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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

MAGIC: All-Time Transactions

MAGIC: All-Time Transactions

Another time-waster: every transaction in the history of the Magic. From the original expansion draft to the suspension of Francis is right here.

I had forgotten that they traded Matt Harping for Andrew DeClercq. That was the same day they traded Ben Wallace & Chucky Atkins and renounced the rights to Chauncey Billups.

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.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

A puzzling, inexplicable loss for Magic

The 76ers, without Allen Iverson and having played Saturday night, come into Orlando and end the Magic's 7 game home winning streak 89-81. Chris Webber with 18 pts and John Salmons with 17 led Philly. Francis had another outstanding all-around game with his first triple double of the season with 22 pts, 10 rebs and 10 assists; and all the other starters for the Magic scored in double figures.

The Magic outscored Philly 65-63 from the field on 43.1% shooting, compared to 45.6% for the 76ers, but were outscored from the FT line 26-16. These last 2 games, the Magic have stopped being aggressive offensively and have not been drawing many fouls. The Sixers also did a much better job taking care of the ball, committing only 10 TOs while the Magic committed 17. The Magic did outrebound the Sixers 40-37. It was another woeful effort by the Magic bench, as they were outscored 19-7. Dooling, Garrity, and Diener combined to shoot just 3 of 13.

It's becoming apparent the Magic really miss Jameer Nelson, who would have been a huge spark off the bench these last 2 games, and GHill. It was unrealistic to expect Turkoglu to continue to play out of his mind like he was, as he has come back down to earth these last 2 games. Magic are now 2 games behind Washington for the final playoff spot.

Philly comes to Orlando without Iverson

Due to a sprained ankle suffered against the Magic on Thursday, star guard Allen Iverson will miss his second straight game for Philly tonight against the Magic. However, the Sixers did well without A.I. Saturday night, easily beating the Knicks 91-76, moving their record to 22-21. The 76ers are 39-58 in Iverson's career when he misses a game.

Journeyman Kevin Ollie started in Iverson's place and had 6 pts and 5 assists. Several other players also stepped up as Chris Webber had 21 pts 10 rebs; John Salmons nearly had a triple double with 18 pts 9 rebs and 7 assists. Andre Iguodala had 16 pts and Kyle Korver added 12 pts off the bench.

The Magic, who at the midpoint of the season are 18-23, have a great chance to extend their home winning streak to 8 games, as they have not lost at TDW since a 104-88 setback to the Lakers on Dec. 23rd. They should have beaten the Knicks Friday night, but a slow start, too many TOs and poor bench play doomed the Magic. If those 3 things are corrected tonight, the Magic should cruise to victory, as they are favored by 7 pts, but they cannot take Philly for granted simply because they will be without Iverson. It's not known at this time if Jameer Nelson will be able to play after missing the previous 4 Magic games.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Dennis Scott on his favorite all-time Magic player

Friday, January 27, 2006

Frantic Magic comeback comes up just short

It was just too much to ask the Magic to come back from a huge 21 pt deficit at the half. Despite a great effort by Francis, who scored a season-high 36 pts, the Magic's 5 game winning streak came to an end 97-94. The Magic committed 22 TOs (and only 15 assists), which led to 23 NY pts. A bad effort from the bench tonight, outscored by the Knicks bench 45-16. After scoring a combined 42 pts last night, Garrity and Dooling combined to score just 11 pts on 4 of 17 shooting. Dooling, in particular, had a horrible game scoring 6 pts on 2 of 12 FG shooting (1 of 7 from 3 pt) along with 6 TOs and just 1 assist. If the bench played better, the Magic win this game.

The Magic outscored the Knicks 70-66 from the floor, outshooting them 43.1% to 42.1%, but were outscored from the FT line 31 to 24, as the Knicks attempted 44 FTs while the Magic attempted just 29. Howard really struggled offensively, shooting just 3 of 9 (10 pts) in 41 minutes. Turkoglu also struggled, shooting just 4 of 10 but still scored 16 pts.

Though it was a game the Magic should have won, this is only 1 loss, and Washington also lost to the Bulls Friday so the Magic are still only a game behind the Wizards for the last playoff spot, though the Bulls are now a half game ahead of the Magic now. The Magic need to be encouraged by Francis's great performance, correct all the errors they made against the Knicks, and come back ready to rock and start a new winning streak Sunday against the 76ers.

Magic go for 6 wins in a row at NY

The Magic, at 18-22, coming off a great OT win against Philly, go to Madison Square Garden tonight to face the Knicks, who, at 13-27, are trying to avoid their 7th loss in a row. The Magic are getting no respect from the oddsmakers, as they are 4 pt underdogs going into the game, but have had a great amount of success against NY the last two years. They've won 6 of their last 7 against NY and 3 in a row at MSG. Here's the key to the game: in two wins against the Knicks this year, the Magic have gone to the FT line 73 times! In this 5 game winning streak, the Magic have done an excellent job of drawing fouls and getting to the FT line, so look for that trend to continue tonight. Also, the Knicks are leading the league in TOs committed, averaging 17.4 per game. The Magic have to keep Stephon Marbury under control, as he's averaging 19 pts and 7 assists. He's coming off a sprained shoulder, so he won't be a hundred percent but will play. Jamaal Crawford (14.7 pts), Channing Frye (14.2 pts), and Eddy Curry (14.7 pts 6.6 rebs) are also averaging in double figures. At TDW on Dec. 28th, in a 10 pt Magic win, Curry had a huge game, with 29 pts and 9 rebounds before having to leave with an injury. Battie, with help from Howard, will have to play solid defense in the low post to prevent another monster game by Curry. Can the Magic add to their winning streak after a tough OT win last night? It's going to take another good team effort and the guys will have to step up like they've been doing... Go Magic!

Winning Streak Statistics

5 wins and a seemingly different team since Francis returned from his 2 game suspension. I downloaded and combined the box scores from the last five games and compared them against season averages. Here's what stands out.
Hedo 5 games: 41 mpg, 22.2 pts, 6.0 reb, 3.2 asst. suddenly he is underpaid. In 9 minutes more per game he is scoring 8.4 ppg more, 2 more rebounds and an extra assist.

Dwight 5 games: 39.4 mpg, 18.4 ppg, 13.4 reb. 3 ppg higher than season average and .8 more rebounds. Compare to Tim Duncan's 2nd year averages (he was 23) of 21.7 and 11.4

Steve-O 5 games: 37 minutes, 13.8 pts, 8 assists, 6.8 rebounds. Those are great numbers. During the win streak his minutes are normal, his scoring is down 2 pts a game while assists and rebounds are up 2 per game.

Backup Center/PF: There isn't one! 0 minutes from Cato/Kasun in 5 games, Garrity is doing well but plays the perimeter and Morris has played 13 minutes during the streak.

Pat G 5 games: 19 mpg, 10 ppg -- 4 mpg more, and playing much better. ppg almost double his average this year. 30 minutes vs. Philly.

Diener 5 games: 13.4 mpg, 4 ppg, 1.6 asst, 2 rpg. Has played in a total of 12 games this year including the last 5. With Dooling back Diener is getting a consistent 6 mpg off the bench.

Dooling last 2 games: 30 mpg, 14 ppg, 1.5 apg, 3 rpg in 2 huge wins.

Jameer 1st 2 games of streak: 33.5 mpg, 15.5 ppg, 5.5 apg, 3 rpg to help start the streak.

3 key guys with Hedo putting up big numbers, Dwight's continuous steady improvement and Francis with his head in the game. 2 steady role players in Stevenson & Battie. Plus the sudden emergence of a bench that has stretched from only Nelson/Garrity to add Dooling & Diener.

Questions:
  1. Does Hedo continue to start and play 40 mpg if Hill decides to return?
  2. Can Howard average 20+ ppg and 14 rpg next year?
  3. Can Francis permanently keep his head in the game, or do you have to trade him while he is playing well?
  4. Is Kasun injured or simply can't play NBA basketball? He's the only player to not leave the bench during the streak?


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Magic stave off 76ers in OT for 5th straight win

Despite tremendous games from the Sixers' Allen Iverson (38 pts 15 assists) and Chris Webber (32 pts 11 rebs), the Magic hold on for an impressive 119-115 OT win. The Magic shot a superb 58.9% from the field compared to 48.9% by Philly. Another good job by the Magic drawing fouls, as they went to the FT line 41 times (only making 26, however, for 63.4%). The 76ers went to the FT line only 27 times, but made 22 (81.5%). 6 players in double figures for the Magic, led once again by Hedo, who had 25 pts on 9 of 15 shooting. Good game by all the starters, except maybe Stevenson who had just 7 pts and 4 rebs in 30 minutes. Great job off the bench by Garrity (24 pts) and Dooling (18 pts), who combined for 42 pts on 15 of 24 shooting. The Sixer bench combined for only 19 pts (Korver had a miserable night, shooting only 1 of 8). Garrity shot 5 of 7 from the 3 pt line for the Magic. Maybe this will quiet all the Garrity haters out there for at least a game. He is valuable to the success of this team. Francis did a great job passing the ball with 15 assists, and the team wound up with 27 assists, compared to 16 TOs. It is a really good sign that so many players are stepping up each game for the Magic during this 5 game winning streak. When Nelson and GHill return, that will make the Magic that much more deeper. Things are really looking up for all us long-suffering Magic fans... keep it going Magic...we're right there in the playoff chase!

Peter Kerasotis

A few more good articles from Peter Kerasotis on the Magic:

Magic merit a 'real' owner

Fans still back Francis

RealGM: O'Neal Out At Least Eight Weeks

Jermaine O'Neal Out At Least Eight Weeks

Current 7th seed Indiana (3 games ahead of Orlando) has lost Jermaine O'Neal for 8 weeks with a torn groin.

Florida Today on Francis

Peter Kerasotis Florida Today on the Magic trading Steve Francis.

"This is not quite another lost season for Orlando. After all, Dwight Howard got another year of development and Jameer Nelson has emerged as the guy the Magic should play at point guard. The organization is also one year closer to ridding itself of Grant Hill's contract. It's a young team, and there are some good pieces to build on.

Steve Francis isn't one of those pieces.

If the Magic play this right, they can still salvage the Steve Francis trade with another trade. They can still get something of value from him.

It's all about learning from your mistakes."

I'm not sure it seems right. I go away for a week and the Magic go on a compelling 4 game win streak and my first post back is linking to a somewhat negative story.

The Magic are currently a hard team to follow on the road as they get no national attention whatsoever. Besides not being able to watch them, you can't even read about them. Even the big win against Phoenix only earned a two sentence blurb in USA Today. It's so bad that Chris Bosh may make the All-Star team while Howard will be playing in the Rookie-Sophmore game. That's sad.

Magic try for fifth in a row at Philly

The Magic have a tough game ahead of them tonight, facing a 76er team that is looking for its 4th win in a row, and whose overall record is 21-20. Of course, Allen Iverson is the key to this Sixer team, and he's having his best year scoringwise, averaging 33.5 pts per game on 45.5% shooting. Chris Webber is having a very good year also, averaging 19.3 pts and 10 rebounds. 2 other players average in double figures, Andre Iguodala (12.0 pts) and Kyle Korver (11.7 pts). Korver is one of the best 3 pt shooters in the league, shooting nearly 45% from the 3 pt line. Here's the key stat: The Sixers are averaging 101.3 pts per game (third in the NBA), but they are allowing 102.2 pts per game defensively, third-most in the league. The Magic, who have been playing well offensively, need to take advantage of the Philly defense and continue to hit the open shot and continue to drive to the basket in an effort to draw fouls. A big FT advantage over Sacramento and Phoenix was a key factor in those Magic wins. According to the Sentinel, Coach Hill said Francis will begin the game guarding Iverson, with Stevenson and Dooling helping out later. Remember last February when Iverson embarrassed the Magic by scoring 60 pts? Jameer Nelson will continue to sit out with his sprained foot. If the Magic continue to play well offensively and continue to stress defense, this is a winnable game against a Phiily team that is playing well.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Magic stop Suns for 4th win in a row

A fantastic defensive effort by the Magic in the final 4:48 of the 4th quarter led the way in an impressive 111-102 win against a quality Phoenix team. The Magic allowed only 1 FG during that time. Looking at the stats of the game, the Magic did another good job drawing fouls, as they outscored Phoenix 24-10 from the foul line. As Matt mentioned in an earlier post, the Magic shot a sizzling 54.7% from the field, compared to 46.1% for Phoenix. Whoever thought the Magic would outshoot the Suns? Another great game by the starters, led by Turkoglu's 30 pts. He's averaged 25 pts a game his last 3 games, really stepping up in GHill's absence. Another solid game from Howard, 22 pts and 12 rebs. Nice effort by the bench also, scoring 27 pts, led by Keyon Dooling, who scored 10 pts, and Pat Garrity, who scored 9 pts in only 6 minutes in the first half. 5 Magic players scored in double figures, compared to 4 players for Phoenix. Great team effort by the Magic... keep it up!

The Phoenix Suns comes to TDW

The Phoenix Suns comes in for the only visit to Orlando. The two teams will play again in Phoenix on March 3. The Suns are coming off a loss to Seattle that was decided in extra periods, an exciting 152-149 game. The Suns made 18 3-pointers, but ironically, it was Ray Allen's 30-footer at the buzzer that caused the double overtime loss. This is the start of a season-high six-game road trip for the Suns, and they sure are eager to start it on a positive note.

Steve Nash, the reining MVP, is playing like one. He is leading NBA in assists and had 16 assists in that loss. Shawn Marion, although playing mainly out of position in Power Forward, is the third leading rebounder in NBA right behind Howard and Wallace. He was the leading scorer for the Suns at 37 points in that game.

The Orlando Magic is shorthanded again since they do not have the services of Hill, Nelson, Outlaw and Cato. They, however, welcome the return of Keyon Dooling. Magic gutted out a win against Sacramento Kings on Saturday, and they are riding on a 6-game winning streak at home. Once again, the Magic will rely on their defense to contain Steve Nash. Look for Francis, Stevenson and Dooling to take turns on slowing down the MVP. Marion‘s quickness may cause problems for Howard, but he should not be able to dominate the boards in the presence of Howard. Magic cannot allow Kurt Thomas or role players like Raja Bell to hurt them.

Dwight Howard featured in last week's SI

Hope you all got a chance to catch the very complimentary article about Dwight Howard in the Jan. 23rd issue of Sports Illustrated. Entitled "Class of the Glass", the article discussed rebounding and how it's becoming a lost art compared to 30 and 40 years ago. Among the things said about Howard: "He is a prime candidate (to average 15 rebounds a game); he has the requisite mix of instinct, desire, and athleticism. He doesn't foul out often, isn't an offensive liability, and is well-conditioned." Dwight says, "I think I can average 15 (rebounds), it could happen next year." This is well-deserved praise for Howard, and if John Weisbrod did only one good thing during his short tenure as GM, it was the drafting of Howard over Emeka Okefor.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Magic prevail in ugly OT win

Despite missing Jameer Nelson, who was a late scratch due to a sprained foot, despite getting outscored 69-58 from the field and shooting 33.7% from the field (including 0 for 12 on 3 pt FG attempts), and despite getting just 2 pts from the bench, the Magic extend their winning streak to 3 games, beating Sacramento 83-78 in OT. Good FT shooting won this game for the Magic, as they shot 80.6% from the line on 25 of 31 shooting. Meantime, the Kings only went to the FT line 11 times, making 9. A 16 pt. difference at the FT line in favor of the Magic was the difference in this one. The Magic also out-rebounded the Kings 53-49, and had 14 TOs to the Kings 17. The starters had to carry the Magic in this game, as all the starters made solid contributions in at least 1 or 2 statistical areas. Say what you will about Francis shooting only 4 of 20, but he was clutch in the OT and in making free throws. Even though the bench scored only 2 pts (by Diener), Diener had 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal in only 18 minutes of play. Matt, good call on predicting that Coach Hill would use Terence Morris against the Kings, but he only had a rebound and didn't score in 3 minutes of play. Overall, the Magic did a solid defensive job on Sacramento, holding Bibby and Peja Stojakovic to a combined 31 pts, after Bibby scored 42 last Sunday against the Magic. And the Magic proved they could win without one of their best players and scorers in Jameer Nelson. An ugly win, but nonetheless a win!

The Sacramento Kings come to TDW tonight

Sacramento brings a 3 game winning streak into Orlando tonight, as the Magic try to get even from last Sunday's loss in Sacramento. Mike Bibby has averaged nearly 34 pts per game during their 3 game winning streak, and torched the Magic for 42 pts last Sunday. Peja Stojakovic is back from a bulging disc injury, and scored 13 pts the last game against the Lakers. He has averaged almost 23 pts a game in 12 career games against the Magic, so the Magic will have to try and hold him down as well as Bibby. Sacramento has beaten the Magic 5 of the last 6 meetings. Coach Hill has indicated that the starting lineup will vary from game to game depending on matchups with the other team, so we'll see what lineup he uses tonight. The bench needs to continue their good play as of late. Like Omar said, the more the Magic use Diener, the more comfortable he seems.

Magic make it 2 in a row

The Magic finally break an 8 game road losing streak, beating the injury-riddled Bobcats 104-93. Another good team effort by the Magic, with 5 players in double figures. Great job by the bench, with Turkoglu, Diener, and Garrity combining for 45 pts and 13 rebs on 7 of 12 3 pt shooting and 12 of 14 FTs. Garrity has had 2 decent games in a row... a rarity for him this season. Another decent, all-around game by Francis in his first start after the suspension. Even though Nelson had a sub-par game scoring wise, he did have 6 assists and only 2 TOs. Howard dominated like he should have against the small Charlotte line-up... 19 pts and 21 rebs. The Magic also had 24 assists, which indicates continued good ball movement. The 15 TOs didn't really pose a problem, as the Magic played well in just about every other area. Can the Magic make it 3 in a row Saturday night against Sacramento? What starting lineup will Coach Hill use? Stay tuned!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Charlotte Bobcats

ORLANDO MAGIC @ CHARLOTTE BOBCATS, Jan. 20: Orlando is 3-3 all-time vs. Charlotte (3-1 at home, 0-2 on the road) during regular season action, including 2-0 this season... The Bobcats recorded the first win in franchise history over the Magic on Nov. 6, 2004 (111-100)...

Charlotte is 11-28, 7-11 at home currently on 5 game losing streak. Orlando is 4-13 on the road. ESPN ranking 28th for Charlotte, 27th for Magic.

Bobcats use up to 10 players 20 minutes or more in its rotation. In its last game with the Pacers they played 9 with Ely & Voshkuhl out with ankle sprains. Okafor twisted an ankle after returning from 8 game layoff.

This should be a winnable game for the Magic, even with Hill, Dooling & Cato out.

Stats For Mr. Simmons: NBA number crunching for ESPN's The Sports Guy from 82games.com

NBA Blown Leads/Comebacks

The guys at 82games.com offer up research on clutch time 4th quarter/OT game performance.

Through Janurary 12 the Magic have only won 2 games when they have trailed in the 4th. 9% of the games they have trailed in results in a win. Magic are worst in the league, followed by Houston and Charlotte at 15% and Atlanta at 17%. The best at coming back and winning are Detroit 58%, Dallas 44%, and Cleveland/Milwaukee/Phoenix 40%.

The worst teams in the league at blowing 4th quarter leads and losing are Atlanta 53%, Charlotte 48%, Doc Rivers 39%. Magic blow leads and lose games 32%.

Best are the Nets who have yet to blow a lead, followed by Pistons/Spurs 10%, Memphis 12%.

If you read the whole thing, they continue to do an analysis of offense and defense performance in the last 5 minutes and OT of games that are within 5 points. Orlando gives up 121 points per 100 possessions (25th in the league) and scores 108 points per 100 possessions (20th)

I'm led to believe this is reflective of the six and a half man rotation we have seen for most of the year. And should improve a bit if Hill, Cato & Dooling can start to contribute.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Magic Say Francis won't be traded

Sports

Otis says Francis won't be traded because no on is interested in paying him $48.7 million. Teams call about 1. Howard, 2. Nelson, 3. Turk. Otis won't trade any of them.

Hill has now had 2 cortisone shots in his abdomen for pain and hopes extended rest will solve the problem.

Cato landed on Augmons foot "grotesquely rolling his ankle over."

True Hoop

True Hoop

Our blog has received its first link from TrueHoop.com today. We seem to be one of the few (or only) Magic blogs that are active.

Reinventing The Wheel

So,i was at the game last night,and i made some mental notes of things i saw in person that need to be done on a regular basis,to be a winning/championship team! (1) Everytime down the floor it seems as if the magic "reinvent the wheel" which means "they find a different way to score",thats a bad thing! There's no offensive consistency with this team,if you look at other NBA ball clubs that have winning records,they usually run an offensive set that would be known as their bread and butter,what would be the magic's bread and butter,posting up dwight every now and then,well thats not an offensive set,thats sitting back and watching another player go one on one,thats the only consistency that we have and thats pathetic,b/c half the time we cant even get dwight the ball,it seems like sometimes we have ball movement,but others we dont,everytime down the floor someone else wants to shot,thats not good coaching! (2) We probably have the weakest perimeter in the league,as long as deshawn and turk are starters,we wont have a bench,who are their back-ups with grant out,augmon,outlaw,morris,they get no minutes as it is,so were in bad shape,diener & francis who share the back-up point guard spot right now,were the only one's to give a contribution,we need to draft young wing players,and the get them all on the same page offensively,so we're not consistently reinventing the wheel!

What does the Public Want?

Orlando Sentinel’s writer Tim Povtak has written an article that starts with empty seats in TDW in Magic’s game with Wizards, and ends with optimistic stats on how the bleeding has stopped. The problem is the first and second part of the article don’t connect, as though they have been written by two writers. Here is the link to see it for yourself:

Tim Potvak

The public wants a winning team, plain and simple. The public does not care much about how you do it, but when you have a winning team on the court they will pay for the ticket. They don’t care about the puny minds and large egos, and how they go about running their daily affairs. Have a winning team on the court, and run your affairs any way you want. They don’t care whether or not Bob Vander Weide lives in Orlando or coach Hill is on top of his profession or Steve Francis is right or wrong or how much the ownership is under so far. Give them a winning team and you can live in Mars, have my grandfather on crutches for the coach and send Francis to exile in planet Pluto.

That is why the mass e-mail could not fill the empty seats, and why Bob Vander Weide's interview drew more resentment than sypmathy, if Sentinel's blog is any indication of what average fan thinks. Give them a winning team, and they will come. Only if all other elements in play were so easy to fix.

Magic get back on winning track

What a great second half played by the Magic, outscoring the Wizards 62-47. Looking at the numbers from the box score, it was a really well-balanced, team effort by the Magic tonight. 4 of the 5 starters scored in double figures, while Orlando's bench outscored Washington's bench 32-20. The Magic did a good job of drawing fouls, as they went to the free throw line 37 times, making 28. They outscored the Wizards from the field 78-67, which was important because the Wizards did an outstanding job drawing fouls, going to the FT line 41 times and making 31. Good job defensively also on Gilbert Arenas, who shot only 5 of 20. The Magic had 23 team assists, an indication of good ball movement. Francis did well coming off the bench, having a good all-around game, despite shooting only 2 of 7. He had 8 rebs, 7 assists and a steal, with only 3 TOs in 31 minutes, which is quite an improvement over his recent play. Will Francis mind coming off the bench as long as he plays over 30 minutes a game and the team wins? I don't blame Coach Hill wanting to enjoy this win for a day, and then worry after that about the starting lineup for the next game. The Magic really needed this win.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Sporting News - Trend spotting in the NBA

Sporting News - View topic - Trend spotting in the NBA

TRENDING UP:
Dwight Howard: It's been said that when God closes a door, he opens a window. That draft you feel is a window swinging wide open for the Magic's 20 year-old prodigy, who has averaged 19 points and 16 rebounds in the two games since Stevie Franchise got indefinitely suspended by coach Brian Hill for refusing to re-enter a game. Orlando is now Howard's team; expect his scoring average to rise by as many as five points with the one of the league's worst ball hogs riding the pine.
-Michael Deuser, Sporting News

Magic Love Steve

The Magic have sent out an e-mail to their eMagic list expressing their love for Steve-O and hoping you will vote him onto the All-Star team.

For larger picture click image

Orlando Magic Team Stats

ESPN.com: Orlando Magic Team Stats

A few stats,

Magic Minutes Ranking Magic have had 6 guys to rely on so far this season.
1. Howard 1268
2. Stevenson 1193
3. Francis 1095
4. Turkoglu 1041
5. Nelson 976
6. Battie 898
7. Garrity 470
8. Hill 375
9. Cato 288
10. Morris 172
11. Outlaw 164
12. Augmon 153
13. Kasun 128
14. Dooling 124
15. Diener 110

Top 6 in minutes have the most total points
Total Points (3219 total, 3340 opponents)
1. Howard 516
2. Nelson 480
2. Francis 480
4. Turkoglu 429
5. Stevenson 412
6. Battie 267
7. Hill 185
8. Garrity 139

Same top six are leading rebounders
Rebounds (1422 total, 1313 opponents)
1. Howard 435
2. Battie 202
3. Turkoglu 131
4. Francis 129
5. Stevenson 109
6. Nelson 104 Yes, Nelson has outrebounded Cato.
7. Cato 63

Hill breaks into top 6 in assists
Assists (613 total, 696 opponents)
1. Francis 156
2. Nelson 152
3. Stevenson 78
4. Turkoglu 69
5. Howard 46
6. Hill 29

Blocks (149 total, 165 opponents) No Nelson, but then he's only somewhere between 6' & 5'10"
1. Howard 53
2. Battie 28
3. Turkoglu 11
4. Cato 10
5. Francis

Same 6 in steals
Steals (237 total, 261 opponents)
1. Nelson 41
2. Francis 38
3. Howard 31
4. Stevenson 29
5. Turkoglu 28
6. Battie 18

Turnovers (523 total, 452 opponents)
1. Francis 102
2. Nelson 86
3. Howard 82

Wizards come to TDW on a 4 game win streak

Jordan Hopes Team Can 'Stay Hungry'

Wizards allow 100.1 points per game. Have won 4 straight including on the road vs. Philly. They are now 7-11 on the road. Orlando is 9-9 at home.

Arenas is having an all-pro type year.

Washington is currently the 8th seed, 3.5 games ahead of the Magic. Current race for the 8th seed listed below. All teams are sub .500

Philadelphia +.5
Washington
Chicago -2.5
Boston -3.5
Orlando -3.5
New York -4
Toronto -5
Charlotte -7
Atlanta -7

Francis May not Start

Francis may not start? If there is any chance in rehabbing Steve, and probably put a happy face on Magic’s season, a decision of not starting Francis may ruin it altogether. You may, as well put him on the trading block. The quotes from coach Hill do not specify the starting point guard issue; just that he is not decided on the starting lineup. However, Tim Povtak of Sentinel reports that: “Magic Coach Brian Hill said he was undecided about Francis regaining his starting role immediately, hinting that second-year point guard Jameer Nelson may be replacing him.” Povtak does not inculde a direct qoute from the coach.

I thought first that coach Hill was tinkering with the starting lineup going small with Jameer and Steve as guards and moving Deshawn to small forward if Grant is not able to go. Looking at the WAS’s backcourt of Arenas and Buttler, that does not seem to be an option.

Please air your views on this issue. Big Figure, please enlighten us with your analysis of tonight’s match.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

SportsGuy: Losing Isiah

ESPN.com: Page 2

I apologize. It's got nothing to do with the Magic, but it's a funny article about Isiah Thomas wanting to fight an ESPN columnist. Proof that there are worse run franchises out there.

Vander Weide Speaks out

In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Bob Vander Weide speaks out on a whole host of issues. Following are some highlights:

  1. On Steve Francis’s suspension he said: “We wanted Stevie here when we made the trade. We still want Stevie. It was one incident. It had to do with rules on the court and how we apply those to everyone on the team. It's behind us. We've dealt with it appropriately. Stevie will be fine.” As for Francis’s trade possibilities he said: “If you're asking whether GMs are talking, well, that stuff happens. We traded to get Stevie here. Obviously, some of the other pieces haven't come together like we've wanted, but I think Stevie will be with us for a good, long time.” It is interesting that he addressed Francis in an intimate way by calling him “Stevie”. Let’s see how sincere he is when a good trade possibility presents itself.
  2. On the issue of Tracy McGrady’s trade, he said: “Once he told us he wanted to move on, we already had the experience of having another superstar going to another place and getting no value back. We weren't going to do that again. So we sold him as well as we could." That is open to speculation. I am sure T-Mac has something to say about it.
  3. He said all the right things about not blaming Grant Hill for the predicament that the team is in. Obviously he has a very high praise for Grant.
  4. In answering the question on whether or not the organization has gone cheap on some of the recent in-house hiring, he was evasive and not convincing, at least not in my opinion.
  5. On the fiasco of drafting Fran Vasquez, his answer shows the path that the organization has taken, and is still on. In my view, it is wiser to disown it and move on, but he didn’t.
  6. In answering to the question on whether or not Brian Hill is the right fit, he said: “Absolutely, with no hesitation. Brian Hill is doing a remarkable job. Just look at the script. Dooling is hurt. Grant is hurt. We've got a young roster. Brian is doing everything he can to move this team forward. We back him 100 percent. He is the right guy for a lot of years here.” Back to “Brian Hill is our coach” policy. That puts the sincerity of his comments on “Stevie” in serious doubt.
  7. On the issue of the team staying in town, he said: “In my heart and focus, we'll be in Orlando for the next 30 years. We're working with the mayors on a better Orlando. We're working on projects to enhance the community. We're not leading the charge, but we're supporting the process. I don't want to be anywhere else. My family doesn't want to be anywhere else. It got a little tough for four or five years. We want to bring championships to Orlando. I believe that every day I wake up. We are a very capable ownership team. We've never been cheap. We don't have a timeline established on the arena issue.” As hard as he tried, in my view, nothing came from the heart. He called the Orlando Magic a “product” which exactly explains the manner by which they have treated the franchise.
  8. When interviewer asked him a direct question: “Right now, if you don't get a new arena, are you leaving?” he answered: “No. It's a process. We may need to take three or four cracks at it, but we're working with the community to see what's best for Orlando.” I believe the question and the answer were set up all by design. I would never believe for a second that they will do what is best for Orlando, if that happens to be in contrast to their own interests.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Francis Returns

As per Orlando Sentinel, Magic has lifted Francis's suspension, and he will return to practice tomorrow getting ready to play on Wednesday.

Magic Survey

THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE ORLANDO MAGIC

On the road again in snowy NYC and it's great to see new posts here.

The Magic claim they are giving away up to 500 pairs of free tickets for filling out their survey.

In why I no longer go to the games I answered:

Not a fan of the current roster.
Not a fan of the old TDW.

Where do I Stand? II

In response to some new issues that were raised and the questions about what the options are, I thought it is best to write a sequel to Where do I stand?

I agree that the fans who change their skins depending on the success, or lack thereof, of the team are not true fans. Fans like many of us here would stay with the team even if the team moves to a different town. The last straw for me would be when the team becomes too boring to bear, at which time I may not watch every game, but regardless follow the results. That, however, is not the point. Average fans wish to see their team winning, and when that does not happen they tend to turn their attention to other venues for entertainment. The important factor in bringing up the matter of declining fan base is the economic impact on a franchise that has shown monetary losses for many years.

I don’t pretend that I have all the answers, and that’s why we are exchanging ideas to explore the options thorough the collective wisdom of people who post on this blog. The following is an outline of my views:

1. The construction of a new arena is an important matter, especially for the current ownership to motivate them to invest in very essentials of success (details may be found in a collection of earlier postings on this blog by many posters, either as a new post or in comments). The problem is that the best (and most practical) way to fund the construction is through public funding, and as has been evident in many surveys, the public is not for it. That dynamics may change if the team starts winning on the basketball court.
2. The preferred scenario, in my opinion, is for the current ownership to sell the franchise. The new ownership may be willing to fund the construction of the new arena (something the current one is not) and stay beyond the pale of immediate profit, thus investing in the essentials of success.

Any of these two categories may branch into sub-categories, some of which may overlap between the two. Regardless of how one looks at the issues on the table, we should win and win now if we could. Winning is that magical remedy to many ills, and a huge factor in changing the dynamics of the elements that are in play.

More views on Francis

I had said a while back that I felf Steve Francis needed to be the ONLY star on a team in order for him to be content. He claims he has matured since the birth of his daughter. Whatever his problem is, I hope he figures it out quck.
I don't take much stock in what other newspapers have to say, but this is some interesting reading on how others view the Magic.

http://www.denverpost.com/nuggets/ci_3403610

http://www.nypost.com/sports/61573.htm

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/sports/basketball/13631314.htm

Sunday, January 15, 2006

How Long Until You Give The Keys To The Kids

C'mon guys lets be real,this team isnt one that i would bet on in the playoffs,so are the playoffs that important? I mean i hate losing just like anyone else,but the fact is,Keyon,Jameer ,travis,deshawn,dwight and mario represents our youth,6 guys thats it! Grant and Tony are hard working vets you can keep around b/c of various positive reasons,which brings your total to 8! You need scoring punch off the bench so you can keep hedo also,thats 9,so six guys dont make the cut,francis,augmon,morris,outlaw,garrity,cato!I mean b/c of the age of (hill,augmon,outlaw,garrity,battie,cato,francis) these guys,who aint getting any younger,at some point were gonna have to turn the keys over to youth,wouldnt right now during team turmoil,be a great time to do so?In the summer grant's contract comes off the books,plus jameer and dwight would have been running the team for more than half the season,why not build the team around them,trade steve for draft picks and not just to make a trade,and give the keys to the kids!

Whit Watson on Francis

I despise to write something that is a total qoute from somebody else. But in this case I have no choice but to qoute the whole statement by Whit Watson on the latest posting on his blog since the rest of the article is irrelevant to our interests:

"Wondering why the Orlando Magic continue to put up with Steve Francis, despite his bizarre funk of the last month? The answer is found in the first line of his bio on his NBA.com web page:"In 2003-04, [Francis] joined Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson and Grant Hill as the only players in NBA history to average 15 points, five rebounds and five assists in each of their first five seasons."Francis can play this game, that's why. Go back and read that again: The Big O, Magic, and the pre-injury Grant Hill. Francis is a member of one of the most elite fraternities in the history of pro basketball. He can play. Say what you will about John Weisbrod -- he knew a gamer when he saw one. The trick for Brian Hill is to figure out how to get inside Steve-O's head.There are two, and only two, motivating factors for NBA stars today -- money and minutes. Steve-O is signed up for $16 million-plus over the next couple of seasons, so remove money from the equation. What's left is minutes. By taking away his playing time, Coach Hill has drawn a line in the sand: "You want to play, you play our way." This may well prove to be Brian Hill's defining moment in his second go-round as Magic head coach. I've already stated it on this site, and I will not back down now -- the Magic are a playoff team in the East, because the East is terrible. If the Magic can get to Francis via this suspension, the rest is gravy. But I admit, it's a big "if.""

I am not sure that coach Hill can force Francis to play his way by taking his minutes away without risking resistance on his end. But he can definietly communicate with Francis to bring him to his side, only if knows how, and that is a big "if".

Kings vs. Magic

Sports - Kings up next - sacbee.com: "Status: The Magic has its own issues. Two key starters, guards Steve Francis and Keyon Dooling, have been suspended. Francis refused to re-enter a game late and was sent home, and Dooling got into an on-court tussle with Ray Allen of Seattle on Friday, then had to be restrained by security later when he wanted to start up again. All told, Orlando has lost six of seven games and is 0-3 on this Western Conference swing. It didn't look that inspired in a 90-73 loss to the Clippers and didn't make near enough stops against Seattle (113-104) and Portland (113-108).

Trend: One man who always wants to compete is Jameer Nelson. The guard had a career-high 32 points at Seattle on Wednesday and had 19 points and 13 assists against Portland. Did we mention he's lightning quick, too? Hedo Turkoglu, the ex-Kings swingman, had a season-high 27 points Friday against Portland. And second-year forward Dwight Howard has star ability, with his rebounding and interior play.

Injury report: Grant Hill, sports hernia, day-to-day.

LINEUPS

Kings
10 Mike Bibby PG
23 Kevin Martin SG
16 Peja Stojakovic SF
9 Kenny Thomas PF
52 Brad Miller C

Magic
14 Jameer Nelson PG
9 DeShawn Stevenson SG
15 Hedo Turkoglu SF
12 Dwight Howard PF
4 Tony Battie C

Best matchup: Howard vs. Thomas - Thomas encounters one of the rising stars in the NBA, the first pick of the 2004 draft who has played like it, and he's still learning how to do all of this. Thomas is quick and explosive to the basket, and he can rebound, but consistency is key to his game. He wanted minutes, and he has them. Now the Kings need results.

ESPN Magic Columns

Magic made front page on ESPN's NBA page. Of course it wasn't for anything all to positive. They give their take on what the Magic may do, and the future of the team. Here's the link to the article titled Dark Magic.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/dailydime?page=dailydime-060114-15

In a relating article on the same page they talk about how the Artest soap opera my shape how the Magic handle Francis. Here's that link.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=kreidler_mark&id=2291521

Saturday, January 14, 2006

RealGM: Trade Checker

RealGM: Trade Checker

A true internet time waster. NBA Trade Checker from RealGM.

I checked a few trades out that work with the salary cap:

Francis for Wally Szczerbiak & Trenton Hassell
Francis for Artest & Jonathan Bender
Francis for Paul Pierce
Francis & Battie for Kevin Garnett
Francis for Zaza & Al Harrington
Francis for Lorenzen Wright & Mike Miller
Francis & Garrity for Jason Williams, Antoine Walker & Mike Doleac

Magic's Survey

I conducted a survey on Orlando Magic covering a broad range of topics related to the franchise. The sample group used is a rather small one (although not by statistical standards) to allow a quick survey. Due to the size of the sample group, I intended to go with a ±5 margin of error. However, since the socio-economic balance of the group may allow a ±3 margin of error, I elected to go with an overall average of ±4 for the study. The survey was conducted via e-mail to which the recent e-mail of Magic's president/CEO was attached. The following covers some interesting results:

1) A large majority of the sample group (78%) support the construction of a new arena, but only a small percentage (26%) support using public funds for such project.

2) A larger percentage (43%) blame coach Hill for the recent incident with Francis as compared to 39% who blame Francis for it. That is still within the margin of error.

3) Although a large percentage (64%) agree with Francis’s suspension, only a small percentage (29%) believes that he should be traded.

4) Only 21% (1 out of 5) have a positive view of the current ownership of the Magic.

5) As for the possibility of the team remaining in town, a larger percentage has a positive view (47% to 44%). However, that remains within the margin of error.

You will find the full results as follows. As I was not able to import a nested table from either Excel or Word, I had to settle for a straight table hoping that in final posting it would still look decent.

Do you agree with building a new basketball arena? Yes 78% No 11% Not Sure 11%
Do you support using public funds to build the arena? Yes 26% No 59% Not Sure 15%
Do you blame Francis for recent incident? Yes 39% No 46% Not Sure 15%
Do you blame coach Hill for the incident? Yes 43% No 16% Not Sure 41%
Do you think Francis's suspension was right? Yes 64% No 18% Not Sure 16%
Do you think Francis should be traded? Yes 29% No 59% Not Sure 12%
Do you have a positive view of Magic's ownership? Yes 21% No 61% Not Sure 18%
Do you agree with Magic's damage control e-mail? Yes 32% No 58% Not Sure 10%
Do you think the team will remain in town? Yes 47% No 44% Not Sure 9%

date: Jan 13 - 14, 2006
Sample: 120, Responses received 104
Margin of Error: ± 4
Sample group is balanced based on socio-economic factors.

The growth of Nelson

ESPN.com: Jameer Nelson Player Card

Jameer Nelson Growth Chart
Category NOV DEC JAN
Minutes 23.1 28.8 33.3
Points 9.9 12.2 22.5
Assists 2.9 4.1 6
Rebounds 2.6 3.1 3.3
Turnovers 2.1 2.3 3.7


January numbers through the Seattle game.

Portland game numbers:
Nelson: 43 minutes, 19 points, 13 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 turnovers.

Downside is 19 points took 20 shots, but still 13 assists is a big improvement for Nelson.

Team total for assists was 22.

I didn't see the game but Turkoglu can't create his own shot and he had 27 points on 18 shots.

On the real downside, Cato had 4 points and 1 rebound in 23 minutes. He was outrebounded by Bo Outlaw who played 3 minutes.

Garrity line: 3 minutes 0,0,0 with 1 turnover and 1 foul.

Howard had his usual solid game.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Dooling 5 games, Allen 3

EMail From Magic HQ

I don't know what to think....I just received this.

Dear Magic Fans,
In light of the circumstances that have occurred over the past few days, we felt it necessary to touch base with you regarding the direction of our Orlando Magic team. Simply stated, like you, we are not happy with how our season has started. Having said that, we are extremely confident that during what is a long NBA season, we will still be in the playoff picture come the end of this current campaign.
We are confident we have building blocks for the future in Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson. Additionally, we are all pulling for the healthy return of our classy veteran leader Grant Hill. We have had strong performances from our other players such as DeShawn Stevenson and Tony Battie. We look forward to the day when our roster is healthy and we can see the benefit of contributions from newly acquired Keyon Dooling and others on this Magic team such as Hedo Turkoglu. We are also confident that with a healthy roster in the second half of the season, under the direction of Head Coach Brian Hill, we will be competitive with all of our Eastern Conference counterparts in the stretch run to our goal of the NBA Playoffs.
As an organization we believe we are instilling a more accountable and disciplined approach to the manner in which we play the game. That approach has led to the suspension of Steve Francis yesterday due to conduct we feel is detrimental to this system and the culture we are implementing with our team. We found it necessary to take this action in order to improve the manner in which we approach our goals as a team. We certainly hope that this short term action will lead to long term improvement.
We also want to assure you that we are working every day to find the right personnel to improve our performance on the court. We will continue to actively pursue discussions with other teams around the league to seek trade possibilities, as well as look to improve our team through free agency and in the draft.
You have the commitment of the DeVos family ownership that we will not accept anything other than improvement that results in our return to the NBA Playoffs. You deserve a winning team, our community deserves a winning team and we will not rest until we reach that level of competitiveness.
As always, we appreciate your support and patience as we rebuild our organization to a level that we can all be proud of and return Magic basketball to the level of competitiveness that we all enjoy.