Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 74

Feb 20

Recap: Charlotte Bobcats 105, Orlando Magic 92

Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 11.29.12 PM

AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.

BOX SCORE

With each loss, the Orlando Magic bring themselves closer to having the worst record in the NBA, trailing only the Charlotte Bobcats for that dubious honor.

The Magic’s latest loss came against those very same Bobcats, as they were defeated 105-92 in their first game back from the All-Star break. For Orlando, they have now lost 25 of their last 28 games and have fallen two games behind Charlotte for the worst record in the league.

This was a game where Charlotte jumped out to a big early lead and Orlando was unable to fully recover from a large deficit.

In the first quarter, the Bobcats got off to a quick start thanks in large part due to Gerald Henderson, who made five of his first six field goals and scored 14 of his season-high 24 points in the period. Matched up primarily against Arron Afflalo, Henderson did whatever he wanted offensively. He did a nice job of mixing it up — nailing jumpers from the perimeter, attacking the rim, and getting to the free-throw line.

Buoyed by Henderson’s hot start, Charlotte finished with a season-high in first quarter points (37).

The Bobcats were able to keep the momentum going in the second quarter, and coupled with a lackadaisical effort from the Magic, they finished the period on a 15-3 run and opened up a 20-point lead heading into halftime.

In the second half, Orlando played with more energy and effort on both ends of the floor. Particularly on the defensive side of the ball, as Charlotte’s offense cooled down considerably in the third quarter after a torrid first half. That allowed the Magic to begin to chip away at their deficit.

Orlando continued their comeback bid in the fourth quarter, whittling down the Bobcats’ lead to 90-88 with 4 minutes left. But Charlotte responded by ending the game on a 15-4 run. The catalyst was Kemba Walker, who had a quiet first half, but scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half and accounted for 11 of the final 15 points for the Bobcats.

MVP (Most Valuable Player)

The player of the game was Henderson. He scored 14 of his 24 points in the first quarter and paved the way for Charlotte to pick up a rare road win coming out of the All-Star break.

X-Factor

You could make a case that Walker was the MVP of this game based on his performance in the fourth quarter. He scored 11 of his 24 points in the final period and quelled the Magic’s comeback attempt.

Defining Moment

After trailing 63-43 at halftime, Orlando clawed their way back into the game and cut their deficit to as little as two points late in the fourth quarter. But the Bobcats responded by finishing the game on a 15-4 run.

Feb 19

Preview: Charlotte Bobcats at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Charlotte Bobcats at Orlando Magic
  • Date: February 19, 2013
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Bobcats: 12-40
  • Magic: 15-37

Probable starters

Bobcats:

  • Kemba Walker
  • Gerald Henderson
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
  • Byron Mullens
  • Bismack Biyombo

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Andrew Nicholson
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Bobcats:

  • Pace: 91.7 (14th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.3 (28th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 110.9 (29th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 91.5 (17th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 102.2 (25th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 108.0 (24th of 30)

Read about the Bobcats

Queen City Hoops

Feb 19

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • J.J. Redick isn’t worried about the possibility of him being traded.
  • Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports: “Sharp-shooting J.J. Redick, who is making $6 million in the final year of his contract, is a hot commodity as the trade deadline approaches.”
  • The Orlando Magic are looking for at least a first round pick for Redick.
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “The days leading up to the NBA trade deadline can be stressful for some NBA players, but guards J.J. Redick and Arron Afflalo have vowed to push aside thoughts of rumored deals in an attempt to help the Orlando Magic start the final stretch of the season on a positive note.”
  • Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD: “The Magic and Knicks have discussed a J.J. Redick for Iman Shumpert trade. Other players (and maybe a third team) would have to be involved.”
  • The Milwaukee Bucks are rumored to be interested in trading Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and a first round pick for Redick if they’re able to move Monta Ellis first.
  • Tom Haberstroh of ESPN Insider suggests the Denver Nuggets should trade Timofey Mozgov and the Knicks’ 2016 first round pick for Redick.

Feb 15

RareInk launches NBA photo-art collection to highlight the 2013 NBA All-Star Game

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Photo by RareInk

Via NBA press release:

RareInk, an official NBA art licensee, announced the unveiling of a 200-piece collection of cutting-edge, photo-based artwork featuring past and present NBA players released in conjunction with the 2013 NBA All-Star Game.

Available exclusively on RareInk.com, the NBA photo-art collection features iconic photographs that have been graphically enhanced by RareInk artists for stunning color and maximum resolution, providing the ultimate presentation for fan’s walls. Each piece is produced using museum quality archival materials and is offered as either fine art paper prints ($69 and $109) or stretched canvases ($109 and $199). Every piece is a hand-numbered, limited-edition, with release numbers ranging from 100 to 250.

“The goal of RareInk’s artwork is to capture the excitement and history of the NBA in a uniquely artistic way,” said Tim Muret, CEO of RareInk. “Our new collection, featuring some of the leagues’ most iconic moments including NBA All-Star, is the perfect complement to our original art series and offers fans an incredible assortment of imagery to choose from as they look to decorate their home or office.”

Highlights of the collection include a series featuring top moments of the NBA All-Star Dunk Contest including: Michael Jordan’s famous free-throw line dunk (1988); Blake Griffin dunking over a car (2011); Spud Webb and Dominique Wilkens’ memorable matchup (1986); and Vince Carter’s electrifying performance in 2000. Additionally, every 2013 NBA All-Star is included in the collection.

Feb 15

The sky’s the limit in Orlando

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Photo by Fernando Medina/Orlando Magic

Probably the best part about being a fan of a team is living with the belief that it could be “the year” for your guys. I work in an office with 90 SEC graduates. During the fall, I hear a ton of rabble rousing and cocksure predictions about who the most dominant football team is going to be. By far the most commonly used phrase as it relates to fanmanship is “this is our year.”

Without that hopeful sensation — that “future is bright” mentality — sports really lose their zeal. Think about how different you feel opening up the box score of last night’s game when you’re in the hunt for the top seed in the Eastern Conference as opposed to a time when you’re clawing to not finish dead last. The games even have more electricity. The crowd becomes alive. It’s as if everyone collectively tastes that hope and that thrill of possibility — “This could be our year.”

Orlando has shifted from a winning team to a losing team and one that I’ve watched closely for the past three seasons.

When I think back to the two seasons prior to this season, I can’t place a time where that hope was felt. Instead, I remember roughly 700 strenuous, laborious, and maddening days of observing Magic fans wonder what the future would hold, nitpick at bad general management decisions, and complain about the current situation.

In fact, since the 2010-11 season, there has never been a moment where it seemed like it was the Magic’s year, an interesting conundrum considering those were winning seasons with playoff berths. The Magic being a winning team was not all that great because there were so many roadblocks for them to become an elite or championship-caliber team. There was always a sense of being stuck in good but not great territory. Worst of all, there was no escape.

Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 14

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • The Orlando Magic got “punked” by the Atlanta Hawks in last night’s game.
  • Video of Stuff, the Magic’s mascot, doing the Harlem Shake.
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “If anyone on the 15-37 Magic is a master of any craft, it’s Vučević with his rebounding. At age 22, he’s the league’s fourth-leading rebounder, hauling in 11.5 boards per game. His 29-rebound effort on New Year’s Eve broke Orlando’s single-game record formerly held by some guy named Shaquille O’Neal. And Vaughn thinks Vučević can improve.”
  • Josh Smith and Al Horford dominated Orlando in yesterday’s game.
  • J.J. Redick was named a “CourtVision All-Star” by Kirk Goldsberry of Grantland primarily for his three-point shooting.
  • Dwight Howard had two of the top 10 best Slam Dunk Contest dunks, according to Ben Golliver of The Point Forward, for his efforts in 2008.

Feb 14

The Magic’s two rising stars

Capture

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Over the weekend, the NBA announced that Magic rookie forward Andrew Nicholson would replace injured Pistons center Andre Drummond in the Rising Stars Challenge, joining Nikola Vucevic as the other player representing the Magic at All-Star Weekend in Houston.

While this event is, needless to say, entirely meaningless, it’s a cool honor and a nice gesture on behalf of the league that shows that at least someone has noticed how effective Nicholson has been when he’s been on the floor. Nicholson and Vucevic taking part in this competition is fitting, too, as they have emerged this season as the two most promising young players on Orlando’s roster.

Vucevic has been entrenched as the Magic’s starting center since the start of the season, but Nicholson’s role has been more inconsistent. And while the recent injury to Glen Davis was a heavy blow dealt to the Magic season, his absence in the lineup has opened the door for both of them to take on a greater level of responsibility on the floor. So far, both have delivered.

Vucevic’s rebounding has been mightily impressive the entire season, but he’s been particularly on a tear since Big Baby’s injury in that regard.

In the seven games since Davis went down, Vucevic has averaged 12.0 rebounds per game, as compared to 11.2 in the first 45 games of the season. His rebounding rate has gone up across the board as well. Before Davis’ injury, he pulled down 20.1 percent of all available rebounds, including 12.3 percent of offensive rebounds and 27.7 percent of defensive rebounds. In the past six games, that number has jumped to 21.2 percent, including 13.5 percent of offensive rebounds and 29.8 percent of defensive rebounds. His scoring has spiked too, jumping from 13.3 points per 36 minutes before Davis’ injury to 16.4 points per 36 minutes since.

Nicholson’s efficiency as a scorer has been off-the-charts since Davis’ injury. He was shooting 52.6 percent from the field through the first 45 games and has skyrocketed to 59.0 percent since then. He’s been scoring the same number of points per 36 minutes (around 18) on 3.3 fewer attempts. Here’s his shot chart from before Davis’ injury:

nicholson pre baby

And here’s his chart for the last seven games:

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As Nicholson has taken on a larger offensive role, his offense has found itself drawn more towards the basket. He was shooting more consistently from midrange earlier in the season, but he’s cut down on those attempts and instead become more efficient closer to the basket. Over the long haul, if he can retain his ability to hit the outside twos while still focusing on the higher-percentage looks he’s been getting lately, he could prove enormously effective for the Magic going forward.

These numbers aren’t enough of a sample size to draw any definitive conclusions from by any stretch, but they are a preview of the types of rosters Nicholson and Vucevic will be playing for going forward in Orlando.

Big Baby and his contract aren’t a part of Hennigan’s long term plans, and it will make sense in the future to move the team’s veterans and focus instead on the youth movement. Between these Nicholson and Vucevic, the team is in good hands.

Feb 14

Recap: Atlanta Hawks 108, Orlando Magic 76

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AP Photo/John Raoux

BOX SCORE

For the Orlando Magic, the Atlanta Hawks have been the bane of their existence for quite some time now. Heading into tonight’s game, the Hawks had won their last eight meetings with the Magic in the regular season.

Not to mention Atlanta beating Orlando in the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs, a year after the Magic recorded the largest margin of victory in a four-game sweep in league history over those very same Hawks.

You’d have to go all the way back to November 8, 2010 to find the last time Orlando beat Atlanta in a regular season game. Back when Dwight Howard and Vince Carter led the Magic to a 93-89 win over the Hawks, and with Stan Van Gundy roaming the sidelines.

Needless to say, it’s been a while since Orlando has beaten Atlanta during the regular season and the Hawks made sure the streak continued with a 108-76 blowout victory.

The Magic got off to a relatively quick start for their standards, leading the Hawks 15-11 midway through the first quarter. Arron Afflalo was the driving force, scoring six quick points thanks to some aggressive drives to the basket.

But Atlanta responded by going on a 19-4 run that spanned the first and second quarters, and opening up a double-digit lead. At that point, you got the sense that the game was getting away from Orlando and that’s precisely what happened. The Hawks went on a scoring spree in the second quarter to take a 57-36 halftime lead.

Atlanta would go on to cruise to an easy win.

The Hawks were led by Josh Smith (30 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks) and Al Horford (26 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, and two steals). Both played exceptionally well, each dominating the game in different ways.

For Smith, not only was his notoriously inefficient jumper falling but he did a nice job of finding his teammates for easy baskets with some nifty passes. As for Horford, when he wasn’t too busy making layups, he was nailing midrange jumpers with aplomb.

It’s no surprise that the Magic’s frontline was outclassed by Smith and Horford, given that they’re very good players.

With the loss, Orlando heads into the All-Star break with a 15-37 record, without Glen Davis for potentially the remainder of the season, and with news that Hedo Turkoglu will be suspended 20 games for violating the NBA’s Anti-Drug policy.

It’s safe to say the Magic have seen better days.

MVP (Most Valuable Player)

Smith and Horford were the co-MVPs. They both came out of the gate scorching hot and finished the game with double-doubles. As a result, Atlanta was able to enjoy an easy victory.

Defining Moment

Trailing 15-11 midway through the first quarter, the Hawks went on a 19-4 run to turn a four-point deficit into a double-digit lead in the second quarter. Atlanta never looked back.

Feb 13

Preview: Atlanta Hawks at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Atlanta Hawks at Orlando Magic
  • Date: February 13, 2013
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Hawks: 28-22
  • Magic: 15-36

Probable starters

Hawks:

  • Jeff Teague
  • Devin Harris
  • Anthony Tolliver
  • Josh Smith
  • Al Horford

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Andrew Nicholson
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Hawks:

  • Pace: 91.6 (15th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 104.3 (18th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 104.1 (10th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 91.4 (17th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 102.5 (24th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.8 (24th of 30)

Read about the Hawks

HawksHoop

Feb 13

Hedo Turkoglu suspended 20 games for violating NBA’s Anti-Drug Program

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Photo by Gary Bassing/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

Hedo Turkoglu of the Orlando Magic has been suspended without pay for 20 games for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program by testing positive for methenolone, it was announced today by the NBA.

Turkoglu’s suspension will begin tonight when the Magic play host to the Atlanta Hawks at Amway Center.

Hedo Turkoglu statement:

“While I was back home in Turkey this past summer, I was given a medication by my trainer to help recover more quickly from a shoulder injury. I didn’t know that this was a banned substance and didn’t check before taking it.

“I take full responsibility for anything that goes into my body. This was a complete error in judgment on my part and I apologize to the Orlando Magic organization, the league, my teammates, and the Magic fans. I know I have let down a lot of people and I am truly sorry for my mistake.”

Orlando Magic general manager Rob Hennigan statement:

“Hedo unknowingly took a banned substance. There are more than 125 banned substances on the NBA List, and we spend a lot of time educating our players on the contents of that list and will certainly continue to do so moving forward. We believe this was an honest mistake.”

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