Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 7

Nov 14

Grades: Orlando Magic 101, Milwaukee Bucks 85

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Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

 

Orlando Magic 101 Final
Recap | Box Score
85 Milwaukee Bucks

Nikola Vucevic
6-11 FG | 6-8 FT | 9 REB | 4 AST | 18 PTS | +8

One underrated aspect of Vucevic’s game is his high-post passing. Against the Bucks, Vucevic made several excellent hi-lo passes that led to easy baskets for Harris (who returned the favor to Vucevic a few times). It can’t be understated how well-rounded of a player Vucevic has become offensively. There’s not much he can’t do except shoot 3s — for now.

Tobias Harris
10-18 FG | 5-6 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 26 PTS | +2

In the Magic’s win over the New York Knicks on Wednesday, Harris had his hands full defending Carmelo Anthony. Tonight, rookie Jabari Parker had his hands full defending Harris. Parker, whose defensive deficiencies are well-known coming out of Duke, struggled to contain Harris offensively. It got so bad that coach Jason Kidd was forced to put Giannis Antetokounmpo on Harris to try to slow him down.

Evan Fournier
5-13 FG | 3-6 3P | 4 REB | 2 AST | 15 PTS | +10

Fournier has played so well to start the season that it’s hard to figure out what constitutes a “normal” game for him. Considering Fournier averages 16.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per 36 minutes for his career, putting up 15-4-2 in 36 minutes versus Milwaukee is the type of stat line that Magic fans should reasonably expect from him.

Victor Oladipo
3-10 FG | 6-8 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 13 PTS | +22

Originally listed as questionable against the Bucks after the doctors cleared him to play, Oladipo ended up coming off the bench and made his Magic debut in tonight’s game. Given that he was out for six weeks, it was expected that Oladipo would be rusty but he made his presence felt. He was a team-high plus-22, which was indicated of the positive impact he had on the game.

Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee were up 21-8 midway through the first quarter before Orlando began cutting into the deficit, eventually taking the lead early in the second quarter and never relinquishing it. Brandon Knight (24 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists), Antetokounmpo (19 points, 7 rebounds), and John Henson (10 points, 6 rebounds) played well for the Bucks, but they didn’t get much help from their teammates.

Nov 14

Preview: Milwaukee Bucks at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Milwaukee Bucks at Orlando Magic
  • Date: November 14, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Bucks: 4-4
  • Magic: 3-6

Probable starters

Raptors:

  • Brandon Knight
  • Jared Dudley
  • Jabari Parker
  • Ersan Ilyasova
  • Larry Sanders

Magic:

  • Elfrid Payton
  • Evan Fournier
  • Tobias Harris
  • Channing Frye
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Bucks:

  • Pace: 93.1 (18th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 98.3 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 98.2 (3rd of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 94.1 (12th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.7 (28th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 105.9 (17th of 30)

Read about the Bucks

Bucksketball

Nov 12

Highlights: Fournier scores career-high 28 points

Nov 12

Grades: Orlando Magic 97, New York Knicks 95

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Photo by Jesse Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Orlando Magic 97 Final
Recap | Box Score
95 New York Knicks

Nikola Vucevic
8-15 FG | 4-4 FT | 13 REB | 2 AST | 20 PTS | +2

Vucevic got his customary double-double, though he did struggle mightily in the post. The Magic tried to force-feed Vucevic on the low block, but he missed a number of lefty hooks (a bit odd, given that he’s been making them with regularity this season). Samuel Dalembert deserves a lot of credit for his post defense. He didn’t make things easy for Vucevic.

Evan Fournier
8-14 FG | 10-14 FT | 4 STL | 2 AST | 28 PTS | +2

While Arron Afflalo got benched in the second half of the Nuggets’ blowout loss to the Portland Trail Blazers (he finished with 4 points on 1-for-4 shooting in 10 minutes), Fournier had a career night at the Garden. He channeled his inner-James Harden, getting to the free throw line a ton and finishing with 28 points on 14 shots.

Tobias Harris
4-11 FG | 3-5 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | +4

It was a quiet night for Harris. He had the unenviable task of defending Carmelo Anthony and he did a poor job. When he wasn’t getting muscled in the post, Harris was losing track of Melo — at times — on the perimeter. What’s more interesting are rumors surfacing that Harris is eyeing the Knicks as a restricted free agent during the offseason.

Channing Frye
4-11 FG | 5-8 3P | 6 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | +3

Not much to take away from Frye’s performance, other than that he has excellent chemistry with Luke Ridnour on the court. Three of Frye’s four made field goals were assisted by Ridnour — including a dunk! And the other made field goal came on a pass from Ridnour when they played a two-man game. It’s interesting to see how quickly Frye and Ridnour have meshed with each other.

New York Knicks

With the Knicks trailing 97-95 with 3.5 seconds left, J.R. Smith got the ball and chucked up a long 3-point shot from the top of the key that hit nothing but backboard. All this happened despite Melo putting his hands out, expecting a pass from Smith. That’s how the Magic were able to come away with their second road win of the season.

Nov 12

Preview: Orlando Magic at New York Knicks

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at New York Knicks
  • Date: November 12, 2014
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Madison Square Garden

Records

  • Magic: 2-6
  • Knicks: 2-6

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Elfrid Payton
  • Evan Fournier
  • Tobias Harris
  • Channing Frye
  • Nikola Vucevic

Knicks:

  • Shane Larkin
  • Tim Hardaway Jr.
  • Iman Shumpert
  • Carmelo Anthony
  • Samuel Dalembert

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 94.8 (7th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 99.7 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 105.6 (17th of 30)

Knicks:

  • Pace: 88.7 (30th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 102.7 (21st of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 110.9 (27th of 30)

Read about the Knicks

Knickerblogger

Nov 11

Grades: Toronto Raptors 104, Orlando Magic 100

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Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Toronto Raptors 104 Final
Recap | Box Score
100 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
8-16 FG | 2-5 FT | 8 REB | 6 AST | 18 PTS | +7

There was one possession in the third quarter that shows how good Vucevic has become. On this particular play, Patrick Patterson tried to front the post, but Luke Ridnour was able to loft a pass over his head to Vucevic. Patterson then attempted to hold Vucevic down before he could put up a shot. That didn’t work either. Vucevic muscled a shot off, which he made, while being fouled.

Tobias Harris
8-16 FG | 2-5 3P | 13 REB | 5 AST | 23 PTS | +9

With the Magic trailing 102-100 with 11.8 seconds left, they ran a similar play for Harris that netted him a game-winning jumper against the Philadelphia 76ers a week ago. The difference this time around was that Vucevic set a (poor) screen for Harris instead of Frye. With James Johnson defending him, Harris put up a contested jump shot in the paint that clanked off the rim.

Evan Fournier
9-18 FG | 4-7 3P | 3 STL | 2 AST | 24 PTS | +4

The champagne is flowing for Fournier right now — maybe too much. He hit a clutch spot-up 3-pointer from the right wing late in the fourth quarter that briefly gave Orlando a 98-97 lead. But he also had a mishap in the closing seconds of the game, as he put up a bad shot and blew a 2-for-1 opportunity for the Magic.

Channing Frye
7-15 FG | 5-8 3P | 6 REB | 2 AST | 19 PTS | -4

Orlando tried to make a concerted effort to get Frye involved early in the game. To say that plan worked out would be an understatement. Frye scored 13 of his 19 points in the first quarter, routinely making wide-open 3s and long twos. It’s unclear if the Raptors read the scouting report on Frye — specifically Amir Johnson, who kept losing track of Frye on the perimeter.

Toronto Raptors

The Magic entered the fourth quarter with an 11-point lead and it took 2:10 for the Raptors’ second unit to erase the deficit. That forced coach Jacque Vaughn to go back to his starters early (sans Elfrid Payton, which is a decision that puzzled Magic fans). Both teams traded the lead in the final period, with Toronto ultimately pulling off the comeback win thanks to timely defense.

Nov 11

Preview: Orlando Magic at Toronto Raptors

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Toronto Raptors
  • Date: November 11, 2014
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Air Canada Centre

Records

  • Magic: 2-5
  • Raptors: 6-1

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Elfrid Payton
  • Evan Fournier
  • Tobias Harris
  • Channing Frye
  • Nikola Vucevic

Raptors:

  • Kyle Lowry
  • DeMar DeRozan
  • Terrence Ross
  • Amir Johnson
  • Jonas Valanciunas

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 94.6 (9th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 99.1 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 105.3 (17th of 30)

Raptors:

  • Pace: 94.5 (10th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 113.7 (2nd of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 101.4 (6th of 30)

Read about the Raptors

Raptor’s Republic

Nov 11

Patience wearing thin on Jacque Vaughn

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AP Photo/John Raoux

Jacque Vaughn joined the Orlando Magic at a tough time, when the franchise pressed the reset button and moved on from the SVG-Dwight era. Now, in year three as the head coach, pressure is starting to mount. Magic fans have made it clear that they don’t think he’s the right man for the job, as they’ve voiced their disapproval over his coaching ability (or lack of it). But even though there isn’t much to support the job Vaughn has done thus far, it’s important to remember the situation that he and the Magic are in.

Just before the Magic traded Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers in August 2012 for a myriad of young players, Vaughn was hired as the man to lead them through a tough period. He joined them in a state of unknown, and once they parted ways with their superstar, the team naturally took a quick turn for the worse. Vaughn had to adjust on the fly.

Over his first two seasons with the Magic, Vaughn sported a record of 43-121 (.262 winning percentage) — the worst two-year stretch in franchise history. That much was to be expected, of course. The team wasn’t equipped to compete for a playoff berth. The hope was that they’d lose as many games as possible to be in the running for the first overall pick in the draft.

Coaching in that environment is tough. Patience is tested and the job is more about creating good habits and fostering a positive locker room, rather than doing what most coaches in the league focus on — winning ball games.

It’s only two years (almost three) and three lottery picks later, and the Magic are starting to build expectations. With that comes more pressure for Vaughn to produce.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 09

Grades: Brooklyn Nets 104, Orlando Magic 96

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Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

 

Brooklyn Nets 104 Final
Recap | Box Score
96 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
13-19 FG | 1-1 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 27 PTS | -12

In the third quarter, Vucevic went nova. He scored 17 of his 27 points in the period and ethered Brook Lopez in the process. There was nothing Lopez could do to stop Vucevic from making midrange jumpers, layups, and hook shots. Despite all that, Vucevic didn’t attempt a field goal in the fourth quarter. Part of that was Kevin Garnett defending him. Part of that was bad coaching.

Evan Fournier
6-9 FG | 5-8 FT | 1 REB | 5 AST | 19 PTS | -5

Late in the first quarter, Fournier found himself isolated with the ball and the shot clock winding down. Despite being well defended by Bojan Bogdanovic, Fournier tossed up a rainbow 3-pointer from the left wing and made it. It was a bad shot, but Fournier has been on such a roll offensively to start the season, it didn’t matter.

Channing Frye
5-8 FG | 3-4 3P | 4 REB | 3 AST | 13 PTS | 0

Frye accounted for more than a third of the Magic’s made 3-point field goals, and should have accounted for nearly half if he didn’t have a foot on the line on one of his made jump shots. Still, despite providing much-needed outside shooting, it’s puzzling to see Frye’s lack of involvement in pick-and-pops. It remains to be seen if that will change.

Luke Ridnour
4-6 FG | 3-3 3P | 4 REB | 4 AST | 11 PTS | -3

This was Ridnour’s best performance in a Magic uniform so far. He did a good job of running the offense for Orlando’s second unit, particularly in pick-and-roll sets — which is one of his strengths as a player. He also had a nice two-man game going with Frye. For what Ridnour brings to the table at this stage of his career, you couldn’t ask for more.

Brooklyn Nets

This was a tightly contested game until late in the fourth quarter when the Nets were finally able to pull away, It can’t be understated how much of an impact Garnett made in crunch time. Even though the Magic should have made a better effort to get Vucevic the ball when they needed points, Garnett’s defense played a huge role in Vucevic’s scoreless fourth quarter.

Nov 09

Video: Nikola Vucevic’s 17-point third quarter

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