- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “From Nov. 26 through Jan. 14, O’Quinn didn’t play at all in nine separate Magic games. And when he did play in other games, he usually played sparingly. But everything changed when starting center Nik Vucevic suffered a concussion in early January. Vucevic’s absence gave O’Quinn a chance to play, and O’Quinn made the most of that chance. He played so well that coach Jacque Vaughn continued to give him regular playing time once Vucevic returned from his injury. Since Jan. 15, O’Quinn has averaged 19.8 minutes, 7.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.”
- Kyle O’Quinn isn’t the only Magic player that’s been playing well lately. So has Maurice Harkless, who has been putting up some impressive numbers in his last five games.
- One NBA writer doesn’t agree with Orlando honoring Dwight Howard with a video tribute when the Houston Rockets played the Magic at Amway Center.
- Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post details the reaction that Magic fans gave when Howard’s video tribute was shown on the JumboTron: “Fans booed at the start of the tribute video and at its conclusion as public address announcer Paul Porter said Howard’s name, but did not sustain the boos for the duration of the video. Overall, one could fairly assess the reception Howard receive as negative, but not overwhelmingly so.”
- Chandler Parsons, a Magic fan when he was growing up and a teammate of Howard’s on the Rockets, said he would have booed Howard on Wednesday.
AP Photo/John Raoux
8-16 FG | 0-4 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 18 PTS | -5
Afflalo had his hands full defending James Harden, who scored 31 points (including 25 in the second half). On two consecutive possessions midway through the fourth quarter, Afflalo was draped all over Harden on the perimeter. Yet it didn’t matter, as Harden made back-to-back contested jumpers right in Afflalo’s grill. That’s why The Beard is the best shooting guard in the Western Conference.
7-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 10 REB | 4 AST | 15 PTS | -7
It was Vucci Mane vs. Superman and the latter won the matchup. Even though Vucevic had a double-double, he got outclassed by Dwight Howard. Particularly in the third quarter, when Howard went on a rampage offensively on the interior and scored 11 points in the period. It was dunks and layups galore for Howard, and Vucevic was helpless to stop him.
6-10 FG | 2-3 3P | 5 STL | 2 REB | 15 PTS | -21
It was another solid showing for Harkless, who’s been in a really nice groove on offense in the Magic’s last five games (including tonight’s game). Perhaps the most impressive sequence from Harkless came midway through the first quarter when he got out in transition, caught a pass from Ronnie Price, and finished with a one-handed tomahawk dunk on Patrick Beverley.
3-12 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | -7
The theme of the night was the Rockets’ starters winning every positional battle. Terrence Jones completely Tobias Harris and had the play of the game to show for it. Late in the third quarter, Jones had Harris isolated on the right wing with the shot clock winding down. He made a quick crossover move, which buckled Harris’ ankles, and he finished with a layup.
Orlando was able to jump on Houston in the first quarter. The Magic played with a bundle of energy, while it looked like the Rockets were stuck in quicksand, given that they were playing on a back-to-back after a thrilling win at home against the Miami Heat on Tuesday. Then reality set in after the opening period and Houston took care of business, dispatching Orlando with ease.
Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images
Via Orlando Magic press release:
Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo was named the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in February, the NBA has announced today. This is the second Rookie of the Month honor for Oladipo this season, as he also earned the monthly award in December.
Oladipo, the second overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft, ranked first among NBA rookies in assists (4.9 apg) and steals (1.92 spg), second in points (14.7 ppg), and fifth in rebounds (4.4 rpg) for games played in February. Additionally, he scored in double figures eight times and posted at least 20 points four times. Oladipo led Orlando to a 129-121 victory over the New York Knicks on Feb. 21, posting 30 points, 14 assists, nine rebounds and two steals, becoming only the fourth rookie over the last 20 years, and the first since March 2000, to record 30-plus points and 14-plus rebounds in the same game. He recorded at least two steals seven times during February, including a career-high-tying five steals on Feb. 23 at Toronto.
Memphis’ Nick Calathes was the winner of the award for the Western Conference.
- Teams: Houston Rockets at Orlando Magic
- Date: March 5, 2014
- Time: 7:00 p.m.
- Television: Fox Sports Florida
- Arena: Amway Center
- Rockets: 41-19
- Magic: 19-43
- Patrick Beverley
- James Harden
- Chandler Parsons
- Terrence Jones
- Dwight Howard
- Ronnie Price
- Arron Afflalo
- Maurice Harkless
- Tobias Harris
- Nikola Vucevic
- Pace: 95.8 (6th of 30)
- Offensive Rating: 110.3 (5th of 30)
- Defensive Rating: 105.6 (12th of 30)
- Pace: 93.8 (16th of 30)
- Offensive Rating: 101.5 (27th of 30)
- Defensive Rating: 106.8 (16th of 30)
Read about the Rockets
Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Tonight, Dwight Howard returns to the house he built, Amway Center, for a second time as an opposing player.
In his first go-around as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, Howard put up a dominant 39-point, 16-rebound, three-block performance against the Orlando Magic while being showered by boos all night long. It was Howard’s best game in his lone season with the Lakers. During the offseason, Howard walked away from L.A. after a nightmare season and signed with the Houston Rockets as an unrestricted free agent.
Even though he’s now with the Rockets, the reception Howard will receive from Magic fans likely won’t change. He’ll still get booed, though he may get peppered with a few cheers when the Magic honor him with a video tribute during a timeout in the first quarter.
What has changed is the perception surrounding the Howard mega-deal. When the Magic made the trade in August 2012, they were widely criticized for not receiving enough assets (namely a star) in return. Then Howard left the Lakers, Andre Iguodala left the Denver Nuggets, Andrew Bynum left the Philadelphia Sixers (after not playing a single game due to injuries), and the Magic won the trade by default.
Even though it’s been over a year and a half since Howard was dealt, the impact of the four-team blockbuster trade is still reverberating in Orlando. In fact, the Magic’s haul is looking better with each passing day.
- The Magic have made a 3-pointer in 554 consecutive games. Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post takes a look at some key facts and figures from the 3-point streak.
- Tyler Lashbrook of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Tobias Harris has relished the spotlight in the six games since Davis’ departure. He’s averaging 20.8 points, six rebounds, and 6.2 free-throw attempts per game on 64.2 percent True Shooting. He’s also sporting a 1.2 assist-to-turnover ratio, a perfectly acceptable number for a starting power forward. That he’s maintaining incredible efficiency while using up 23.1 percent of Orlando’s possessions speaks to the groove that the former Tennessee Volunteer is currently enjoying.”
- Dwight Howard will receive a tribute video when Orlando plays the Houston Rockets at Amway Center on Wednesday.
- The Magic have re-signed Dewayne Dedmon and Adonis Thomas to their second 10-day contracts.
- Howard is battling a sore back and that could impact his availability when the Rockets play the Magic on Wednesday.
- The Rookie of the Year race is heating up between Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo as the regular season winds down, but don’t expect the Magic to campaign for Oladipo’s candidacy.
- John Schuhmann of NBA.com: “Two games against the Sixers helped the Magic get within one of last season’s win total. They outscored Philly 60-35 in the two fourth quarters and are a plus-50 in the fourth over their last 11 games. For the season, only the Pacers have improved more from the first half to the second half of games than the Magic, who have been outscored 9.4 points in the first half and just 0.6 in the second half.”
- Oladipo’s goal is to play all 82 games this season.
- Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports: “Orlando hasn’t had much of an opportunity to evaluate center Dewayne Dedmon, but he is expected to land a second 10-day contract.”
- Matt Dollinger of Sports Illustrated: “Following the Thunder blueprint, the Magic are doing a terrific job developing their young talent and giving them minutes to grow. Orlando could be one of the most fun teams to watch next season, depending on the lottery results. The Magic already have four promising talents in Nikola Vucevic (23 years old), Victor Oladipo (21), Tobias Harris (21) and Moe Harkless (20).”
- Tobias Harris, who scored a career-high 31 points against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, gets an “A” for his performance.
- Harris has been on an offensive surge lately.
- Get to know more about Adonis Thomas, who joined Orlando on a 10-day contract recently.
- Tyler Lashbrook and Sam Vecenie trade e-mails and chat about Zach LaVine, an NBA prospect from UCLA.
- Oladipo, who takes a lot of hard falls in games, said that he plans to work on landing better onto the floor during the offseason to help preserve his body.
- The odds of the Magic finishing with the worst record in the league are slim-to-none.
- Marc Stein of ESPN.com: “The good news: Orlando has legitimately been better than advertised at home of late and finally found a way to halt that stubborn 16-game road losing streak as part of a two-win week. Now for the bad news: Celebrations were naturally muted because both wins came at the expense of the 76ers.”
- Harris is reminding everyone — with his career night against the Sixers — that he was the steal of last season’s deadline.
- Kyle O’Quinn has become Orlando’s go-to inbounder.
- What record will the Magic end up with as the season comes to a close for them? A closer look at their schedule in March may provide a clue.