | +9

No, Vucevic didn’t grab a franchise-record 29 rebounds this time around, but he did tie a career-high with 25 points to help fuel his second 20-20 game of his career (both taking place this season against the Heat). It was déjà vu all over again, as Vucevic towered over Miami’s undersized frontline, and channeled his inner-Moses Malone with offensive rebounds and putbacks galore.

Jameer Nelson
6-18 FG | 3-11 3P | 2 REB | 14 AST | 16 PTS | +9

Missing 12 shots is bad, but the night wasn’t a total disaster for Nelson. He did a good enough job of distributing the basketball and setting up his teammates, flicking passes all over the court like a game of darts. Most of the times Nelson got a bullseye (14 assists — one shy of his career-high). Other times he missed (six turnovers).

Tobias Harris
6-15 FG | 3-5 FT | 7 REB| 1 AST | 16 PTS | +6

Harris was involved on a game-changing sequence that proved to be costly for the Magic. With less than a minute left and Orlando up 96-93, Harris made a floater off the dribble along the baseline as he collided with Shane Battier. A whistle was blown. The call? Offensive foul. It was a bang-bang play that proved to be the Magic’s undoing.

Arron Afflalo
5-16 FG | 0-5 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 13 PTS | -13

It’s been feast or famine with Afflalo. When he’s good, like he was against the New Orleans Hornets on Monday, he’s very good. When he’s bad, well, you get the picture. Miami put the clamps on Afflalo after he had his way with the Hornets. The Heat forced Afflalo into a lot of contested shots from the perimeter and he obliged by missing them.

Miami Heat

Miami played with fire against Orlando and almost got burned. Pun intended. After leading by as many as 20 points early in the third quarter, the Heat were trailing with less than a minute to go and in serious danger of having their franchise-high 15-game winning streak snapped to the lowly Magic. Fortunately for the Heat, LeBron James bailed them out with a game-winning layup.

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