Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 76

Nov 09

Preview: Brooklyn Nets at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Brooklyn Nets at Orlando Magic
  • Date: November 9, 2012
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Nets: 1-2
  • Magic: 2-2

Probable starters

Nets:

  • Deron Williams
  • Joe Johnson
  • Keith Bogans
  • Kris Humphries
  • Brook Lopez

Magic:

  • E’Twaun Moore
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Josh McRoberts
  • Glen Davis
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Nets:

  • Pace: 90.7 (25th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.5 (22nd of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 114.0 (29th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 92.9 (17th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 103.6 (14th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 100.1 (11th of 30)

Read about the Nets

The Brooklyn Game

Nov 09

Friday’s Mini-Magic Word

  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Given his reputation as a trigger-happy jump shooter, it’d be easy to conclude that Davis is settling for far too many long twos. That’s not exactly the case: he’s taken 37 long twos through four games, and while that’s a terribly high figure, it’s not as though he’s settling: he’s taken another 28 shots in the restricted area and 12 more in the paint, but outside the charge circle. The problem is that opposing teams haven’t had any trouble stonewalling him at the rim. Davis has made 14 shots in the charge circle… and has had 13 of his shots blocked.”
  • Magic fans will get a first-hand look at Brook Lopez in tonight’s game. Lopez, for those that don’t remember (and it’s hard not to), was the centerpiece of the Brooklyn Nets’ rumored trade offer — that lingered for a while — for Dwight Howard.
  • Glen Davis, dealing with some early-season struggles, received advice from a former Boston Celtics teammate — Kevin Garnett. This is what Davis had to say: “I talked to K.G. last night and he was telling me some great advice that could most definitely help me. He told me, `Now you’ve graduated. Now you’re a Navy Seal.’ And I see it.”
  • An injury update on Jameer Nelson, who will sit out of his fourth consecutive game with a strained groin and hamstring.

Nov 09

#ORLrank 9: Hedo Turkoglu

Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

 

G MP PER VORP WARP WS/82
2007-2008 82 3026 17.8 4.06 10.6 9.0
Hedo Turkoglu’s best season with the Magic

 
When I think of Hedo Turkoglu in a Magic uniform, a few things come to mind.

I think of 2008 when Turkoglu had the best season of his career.

That’s when Stan Van Gundy helped transform Turkoglu from a spot-up shooter under Brian Hill’s regime into an efficient scorer and dynamic playmaker. Turkoglu became a matchup nightmare in the league because of his ability to run pick-and-rolls as a 6-foot-10 point forward with Dwight Howard (and by extension, pick-and-pops with Rashard Lewis).

Not only that but Turkoglu also became a reliable crunch time player. Van Gundy didn’t hesitate putting the ball in Turkoglu’s hands in the clutch and letting him work his magic. Turkoglu did his part by not shying away from the responsiblity and stepping up to the challenge.

Turkoglu elevating his level of play in the fourth quarter became an expectation and game-winning shots, like his memorable shot against the Boston Celtics (who would later go on to win the NBA title that year) on a nationally televised game on ABC, seemingly became the norm. It’s why Magic fans began to refer to Turkoglu as “Mr. Fourth Quarter.”

It’s also why those noteworthy moments, coupled with his evolution as a player, led to Turkoglu winning the 2008 Most Improved Player award.

I also think of 2009 when Turkoglu helped lead the Orlando Magic to the Finals.

Even though Turkoglu had an underwhelming regular season, partly due to Jameer Nelson’s brief flirtation with being an All-Star point guard but mostly due to Turkoglu’s regression to the mean after a career year, he picked the exact right moments to make his presence felt in the playoffs.

Like in Game 4 against the Sixers in the first round. With Orlando staring a 3-1 series deficit right in the face, Turkoglu made a game-winning shot that arguably saved the Magic’s season. It also created an indelible image that the Magic fan base will not soon forget.

Or Game 7 against the Celtics in the Conference Semifinals. Turkoglu had the game of his life, putting up 25 points on 9-for-12 shooting from the floor (including 10 points in the fourth quarter), 12 assists, and three rebounds. Not only did Turkoglu help Orlando defy long odds (heading into the game, the Celtics were 32-0 all-time when leading a series 3-2), but he helped close out Boston on the road.

Or Game 2 against the Cavaliers in the Conference Finals. Everyone remembers “The Shot” from LeBron James, but not everyone remembers Turkoglu scoring the go-ahead bucket with 1 second left in regulation before James’ game-winning shot. Had it not been for James’ miracle, Turkoglu would have been the hero once again for the Magic.

Or even Game 2 against the Lakers in the Finals. In the span of roughly five seconds, Turkoglu blocked Kobe Bryant’s potential game-winning shot at the end of regulation, had the presence of mind to call a timeout, then was the man that delivered the pass when Courtney Lee missed a difficult game-winning alley-oop layup on a last-second sideline-out-of-bounds play. It’s an impressive sequence, even though Orlando ultimately lost the game.

Turkoglu’s second go-around with the Magic, after being acquired from the Phoenix Suns in a midseason trade in 2011, wasn’t as memorable or successful as his first stint. That much is certain.

Which is why, when looking back at Turkoglu’s tenure with Orlando when it’s all said and done, Magic fans will remember that two-year stretch in 2008 and 2009. They’ll remember the game-winning shots, the “Mr. Fourth Quarter” moniker, the Most Improved Player award, the Finals run, the list can go on for a while.

That’s Turkoglu’s legacy.

Voter breakdown for Hedo Turkoglu

Drexler Highkin Rivera Schiller Scribbins
Scale (1-to-10) 6 10 N/A (11) 10 9
Average rank: 9.2

What is #ORLrank?

Magic Basketball ranks the top 10 players in Magic franchise history. #ORLrank is the Twitter hashtag to use if you want to get involved in the discussion or just follow along.

You can also follow along here: @erivera7

How did we rank the players?

Five MBN writers ranked each player 1-to-10, in terms of the quality of each player.

Thanks to Daniel Myers, Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference, and Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus for contributing to the project.

Nov 08

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • J.J. Redick has turned some heads with his play early in the season. Chris Broussard of ESPN Insider suggests that Redick could even be an early contender for the Sixth Man of the Year award.
  • David Thorpe of ESPN Insider offers a breakdown of rookie Andrew Nicholson: “He has a solid shot from the perimeter. He can put the ball down and drive to the paint before finishing with a soft hook. And he goes to the offensive glass fairly well. Once he locks in on his defensive rebounding role better, his playing time should improve.”
  • The Orlando Magic were thrashed by the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.
  • Some Magic players didn’t take too kindly to Joakim Noah trying to win free Big Macs (the Chicago Bulls have to score 100 points or more in a home win) for Bulls fans by attempting a three-pointer in the Magic’s loss against the Bulls on Tuesday. Noah later expressed regret for attempting the shot.
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com on Redick’s future with Orlando: “I believe that Redick has a chance to stay with the Magic for the long-term. He wants to be in Orlando, he likes being a mentor for the younger players and he likes his role in Vaughn’s share-the-ball offensive system.”
  • Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports with a must-read profile on Magic rookie DeQuan Jones. Here’s a snippet: “Here’s how big of a long shot Jones was in making the team, let alone starting a game for the Magic: He wasn’t invited to any predraft camps, wasn’t listed in the league’s media draft guide and worked out with only three teams. He was the seventh-leading scorer at the University of Miami last season as a senior, light credentials that led to a quiet evening at his parents’ house last June, when he watched the NBA draft and didn’t hear his name called.”

Nov 08

J.J. Redick is ready to take the leap

AP Photo/Charles Cherney

This could finally be J.J. Redick’s year. Which makes it easy to forget that J.J. Redick used to be a horrible bust that proved just how insignificant one’s college career can be.

He could always shoot. His long range acumen carried him at Duke and even when he was manning the Orlando bench for a living, he knocked down threes whenever he took the court. His worst season from behind the arc was in the 2008-2009 season when he shot a very solid 37.4 percent and his career percentage of 40.2 percent is enough to rank him 32nd all-time and 16th among active players. J.J. Redick can stroke it, man, there’s no doubt about that.

But early in his career, it just wasn’t enough. He played 79 games and 919 minutes total in his first two seasons. He got more playing time in his third season, but was fairly atrocious whenever he took the court because he was so bad at everything but those threes. His turnover percentage was nearly 14 percent, way too much for a spot-up shooter, and once he wandered inside the three-point line, his shot was almost certain to be a long two-pointer — and a missed one. It was not a fun time to be J.J. Redick.

As Orlando got deeper and went further into the playoffs in 2009, Redick finally broke through in the Eastern Conference Semfinals against Boston. Reverse-engineering his own experiences running off screens and trying to get open for threes, the unproved Redick played some surprisingly effective defense against Ray Allen, helping the Magic win the series in seven hard-fought games. The vast majority of his playoff minutes came in this series, but it was an important stretch because it proved Redick could be effectively utilized on the defensive end, the sort of valuable skill that upgrades a shooter from a potential asset to a tangible one (think pre-2012 Steve Novak and post-2012 Steve Novak).

As far as career turning points go, Redick’s is unheralded, but the data bears this one out. The following season in 2010, Redick played in all 82 games and saw his minutes uptick to 22 a night. His three-point shooting crossed the 40 percent barrier and stayed there ever since (fine, he was at 39.7 percent in 2011. Jeez), he cut down the turnovers and upped his assist numbers, and posted a 15 Player Efficiency Rating, cementing himself as an NBA contributor.

It was fitting that Redick got an offer at an above-average salary once he became an above-average player. But the Magic were already all-in and instead of becoming a starter in Chicago, Redick came back to the bench. In these days, when Oklahoma City breaks up a title contender because of financial concerns, that sort of decision would be applauded, but it caused Redick to stagnate. Vince Carter first, Jason Richardson second, and Stan Van Gundy’s system all around just didn’t afford Redick the opportunities his play had warranted. Redick’s usage rate would budge, his shot attempts consistently hovering around 11 or 12 per 36 minutes with half of them coming from three.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 08

Recap: Minnesota Timberwolves 90, Orlando Magic 75

AP Photo/Jim Mone

BOX SCORE

With injuries to Jameer Nelson (strained groin and hamstring) and Hedo Turkoglu (broken hand), as well as Al Harrington still recovering from surgery on his right knee during the offseason, playing shorthanded was eventually going to catch up to the Orlando Magic.

Without Harrington, Nelson, and Turkoglu, the Magic handily defeated the Phoenix Suns three days ago and lost a close game to the Chicago Bulls yesterday, but the bottom dropped out for Orlando against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

In a sloppy game (both teams combined for 38 turnovers), this was a classic case where the more talented team won.

The Magic were able to keep pace with the Timberwolves leading up to halftime, thanks in large part due to a combination of good defense from Orlando and bad offense from Minnesota.

For most of the first half, the game was a bit of a slog — especially for the Magic, who were playing on the second game of a back-to-back. A high amount of fouls and turnovers interrupted the flow of the game. But Orlando was able to hang in there, trailing 38-34 at halftime despite shooting 31.6 percent from the field. No one on the Magic, aside from Arron Afflalo, could get anything going offensively. Afflalo scored 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting from the floor in the first half, while the rest of his teammates combined to shoot 7-for-31. J.J. Redick, in particular, struggled on offense, missing all six of his field goal attempts despite getting a number of clean looks on the perimeter.

In the second half, a series of runs turned this game into a rout as the Timberwolves’ offense came alive.

Sparked by Luke Ridnour and Nikola Pekovic, Minnesota went on a 15-4 run early in the third quarter that opened up a double-digit lead. Orlando was able to briefly counter with a run of their own midway through the period, cutting the deficit to five points. But the Timberwolves, thanks mostly to Greg Stiemsma’s barrage of buckets, were able to blow the game wide open with a 28-6 run that spanned from the end of the third quarter until midway through the fourth quarter.

By the time Jacque Vaughn took a 20-second timeout with 6:28 remaining in the game, the Magic were trailing by 27 points while Minnesota was purifying themselves in the waters of Lake Minnetonka.

Game. Blouses.

MVP (Most Valuable Player)

Ridnour was one of the main reasons why the Timberwolves were able to pull away from Orlando after a tightly-contested first half. For the game, Ridnour finished with 19 points (6-for-9 shooting from the floor) and five rebounds.

Defining Moment

Trailing 62-55, the Magic were in striking distance with the third quarter winding down. However, Stiemsma scored the next eight points in the span of roughly one minute that opened up a double-digit lead Minnesota would never relinquish.

Nov 07

Preview: Orlando Magic at Minnesota Timberwolves

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Date: November 7, 2012
  • Time: 8:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Target Center

Records

  • Magic: 2-1
  • Timberwolves: 2-1

Probable starters

Magic:

  • E’Twaun Moore
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Josh McRoberts
  • Glen Davis
  • Nikola Vucevic

Timberwolves:

  • Luke Ridnour
  • Brandon Roy
  • Andrei Kirilenko
  • Derrick Williams
  • Nikola Pekovic

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.3 (17th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 110.8 (4th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 100.8 (11th of 30)

Timberwolves:

  • Pace: 89.7 (29th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 105.9 (10th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 104.4 (17th of 30)

Read about the Timberwolves

A Wolf Among Wolves

Nov 07

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • According to a study conducted by Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus, it’s suggested that around the 25-game mark is when teams in the NBA begin to play to their talent level. Something to keep in mind when determining how good or bad the Orlando Magic will be this season.
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie on the Magic’s loss to the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday: “The Magic couldn’t hang, though Arron Afflalo’s Dwyane Wade-ish turn (28 points on 17 shots) was great to see. This team has no chance at the playoffs, but if they keep it up they’ll remind every hardcore Orlando fan of the goodness that was the 1999-00 season.”
  • Head coach Jacque Vaughn is garnering praise for his coaching ability.
  • The matchup to watch in tonight’s game between Orlando and the Minnesota Timberwolves: Nikola Vucevic vs. Nikola Pekovic.
  • Glen Davis is learning the lessons of being a go-to guy for the Magic.
  • Hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar used to be jealous of Arron Afflalo.

Nov 07

Recap: Chicago Bulls 99, Orlando Magic 93

Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

BOX SCORE

Trailing 93-89 with 1:01 left in the game, the Orlando Magic had possession of the ball with a chance to cut the Chicago Bulls’ lead to two or one (or tie the game with a four-point play). Even though the Bulls were leading with time winding down in regulation, the Magic had a chance to come back and win the game by executing on both ends of the floor. Orlando needed points, then a stop on defense to give themselves an opportunity to secure a victory.

Unfortunately for the Magic, it didn’t work out that way thanks to Glen Davis.

With 16 seconds left on the shot clock and the ball in his hands, Davis found himself wide open behind the three-point line at the top of the key. There’s a reason for that — he’s not a three-point shooter by any stretch of the imagination so no one’s going to guard him that far out on the perimeter. But instead of stepping inside the arc to take a better shot, passing the basketball to a teammate (like Arron Afflalo who was efficiently leading the way for Orlando offensively), or doing anything that didn’t involve him shooting the basketball, Davis — he of a career three-point percentage of 15.8 percent on 38 attempts — decided to pull an Andrew Bynum and shoot an ill-timed three-pointer. Did I mention that, before the three-point attempt, Davis had 16 points on 21 shots?

It was one of the worst mental errors you’ll see from an NBA player in crunch time. There was no reason whatsoever for Davis to attempt a three-point shot, let alone a shot of any kind given that his poor shot selection and inefficiency was hurting the Magic offensively throughout the game, yet he did it anyway. Davis’ decision left Orlando open for the knockout punch.

The Bulls took advantage, finishing the Magic off on the ensuing possession, with Taj Gibson completing a three-point play and increasing Chicago’s lead to seven with the score 96-89 and 39 seconds left in the game. The Bulls would hang on for a six-point victory.

Even though Orlando lost, for Magic fans, the one major takeaway from this game was the play of Afflalo.

Even though Afflalo’s reputation on defense has taken a hit in recent years, he’s highly regarded for his efficiency offensively. That aspect of his game was on full display, against Chicago’s defense no less, as Afflalo was able to score all over the court in different ways without using up too many possessions (scoring 28 points on 17 shots). Afflalo’s workmanlike performance was a direct contrast from Davis’ shot chucking.

In many ways, the Magic’s loss to the Bulls was a case study on the value of being efficient on offense, with Afflalo and Davis showing how you can help and hurt a team simultaneously.

MVP (Most Valuable Player)

Even though it was in a losing effort, Afflalo showed the full breadth of his game offensively and did so efficiently, scoring in catch-and-shoot opportunities, in isolation, in transition, you name it.

LVP (Least Valuable Player)

It can’t be understated how much Davis hurt Orlando despite posting a double-double (16 points and 10 rebounds). All those shots he attempted and missed could have been redistributed to guys like Redick, Afflalo, and Moore offensively.

X-Factor

In a close ballgame, Chicago’s midrange shooting ended up being one of the differences in the game. The Bulls shot 9-for-13 from 16-23 feet in the deciding fourth quarter.

Nov 06

Preview: Orlando Magic at Chicago Bulls

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Chicago Bulls
  • Date: November 6, 2012
  • Time: 8:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: United Center

Records

  • Magic: 2-0
  • Bulls: 2-1

Probable starters

Magic:

  • E’Twaun Moore
  • Arron Afflalo
  • DeQuan Jones
  • Glen Davis
  • Nikola Vucevic

Bulls:

  • Kirk Hinrich
  • Richard Hamilton
  • Luol Deng
  • Carlos Boozer
  • Joakim Noah

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.9 (12th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 115.5 (3rd of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 97.4 (4th of 30)

Bulls:

  • Pace: 93.5 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 103.4 (15th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 93.4 (1st of 30)

Read about the Bulls

Bulls by the Horns

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