Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 80

Feb 01

Preview: Orlando Magic at Boston Celtics

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Boston Celtics
  • Date: February 1, 2013
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: TD Garden

Records

  • Magic: 14-31
  • Celtics: 22-23

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • J.J. Redick
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Andrew Nicholson
  • Nikola Vucevic

Celtics:

  • Avery Bradley
  • Courtney Lee
  • Paul Pierce
  • Brandon Bass
  • Kevin Garnett

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 91.2 (18th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 103.4 (21st of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 108.0 (25th of 30)

Celtics:

  • Pace: 91.1 (19th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.9 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 102.9 (7th of 30)

Read about the Celtics

Celtics Hub

Feb 01

Friday’s Magic Word

  • The Orlando Magic are on pace to break an NBA record for free-throw futility. Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post has more: “The Magic’s 78.7-percent mark on foul shots ranked fifth in the 2012/13 season through Wednesday’s games, but accuracy isn’t the problem for Orlando. Not anymore, anyway. No, the real problem is that the Magic don’t draw fouls. Through Wednesday, the Magic’s average of 16 free-throw attempts per game ranked last in the league. Not just for the season, but ever. Prior to 2012/13, no team in the history of the NBA had ever averaged fewer than 18 free-throw attempts. Orlando is one of two teams–the Philadelphia 76ers are the other–now under that threshold.”
  • The Magic are 1-10 without Glen Davis this season.
  • Al Harrington, who has yet to play a game this season as he recovers from knee surgery, says he’s close to returning.
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel has additional details on Harrington’s road to recovery.
  • More from Robbins: “Arron Afflalo didn’t participate in the Orlando Magic’s shootaround this morning at TD Garden because of his strained left calf, and he’s unlikely to play when the team faces the Boston Celtics tonight.”

Feb 01

3-on-3 roundtable: Reaction to Glen Davis’ fractured left foot

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Against the New York Knicks on Wednesday, Glen Davis suffered a left foot injury after stepping on Iman Shumpert’s foot early in the first quarter. It was revealed later that night that Davis fractured his left foot.

But it wasn’t until the next day when the Orlando Magic revealed the severity of the injury — Davis had fractured the fifth metatarsal in his left foot and was expected to be out 8-12 weeks. In other words, he could miss the rest of the season.

Magic Basketball reacts to news of Davis’ injury.

What were your first few thoughts when Davis went down?

Nate Drexler: Honestly, I didn’t think this would be a potentially season-ending injury. My first thought was that the Magic would struggle to cover Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler for the rest of the game, but it really didn’t occur to me that this was a serious injury.

Sean Highkin: A potentially season-ending injury sucks, no matter how frustrating the player in question has been this season. I feel bad for him and wish him the best in his recovery.

Noam Schiller: Mostly, it just sucks for Glen. He hasn’t been the funnest guy to watch this year, but he’s consistently tried hard to acquit himself to a bigger role. Then again. Andrew Nicholson!

What does this mean for the Magic this season?

Drexler: A few less wins, a few more losses, and a lot more minutes for Andrew Nicholson (hopefully). Like it or not, Glen Davis is a huge part of both the offense and defense, and comes equipped with a “win at all costs” mentality. This is honestly a blow to an already troubled squad.

Highkin: I don’t think it will really have that big an impact one way or the other on their win-loss record. The Magic are pretty good at losing games with or without Big Baby in the lineup. The silver lining here is that it opens up a lot of extra minutes for Andrew Nicholson, whose recent DNP-CD’s make no sense whatsoever. I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts the majority of games the rest of the way and I’ll be interested to see what he can do given that added responsibility.

Schiller: That the defensive team from November and December is done for. Davis has been the team’s best frontcourt defender by a mile, but his struggles with his shot have consistently taken the offense down. Without him, this is guaranteed to be an offense-first squad.

Is Orlando a better team without Davis?

Drexler: Maybe. It’s not a pot shot at Davis, but numbers don’t lie, right? The Magic are 5.0 points per 100 possessions worse with Davis on the floor, per NBA.com. Does that speak more to the team in general or to Davis’ inflated usage and shot volume? I’m not really sure. Right now, I’m more caught up thinking about how Orlando is going to do anything inside when Vucevic and Nicholson are not in the game.

Highkin: Yes. They’re not a good team regardless, but games will certainly be more watchable without him jacking up contested long two after contested long two.

Schiller: No. The Magic went on a 10-game losing streak when Davis went down in December and have been obliterated defensively when he wasn’t on the floor. Long term, it might be advisable to give his minutes towards younger guys, but it’s hard to argue that would be the case if the team were playing for anything at the moment.

Jan 31

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Glen Davis will undergo surgery on Friday to repair a fractured fifth metatarsal in his left foot, and Orlando Magic officials expect him to miss eight to 12 weeks, leaving his return by the end of the season in serious doubt.”
  • Jameer Nelson is a master of the trick shot.
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie reacts to news that Glen Davis may miss the rest of the season with a fractured left foot.
  • Ben Golliver of The Point Forward breaks down the repercussions of Davis’ injury: “The Magic sit in 12th place in the Eastern Conference with a 14-31 record. The loss to the Knicks marked their seventh consecutive defeat during what has been Year One of a rebuilding season following the blockbuster trade of All-Star center Dwight Howard last summer. There are still 11 full weeks until Orlando’s final regular-season game of the season. Of course, given their positioning relative to the playoff picture, there’s no reason to rush Davis back into the lineup for meaningless games down the stretch.”
  • With Davis out for the foreseeable future, more playing time could be on the horizon for Andrew Nicholson.
  • Despite standout performances from Nelson and J.J. Redick, the Magic lost to the New York Knicks in last night’s game.
  • Video of Davis’ fracturing his left foot after stepping on Iman Shumpert’s foot while running up the court.
  • With Davis potentially out with a season-ending injury and the Magic having lost 18 of their last 20 games, Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel says it’s time for Orlando to focus on developing players for the future.
  • Amin Elhassan of ESPN Insider: “One of the less heralded pieces of the Dwight Howard trade, Vucevic has quietly emerged as one of the most productive young centers in the league after not playing much in his rookie year in Philadelphia. He’s an elite rebounder on both ends, checking at No. 6 in DRB (27.1) and No. 20 in ORB (12.2). He’s one of only 10 players in the league averaging a double-double.”

Jan 30

Recap: New York Knicks 113, Orlando Magic 97

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Photo by Ray Amati/NBAE via Getty Images

BOX SCORE

The Magic are great at having small successes, but still losing games. The interesting thing is that the small successes, just like the ways they end up losing games, change from night to night. On Wednesday, Orlando had no trouble scoring from the perimeter and did a great job containing Carmelo Anthony, but lost the game in the paint.

As far as defensive schemes go, the Magic did a wonderful job on Carmelo Anthony in the first half and really the entire game. With Maurice Harkless guarding him straight up, Orlando switched in and out of double and even triple teams, and held Carmelo to a meager nine points in the first half.

Melo would finish the night with 20 points (setting a Knicks franchise record with his 30th straight 20-point game), but he shot just 2-for-7 from deep, and, aside from a little scoring burst in the fourth quarter was, at least by his standards, not a huge factor in the game.

And yes, Harkless resembled more than just a decent defender. Even Clyde Frazier pointed out in the broadcast that the reason Harkless is going to be a good player in this league is because he’s a terrific defender. Harkless stayed with Anthony just enough to make sure he didn’t get hot and hang 40 on the Magic. More importantly, he turned Carmelo into a jumpshooter and protected the paint by guiding Melo into help defense.

But Carmelo was not the main attacking option for the Knicks in this one.

For most of the night, Redick and Nelson were getting buckets at will. Nelson absolutely abused Raymond Felton with his first step, and, much like the last meeting with the Knicks, found his way to the rim easily. Similarly, Redick attacked, but more importantly was shooting well from deep. All the while, Carmelo was relatively contained.

The biggest issue for Orlando, though, was their inability to stop Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire in the paint. Chandler and Stoudemire combined to score 35 points and shoot 17-for-18 from the floor. There was truly nothing Orlando could do to stop them and you have to think they felt the loss of Glen Davis (who left the game early in the first quarter with a broken left foot), especially in the moments when Andrew Nicholson was guarding Tyson Chandler.

To sum it up, you can’t go up with Nikola Vucevic and basically no one else, and expect to shut down Stoudemire and Chandler (much less win the game). And that’s an interesting problem to end up with, considering the primary issues at the outset were scoring and containing Carmelo.

Again, it’s a strange year for so many reasons, not the least of which is the constant shifting of successes and struggles for this young Magic team.

MVP (Most Valuable Player)

J.J. Redick. 29 points on 9-for-14 shooting (4-for-7 from three-point range) basically says it all. Redick was lights out and made us all forget for a few moments that Afflalo was not in the lineup.

Defining Moment

After playing the first four minutes of the game, Glen Davis left the court with a broken left foot. His absence left a huge hole in the Magic frontcourt, and opened the flood gates for Chandler and Stoudemire.

That Was … a Waste

It would have been nice to have seen this output from Orlando’s starting backcourt with a fully staffed squad. Instead, the Magic fall for the seventh straight time, and outside of the fantasy world, those 50 combined points from Redick and Nelson were all for naught.

Jan 30

Preview: Orlando Magic at New York Knicks

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at New York Knicks
  • Date: January 30, 2013
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Madison Square Garden

Records

  • Magic: 14-30
  • Knicks: 27-15

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • J.J. Redick
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Glen Davis
  • Nikola Vucevic

Knicks:

  • Raymond Felton
  • Jason Kidd
  • Iman Shumpert
  • Carmelo Anthony
  • Tyson Chandler

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 91.4 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 103.2 (23rd of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.5 (24th of 30)

Knicks:

  • Pace: 90.6 (23rd of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 110.5 (3rd of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.0 (16th of 30)

Read about the Knicks

KnickerBlogger

Jan 30

Nikola Vucevic named to 2013 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge

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Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic was named to the 2013 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge to be played Friday, Feb. 15, in Houston during NBA All-Star 2013, as announced today by the NBA. The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge consists of current rookies and sophomores selected to the roster by the NBA’s assistant coaches.

Vucevic leads all second-year players in rebounding at 11.2 rpg., ranking in the NBA’s top five overall. He also ranks in the top ten among all “sophomores” in field goal percentage, shooting .522, and in scoring at 11.9 ppg. Vucevic is the only second-year player in the NBA averaging a double-double.

Others named to the roster include the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving, the reigning Kia NBA Rookie of the Year and a 2013 NBA All-Star, and rookies Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Hornets and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers. Davis, the overall No. 1 selection in the 2012 NBA Draft presented by State Farm, is tied for the rookie lead in rebounds (7.6 rpg) and ranks first in blocks (1.8 bpg). Lillard has won consecutive Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month awards, and is leading first-year players in scoring (18.1 ppg) and assists (6.6 apg).

The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge — televised live nationally on TNT at 9 p.m. ET and broadcast live on ESPN Radio, with live audio also available on NBA.com in multiple languages — features two teams each consisting of nine rookies and sophomores mixed together, drafted from a pool selected by the NBA’s assistant coaches.

Jan 29

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports: “The Magic have dropped six straight and have only won twice in January. There isn’t much hope for optimism ahead with upcoming road games against New York, Boston, Milwaukee and Philadelphia.”
  • Kyle O’Quinn threw a pass directly at Andray Blatche’s face in last night’s game between the Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets.
  • The Nets led by as much as 26 points in their 97-77 win yesterday against the Magic.
  • Video of Glen Davis cradling Gerald Wallace like a big baby.
  • Zach Lowe of Grantland with praise for the Magic broadcasting duo of David Steele and Matt Guokas: “Right up there with Brooklyn’s group as perhaps the very best on your League Pass dial. David Steele is evenhanded on play-by-play, and you can tell Matt Guokas devours every piece of NBA material he can find — lineup data, local coverage, blog posts from all over the Internet, and lots of other stuff. The facts Guokas brings up aren’t the inane talking points other crews spout. In a landscape of mute-worthy homers, we must acknowledge the great work of those trying to bring information over fluff and noise.”
  • Arron Afflalo has been one of the best midrange jumpshooters in the NBA this season. Ironic, given that his shot selection has come under question for not taking enough corner threes.
  • Davis, who has gotten a technical foul in each of Orlando’s last four games, vows to keep quiet from now on and not say anything to the officials.

Jan 29

A midseason review on the Magic

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

The Magic’s season is now 44 games old and and while some characteristics of this team are starting to take focus, others are still a bit hazier. The Magic are somehow simultaneously exactly what we thought they’d be and not really anything like we thought they’d be. Results are inconclusive.

Instead of looking at expectations for this season and grading the Magic accordingly, this is an exercise in bringing everyone up to speed on who exactly the Magic are, what exactly they’re made up of, and how they arrived at a 14-30 record.

You’re only as good as your record
A 14-30 record is bad, but evaluating the Magic at this point is not as simple as citing wins and losses. Looking at a team’s record is what you do when you have a fully stocked and competitive roster that is competing for home-court advantage in the playoffs, and has even an outside chance of winning a championship. Orlando is not in that position. So we should really throw their record out the window.

After all, more than a handful of the Magic’s losses this year have been in close games and against good teams. The problem is that the Magic still lack a serious scorer and in no way have proven that they can close a game out. Competitiveness can only get you so far in a game. At some point, you need someone to take over (preferably multiple options on that front).

You honestly could make an argument that this team could be gunning for a playoff spot if they only had a closer. Think back to a couple weeks ago when the Magic played neck-and-neck with the Knicks for three and a half quarters, only to be bested by Carmelo Anthony down the stretch. The only thing that can really combat that is a Carmelo of your own or something similar.

The point is that we know Orlando is a bad team, but that does not mean that all is bad. Throwing wins and losses around doesn’t really capture what is really going on this season. There is plenty of good, in fact, within this organization at the moment. So if you want to talk about records, consider the fact that Orlando isn’t too far off from being a playoff team when taking into account all the close losses they’ve had.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 29

Recap: Brooklyn Nets 97, Orlando Magic 77

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Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

BOX SCORE

Let’s just cut to the chase.

With each loss, the Orlando Magic are confirming everyone’s suspicion before the season began that they were going to be one of the worst teams in the NBA.

After beginning the season with a 12-13 record, it seemed like the Magic were going to defy expectations. Orlando’s defense was leading the charge and an overachieving group was coming away with impressive road wins over teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors.

Then reality set in. The Magic regressed defensively and as a result, they went on a season-high 10-game losing streak. Orlando’s surprising 12-13 start seemed so long ago.

The Magic snapped their 10-game losing streak with a thrilling 104-101 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers and followed that up with an impressive win against the Indiana Pacers four days later.

Unfortunately for Orlando, they’ve reverted back to their losing ways. With their latest loss, this time at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets, the Magic are now in the middle of their second-longest losing streak of the season (six games).

The Nets had a strong first half thanks to Deron Williams (18 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the floor). He was scoring from all over the court and there was very little Orlando could do to stop him from doing whatever he wanted on offense. Williams was supplemented by strong first half performances from Brook Lopez (12 points) and Joe Johnson (7 points).

In the third quarter, Brooklyn took their foot off the gas pedal and allowed the Magic to get back into the game. Glen Davis, Maurice Harkless, and Nikola Vucevic combined to score 21 of Orlando’s 23 points in the period and cut the deficit to seven heading into the fourth quarter.

Harkless (who finished with a career-high 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting), in particular, was impressive in the third quarter, nailing two three-pointers from the corners and showing glimpses of the type of player he can be in the NBA — a “3-and-D” specialist.

But the Nets woke up in the final period. Brooklyn went on a 23-4 run to start the quarter and road some hot three-point shooting from their “Bench Mob” to blow the game wide open and put the Magic away.

Aside from Harkless’ career night, there isn’t much else to take away from this game.

After tying a career-high with 31 points against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, J.J. Redick couldn’t hit the broad side of the barn against Brooklyn (2-for-13 shooting). He did, however, set a new career-high with 10 assists. And Nikola Vucevic had another solid performance, finishing with 18 points and nine rebounds.

But the fact of the matter is that Orlando is who we thought they were before the season started — a bad team.

MVP (Most Valuable Player)

Williams did most of his damage in the first half, scoring 18 of his 20 points to give the Nets a 16-point lead at the break. Williams played the role of facilitator in the second half and finished with nine assists.

X-Factor

The “Bench Mob” for Brooklyn were the difference makers against the Magic. The Nets’ second unit outscored Orlando’s bench, 41-14, and helped blow the game wide open in the fourth quarter. 

Defining Moment

After a lackluster third quarter, in which Brooklyn was outscored 23-14 by the Magic and relinquished a double-digit lead, the Nets opened the final period on a 23-4 run and cruised to a 97-77 victory. 

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