Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 8

Nov 09

Preview: Orlando Magic at Brooklyn Nets

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Brooklyn Nets
  • Date: November 9, 2014
  • Time: 3:30 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Barclays Center

Records

  • Magic: 2-4
  • Nets: 3-2

Probable starters

Magic:

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

Nets:

  • Deron Williams
  • Bojan Bogdanovic
  • Joe Johnson
  • Kevin Garnett
  • Brook Lopez

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 95.0 (8th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 98.3 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 104.1 (13th of 30)

Nets:

  • Pace: 94.2 (12th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 111.3 (3rd of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 104.7 (14th of 30)

Read about the Nets

Brooklyn’s Finest

Nov 08

Grades: Orlando Magic 112, Minnesota Timberwolves 103 (OT)

Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 12.43.02 PM

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Orlando Magic 112 Final
Recap | Box Score
103 Minnesota Timberwolves

Nikola Vucevic
6-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 14 PTS | +12

Just when you get accustomed to seeing Vucevic score the majority of his points in the low post, he reminds you that he’s still a good jump shooter for a 7-footer. All of his made field goals except for one were midrange jump shots, and it’s rather amazing how often the Timberwolves left Vucevic open on the perimeter.

Evan Fournier
8-15 FG | 2-3 3P | 4 REB | 3 AST | 20 PTS | +10

While Arron Afflalo is struggling to reacclimate himself in Denver, Fournier has been thriving with the Magic. For a team that has lacked, for many years now, in having wing players that are willing to drive to the basket, GM Rob Hennigan has to be pleased that he’s acquired a player that has shown a shifty ability to attack the rim. Fournier did much of that against Minnesota.

Tobias Harris
7-15 FG | 2-4 FT | 16 REB | 2 AST | 17 PTS | +11

Every once in a while, Harris will have a big game rebounding-wise and he certainly did last night. It was Harris, not Vucevic, that had a monster double-double versus the T’Wolves. If there’s one positive with playing Harris at small forward, it’s that he’s an excellent rebounder at that position (as opposed to being average at the power forward spot).

Aaron Gordon
6-9 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 BLK | 6 REB | 17 PTS | +7

What was the more impressive highlight in overtime? Gordon’s defense on Thaddeus Young (watch his feet!), which led to Vucevic stealing the ball and throwing it ahead to the rookie for a fast break dunk on the other end of the floor. Or Gordon calmly making a right corner 3, which iced the game in overtime for the Magic. There’s no wrong answer.

Minnesota Timberwolves

For all the hype surrounding Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, he didn’t do much in last night’s game (a pair of Magic rookies — Gordon and Elfrid Payton — stole the show). Instead, the Timberwolves leaned heavily on their veterans to try to come away with a road win but they fell short in overtime.

Nov 08

Video: Aaron Gordon with a two-handed slam

Nov 07

Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves at Orlando Magic

Essentials

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

Records

  • Timberwolves: 2-2
  • Magic: 1-4

Probable starters

Timberwolves:

  • Ricky Rubio
  • Kevin Martin
  • Andrew Wiggins
  • Thaddeus Young
  • Nikola Pekovic

Magic:

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

Advanced stats

Timberwolves:

  • Pace: 94.9 (10th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 105.6 (15th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 103.5 (13th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 94.9 (9th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 96.5 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 105.5 (17th of 30)

Read about the Timberwolves

A Wolf Among Wolves

Nov 06

Magic Basketball is looking for writers

First and foremost, if you’re interested in contributing, please send multiple writing samples (two or three will suffice).

To get a clue on my philosophy as writer, I strive for objectivity every step of the way while at the same time using evidence — I work with numbers a lot — to support my opinions and arguments. I’m looking for someone that is familiar with advanced statistics and comfortable using them, objective in their approach, and willing to be open-minded on whichever topics crop up.

If you’re more the creative, esoteric type, someone that likes to think of ideas and narratives outside the box (in other words, the type of writing you’ll see at Grantland), that’s also fine. I’m hoping to inject a different voice and style of prose at MBN, but I do have my preferences for what I seek.

No matter your writing style, I’m looking for a good writer. If you fit the criteria I’m looking for, you’ll have the opportunity to have your articles featured on ESPN.com and be part of the TrueHoop Network.

I will not rush to make my decision until I feel fully comfortable that I’ve found someone that I’m willing to bring aboard, so just a heads up.

Thanks!

Please e-mail me at mbnhoops[at]gmail[dot]com

Nov 06

Grades: Orlando Magic 91, Philadelphia 76ers 89

Capture

Photo by Jesse Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Orlando Magic 91 Final
Recap | Box Score
89 Philadelphia 76ers

Nikola Vucevic
8-16 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 17 PTS | -5

When Dwight Howard played for the Magic, his lefty hook was the most reliable hook shot in his low post repertoire. It still is with the Rockets. It’s early in the regular season, but the same could be the case for Vucevic. He made two lefty hooks against the Sixers and it’s clearly becoming his favorite shot whenever he backs down on the low block.

Tobias Harris
8-18 FG | 0-3 3P | 2 STL | 8 REB | 18 PTS | -1

The most interesting part of Harris’ game-winning jumper is that Frye was supposed to set a pin-down screen on the play, but he completely whiffed. As a result, as Harris curled around the screen, Luc Mbah a Moute was able to trail him and contest the shot. But it didn’t matter, as Harris made a fadeaway at the buzzer.

Ben Gordon
5-11 FG | 5-6 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 15 PTS | +6

Magic fans are bemoaning the number of minutes that Gordon has been getting off the bench, but if he keeps scoring like this, it’ll be hard for Vaughn not to play him — especially in close games. There were times in the fourth quarter when Gordon looked like the player he was in Chicago. The question is will this scoring trend continue?

Channing Frye
5-12 FG | 2-8 3P | 2 STL | 11 REB | 13 PTS | +4

Frye’s strength lies in his shooting, not rebounding, which is why it’s strange to see him notch a double-double (his first of the season) and shoot 2-for-8 from 3-point range. But what’s really strange is that coach Jacque Vaughn isn’t running as many pick-and-pop sets for Frye as you would expect. Frye should be involved more in the Magic’s pick-and-pop game, but he hasn’t been so far.

Philadelphia 76ers

In a battle of 0-4 teams, the Sixers proved (much to GM Sam Hinkie’s delight) that they’re worse than the Magic. However, there were some bright spots for Philadelphia. Tony Wroten finished with 27 points, 8 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks (albeit with 9 turnovers), K.J. McDaniels posterized Maurice Harkless, and Brandon Davies scored a career-high 20 points.

Nov 05

Video: Tobias Harris beats Sixers at buzzer

Nov 05

Preview: Orlando Magic at Philadelphia 76ers

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Philadelphia 76ers
  • Date: November 5, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Wells Fargo Center

Records

  • Magic: 0-4
  • Sixers: 0-4

Probable starters

Magic:

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

Sixers:

  • Tony Wroten
  • Hollis Thompson
  • Brandon Davies
  • Luc Mbah a Moute
  • Nerlens Noel

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 93.6 (14th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 98.0 (26th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 110.0 (26th of 30)

Sixers:

  • Pace: 96.8 (5th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 93.2 (30th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.9 (19th of 30)

Read about the Sixers

Hoop76

Nov 04

Grades: Chicago Bulls 98, Orlando Magic 90

Capture

Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Chicago Bulls 98 Final
Recap | Box Score
90 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
9-22 FG | 1-1 3P | 13 REB | 2 AST | 19 PTS | -7

Vucevic got off to a relatively quick start, scoring eight points in the first quarter and showing off nice synergy with Payton in pick-and-rolls. But his offense really tapered off as the night progressed and he struggled to make shots in the second half. Things got so bad for Vucevic that Aaron Brooks managed to get a weak-side block on him late in the fourth quarter.

Tobias Harris
9-15 FG | 3-3 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 21 PTS | 0

After a poor performance against the Toronto Raptors on Saturday, Harris had himself a bounce-back game versus the Bulls. Which is quite impressive, given that Jimmy Butler was defending him primarily. There were two possessions in the first half where Harris beat Butler on backdoor cuts, which led to dunks. Harris also got things going on offense in pick-and-roll sets with Vucevic.

Evan Fournier
5-14 FG | 2-5 3P | 3 REB | 2 AST | 13 PTS | -12

It wasn’t the most efficient outing offensively for Fournier, who uncharacteristically took (and missed) a number of long two’s. This isn’t to say that Fournier didn’t attack the rim. He did. But he settled for way too many jump shots on the perimeter. Credit should go to the Chicago defense for forcing Fournier to shoot several tough, contested jumpers.

Elfrid Payton
3-14 FG | 3-7 FT | 6 REB | 7 AST | 9 PTS | -2

Per the Elias Sports Bureau, Payton is one of three players in NBA history to start his career with four straight games of seven assists or more (Oscar Robertson and John Wall being the other two). That’s impressive for a rookie. His 9 point-7 assist-6 rebound-3 steal-1 block stat line? Also impressive. Him shooting 3-for-14 from the floor and struggling to make jump shots? Not so impressive.

Chicago Bulls

No Derrick Rose. No Joakim Noah. No problem. The Bulls lollygagged on defense, allowing the Magic to score 56 points in the first half before tightening things up after halftime. Chicago got good contributions from Brooks (13 points, 8 assists, 3 blocks?!), Doug McDermott (12 points), and Nikola Mirotic (8 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) off the bench.

Nov 04

Video: Elfrid Payton shows off his passing ability

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