Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 71

Mar 04

Video: Maurice Harkless swoops in for a dunk

Mar 03

Preview: Memphis Grizzlies at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Memphis Grizzlies at Orlando Magic
  • Date: March 3, 2013
  • Time: 6:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Grizlies: 38-19
  • Magic: 16-43

Probable starters

Grizzlies:

  • Mike Conley
  • Tony Allen
  • Tayshaun Prince
  • Darrell Arthur
  • Marc Gasol

Magic:

  • E’Twaun Moore
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Andrew Nicholson
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Grizzlies:

  • Pace: 89.0 (28th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 104.1 (19th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 100.0 (2nd of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 91.7 (15th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 102.3 (26th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 108.7 (26th of 30)

Read about the Grizzlies

3 Shades of Blue

Mar 01

Grades: Houston Rockets 118, Orlando Magic 110

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AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

 

Houston Rockets 118 Final
Recap | Box Score
110 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
8-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 18 PTS | -8

After a lackluster performance against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, Vucevic bounced back nicely with a double-double against the Rockets. Vucevic did his usual dirty work on the glass, but what stood out the most was the ease in which he scored on Omer Asik (one of the better defensive big men in the NBA).

Tobias Harris
11-15 FG | 3-5 3P | 10 REB | 2 AST | 27 PTS | 0

Did anyone see this coming? After scoring a career-high 23 points versus the Kings, Harris’ encore performance against Houston was even better. He set new career-highs in points (27) and 3-pointers made (three). No one on the Rockets could contain Harris, who was able to score at will, especially off the dribble. It was a dominant offensive display that was executed in a smooth McGrady-like manner. Pardon the hyperbole.

Arron Afflalo
6-14 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB| 4 AST | 19 PTS | -3

Afflalo drew the primary assignment of defending James Harden, one of the elite scorers in the league, and did an adequate job of slowing him down as best he could. Harden got his points, but he definitely had to earn them. Given Afflalo’s competitive nature, it made for a fun matchup to watch. Especially in the fourth quarter of a close game.

Andrew Nicholson
7-8 FG | 3-3 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 17 PTS | -8

Nicholson missed one shot and made a point per minute. He absolutely destroyed Donatas Motiejunas, riddling him with an array of post moves. The gut reaction is to say that head coach Jacque Vaughn was foolish to not play Nicholson more, something that Magic fans have complained about before. But in this case, Harris was so good, there just wasn’t enough minutes to go around for Nicholson.

Houston Rockets

If you’ve never watched Houston play this season, you were in for a treat. The Rockets are always a fun team to watch because of their fast-paced, high-scoring nature and laissez-faire attitude about defense. So it should come as no surprise that Houston and Orlando engaged in a thrilling shootout that went down to the wire. Unfortunately for the Magic, they came up short.

Mar 01

Preview: Houston Rockets at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Houston Rockets at Orlando Magic
  • Date: March 1, 2013
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Rockets: 31-28
  • Magic: 16-42

Probable starters

Rockets:

  • Jeremy Lin
  • James Harden
  • Chandler Parsons
  • Donatas Motiejunas
  • Omer Asik

Magic:

  • E’Twaun Moore
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Andrew Nicholson
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Rockets:

  • Pace: 96.3 (1st of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 109.8 (5th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.9 (21st of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 91.7 (17th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 102.0 (26th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 108.4 (26th of 30)

Read about the Rockets

Red94

Feb 27

Grades: Sacramento Kings 125, Orlando Magic 101

Capture

AP Photo/John Raoux

 

Sacramento Kings 125 Final
Recap | Box Score
101 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 4 PTS | -13

It was an extremely underwhelming outing for Vucevic, who was a total non-factor (four points and two rebounds in 22 minutes) in the Magic’s blowout loss to the Kings. You can usually pencil in Vucevic for a double-double in the box score, but every once in a while, he’s capable of putting up a stinker. Tonight was a prime example of that.

Tobias Harris
9-12 FG | 4-5 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 23 PTS | -16

Even though Orlando was beaten to a pulp by Sacramento, Harris was a bright spot. He came off the bench for the Magic and scored a career-high 23 points (9-for-12 shooting), doing a majority of his damage offensively at the rim (5-for-7). It’s only been his third game in a Magic uniform, but it’s clear that Harris can play. Look for him to continue getting playing time.

Arron Afflalo
6-15 FG | 3-3 FT | 7 REB| 6 AST | 15 PTS | -12

Afflalo’s stat-line closely mirrored his performance from the previous night against the Philadelphia 76ers. The difference this time around was the end result for Orlando. Even though Afflalo scored 15 points, it took him 15 shots to do it (he also committed a team-high six turnovers). A glaring problem is that he isn’t shooting any corner threes — a strength of his — to aid in his efficiency.

Beno Udrih
3-9 FG | 7-7 FT | 2 REB | 8 AST | 14 PTS | -17

Facing off against his former team, Udrih played relatively well considering the circumstances. His jump shot wasn’t falling, but he circumvented the issue by getting to the free-throw line (7-for-7). Something to note: it’s clear that Udrih looks more comfortable running the show at point guard than E’Twaun Moore. Don’t think head coach Jacque Vaughn hasn’t noticed, given that he played the pairing together with Moore off the ball.

Sacramento Kings

It’s ironic that Jason Williams, a former Kings legend and Orlando resident, was in attendance to watch this game because the Kings put on a passing clinic — utilizing a lot of back-cuts and drive-and-kicks. Sacramento isn’t normally known for being a passing team. But against the Magic, the Kings piled up 31 assists on 46 field goals by doing an excellent job of moving the ball.

Feb 27

Preview: Sacramento Kings at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Sacramento Kings at Orlando Magic
  • Date: February 27, 2013
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Kings: 22-32
  • Magic: 16-41

Probable starters

Kings:

  • Isaiah Thomas
  • Tyreke Evans
  • John Salmons
  • Jason Thompson
  • DeMarcus Cousins

Magic:

  • E’Twaun Moore
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Andrew Nicholson
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Kings:

  • Pace: 92.6 (9th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 104.4 (18th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 112.1 (30th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 91.5 (17th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 102.0 (26th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 108.1 (26th of 30)

Read about the Kings

Cowbell Kingdom

Feb 26

Grades: Orlando Magic 98, Philadelphia 76ers 84

Capture

Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Orlando Magic 98 Final
Recap | Box Score
84 Philadelphia 76ers

Nikola Vucevic
5-12 FG | 2-4 FT | 1 BLK| 19 REB | 12 PTS | +12

After getting thoroughly outplayed by Spencer Hawes the last time the Magic visited the 76ers in the City of Brotherly Love on February 4, Vucevic exacted a bit of revenge with his performance in the rematch. Vucevic notched his 32nd double-double of the season (12 points and 19 rebounds), while Hawes was held to six points and one rebound.

Arron Afflalo
8-17 FG | 0-0 3P | 6 REB | 7 AST | 16 PTS | +9

With Jameer Nelson and Glen Davis sidelined with injuries, and J.J. Redick playing for the Milwaukee Bucks now, Afflalo was the main hub of the Magic’s offense against the Sixers and he delivered. It wasn’t Afflalo’s most efficient performance of the season, given that he scored 16 points on 17 shots (also known as the “Big Baby special”), but he gave Orlando much-needed scoring from the perimeter.

E’Twaun Moore
4-9 FG | 3-5 3P | 1 STL | 10 AST | 12 PTS | +24

It’s no secret that Moore is more of a shooting guard than a point guard, especially when you take a look at his assist percentage (19.8 percent), per NBA.com. It screams “I’m a shooting guard!” because that percentage is more in line with what’d you see from a two-guard. But he did his job in facilitating the Magic’s offense, tallying up a career-high 10 assists and providing the bulk of Orlando’s three-point shooting.

Tobias Harris
7-9 FG | 1-2 3P | 7 REB | 2 AST | 16 PTS | +5

Still getting acclimated to life in a Magic uniform after coming over from the Bucks in the Redick trade, Harris had an excellent game coming off the bench. One quick look at him and it’s clear that Harris has a well-rounded game offensively. Harris was fearless in attacking the rim and even showed off his shooting range from the perimeter on a number of occasions.

Philadelphia 76ers

There’s no other way to describe it. The Sixers were awful. Heading into tonight’s game, the Magic had lost 28 of their last 31 games, 10 straight road games, and they had yet to beat a team from the Atlantic Division (0-14). Until tonight. Not only did Orlando hand Philadelphia an embarrassing loss, but they beat them handily.

Feb 26

Preview: Orlando Magic at Philadelphia 76ers

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Philadelphia 76ers
  • Date: February 26, 2013
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Wells Fargo Center

Records

  • Magic: 15-41
  • Sixers: 22-32

Probable starters

Magic:

  • E’Twaun Moore
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Andrew Nicholson
  • Nikola Vucevic

Sixers:

  • Jrue Holiday
  • Evan Turner
  • Nick Young
  • Thaddeus Young
  • Spencer Hawes

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 91.5 (17th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.9 (26th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 108.4 (26th of 30)

Sixers:

  • Pace: 90.5 (23rd of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.2 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 105.2 (12th of 30)

Read about the Sixers

Hoop76

Feb 25

Monday’s Magic Word

  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “After just a short time in Orlando, Udrih – a native of Slovenia – said he can see how Vaughn and several disciples from the Spurs are building something quite special in Orlando. While the Magic (15-41) are in full-blown rebuilding mode now, Udrih said the foundation and culture being established with the Magic will eventually become something that will prove to be highly successful.”
  • Tobias Harris, newly acquired from the Milwaukee Bucks in the J.J. Redick trade, is wearing Dwight Howard’s old number.
  • Sean Highkin with a thoughtful piece at Hardwood Paroxysm on the Orlando Magic’s rebuilding process: “There are other paths back to contention, but as Tim Duncan, Kevin Durant, and LeBron himself have shown us, the best way for a small-market team to get great ad stay great is to land a transcendent, once-in-a-generation-level talent in the draft. That player doesn’t appear to be in this year’s draft, so the Magic are playing the long game and hoping for Wiggins or Jabari Parker.”
  • John Schuhmann of NBA.com: “The Magic added a couple more guys born in the ’90s that can help them down the line. But they’re obviously going to be a pushover for the next eight weeks (not that they haven’t been for the last eight weeks). Tobias Harris had a nice debut, with 14 points, six boards and three blocks against the Cavs on Saturday, but his jumper was off and 10 of the 14 points came against a garbage-time defense.”
  • The Magic have lost 16 of their last 17 games.
  • Orlando has some pieces to work with in Harris and Doron Lamb.

Feb 25

Recap: Cleveland Cavaliers 118, Orlando Magic 94

Capture

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

BOX SCORE

As with most games this season for the Orlando Magic, the final score is almost meaningless. A different roster brought about the same result. Orlando got blown out at home by a bad Cavs team, who pulled out a convincing 118-94 victory despite a relatively mundane 12-point performance by Kyrie Irving.

This game mattered because it served as our first look at what the new rotation will be for the rest of the season, as well as our first impressions of Doron Lamb, Tobias Harris, and Beno Udrih in a Magic jersey.

Of the three newcomers from the J.J. Redick trade, Harris was by far the most impressive. He was energetic at both ends of the floor, finishing with 14 points and three blocks. The battle for minutes at small forward between he and Moe Harkless, who also had a solid 13-point, five-rebound game, will be fascinating to watch going forward.

Udrih’s numbers weren’t spectacular, but he gave Jacque Vaughn a much-needed steadying hand at point guard with Jameer Nelson injured once again. As he’s been his entire career, he showed himself to be a smart passer and decision-maker.

Given Nelson’s deteriorating health, I almost prefer the idea of Udrih as a long-term “veteran leadership”/floor-general type as a backup point guard over Jameer for future seasons. Who he’d back up remains to be seen, however.

Lamb didn’t do much in his Magic debut, but he was always going to be a project. Given the hopeless nature of their schedule and roster this season, they can afford to bring him along slowly.

The two most impressive youngsters on Saturday, however, were Kyle O’Quinn and DeQuan Jones.

Jones had several monster dunks that brought a much-needed dose of energy to a Magic offense that looked lethargic most of the way. And O’Quinn continued his solid two-way play of late, finishing with six points, seven rebounds, and a block in just over 13 minutes. That last stat, the playing time, will likely increase in the coming weeks as he continues to make the case that he deserves more time.

MVP (Most Valuable Player)

Arron Afflalo led the Magic in scoring with 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting and added three assists. With Nelson sidelined and Redick gone, look for Afflalo to become Orlando’s de-facto go-to option on offense.

X-Factor

The Cavs annihilated the Magic from beyond the arc. Cleveland shot 9-for-21 from three-point range, including 4-for-7 from C.J. Miles. The Magic, meanwhile, shot a measly 4-for-14. This is where losing J.J. Redick hurts them the most.

Defining Moment

The Magic kept it close in the first half, but Miles and Marreese Speights came out strong in the third quarter and helped Cleveland pull away. By the end of the quarter, it was already becoming a blowout and Orlando never got back in it.

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