Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 9

Dec 15

Grades: Toronto Raptors 95, Orlando Magic 82

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AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette

 

Toronto Raptors 95 Final
Recap | Box Score
82 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
6-13 FG | 1-3 FT | 2 BLK | 9 REB | 13 PTS | -8

Although Vucevic outplayed Jonas Valanciunas head-to-head in their latest battle, which has been the norm between the two players for the past three seasons, Vucevic himself didn’t play particularly well. His hook shots and fadeaway jumpers were off, and he committed a variety of turnovers — a bad entry pass, a moving screen, etc. He just looked out-of-sync offensively all night long.

Tobias Harris
8-15 FG | 6-10 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 18 PTS | -11

Harris went on a personal 8-0 run late in the second quarter that was part of a larger 16-2 run, which gave the Magic a 52-44 lead at halftime. Within that sequence, Harris made a layup, two free throws, and two point-blank jumpers on the left block. When he gets on a roll on offense, he can score quickly.

Ben Gordon
7-11 FG | 2-4 3P | 3 REB | 0 AST | 16 PTS | +10

Gordon had a vintage performance. Unfortunately for the Magic, they let it go to waste. Gordon came off the bench and provided a spark with his scoring, making several tough shots along the way. He was a team-high plus-10 for the game, which accurately captures his positive impact for Orlando. Many people derided the Gordon signing, but he’s been solid this season.

Victor Oladipo
6-12 FG | 0-2 3P | 2 REB | 4 AST | 12 PTS | -12

When you have two competitive, physical point guards matched up against each other, there’s potential for fireworks. Tonight’s matchup between Oladipo and Kyle Lowry did not disappoint. They hounded one another all over the court, but ultimately, it was Lowry (17 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals) that got the better of Oladipo. Still, Oladipo deserves a lot of credit for not backing down.

Toronto Raptors

With DeMar DeRozan out (torn left adductor longus tendon), the Drakes have leaned on Lowry heavily and tonight was no exception. Trailing 52-44 at the half, Toronto outscored Orlando 51-30 in the second half to come away with an easy victory. To put it simply, the Drakes took their collective game to a level the Magic couldn’t match.

Dec 15

Video: Victor Oladipo throws the hammer down

Dec 15

Preview: Orlando Magic at Toronto Raptors

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Toronto Raptors
  • Date: December 15, 2014
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Air Canada Centre

Records

  • Magic: 10-16
  • Raptors: 18-6

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Victor Oladipo
  • Evan Fournier
  • Tobias Harris
  • Channing Frye
  • Nikola Vucevic

Raptors:

  • Kyle Lowry
  • Terrence Ross
  • Landry Fields
  • Amir Johnson
  • Jonas Valanciunas

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 92.9 (18th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.2 (26th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.4 (17th of 30)

Raptors:

  • Pace: 92.9 (17th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 114.6 (2nd of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.1 (14th of 30)

Read about the Raptors

Raptors Republic

Dec 14

Grades: Orlando Magic 100, Atlanta Hawks 99

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AP Photo/John Raoux

 

Orlando Magic 100 Final
Recap | Box Score
99 Atlanta Hawks

Nikola Vucevic
9-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 11 REB | 1 BLK | 18 PTS | +9

It was nice to see Vucevic back on the floor after missing the previous six games with a lower back sprain. It didn’t appear he was coming off an injury as he continued where he left off — posting a double-double. He now has 14 double-doubles on the season and continued to look like an All-Star in his matchup with Hawks center Al Horford.

Tobias Harris
7-16 FG | 6-10 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 20 PTS | -1

It didn’t matter what Harris did the previous 47:56 seconds because when he caught the ball with 3.4 seconds remaining and drove to his left to hit the game-winning jump shot, he was getting an A-plus. After losing to the Wizards on a last second shot on Wednesday, it was big for Harris to step up and win this game for the Magic.

Evan Fournier
7-14 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 19 PTS | +5

Fournier continues to be an efficient secondary scorer for Orlando. With Vucevic back in the lineup, Fournier is one of the latter offensive options in the starting group. But if he can continue to consistently have games like this, the Magic can become more dynamic on offense. Out of all of his made field goals, Fournier’s layup with 1:02 left, which gave Orlando a 95-94 lead, was the biggest of them all.

Victor Oladipo
5-9 FG | 3-3 3P | 5 REB | 7 AST | 15 PTS | +6

Oladipo has a knack of affecting games in a variety of ways. Whether it was his defense, his ability to dribble penetrate on offense and find open shooters, or him knocking down all three of his 3-point attempts, Oladipo had his fingerprints all over the Magic’s latest victory. He continues to show his versatility as the season progresses for Orlando.

Atlanta Hawks

Honestly, the Hawks can’t be too disappointed with their performance. Harris hit a tough shot with DeMarre Carroll draped all over him to win the game for the Magic. Sometimes, the ball just doesn’t bounce your way. It didn’t for Atlanta on Saturday night. Jeff Teague was very good in the loss with 24 points and 8 assists.

Dec 13

Video: Tobias Harris beats Hawks at buzzer

Dec 13

Preview: Atlanta Hawks at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Atlanta Hawks at Orlando Magic
  • Date: December 13, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Hawks: 16-6
  • Magic: 9-16

Probable starters

Hawks:

  • Jeff Teague
  • Kyle Korver
  • DeMarre Carroll
  • Paul Millsap
  • Al Horford

Magic:

  • Victor Oladipo
  • Evan Fournier
  • Tobias Harris
  • Channing Frye
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Hawks:

  • Pace: 93.7 (11th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 108.4 (10th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 102.8 (8th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 92.9 (18th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.9 (26th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.3 (15th of 30)

Read about the Hawks

HawksHoop

Dec 13

Grades: Atlanta Hawks 87, Orlando Magic 81

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AP Photo/David Goldman

 

Atlanta Hawks 87 Final
Recap | Box Score
81 Orlando Magic

Victor Oladipo
8-12 FG | 3-3 3P | 2 REB | 1 AST | 21 PTS | -2

Talk about setting the tone, Oladipo stole the ball away from Jeff Teague on the Hawks’ first offensive possession. Coach Mike Budenholzer ultimately benched Teague in the third quarter, which can be attributed to Oladipo’s defense throughout the evening. Oladipo also carried the load offensively for the Magic in the opening frame, shooting 4-for-4 from the field en route to 9 points. He’s really becoming a solid two-way player.

Evan Fournier
8-14 FG | 2-6 3P | 6 REB | 4 AST | 18 PTS | +9

Against Atlanta, someone always has to be guarding Kyle Korver. Fournier did an excellent job of that on Friday night. Korver was held to 6 points on just 6 shots, while Fournier was able to do a little bit of everything offensively. He showcased his ability to score, rebound, and create assist opportunities against the overmatched Korver.

Kyle O’Quinn
5-10 FG | 4-5 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 14 PTS | +4

O’Quinn was incredibly average. He isn’t a threat to back down defenders, pass out of double-teams, and hit fadeaway jumpers. However, O’Quinn was solid in pick-and-roll situations, and made space for Oladipo and Fournier to either penetrate or pull up for open jump shots. But he can get lost within the flow of things on nights Orlando attempts a lot of jumpers.

Tobias Harris
4-14 FG | 1-6 3P | 11 REB | 3 AST | 13 PTS | +9

Even when their shots aren’t falling, shooters need to keep shooting and that’s what Harris did. However, he was unable to find his stroke at any point in the game. Still, he managed to get to the foul line enough to finish in double figures. It’d be nice to see Harris really pull everything together this season, because he’s a versatile player that can contribute in many areas.

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks didn’t really play that great. They, like the Magic, were carried by their starting lineup. Paul Millsap stepped up when there were a lot of players on both teams that didn’t seem eager to do the same. Atlanta’s bench scored 16 points, which isn’t a lot, but it was enough to get the win. Meanwhile, Orlando’s bench finished with 7 points.

Dec 12

Preview: Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks
  • Date: December 12, 2014
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Philips Arena

Records

  • Magic: 9-15
  • Hawks: 15-6

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Victor Oladipo
  • Evan Fournier
  • Tobias Harris
  • Channing Frye
  • Kyle O’Quinn

Hawks:

  • Jeff Teague
  • Kyle Korver
  • DeMarre Carroll
  • Paul Millsap
  • Al Horford

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 92.9 (18th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.4 (26th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.8 (18th of 30)

Hawks:

  • Pace: 93.8 (12th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 109.1 (7th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 103.5 (8th of 30)

Read about the Hawks

HawksHoop

Dec 11

Poor late-game execution dooms Magic

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AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

ORLANDO, Fla. — If there’s one thing to take away from Courtney Lee’s buzzer-beater in Memphis, it’s that a lot can happen in 0.3 seconds, let alone 0.8 seconds. Coach Jacque Vaughn was aware of the choices the Wizards had on the game’s final possession with the score tied at 89.

“There are plenty of options at 0.8 seconds. You can catch-and-shoot, you can catch-and-turn, you can throw a lob, so they had a lot of options on the last play of the game,” said Vaughn.

Washington chose to throw a lob to Bradley Beal on an inbounds pass from Andre Miller, who’s one of the best lob throwers in the NBA. The play was executed to perfection, as Beal made a game-winning alley-oop layup at the buzzer to help the Wizards top the Magic 91-89 on Wednesday night.

Part of the reason that Miller and Beal were able to execute the lob was because of miscommunication from Orlando defensively. When asked what was discussed in the huddle before that final play, Victor Oladipo explained that the Magic were supposed to switch on everything.

“Yeah, just basically switch when the ball gets in,” said Oladipo. “After the ball’s passed in, just switch. It didn’t work out that way. They did a great job of cutting. It was a great pass and great finish, so credit to them for that.”

However, when asked the same question, Tobias Harris revealed a different answer.

“Basically, everybody just had to guard their guy,” said Harris. “It was a good draw-up they did to get the ball in the air. It was tough for Vic to turn around and try to get that basketball, so it was a good play.”

Because of that confusion, Oladipo and Harris did a poor job of defending the inbounds play. Oladipo and Harris were guarding Beal and Paul Pierce, respectively. Pierce set a screen on Oladipo. Instead of switching onto Beal, Harris stayed with Pierce.

That’s where things broke down for the Magic on defense. Because Harris didn’t switch onto Beal, Oladipo was forced to fight through Pierce’s screen. As a result, Oladipo was a half-second late in recovering and Beal made the game-winner.

This is the second time in eight days where Orlando lost in the final seconds of a game. In the first instance, Stephen Curry made a game-winning 3-pointer to lift the Warriors past the Magic in a 98-97 victory. But that was an example where Golden State won the game instead of Orlando losing it — a great player made a great play.

Against the Wizards, the Magic had the game won and lost it. Orlando had outplayed Washington in the second half and were up 89-86 with 40.9 seconds left with possession after an Elfrid Payton steal, before Harris was called for an offensive foul in transition a few seconds later.

It was evident in the Magic locker room afterwards that the players knew that they let the Wizards off the hook and it was a lack of execution late in the game that cost them a well-earned victory.

Dec 10

Grades: Washington Wizards 91, Orlando Magic 89

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AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

 

Washington Wizards 91 Final
Recap | Box Score
89 Orlando Magic

Victor Oladipo
7-16 FG | 1-3 3P | 6 REB | 3 AST | 17 PTS | -6

With 16.0 seconds left and the score tied at 89 apiece, the Magic ran a 1-3 pick-and-roll with Oladipo and Willie Green. However, Green didn’t make contact with Bradley Beal — Oladipo’s defender — on the screen. Additionally, Rasual Butler ignored Green to help on Oladipo momentarily. As a result, Oladipo settled for a contested jumper from the right wing and missed the shot. Bad play design.

Tobias Harris
7-11 FG | 1-2 3P | 1 STL | 6 REB | 15 PTS | -3

With roughly 41 seconds left, Payton ran a 3-on-2 fast break with Orlando leading 89-86. Harris filled the left side of the court, received a pass from Payton, and went up for a layup. However, he was called for an offensive foul — thanks to a John Wall flop. It was a crucial turnover that could have iced the game for the Magic.

Elfrid Payton
6-15 FG | 0-1 3P | 6 REB | 4 AST | 12 PTS | -4

The good: Payton attacked the rim and wasn’t afraid to challenge the Wizards’ big men. He even got the best of Nene on one possession late in the third quarter, when he got Nene to jump on a head fake before finishing with a floater in the lane. The bad: Payton got suckered into trying to take advantage of mismatches too much whenever Washington switched defensively.

Kyle O’Quinn
4-15 FG | 1-2 3P | 6 REB | 4 AST | 10 PTS | +11

For Magic fans wondering why O’Quinn didn’t play crunch time minutes? Matchups. The Wizards went small, opting for a John Wall-Bradley Beal-Rasual Butler-Paul Pierce-Kris Humphries lineup, which forced coach Jacque Vaughn to play Frye at center. It’s a bit odd that coach Randy Wittman would choose Humphries as his center instead of Marcin Gortat or Nene, but it worked.

Washington Wizards

Trailing 89-84 with 1:38 left after Harris’ putback dunk, it looked like Washington was on its way to losing a game it had been outplayed in. But, thanks in large part due to Wall’s brilliance, the Wizards out-executed the Magic in crunch time and were able to escape Orlando with a victory in the most improbable circumstances — on a game-winning alley-oop layup.

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