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.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Magic send Mavs to third loss in a row

Despite a monster game from Dirk Nowitzki (38 pts 15 rebs), the Magic gave DAL their first three-game losing streak this season with a 108-99 win. The Magic opened a 17 pt lead after 3 quarters, saw DAL close to within 5 in the fourth, but thanks to 13 of 15 FT shooting in the fourth, the Magic held on for their seventh home win in a row and 9 out of 13 overall.

JNelson and HTurkoglu led the Magic with 27 and 25 pts respectively, on a combined 18 for 28 FG shooting (5 for 10 on threes). DHoward added 14 pts and 10 rebs, and CArroyo added 12 pts off the bench. In addition to Nowitzki's 38, Jason Terry had 23 pts, Jerry Stackhouse 14 pts and Josh Howard 10. Former Magic G Darrell Armstrong had 3 pts and 3 assists off the bench.

The Magic continue their torrid shooting pace at home, outscoring DAL from the field 83-78 on 55.7% shooting. DAL shot just 44.4%. The Magic also outscored DAL from the FT line 25-21 on 83.3% FT shooting. Magic grabbed one more rebound 34-33, and the bench outscored the Mav's bench 30-11. One of the negatives was that the Magic had more TOs than assists (14 TOs 13 assists). Their torrid shooting made up for that, though. DAL had 17 assists to 12 TOs.

Another good job by the Magic, with this late-season surge, playing spoiler as they sent DAL further back in the race for the best record in the West, and further harmed the Mavs chances of catching San Antonio. Great game by Jameer after scoring just 6 against MIN.

DAL comes to TDW to visit the Magic

One of the top teams in the league record-wise, the Mavericks (54-18, 24-12 road), will test the Magic (28-44, 20-14 home) tonight. The Mavs are trying to avert a season-high three-game losing streak, and have lost 4 out of their last 6 games as they try to catch the Spurs for the best record in the West. The Magic are going for their seventh win in a row at home.

Dirk Nowitski, having another super year, is averaging 26.4 ppg and 8.8 rebs. Five other players average in double figures; Jason Terry (17.2 ppg), Josh Howard (15.5 ppg), Jerry Stackhouse (13.1 ppg), Marquis Daniels (10.4 ppg), and Devin Harris (10 ppg). Keith Van Horn (9 ppg) also contributes. Former Magic G Darrell Armstrong has played in 53 games, averaging 1.9 ppg. As a team, DAL averages 99.2 ppg, while allowing 93 ppg.

DAL has won 5 of its last 6 games over the Magic, including an OT win in December. A key stat: DAL is only 6-12 this season when allowing 100+ pts. During the Magic's current 6 game home-winning streak, they are averaging 103.7 pts and shooting 53.6% from the field. They need to keep that pace up tonight for the chance at the upset. DAL is a 4 1/2 pt favorite (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

KG dominates as T-Wolves cool off Magic

The Magic held a 53-49 halftime lead and a 58-52 third quarter lead over the T-Wolves, but faded the rest of the second half as MIN, led by Kevin Garnett, snapped the Magic's 4 game winning streak 103-91.

Garnett had a huge game, with 27 pts, 19 rebs and 6 assists. Ricky Davis scored 26 pts along with 10 assists, Mark Blount 14 pts, and rookie Rashad McCants 13 pts. For the Magic, six players scored in double figures, led by DHoward (15 pts 12 rebs) and HTurkoglu (15 pts). TBattie added 14 pts, Darko 12 pts, and CArroyo and DStevenson with 10 apiece. The two pt guards, Nelson and Arroyo, combined to score just 16 pts on 5 of 13 shooting after combining for 37 against the Bulls. However, both combined for 10 assists to just 1 TO; the points just weren't there for them.

MIN outscored the Magic 87-73 from the field on solid 55.3% shooting. The Magic shot 47.3%. The Magic were mediocre from the line, shooting just 60% (18 of 30). MIN shot 72.7% from the line (16 of 22). Rebounds were nearly even as Magic had one more rebound 37-36. TOs were even at 14, but MIN passed the ball well with 27 assists, compared to 21 for the Magic. The Magic bench outscored the T-Wolves bench 31-15.

With the Sixers loss tonight, the Magic would have pulled to within 4 games of the last playoff spot with a win. Maybe fatigue was a factor, judging from their second half performance and poor FT %. Magic have to get ready for a tough home game FRI against DAL.

Magic try for fifth win in a row at MIN

After one of their more improbable comeback wins in recent seasons, the Magic (28-43, 8-29 away) go to MIN to play the struggling Timberwolves (29-41, 21-14 home). MIN has lost 9 of their last 12 games; however, they have won 6 out of their last 7 at home, and have beaten the Magic 4 out of the last 5 times in MIN.

After reaching the Western Conference finals in the 2003-04 season, MIN is in danger of not reaching the postseason for the second year in a row. Of course, they are led by Kevin Garnett, who is having yet another outstanding season (21.8 ppg, 12.4 rebs, 52.4% FG shooting). Ricky Davis (18.7 ppg) and Marcus Banks (11.6 ppg), both acquired from BOS, are the only other Wolves players averaging in double figures. Mark Blount, also acquired from the BOS, averages 9.7 ppg. Former Magic guard Troy Hudson has been out since early February with an injury.

MIN averages 91.9 ppg, while allowing 93.2 ppg. Magic average 94.3 ppg, and allow 96.2. PHI hosts DET tonight, so the Magic could conceivably pick up another game on PHI if they lose and the Magic pull off another upset. MIN is a 6 pt favorite over the Magic (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Magic fourth quarter comeback stuns Bulls

In the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, CHI pulled to an 84-73 lead over the Magic, then proceeded to miss an astonishing 17 shots in a row before finishing the quarter 3 of 21 from the field and only 3 of 8 from the FT line as the Magic pulled off a stunning comeback win 97-93.

Five players scored in double figures for the Magic, led by JNelson with 24. HTurkoglu (15 pts) hit a couple of big shots late in the game. KDooling had an outstanding game off the bench (15 pts on 6 of 7 FG), CArroyo added 13 and Darko added 12 pts to go along with 8 rebs and 4 blocks, and he altered several other Bulls shots down low. Andres Nocioni had a career-high 26 pts for the Bulls. Luol Deng had 14, Kirk Heinrich 14 pts, 12 assists and 7 steals, and Ben Gordon 12. The Magic bench outplayed one of the best benches in the NBA, outscoring the Bulls bench by twice as much 43-21.

The Bulls outscored the Magic from the field 78-77, but wound up shooting just 42.4%. ORL shot a respectable 48%. The Magic won the game at the FT line, shooting 20 of 27 (74.1%), while the Bulls shot a pitiful 15 of 28 (53.6%). CHI did outrebound the Magic 42-38, and had a better assist-to-turnover ratio of 21-11 compared to 17-17 for the Magic.

In his post-game press conference, Bulls coach Scott Skiles complemented the Magic guards for being quicker than the Bulls guards and that the Bulls had a hard time keeping up with them, especially in the fourth quarter. He also said the Bulls didn't have an answer for Hedo and the big shots he made, and finally said that the Magic are a much-improved team since the two trades were made.

A huge win for the Magic, as this is exactly the type of game they would have lost, especially on the road, just a few weeks ago. They have now won 4 in a row and 8 out of 11, and severely damaged the Bulls playoff hopes.

Magic to try to spoil Bulls playoff chances

The Magic bring a 27-43 record, 7-29 on the road, to the United Center as they go up against CHI, who has a 31-39 record, and only 16-18 at home. Bulls coach Scott Skiles, in a brilliant move last week, changed his starting lineup after his team was stuck in a rut, benching Ben Gordon and Tyson Chandler. The move has paid off, as the Bulls have won two in a row and have moved to only 1 1/2 games behind PHI for the eighth spot, with Gordon and Chandler playing brilliantly off the bench.

Gordon leads the Bulls with a 16.4 average, Kirk Heinrich (15.7 ppg), Luol Deng (13.8 ppg), and Andres Nocioni (12 ppg) average in double figures.. C Tyson Chandler (5.3 ppg) isn't much of a scorer, but is a ferocious rebounder (9.3 rebs) and shot blocker (1.3 blocks). Chris Duhon (8.8 ppg) and Mike Sweetney (8.4 ppg) also contribute. Coach Skiles has always done a great job of using his bench. Remember Jannero Pargo torching the Magic earlier this season for 23 pts? The Bulls average 96.8 ppg, while allowing 97 ppg. ORL averages 94.3 ppg, while allowing 96.2 ppg. But the Magic have scored more than 100 pts four games in a row.

The Magic have their work cut out for them tonight. They have lost 5 in a row to CHI, including 2 this season. This will be the teams' first meeting since Dec. Skiles is a superior coach to BHill; we'll see if that comes into place in the game tonight. CHI is a perimeter-oriented team that shoots very well from 3 pt range (38%), but also has the tendency to foul a lot, averaging nearly 25 fouls per game. Bulls are 5 1/2 pt favorites (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Monday, March 27, 2006

Magic Extend Contracts of Howard, Nelson

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Hot-shooting Magic win third in row

The Magic continued their dominance over ATL at home with a 108-101 win. This was their 3rd win in a row and 7th win out of the last 10. This was also the Magic's 5th game in a row scoring over 100 points, and 4th in row shooting at least 50%. The Magic improve to 27-43 and all of a sudden have pulled to within 5 1/2 games of PHI and the eighth spot with 12 games remaining.

Six players scored in double figures for the Magic, including four of the five starters. HTurkoglu led the way with 23 pts on 8 of 12 shooting. DHoward and JNelson each scored 15. Dwight included 13 boards. KDooling and Darko each had good games off the bench with 13 pts each, and DStevenson added 12 pts. Al Harrington led ATL with 20 pts, and Joe Johnson, who burned the Magic for 40 last week, scored just 19 on 7 of 22 shooting. Josh Childress added 18 pts off the bench, and ZaZa had another good game against his ex-team with 16 pts 12 rebs.

The Magic continue their torrid shooting, shooting 59.7% on their FGs. They outscored ATL from the field 89-75, as the Hawks shot just 40%. ATL outscored the Magic 26-19 from the FT line on 76.5% FT shooting. ORL shot 76% from the line. The Magic did not do well rebounding, as they were dominated on the offensive boards by ATL 23-10 and 41-37 overall. The Magic had a slightly better assist-to-turnover ratio of 23-14, compared to 19-13 for ATL. The Magic bench outscored the Hawks bench 34-31.

Good to see Darko playing 26 minutes off the bench, even though he fouled out. Nice win and another good team effort by the Magic to continue their momentum. Seven wins in ten games is certainly a good sign for what's ahead next season.

Magic look for three in a row tonight vs ATL

The Magic (26-43, 19-14 home) play host to ATL (21-46, 7-26 road) this evening. The Magic have a nice little run going of 6 wins in their last 9 games, and will be trying to win 3 in a row for the first time in 2 months. ATL is coming off a 15 pt loss to DAL Saturday night, and has lost 3 in a row and 7 of their last 8. Of course, their only win in that span came against the Magic last Sunday.

Hopefully, the Magic coaching staff payed close attention to the film of last week's loss to the Hawks, so that they will be able to make the proper adjustments that they couldn't make during last Sunday's loss. Joe Johnson, who went off for 40 pts last week against the Magic, must be kept under control. He has scored just 46 pts during their 3 game losing streak, so he will be really anxious to break out. Former Magic C ZaZa Pachulia went wild on the boards last week with 18 rebs against the Magic, including a bunch of offensive boards. He must be kept under control also by the Magic bigs.

A good sign for the Magic: they have won 10 of their last 11 home games against the Hawks. I expect the proper adjustments to be made by BHill tonight, as the Magic should win easily to make up for the two previous heartbreaking losses to ATL in the final seconds. The oddsmakers agree, and have made the Magic 7 pt favorites against the Hawks (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Friday, March 24, 2006

At Last! A road win for the Magic

Seven players scored in double figures for the Magic to lead an outstanding team effort as the Magic finally broke their franchise-record 16 game road losing streak with a solid 102-86 win over PHI. Ther Magic fell behind 11-1, but quickly turned things around This was the first Magic road win since Jan. 26th, ironically against PHI also.

JNelson (19 pts 7 assists) led the way. DHoward (15 pts 19 rebs 4 blocks) had a huge game. TAriza off the bench had a double double (11 pts 11rebs). CArroyo (16 pts 5 assists 4 steals), KDooling (12 pts), Darko (11 pts), and TBattie (10 pts) all had good games. The Magic did a terrific job on Allen Iverson, holding him to 17 pts on just 4 of 19 shooting. Chris Webber had 23 pts 15 rebs, and Kyle Korver 18 off the bench.

The Magic dominated the game statistically. They outscored PHI from the field 82-70 on sizzling 56.3% shooting. PHI shot just 38.3%. ORL outscored PHI from the FT line 20-16 on 76.9% FT shooting. PHI shot 69.6% from the line. The Magic dominated the boards 47-33, and passed the ball well with 24 assists. The only negative was 20 Magic TOs, while PHI had 13 TOs. The Magic bench outscored the Sixer bench 50-28.

Good job by the Magic playing spoiler against a team fighting to make the playoffs. Another huge game for our point guards, who combined for 35 pts and 12 assists, in addition to Dwight's big game. The Magic have shown how promising the future could look with the way they have played in their last few games.

Magic return to site of last road win at PHI

The Magic, at 25-43 and 6-29 on the road, play at PHI Friday night. PHI has a record of 32-35, and 20-14 at home. The Magic last won on the road at PHI on Jan. 26th, and seek to end a team-record 16 game road losing streak.

Allen Iverson is back from injury, and leads PHI with 33.1 ppg (2nd in the league). Chris Webber is having a good year, averaging 20 ppg and 10 rebs. Andre Iguodala averages 12.5 ppg, and three-point specialist Kyle Korver averages 11.6 ppg on 42.7% 3-pt shooting, and is coming off a 23 pt game. Former Magic first-round pick Steven Hunter, who is now starting, is playing the best basketball of his career, as he has had games of 20 pts, 17 pts, and 15 pts in the last 4 games. PHI averages 100.1 ppg, while allowing 101.7 ppg. The Magic average 94 ppg, while allowing 96.6 ppg.

The Magic have won 7 of their last 11 games at PHI. Expect DHoward to be back in the starting lineup, but will BHill have Darko starting in place of Battie? Magic showed how well they are capable of playing against the Knicks. The 76ers are 6 pt favorites tonight (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ariza wants to stay

Newsday.com: "Magic grateful to Isiah

According to an NBA official familiar with details of the Knicks' trade with Orlando for Steve Francis, Magic officials were pleasantly surprised that Isiah Thomas didn't force them to accept another contract along with Penny Hardaway's expiring contract and Trevor Ariza.

It was the perfect opportunity to dump Maurice Taylor's remaining two years. The Knicks could have taken back a player or two with expiring contracts and saved themselves Taylor's $9.75-million salary next year.

'How could that happen?' the executive said. 'It's unbelievable.'

Ariza likes Orlando

Ariza will be a free agent this summer, but he'd like to remain with the Magic. 'I definitely think I could be here,' he said. 'We have three guys 20 years old. If we all grow together, it will be good for the organization.'"

Battie agrees to take less money for 4-year deal

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Darko starts as Magic rout Knicks

After being late for shootaround, DHoward found himself not starting for the first time in his career, as Darko replaced him at PF. As it turned out, both players, especially Dwight, had outstanding games as the Magic bounced back from last night's embarrassing loss to CHA to rout NY 111-87 in Steve Francis's return.

Seven players scored in double figures for the Magic, led by Dwight (23 pts 7 rebs in 22 minutes off the bench). HTurkoglu (16 pts), JNelson (13 pts 6 assists 0 TOs), Darko (13 pts 7 rebs 4 blocks in 31 minutes), and KDooling (11 pts 9 assists) all played well. Steve-O's return was nothing short of a bust, as he scored a mere 2 pts with 3 TOs in just around 10 minutes of play. Five players scored in double figures for the Knicks, led by C Eddy Curry (15 pts).

The Magic dominated every aspect of the game. They outscored NY from the field 88-65 on 51.2% shooting. NY shot 47.6%. The Magic outscored NY from the FT line 23-22 on 85.2% shooting. NY shot 75.9% from the line. The Magic outrebounded the Knicks 40-32, and had a sparkling assist-to turnover ratio of 22-8, while the Knicks had an awful ratio of 12-21. Magic bench outscored NY's bench 53-45.

The Magic played like they are capable of playing. They shot the ball well from the field and the FT line, rebounded well, passed the ball well, and took care of the ball. Granted, it came against a train wreck of a team, but at least it showed the Magic can play like they care and can bounce back after a horrible loss.

Steve-O to make first visit to TDW in Knicks uniform

It's been one month since the Magic unloaded Steve Francis and his high salary to the Knicks. In 13 games with the Knicks, The former Franchise is averaging 12.4 ppg on 50% shooting, 3.3 assists and 3.1 rebounds in a little over 27 minutes a game. All those numbers are down from his 16.2 ppg and 5.7 assists he put up with the Magic. He had been coming off the bench, but Larry Brown has been starting him in place of the injured Quentin Richardson.

NY brings a 19-47 record, 6-26 away to TDW. The Magic are now 24-43, but with a respectable 18-14 home record. NY averages 96.5 ppg, while giving up 102.4 ppg. Stephon Marbury (16.8 ppg), Jalen Rose (14.7 ppg) Eddy Curry (13.7 ppg) and Jamal Crawford (13.1 ppg) lead the Knicks. NY has gotten very good performances off their bench lately, so the Magic will need their bench to step up better than they did against CHA.

A quote from Brian Hill after last night's loss to CHA: "I'm embarrassed by our performance. I hope our players are because they should be. The way we played proved we didn't respect the game or the team. We just went through the motions." Magic are 5 1/2 pt favorites over the Knicks (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Record-breaking loss for Magic at CHA

Down by as many as 20 points in the first half, the Magic were able to get within 4 pts late in the game but could pull no closer and lost a team-record 16th game in a row on the road 108-102 to CHA. In addition to not having Emeka Okafor and Sean May, CHA also was without point guard Brevin Knight and forward Melvin Ely, but the Magic were unable to use their depth for an advantage.

Six players scored in double figures for the Magic, including all 5 starters. HTurkoglu had 24 pts 9 assists, JNelson had 19 pts 8 assists, DHoward 17 pts 15 rebs. TBattie (14 pts), DStevenson (11 pts), and KDooling (11 pts) all scored in double figures. The ORL bench, which had been playing so well, was outscored by CHA's bench 24-17. Darko saw only 12 minutes of action (0 pts 3 blocks). CArroyo did not score in 13 minutes of action. TAriza had just 2 pts in 18 minutes. Five players scored in double figures for CHA, led by Gerald Wallace (27 pts), and Primoz Brezec (22 pts). Raymond Felton had 13 assists.

The Magic did shoot well at 50% (39/78), but were outscored from the field by CHA 87-84, even though CHA shot just 44.4% (40/90). CHA outscored the Magic 21-18 from the FT line, as the Magic shot just 18/26 (69.2%), compared to 80.8% by CHA (21/26). Magic were outrebounded again 44-39, including 17-9 on the offensive boards. CHA had a superb assist-to-turnover ratio of 26-8, compared to 24-14 for the Magic.

Yet another relatively unknown player had a career night against the Magic. Bernard Robinson, who had been averaging just 6 pts and 3 rebs, scored 17 pts, along with 13 rebs and 6 assists. A bad loss for the Magic to the team with the worst record in the NBA, and they made history in the process.

Magic try to avoid setting road loss record at CHA

The Magic, at 24-42 and 6-28 away, have lost a team record-tying 15 games in a row on the road, and haven't won on the road since Jan. 26th. CHA brings a record of 18-49 and 12-21 at home. They have lost 4 games in a row, but played the Pistons very respectable on Saturday, losing by just 5. CHA has been beset by injuries all year, including last season's rookie of the year Emeka Okafor and this season's first round draft pick Sean May. Both of them figure not to see any more action this year.

CHA is led in scoring by Gerald Wallace (14.7 ppg). Primoz Brezec (12.2 ppg), Brevin Knight (12.2 ppg, 8.8 assists), Jumaine Jones (10.7 ppg) and rookie Raymond Felton (10.3 ppg) contribute. CHA averages 95.8 ppg, while allowing 100.5 ppg. DHoward now leads the Magic in scoring at 15.5 ppg, followed by the injured GHill (15.1 ppg) and JNelson (14 ppg). Magic average 93.6 ppg, while allowing 96.3 ppg.

One of the Magic's last road wins came against CHA on Jan. 20th 104-93. The Magic need to play better defense than they did against ATL, and Darko hopefully will play more than 17 minutes. Trevor Ariza should see more playing time after his good game against ATL. The handicappers continue to dis the Magic, as CHA is a 2 1/2 pt favorite tonight (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Magic lose yet another heartbreaker on the road

Despite having a 5 pt lead in OT with under a minute and a half to play, the Magic couldn't hold it, as ATL went on to win thanks to ZaZa Pachulia's tip-in with 2.4 seconds left to give the Hawks a 108-107 win. This was the Magic's franchise record-tying 15th straight loss on the road.

Eight players scored in double figures for the Magic, including all 5 starters. JNelson led with 18 pts. DHoward had 13 pts and 15 rebs. Hedo added 16 pts, but committed an offensive foul with 12 seconds left in the OT to set up the ATL game-winning play. Trevor Ariza, seeing his most action in a Magic uniform, had a nice game with 10 pts, 8 rebs and 5 assists in just 18 minutes. For the Hawks, Joe Johnson had 40 pts, 11assists; Al Harrington had 24 pts, while Pachulia hurt his old team with 13 pts and 18 rebs. Josh Smith added 15.

ATL (44 of 94, 46.8% FG shooting), outscored the Magic (40 of 82, 48.8% shooting) from the field 96-83. The Magic did well from the FT line, outscoring ATL 24-12 on 82.8% FT shooting. ATL outrebounded the Magic 45-41, and had an outstanding assist-to-turnover ratio of 27-8. The Magic also had a good assist-to-TO ratio of 19-7. The Magic bench outscored ATL's bench 36-14. Wish that Darko would see more than 17 minutes of action (4 pts 2 blocks).

Overall, a nice effort by the Magic, as they shot the ball well from the field and FT line, and had only 7 TOs. They couldn't find an answer to stop Joe Johnson, however; and ZaZa got the clutch tip-in in the final seconds.

Magic try to break long road losing streak at ATL today

The Magic, 24-41 overall including 6-27 on the road, will try to break a 14 game road losing streak as they travel to ATL, who is 20-43 overall including 13-19 at home. The Hawks have lost 4 games in a row, and are coming off a 111-101 loss Friday to Utah. ATL averages 96.9 ppg, and gives up 102 ppg.

Joe Johnson (20.3 ppg) and Al Harrington (19 ppg 6.9 rebs) lead the way for ATL. Former Magic center ZaZa Pachulia is having a good year for the Hawks, averaging 11.5 ppg and 7.9 rebs. Salim Stoudamire (9.8 ppg), Josh Smith (9.8 ppg) and Josh Childress (9.7 ppg) also contribute. Former Magic guard Tyronn Lue is injured with a sprained MCL.

On Feb. 3rd, the Magic suffered one of their toughest losses of the year here when Joe Johnson hit a long jumper with less than a second remaining for a 2 pt Hawks win. Expect DHoward to have a big game, as he is an Atlanta native and averages 19.2 pts and 13.4 rebs in 5 career games against ATL. ATL is a 2 1/2 pt favorite (www.pinnaclesports.com). However, this is a great opportunity for the Magic to win their first road game since late Jan.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Rare comeback win for Magic against Celtics

St. Patrick's Day did not prove to be lucky for the Celtics. The Magic, trailing by two entering the fourth quarter, held the Celtics to just 3 of 23 shooting in the fourth and won 84-77. This was only the second time in 37 games this season that the Magic won a game after trailing after 3 quarters.

Four players for the Magic scored in double figures, led by DHoward, who had 18 pts, 13 rebs and 6 blocks. JNelson (19 pts, 7 rebs, 5 assists, 1 TO), HTurkoglu (18 pts 9 rebs), and Darko (10 pts, 7 rebs, 4 blocks in just 19 minutes) had good games. Paul Pierce (19 pts) and Wally Szczerbiak (16 pts) were the only Celtics who scored in double figures.

The Magic outscored BOS from the field 65-54 on 32 of 78 shooting (41%). BOS shot a mere 32.5%. BOS shot 23-26 from the foul line (88.5%), while the Magic shot 19-27 (70.4%). Magic were outrebounded 48-45 by BOS, but the Magic had a better assist-to-turnover ratio of 17-13, compared to 16-19 for BOS. Magic bench outscored the Celtic bench 23-19.

This was the 4th win in 5 games for the Magic. Our point guards, Nelson and Arroyo, continue to impress, as they combined for 24 pts, 9 assists and just 2 TOs. Darko continues to shine off the bench, and a great game for Dwight. It wasn't pretty, but it counts as a win.

Doc Rivers and Celtics come to TDW tonight

Former Magic coach Doc Rivers returns to TDW with the Celtics owning a 27-38 record, and only 8-24 on the road; they are 4 1/2 games behind the final playoff spot. BOS is coming off a tough 107-104 loss to the Heat Thursday night, as the Celtics somehow blew a 25 pt lead. Paul Pierce had 34 pts, and Wally Szczerbiak 30. The Magic have won 3 of their last 4 games and are 23-41, and 17-14 at home.

Pierce (27.3 ppg) and Szcerbiak (17.1 ppg) lead the way, with Delonte West (11.7 ppg) also contributing. BOS averages 98.3 ppg, while allowing 100 ppg. The Magic average 93.5 ppg, while allowing 96.4 ppg,

BOS has not done well in Orlando, winning only 6 of their last 26 games here. Also, the Magic are 15-8 when they score a least a hundred pts, so hopefully BHill will let the guys fast break and run more. If the Magic continue to shoot the ball well, shoot FTs well and cut down on the TOs, I'm looking for a Magic win tonight, as they continue to play spoiler. The Magic are 3 pt favorites over BOS (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Magic prevail in OT over Utah

Trailing 107-106 in OT, the Magic outscored the Jazz 8-1 the rest of the way to win 114-108 and extend their home winning streak to 3 games. It was a balanced team effort from the Magic as six players scored in double figures, including all 5 starters.

Jameer Nelson led the Magic with 25 pts and 9 assists and just 1 TO; HTurkoglu (20 pts), TBattie (a season-high 19 pts), DHoward (16 pts 11 rebs), DStevenson (10 pts), and CArroyo off the bench (13 pts) all led the way. Darko had 5 blocks in just 24 minutes. Four players scored in double figures for the Jazz, led by Mehmet Okur and Carlos Boozer, who each scored 30.

The Magic outscored UT 84-79 from the field on 54.8% shooting. UT shot 42.2%. The Magic shot well from the FT line also, outscoring UT 30-29 on 83.3% FT shooting. UT outrebounded the Magic 39-38, and while the Magic had 25 assists, they were hurt by 21 TOs. UT had a better assist-to-turnover ratio of 24 assists to 13 TOs. The Magic bench outscored Utah's bench 24-5.

Outstanding FT shooting helped the Magic win this one, which was good to see, as poor FT shooting has cost the Magic several games this year. How about the play of our point guards: 38 pts, 12 assists and just 4 TOs. Good job by the Magic playing spoiler against the Jazz, who are fighting to make the playoffs.

Utah visits Magic tonight

The Jazz, 30-33 overall and 14-17 away, come to TDW to play the Magic, who are 22-41 overall and 16-14 at home. Utah is coming off a 121-83 thrashing from the Heat on Tuesday, and their starters combined to just score 26 points. UT was outscored from the FT line by the incredible total of 42-6.

Mehmet Okur (17.6 ppg), Andrei Kirilenko (14.9 ppg), and Matt Harpring (12.0 ppg) lead UT. They are trying to stay in playoff contention, as they trail the eighth-place Lakers by just 2 games. However, they've lost 8 of their last 11 road games, averaging only 88.7 ppg during that span.

I would like to see the Magic up the tempo on offense in this game. As long as they play good defense and take care of the ball, this should be pretty much a Magic rout. UT nearly blew a 20 pt second half lead against the Magic last week, as Brian Hill was fined $25 000 by the league for his critical comments of the officiating after the game. The Magic will be looking for payback, and are 3 1/2 pt favorites to beat the Jazz (www.pinnaclesports.com).

An open letter to Grant Hill

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

ESPN.com - NBA - Orlando primed for growth

Monday, March 13, 2006

Magic fade as Pacers pull away late

This game was there for the taking for the Magic, but after the Magic pulled within 80-77, IND outscored the Magic 17-6 the rest of the way to send the Magic to their 14th road loss in a row 97-83. The Magic bench, which had been playing so well, was badly outplayed by the Pacers bench, as the IND bench outscored the Magic bench 55-28.

The Pacers had 5 players in double figures, led by Anthony Johnson and Danny Granger, who each scored 21. Three Pacers players off the bench scored in double figures (Granger, David Harrison and Jamaal Tinsley). The Magic had only 2 players in double figures, DHoward (22 pts 11 rebs) and CArroyo (10 pts). Darko had 8 pts and an impressive 5 blocks in 22 minutes.

The Pacers dominated the game statistically. They outscored the Magic 74-70 from the field on 46.7% shooting. The Magic shot 44.3% (35-79). IND went 23-30 from the FT line (76.7%), while the Magic went 13 of 16 (81.2%). IND outrebounded the Magic 43-34. The Magic had 14 TOs to the Pacers 12. The Magic did have 22 assists. The fact that IND had nearly twice as many FT attempts as the Magic really hurt.

The Magic are now one loss away from tying the all-time franchise record for consecutive road losses. Yet another game where the Magic were right there in the fourth quarter, but faded in the end.

More Comedy from John Hollinger

ESPN.com: SPORTSNATION - Chat-11061(Insider): "B. Hill (Orlando): Darko is a lot like Pat Garrity....

SportsNation John Hollinger: Apparently to you he is. Of course, Garrity has shattered the record for 'longest inexplicable position in a team's rotation', so Darko's got that going for him."

Darko Should Start.

From ESPN Insider John Hollinger Chat. (My own thoughts are the opposite on Jameer -- I think he is a wonderful game changer off the bench but I'm glad they are both getting minutes.)

ESPN.com: SPORTSNATION - Chat-11061(Insider): "John, given how they have played since the trade, do you think Arroyo and Darko should be starting? I think in the long term Carlos might be a better fit than Jameer and would really like to see how they play together with Dwight...

SportsNation John Hollinger: I think Arroyo is fine where he is -- Nelson is a much better player and Arroyo is better suited as an energzier type off the pine. But Darko? I'm amazed he isn't playing more, and I know I'm not the only one. You can't make a trade like that and then have the coach giving his minutes to Tony Battie. This would be true no matter how bad or good Darko was playing, because it's imperative that the Magic evaluate what they have in him before extension time. "

Magic try to break long road losing streak at IND

The Magic (22-40; 6-26 away) will try to break a 13 game losing streak on the road tonight against the Pacers (31-29; 18-10 home). Surprisingly, the Magic have had a lot of luck at Indy lately, winning 4 of their last 5 games there. The Magic are thinking of shutting Grant Hill down the rest of the season due to his continuing abdominal pain from his sports hernia surgery.

With the injured Jermaine O'Neal out indefinitely, IND is lead in scoring by Peja Stojakovic, averaging 20.4 ppg in 18 games with the Pacers since being acquired from SAC. Stephen Jackson (16.2 ppg), Fred Jones (10.5 ppg), and Jamaal Tinsley (9.9 ppg) contribute. Jeff Foster is a strong rebounder, at 8.6 rebs per game, and is coming off a 19 pt 16 rebound game.

IND is averaging 93.7 ppg, and is giving up 91.3 ppg. Even though the Magic are giving up 96.2 ppg, the last 3 games they are allowing only 85 ppg. Continued good defense, ball movement on offense, good shooting (the Magic have shot over 50% in 7 of their last 11 games), and strong bench play will be the keys to finally getting a road win tonight, as this is a very winnable game for the Magic. However, they are 6 1/2 pt underdogs to IND (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Magic make it 2 in a row with win over GS

The Magic had another good team effort Saturday night, as five players scored in double figures to lead the Magic to a 103-92 win, their first two game winning streak since late January. The Magic lead was as much as 19 in the fourth quarter, but GS cut it down to a 95-91 lead with a minute and a half left; however, the Magic outscored GS 8-1 the rest of the way.

HTurkoglu had an outstanding game, with 21 pts, 14 rebs, and 8 assists. KDooling (13 pts), JNelson (12 pts 7 assists), DHoward (10 pts 9 rebs), and Darko (10 pts) also contributed. GS was led by Derek Fisher (20 pts), and Baron Davis, who scored 17 pts off the bench. Jason Richardson, who scored 44 pts against MIA, was held to 11 pts by the Magic.

The Magic had another outstanding game shooting, as they shot 58.6% on 41 of 70 FG shooting. GS was held to 46.8% FG shooting. Even though the Magic shot only 69.2% from the FT line, they outscored GS 18-8 from the line. GS only attempted 9 FTs the whole game, compared to the Magic's 26 FT attempts. The Magic outrebounded GS 37-26. Even though the Magic had 18 TOs, they did have 24 assists, which showed they are running the offense better. GS had a similar 23-17 assist-to-turnover ratio. The Magic bench did well once again, bettering the GS bench 42-39. Bo Outlaw had another nice effort with 6 pts on 3 of 3 shooting in 15 minutes.

Nice job by the Magic winning back-to-back games. Now if only we can break that long 13 game road road losing streak on Monday against the Pacers.

Magic shoot for 2 in a row against GS tonight

GS, coming off an impressive 111-106 upset win at Miami Friday night, brings a 26-36 record (10-20 away) to TDW. Jason Richardson is coming off a career high 44 pts on 17 of 26 shooting (6 of 7 3 pt shooting) against the Heat. Troy Murphy added 18 pts and Derek Fisher 14 pts. The Magic are now 21-40, and 15-14 at home.

The Magic are coming off a big 102-73 win against CLE, and are trying for their first 2 game winning streak since late January. The Magic should be more rested than GS, as everyone on the Magic's active roster played and scored in the rout over CLE. Only one player, TBattie (31 minutes) played over 30 minutes. GS averages 98.7 ppg and allows 99.9 ppg, while the Magic average 93.2 ppg and allow 96.2 ppg.

As long as the Magic can hold down Richardson, and play excellent team ball as they did last night, this should go down as a Magic victory. Both our point guards did an excellent job running the offense against CLE. For a change, the Magic are actually favorites to win tonight against GS by 1 1/2 points (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Bench leads Magic to big win over Cavs

After CLE took a 28-21 lead at the end of the first quarter, it looked like the Magic were well under way towards their seventh loss in a row. But from that point on, shockingly, the Magic outscored CLE 81-45 to win by a 102-73 blowout, their largest margin of victory this year.

Four players off the Magic bench scored in double figures, led by CArroyo (17 pts), KDooling (13 pts), BOutlaw (12 pts), and Darko (11 pts). Only one Magic starter, TBattie, scored in double figures (13 pts). Overall, the Magic bench scored 67 pts, compared to just 12 for CLE. LeBron James scored 25 pts to lead CLE, but shot just 9 of 22.

The Magic outscored the Cavs from the field 87-57 on solid 57.5% shooting. The Cavs shot just 34.2%. The Magic shot 75% from the FT line (15 of 20). They outrebounded CLE 44-36, and had a good assist-to-turnover ratio of 22-12, while the Cavs had a poor ratio of 11 assists to 15 TOs. How about the play of our point guards, Nelson and Arroyo, who combined for 13 assists and just 1 TO. And it was a blast from the past by Bo Outlaw, whose effort against CLE resembled that of the "Heart and Hustle" team from 2000.

Really good win by the Magic over a solid playoff team. Hopefully we can see efforts like that for the remainder of the season.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Back at TDW for Magic as LeBron, Cavs visit

The suddenly resurgent Cavs, who have won 4 in a row, bring a 36-26 record and 14-16 away record into TDW. The Magic, who have lost 6 in a row and 18 of 20, bring a 20-40 record and 14-14 home record into the game. The Magic are also trying to end a 6 game losing streak to the Cavs, having not beaten them since last February.

LeBron James is having a superstar season, averaging 30.6 ppg, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. Zydrunas Ilgauskas (16.2 ppg), Flip Murray (13.4 ppg), and ex-Magic Drew Gooden (10.8 ppg, 8.6 rebs) all contribute for CLE. Donyell Marshall (9.6 ppg), and Damon Jones, who hit the game-winning 3 pt FG at the buzzer against Toronto earlier this week, have helped also. CLE averages 97.5 ppg, ORL 96.6 ppg. CLE allows 95 ppg, ORL 96.6 ppg.

The Magic should be well-rested, as they haven't played since a hard-fought loss to Utah on Monday night. Coach Hill is $25,000 lighter in his wallet because of his criticism of the refs after the game. The Magic should be ready for this game and anxious to break their latest losing streak, as they lost several hard-fought games on their recently completed road trip. As usual, the Magic are underdogs, this time by 3 pts (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Brutal 22 away games out of 33 overall finally over for Magic

On Jan. 3rd, the Magic record stood at 12-15, and they were right there fighting for the last playoff spot. However, the Magic were about to embark on a very rough stretch of 22 away games and just 11 home games from Jan. 3rd to March 6th. I was hoping that the Magic would win 7 or 8 of the home games, and maybe 9 or 10 of the road games to finish the stretch at 16-17 or even 17-16. If they had done that, their record right now would be 28-32 or 29-31, only a game or two behind for the last playoff spot.

Here's how the Magic actually fared: 6-5 at home; 2-20 on the road; for an overall mark of 8-25 (2-18 in their last 20 games). Many of those losses were close, but a loss is a loss. So much for the playoffs! Here's how the standings now look for the worst record in the league:

4) Orlando 20-40
3) Portland 19-41
2) New York 17-43
1) Charlotte 16-45

At least we have a high draft pick to look forward to.

Some other positives that happened the last month: the trade of high-priced and injured C Kelvin Cato for talented youngsters Darko Milicic and Carlos Arroyo; the return of Jameer Nelson from injury, and the trade of talented but erratic and high-priced G Steve Francis for the expiring contract of Penny Hardaway to create more cap room, and young F Trevor Ariza (if only we could get Coach Hill to play him).

Because the Magic play more home games and face several sub-.500 teams (I know, those are the teams that give the Magic real problems), I still expect the Magic to win around 8 of their remaining 22 games to finish at 28-54, which should pretty much guarantee a top 5 or 6 pick.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Down 20, Magic come back to tie UT but still lose

The Magic, who were down 75-55 late in the third, all of a sudden started stiffening their defense, as UT only made 1 FG in the 4th quarter, and ran the offense a lot better to tie the game at 81 and again at 85. However, Jameer Nelson's layup attempt to tie the game with 9 seconds remaining was blocked by Andrei Kirilenko and Utah hit a couple technical FTs to win 90-85. This was the Magic's 6th loss in a row, and 18th out of 20 games overall.

Missed FTs again hurt the Magic, as they shot just 21 of 32 (65.6%). UT shot 30 of 42 (71.4%), and made 9 of their last 10 FTs. DHoward led the Magic with 18 pts and 14 rebs. Stevenson (14 pts), Arroyo (14 pts), Nelson (10 pts) and Dooling (10 pts) all scored in double figures. Mehmet Okur (22 pts) and Kirilenko (18 pts 10-10 FTs) led UT. The Magic outscored UT 64-60 from the field on 31 of 74 shooting (41.9%). UT shot just 28 of 70 (40%). The Magic outrebounded UT 41-39. The Jazz had a good assist-to-turnover ratio of 22-10, while the Magic's ratio was just 13-12. UT had been averaging nearly 20 TOs per game. UT also blocked 13 Magic shots. The Magic bench did outscore UT 31-18.

Jameer, after having two outstanding games, had a sub-par game with 10 pts on 5 of 12 shooting with 4 TOs and just 3 assists. Grant had to sit out once again with lower abdominal pain. I would have rather seen TAriza than Stacy Augmon (1 pt in 14 min). And why did Darko play just 15 minutes (2 pts 3 rebs 2 blocks)? Also, I didn't see the game... did Jameer get fouled on his layup attempt that would have tied the game in the last 10 seconds? With the two technical fouls at the end, it seemed like the Magic were really frustrated with the refs.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Magic to face Utah to end road trip

The Magic (20-39; 6-25 away) will try to avert a winless road trip as they play Utah (28-31; 14-15 home) tonight. The Magic have won the last 3 games in the series, but the Jazz own an 11-5 home mark lifetime against the Magic.

The Jazz are coming off a thrashing, as SEA whipped them Sunday 113-81. Four players average in double figures for UT: Mehmet Okur (17.7 pts 9.2 rebs), Andrei Kirilenko (14.9 pts 8 rebs), and two former Magic players, Matt Harpring (11.9 ppg) and Gordy Giricek (10.6 ppg). Deron Williams is having a good rookie year (9.7 ppg) and Carlos Boozer (9.2 ppg 7.6 rebs) is back from injury.

Utah has turned the ball over more than 20 times in 3 of the last 4 games, and are second-to-last in the league in TOs committed, ahead of only the Knicks. The Magic need to put good defensive pressure on them tonight to continue that trend. Expect a low-scoring game, as UT allows 93.8 ppg and scores just 90.4 ppg. The Magic are 4 1/2 pt underdogs (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Another day, another loss for Magic

The Magic continue to move closer and closer to a very high draft pick as they lose their 5th game in a row, 12th road game in a row, and 17th loss in 19 games as the Nuggets cruised to a 110-94 victory. It was only a 4 pt deficit at the half, and the Magic actually had a 1 pt lead in the third but DEN gradually pulled away after that.

Five players scored in double figures for the Magic, led by GHill with 19 pts, DHoward (15 pts 11 rebs), CArroyo (12 pts), JNelson (10 pts 10 assists) and TBattie (10 pts). Three players scored over 20 pts for DEN, led by Carmelo Anthony (24 pts), Reuben Patterson (21 pts), and super-sub Earl Boykins, who scored 21 pts off the bench. I was disappointed to see Darko play only 20 minutes (7 pts 3 blocks). The only thing I can think of as to why he's not playing more is maybe his conditioning isn't quite good enough yet to play 30-35 minutes a game. Otherwise, there's no excuse as to why Battie (28 minutes) should see more playing time than Darko.

Not a good game for the Magic stat-wise. DEN outplayed the Magic in virtually every area. They outscored the Magic from the field 98-71 on 56.5% FG shooting. The Magic shot 46.7%. DEN dominated the boards 41-26. Once again, the Magic opponent had a superb assist-to-turnover ratio: 31 assists for DEN to just 15 TOs, while the Magic's ratio was only 23-17. 23 assists is good, but 17 TOs is too many. The only thing the Magic did well was FTs, outscoring DEN 23-12 from the line on 74.2% shooting. Even our bench was outscored by the DEN bench 40-33.

The five game road trip ends at Utah on Monday, and this current brutal stretch of 22 road games out of 33 overall will finally be over, thank goodness.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Magic to face Denver, Anthony tonight

The Magic (20-38; 6-24 away), coming off a hard-fought loss to PHO, face a Denver squad (31-28; 19-12 home) also coming off a loss FRI night, 89-78 to HOU. The Magic will be trying to avert their 12th straight road loss. But the Magic have beaten DEN 21 out of their last 25 meetings.

Carmelo Anthony, coming off a 34 pt game against HOU, averages 26 ppg. Andre Miller (14.2 ppg), Marcus Camby (14.2 ppg), Kenyon Martin (14 ppg), and Earl Boykins (12.6 ppg) also average in double figures. DEN beat DET 98-87 their last home game. DEN is also a solid rebounding team with both K-Mart (6.8 rebs per game) and Camby (12.1 rebs). Hopefully the Magic front line will be ready for a physical game.

It's really great to have Jameer back; amazing how he played so well against PHO after missing a month and a half. Can the Magic bounce back and play a competitive game tonight, after one of their toughest losses of the season last night? The Magic are 10 1/2 pt underdogs to Denver (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Magic collapse in final 3 minutes against Suns

With 3 and a half minutes remaining in the game, the Magic, on blistering 61% shooting, looked to be in great position to pull off a stunning upset against PHO. However, everything fell apart for the Magic from that point on as they hit only 1 out of their final 10 shots (a meaningless layup by Arroyo in the final seconds) and lose 123-118 for their 4th loss in a row, 11th road loss in a row, and 16th loss in their last 18 games.

There were a lot of positives from the Magic to take from this game. Without GHill, because of his sports hernia being sore again, five players scored in double figures. They were led by the return of Jameer Nelson, who was brilliant off the bench, and scored 24 pts on 9 of 13 shooting in just 26 minutes. Carlos Arroyo impressed with 21 pts, 6 assists and 0 TOs in 33 minutes. Darko had 8 pts and 10 boards. HTurkoglu (20 pts) DHoward (15 pts) and KDooling (12 pts 5 steals) also had good games. Six players scored in double figures for PHO, led by SMarion (24 pts) and newly acquired Tim Thomas (20 pts). SNash had 18 pts and 13 assists.

PHO outscored ORL 105-104 from the field on 51.7% shooting. ORL shot 55.6%. PHO (85,7% FT) outscored the Magic (70% FT) from the line 18-14. The Magic outrebounded PHO 40-36. PHO had a brilliant assist-to-turnover ratio of 34-12, while the Magic's ratio was just 20-15. The ORL bench, led by Nelson and Arroyo, outscored PHO's bench 57-44.

I thought Coach Hill, despite questionable substitutions late, did an OK job getting Arroyo (33 min) and Nelson (26 min) enough playing time, and they both had the hot hand. It will be interesting to see how Hill handles this in the future. If the Magic hadn't gone stone-cold in the final 3 minutes, they would have won this game.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Magic to face red-hot Suns Friday night

Two teams going in completely opposite directions meet tonight. The Magic (20-37, 6-23 away), losers of 10 road games in a row and 15 of their last 17 games, face the streaking Phoenix Suns (39-17, 23-8 home), who have won 8 games in a row and 13 of their last 15. PHO has scored 100 or more points for 19 games in a row, the longest run in the NBA since the '94-'95 SA Spurs. The scary thing is, Amare Stoudamire has been injured all season, and may return this month.

PHO is averaging a league-leading 107.8 ppg, and have 7 players averaging in double figures, led by the Western Conference's February player of the month Shawn Marion (22 ppg, 12.4 rebs). Marion leads the league with 44 double-doubles. Steve Nash averages 19.8 ppg and a league-leading 10.9 assists per game. The Magic, meanwhile, average just 92.8 ppg, and are allowing 96.1 ppg.

Orlando stunned PHO 111-102 on Jan. 24th at TDW (remember when things were actually going well?). HTurkoglu scored 30 pts that game to lead the Magic. PHO will be eager to atone for that loss. They are a whopping 14 pt favorite to beat the Magic tonight (www.pinnaclesports.com). The play of Darko and Carlos Arroyo has been a real bright spot amidst all the losses. You can bet BHill will want to slow the pace of this game down, as I doubt he wants to get into another shootout with PHO.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

NBA.com: Rookie Rankings - February 27, 2006

NBA.com: Rookie Rankings - February 27, 2006

I know this is way to early but I'm getting tired of beating the dead horse who goes by the name of B.Hill.

Take a look at the linked rookie list, then ask yourself where Darko would fit if he were a brand new rookie? It's a pretty fair question since he has probably played fewer career minutes than any of the current top 10 rooks. It's almost like he came to the Magic as a 20 year old with three years at a great college program. No NBA minutes but readily apparent skill sets and game knowledge you would expect of a junior coming from a top conference.

Since Hill put him in the line-up 4 games ago his per game averages are:

22.75 minutes
8.0 points
.636 shooting percentage
6.0 rebounds
2.75 blocks
1.25 assists

1.0 turnovers
3.0 fouls
0.75 steals

My belief is if the draft were held over today Chris Paul would be the #1 pick and if Darko were eligible he would be picked as high as #2.

He is already rebounding and blocking shots at a per-minute rate higher than any rookie, his shooting percentage is sky-high at the moment and his comparable points per minute played is in the middle of the top ten rookies.

All without benefit of training camp and knowing his teamates or any of the vaunted Princeton Offense that his coach prefers.

Magic fade in fourth, lose tenth road game in a row

ORL found themselves in a rare position with a 70-64 lead going into the fourth quarter, but saw GS outscore them 34-24 as the Magic went down for their 15th loss in their last 17 games 98-94.

Six players scored in double figures for the Magic, led by DStevenson (18 pts). DHoward added 17 pts and 12 rebounds. Darko shined once again off the bench (12 pts on 6 of 7 shooting, 9 rebs and 2 blocks in 26 minutes). CArroyo had just 4 pts on 2 of 9 shooting. However, he had 4 assists and 3 rebs in only 19 minutes. Five players scored in double figures for GS, led by JRichardson (25 pts). Richardson scored 11 pts in the final 1:49.

The Magic lost this game at the FT line, as GS made 27 of 40 (67.5%), while the Magic shot a mere 9 of 15 (60%). The Magic outscored GS 85-71 from the field on 46.7% shooting, while GS shot 43.2%. The Magic outrebounded GS 49-44, and had an acceptable assist-to-turnover ratio of 20-12, while GS had a better ratio of 24-11. Bench scoring was even at 28 apiece. The fact that GS attempted 25 more FTs than the Magic really hurt.

Battie, Stephenson, and Dooling all stayed in the starting lineup despite their recent struggles. Stephenson and Dooling (13 pts) had decent games, but Battie (8 pts) was a non-factor after the first quarter. GHill (10 pts) and HTurkoglu (10 pts) combined to shoot just 8 of 24. Darko played his most minutes in a Magic uniform, while Arroyo saw only 19 minutes. TAriza did not play at all. When will Darko get his first start? He is proving that he deserves to.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Memo to Otis

Sent To: insider@orlandomagic.com

Hey Otis,

Nice moves lately bringing in some really good looking kids for the future. You completely turned the outlook for the future around with the Detroit & NY trades and have filled a lot of empty seats in the process.

Simple math says guys like Garrity, Augmon, Hill & Battie are not going to be around when Howard and Nelson are hitting their primes. What can the fans do to push Brian Hill to play Darko, Arroyo, Ariza, Diener, etc. lots of minutes now to see what we will have in two years? Darko & Arroyo should be starting already and we are hopeful Ariza and Diener can contribute as well.

Coach Hill seems to be putting the brakes your good works with his loyalty to Battie & Garrity and it's not earning the teams any wins now, let alone the future! Kick him in the you-know-where Otis and lets get the kids minutes now!

We R. Devos

Magic, coming off 2-12 February, face GS tonight

Two struggling teams will have at it tonight. GS (24-32, 15-15 home) is on a 4 game losing streak, and since starting the season 12-6, are 12-26 since. The Magic (20-36, 6-22 home) have lost 16 of their last 18 games and are coming off a 2-12 February where they went 0-8 on the road and 2-4 at home to fall hopelessly out of the playoff chase.

Don't be fooled by the Warrior's mediocre record, as they have some talented players, led by Jerome Richardson (22.9 ppg). Baron Davis (18.7 ppg 9.2 assists), Troy Murphy (15.4 ppg), Derek Fisher (12.2 ppg), Mickael Pietrus (10.7 ppg), and Mike Dunleavy (10.4 ppg) all average in double figures. But GS allows 99.4 ppg, so the Magic have a good chance to cure their offensive struggles tonight.

The Magic's starting lineup is just begging for a change after last night's performance against the Lakers. Will Coach Hill finally realize that and at least start Darko while having Battie come off the bench. Dooling and/or Stevenson could be replaced also, and might help the Magic more off the bench. The Magic are 4 pt underdogs against GS (www.pinnaclesports.com)

Whit Watson Blog

Sun Sports :: Whit Watson Blog

Did anyone link to this yet? Whit pretty much spells out what we have been saying here.

If Darko Milicic plays 30 minutes a game next to Howard, with Turkoglu, Nelson, Hill, Arroyo, Trevor Ariza, and everyone else out of suits and in uniform for more than a week at a time, and they STILL cannot win, you have my permission to fire away.

Magic end brutal month with loss to Lakers

Another bad third quarter cost the Magic against LA, as the Lakers outscored the Magic 38-23 in the third and cruised to a 102-87 victory. With the loss, the Magic wind up with a horrific 2-13 February record, and are a distant 8 games behind the last playoff spot.

The Lakers offense really flourished against the Magic. Six players scored in double figures, led by Kobe Bryant's 28. They outscored the Magic from the field 87-60 on 51.2% shooting, and finished with a superb assist-to-turnover ratio of 31-10, while outrebounding the Magic 38-29. The Magic had 4 players in double figures, led by GHill (23 pts), along with DHoward (15 pts 9 rebs), DStevenson (14 pts), and CArroyo (12 pts). The Magic shot 52.7%, but took 25 fewer shots than LA. They did outscore LA 27-15 from the FT line on 71.1% FT shooting. The Magic struggled moving the ball offensively, with only 14 assists compared to 16 TOs. The Magic bench, led by Arroyo, scored 27 pts while the Lakers bench scored 25.

TBattie and KDooling really struggled, scoring only 8 pts and 3 rebs between them in 40 combined minutes. Darko had another decent game with 6 pts, 7 rebs and 3 blocks in 23 minutes. I think the time has come for BHill to start Darko instead of Battie,and if Dooling continues to play poorly, have Arroyo as a starter. Dooling has been so inconsistent; I expect a lot better from him than what he did against LA. As all of us here agree, BHill has to make changes in the starting lineup; the way they played in the third quarter was ridiculous.


BSHill continues to drag this team down with his incompetent coaching, poor starting and substitution decisions, and lack of any sort of player development. There should be a fan revolt and boycott of this team until this guy is run out of town and never allowed to return. A team full of young, talented and eager players and AHoleHill continues with the status quo of starting deshawn stevenson and tony battie, while still finding valuable minutes for his butt monkey garrity...

Just a few of the stats incase you haven't heard.......

garrity.... 13 minutes, 1 rebound, 1 turnover, 2 points off free-throws. Just the kind of production that AHoleHill loves and we come to expect from this waste of valuable air...

KDooling....19 minutes, 2 turnovers, 3 points...... AHoleHill must be very proud of him and garrity.

TBattie.... 21 minutes, 1-3 fg's, 3 rebounds, 5 points... With production like this it's gonna be hard to get Tony out of the AHoleHill starting line-up.

DHoward..... 31 minutes, 6-9 fg's, 9 rebounds, 15 points..... Not bad, right? Well, consider that Mihm and KBrowne combined for 11-21 fg's, and 23 points, Browne scoring all 11 points in the 4th quarter. Again, AHoleHill can make a useless scrub like kwame browne look like a superstar... This brain-dead piece of shit must be removed from the Magic organization before he turns Dwight Howard into the biggest disappointment since Ike Austin.... His inability to judge talent and come up with any sort of coherent offensive scheme that can score points in the 2nd half of games, while not allowing lay-up drills by opposing teams will continue to keep the Magic as league jokes... It won't matter how much money they have to spend next year, or who they aquire through free agency, AHoleHill will drag them down to his level beating them with his stupid stick rendering them virtually useless, sub them with pat garrity, then claim they are uncoachable before they beg to be traded....