Orlando Magic Blog

Group Blog talking about the NBA 2009 Eastern Conference Champions. Due to the amazing success of the 2009 playoff run comments are now frequently deleted to kill offensive comments, incoherence, or asininity. Comments can no longer be anonymous and require either a Blogger or OpenID account.

Monday, January 30, 2006

A Tough February Ahead

A Tough February Ahead

Overall Record entering February: 18-24 (.429); Home: 12-10 (.545); Road: 6-14 (.300) 10th in East

Nov: 7-7 (.500)
Dec: 5-8 (.384)
Jan: 6-9 (.400)
Feb: 14 games, 6 home & 8 road

Splits:
cumulative win percentage of Feb opponents: .514,
cumulative record on home/road courts of Feb opponents: .520.
Magic record this year against Feb opponents: 7-11 (.389)
4 games against division leaders
8 games against winning teams
10 games against teams with winning home or road records.

The month includes a nasty 8 games from 2/6 to 2/22 where the Magic will not be favored to win. A 7-7 month would be a spectacular accomplishment.

Wed 1 L.A. Clippers 7:00pm 25-16, 9-9 road team 1-0 vs. Magic this season. Mobley returns, does Francis pout or stick it to his friend? Last game Clippers outscored Magic 50-30 in 2nd & 3rd periods without Brand who is now healthy. Jameer back?

Fri 3 @ Atlanta 7:00pm 11-31, 3-17 road 0-0 vs Magic this season. Started 0-9 had a 4-10 January. Ty Lue at PG. Definite win expected. Al Harrington expected to be a top free agent this summer.

Sat 4 Boston 7:00pm 18-26, 4-17 road, Magic 1-0 vs. Boston this season. Doc Rivers returns to TDW. Boston 2-0 after trading for Wally. Lots of rumors Pierce may still be traded. Should expect a win.

Mon 6 @ Washington 7:00pm 20-22, 12-9 hm, Magic lead series 2-1 (0-1 on road) Figure Grant Hill shows up around this time, perhaps Cato as well.

Wed 8 @ Milwaukee 8:00pm 23-20, 13-9 hm, series 1-1

Fri 10 Detroit 7:00pm 37-5, 17-3 rd, Detroit 1-0

Sun 12 @ Boston 6:00pm 18-26, 14-9 home.

Tue 14 @ Miami 7:30pm 27-18, 14-6 home, Magic lead 1-0

Wed 15 Miami 7:00pm 13-12 road record. Home & Home vs. Miami. Shaq has been famous for not trying hard during his birthday month. Wonder if Riley can change that.

Sun 19 NBA All-Star Game in Houston -- hope Francis catches his flight out of Houston.

Tue 21 @ Cleveland 7:00pm 25-17, 16-15 home, Cleveland leads 2-0. Wild guess here that Drew Gooden & Damon Jones will be in an absolute funk due to trade deadline. Larry Hughes probably still out.

Wed 22 @ New Jersey 7:30pm 22-20, 12-6 at home, NJ leads 2-0. 2nd game of back to back on the road.

Thu 23 NBA TRADE DEADLINE – Cato gone?

Fri 24 Seattle 7:00pm 18-25, 8-13 road, Seattle 1-0 vs. Magic Should be a win.

Sun 26 Houston 3:30pm 15-28, 11-13 rd, Magic 1-0 vs. Houston. Should be a win.

Tue 28 @ L.A. Lakers 10:30pm 23-20, 12-8 home, Lakers 1-0 vs. Magic.

6 Comments:

  • At 12:48 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Excellent research, WeRDevos. When the schedule came up everybody was talking about JAN being a tough month. I knew that FEB will be even a tougher one. Magic has to defend the home court to have any chance at all. Games like last night and the one in NY show the fragile psyche of the team. In both games we faced teams desperate enough to turn the match into street fights, and we didn't respond well. It seemed that we had to work hard on the offensive end but got beat on defensive end by non-complicated schemes, namely dribble penetration to find the shooter or send the big man to the basket and find him right underneath. I am surprised that coach Hill did not mention that he has been out-coached, again.

    As it stands, this team needs stability more than any thing else, and the stability comes from leadership on the court and/or by the court-side. We need Grant on the court ASAP and Jameer's presence for easier scoring down the stretch.

    I certainly hope that the fragile psyche does not result into another tail spin.

     
  • At 2:56 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Great stats on the upcoming schedule, WeRDevos. I agree that if the Magic go 7-7 in February, that would be a nice accomplishment, because like you said, the Magic will be underdogs in most of those games. The Magic, if they play as poorly and are coached as poorly as they have been the last 2 losses, could easily finish the month no better than 3 -11 and find themselves well out of the playoff picture.

    Matt, good point about the Magic being exploited defensively by the opposing teams' big men the last two games. Coach Hill has to devise a better defensive scheme.

    The Magic need to regain the aggressiveness offensively they had during the 5 game winning streak, namely, driving to the basket and drawing fouls, which, in turn, will lead to an open shooter on the perimeter. One Garrity drive and slam isn't enough. The Magic shot the ball very well during the 5 game winning streak thanks to their aggressiveness and outside shooting except for the SAC game.

    It's also imperative that the Magic get and stay healthy; Nelson, GHill and even Cato will be key for the team this month.

     
  • At 3:26 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    It is not easy for the Magic to drive against good defenses since the only talented slashers are Steve and Deshawn until Grant comes back. Hedo is not a natural slasher and that's why in the last two games he had many turnovers when tried to be aggressive. I agree that Hedo's long range threat opens up the lanes for Dwight and slashers, but when he drives and Garrity is not making shots, the defenses clog up the middle even more. For the Magic to go 7-7 they have to win at least 4 at home (all but DET and MIA) and win 3 on the road (ATL, BOS and WAS) and that is a tall order. I think 6-8 would be a more realistic scenario, and still good enough to keep them afloat. Having that said when Grant and Jameer come back and the bench gets deeper, they may steal a couple here and there.

     
  • At 6:59 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    We were all aware of coach Hill's capabilities or lack thereof. We gave him the benefit of the doubt as a new coach and also due to some improvements in defense. We also were well aware that such kind of defense without much of a reward on the offensive end could wear the team down. The main problem is the lack of communication skills, a disconnect between the team and the coach. The result has been the enormous fluctuations from night to night. When the team comes out with no clue of what is expected of them on a given night, who's to blame? When the team comes out flat against a team that has lost 6 in a row, who's to blame? Now that we are half the way thorough the season, we are not granting the benefit of the doubt to anybody. Injuries are no excuse, since we have seen what the team is capable of, injured or not. Right the ship, we say, or bow out. I think that we are entitled to it.

     
  • At 1:11 AM, Blogger Ken said…

    I look at this team and see some amazing talent. We have the number one draft pick in DHoward, a point guard (although on the small side) with endless energy and enthusiazm in JNelson, A veteran center who can give you 10 - 10 most nights and is an assett in the locker room, A pg/sg in Francis, who, when his head is in the game can distribute the ball and rebound and begs to have the ball in his hands in the closing seconds, and Dooling, a semi-hard nosed defender who isn't afraid to battle for the team.

    And those are just the starters. Add GHill, Turkglu, Kasun, and Diener to the mix and we got a pretty decent team. One that is certainly better than our 18-24 record. A team that shouldn't have to be fighting for the 8th playoff spot. It shouldn't be this difficult with the talent we have accumulated.

    And this, unfortunatly is the coaches fault. We all like BHill, he's a great guy and outstanding citizen, heck, i'd even let him babysit my kids. But i'm afraid he is just uncapable of communicating to this, or any team for that matter. His lack of game preparation, questionable rotations, and inability to motivate are keeping this team in constant dissaray. I respect the position he holds as head coach, but thats where my respect ends.

     
  • At 9:55 AM, Blogger Pete said…

    The good news is that one player is motivated to play and that is Steve Francis. Whether Coach Hill gets the credit or it is self motivation or John Lucas's work, I don't know. I think the month of February would be a good test of Coach Hill. At the end of the month we would know where the team stands, and alongside where the coach should be. He can no longer blame the players for team failures. He will get all the credits for the team's success, and for the same token, all the blames for the team's failures.

     

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