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.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Magic Notes

Daytona Beach News-Journal Online -- Sports: "MAGIC NOTES

On Pat Garrity:
Garrity, who turns 30 on Aug. 23 and is entering the final year of his contract, hasn't ruled out the chances of being traded before the start of what would be his eighth season with Orlando.
On Dwight Howard:·
Howard plans to stay away from playing ball the next six weeks. But he intends to make time before and after his commitments to USA Basketball this summer for getting to know his teammates better so he can assume more of a leadership role for 2006-07.

The Magic thought highly enough to draft me as an 18-year-old out of high school," he said. "So I think they've put me in a position to where I have to lead."

On Trevor Ariza:
Ariza averaged 4.7 points and 3.9 rebounds in 21 games after coming over from New York in the trade that sent Steve Francis to the Knicks. Magic assistant GM Otis Smith has made it no secret that he wants to re-sign Ariza, who becomes a restricted free agent July 1. He's a special player," he said. "If he learns how to shoot the 15-, 17-foot jump shot consistently, you're going to be saying 'wow' about him, too.



The Magic's record at home, which was better than that of Chicago (21-20) and Milwaukee (25-16), both of whom finished ahead of them in the Eastern Conference.


The Magic's record on the road, matching the mark of two years ago during their 61-loss season. Only Charlotte, Minnesota, Atlanta, New York and Portland had worse records away from home.


The Magic's field-goal percentage in their 31 games after the all-star break. The top percentage for a team for the entire season was Phoenix (47.9).

Magic will promote Smith to GM

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

NBADraft.net | State of the Cap: Orlando Magic

Thursday, April 20, 2006

MAGIC: Howard Named April’s Eastern Conference Player of the Month

Nothing like winning to start attracting national attention.

MAGIC: Howard Named April’s Eastern Conference Player of the Month

A closer look at the Magic's 36-46 record

Last night, I had some time to break down the Magic's W/L record to see how they did in various categories. Here's what I came up with:

The Magic's W/L record: 36-46
Home: 26-15
Away: 10-31
vs East: 24-28
Home vs East: 17-9
Away vs East: 7-19
vs West: 12-18
Home vs West: 9-6
Away vs West: 3-12
November: 7-7
December: 5-8
January: 6-9
February: 2-12
March: 9-8
April: 7-2
record in games decided by 3 pts or less: 4-6
between 4-5 pts: 6-8
between 6-9 pts: 11-13
between 10-14 pts: 6-10
15 pts or more: 9-9
record vs teams that finished season at .500 or better: 12-29
record vs teams that finished season under .500: 24-17
home record vs teams that finished season at .500 or better: 9-11
away record vs teams that finished season at .500 or better: 3-18
home record vs teams that finished season under .500: 17-4
away record vs teams that finished season under .500: 7-13

The area that stands out to me is that the Magic were only 10-14 in games decided by 5 pts or less. If the Magic won just 5 more of those games, they finish at .500 and make the playoffs. Many of those close losses came due to questionable strategy by Coach Hill, though the last 5 weeks they were a much better 4-2 in games decided by 5 pts or less. Magic have to improve in that area next season. Also, on the road the Magic were a pitiful 3-18 against teams that finished .500 or better. Interestingly, the only 3 wins came during their hot streak the last 3 weeks (at CHI, at MIA, at SA).

The month of February (2-12) was the killer, with the tough schedule and the daily trade drama surrounding Steve Francis.

Of course, the 16-6 record in the final 22 games gives everyone hope and optimism heading into next season.

Over the Hill?

Florida Today:

Magic face decision on keeping, trading oft-injured All-Star

Off Season

Season is over and thanks to the last quarter there is hope in O-Town. Even the national pundits took note of the turnaround. The trades were a risk that have turned out well so far. It's fun to go back and see the initial reactions in the comments.

The blogging made the season fun for me. Thanks in particular to Mike for his excellent posts on the games themselves. I look forward to doing it again next season.

NBA.com: Key Dates: "
April 19 2005-06 NBA Regular Season ends
April 20 Rosters set for NBA Playoffs 2006, 3 p.m. ET
April 22 NBA Playoffs 2006 begin
April 29 NBA Early Entry Eligibility Deadline, 11:59 p.m. ET
May 23 NBA Draft Lottery
June 6-10 NBA Pre-Draft Camp
June 8 NBA Finals start date (possible move-up to June 6)
June 18 NBA Draft Early Entry Entrant Withdrawal Deadline
June 22 NBA Finals latest possible end date
June 28 NBA Draft (Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
Oct. 31 2006-07 regular season opens

Shorthanded Magic end season on losing note to IND

This definitely was not the same Magic team we've been used to seeing the last month. Hedo missed the game due to a back strain and no starter played more than 27 minutes and even though the Magic made the game relatively close, IND cruised to a 89-83 win to secure the sixth spot in the East.

Nice performances off the bench for the Magic. CArroyo led the way with 17 pts, followed by KDooling with 15 and TAriza who had his best game with the Magic with 13 pts 12 rebounds. DHoward, DStevenson, and BOutlaw each added 10 pts. Jermaine O'Neal led IND with 24 pts, Stephen Jackson 22 pts, and Peja Stojakovic 17 pts.

The Magic shot just 36.4% (32 of 88). The Pacers shot 43.7% (31 of 71) as both teams tied from the field 67-67. IND shot 22 of 30 (73.3%) from the FT line, while the Magic shot 16 of 22 (72.7%). IND crushed the Magic on the boards 54-37. Even though the Magic had just 8 TOs, they had a mere 8 assists, their lowest total of the season. The Pacers also had a poor assist-to-turnover ratio of 13-17. The Magic bench was dominant, outscoring the Pacer bench 56-7.

These last two losses by the Magic should not take away from their incredible 16-4 run prior to that. The Magic finish at 36-46 (26-15 home, 10-31 road). Less than six and a half months away from opening day next season, and what a season we have to look forward to. What changes will the Magic make this off-season? Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Magic look to finish season on winning note at IND

The Magic (36-45, 10-30 road) can be assured that IND (40-41, 26-14 home) will be going all-out to win the game tonight, as the Pacers need a win to clinch the 6th spot in the East. A Pacers loss, plus a CHI win (which is likely because they host TOR) would put the Pacers in the 8th spot in the East and a first-round match-up with powerful DET, who has eliminated IND from the playoffs the last two years. It should be a great test for the young Magic to end the season.

Jermaine O'Neal is back from injury, and leads IND averaging 20 ppg and 9.3 rebounds, though he has played in just 50 games. Peja Stojakovic, in 39 games since the IND trade with SAC, is averaging 19.5 ppg. Stephen Jackson is the only other Pacer in double figures (16.3 ppg). IND averages 94.0 ppg, while allowing 92.1 ppg. However, IND has averaged 103.6 ppg in winning 4 of their last 5 games using an up-tempo style not usually favored by Coach Rick Carlisle. Injuries and the acquisition of Stojakovic have forced Carlisle to use different strategy.

A win here by the Magic would be a great way to close out the season and to cap off their recent 16-4 run, which included wins over several top NBA teams. However, the Magic are 7 pt underdogs against the Pacers (www.pinnaclesports.com)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The State of the Magic

It has been a while since I have posted on this blog, and a lot has happened. Congratulations to the Magic players for an exciting finish to the season. As a long time Magic fan I am excited for the future prospects. I see that the blog has expanded and has attracted some bloggers in addition to the contributors. I also see that one of major contributors who was, in my opinion, a voice of wisdom and reality is sitting on the sideline. Let me put my dime in and sign off since I do not agree with this shortsightedness caused by extreme sense of excitement. Last year, Golden States was beating up on everybody towards the end of the season, but that did not carry over to the next season. Chemistry is not something that you could bottle up. Let me give some perspective to this state of the Magic:
  1. Magic has a nice core of players, but only one debatable superstar in Dwight, and that's it. As exciting as a player that Jameer is, he is not a superstar. To go places you need to have two superstars. So if someone tells me there is no need for Grant next year, I say check your head.
  2. It was excruciating to follow some of the postings on the so-called "foul or not to foul". On the side line was the issue of a timeout that Hill could have called, that he didn't. I give Hill credit for staying out of the way of the players who have played their guts out. But come next season and a fresh start, Hill would impose his autocratic nonsense of a system, I assure you. Hill is not taking this or any team anywhere. he has proven that he is not a capable coach, and that's the end of that discussion, at least for me.
  3. Otis Smith has done well for the Magic, but nobody is as stupid as Isiah Thomas or as desperate as Joe Dumars trying to sign a franchise player. We have witnessed the results of light weight managers promoted to the GM level ... Gabriel and likes. They are good up to a certain limit, and then wheels come off from underneath. It is a cut throat business, and you need a lot more than basic knowledge, and a lot of good intentions.
  4. The arena issue is a very complicated issue (go back and read some of the earlier postings on this blog to refresh your memory). It is more of a political issue with a bit of accounting in the mix. The key is held by hotels' industry (Rosen), which is not excited by the recent Magic success, I assure you. Mayor Dyer has all good intentions, but he can't offer any thing more than the city's resources, which is not much. Mayor Crotty is not suicidal, so he is not gonna oppose Rosen and the Hotels' industry moguls for the sake of an out-of-towner who has not proven that he is willing to put some of his own money on the table as a sign of good faith.

At the end, the state of the Magic is bright unless some moron comes in to mess it up. When a veteran leadership is added to this group of players, sky is the limit. They can go places hard to imagine. That, however, would not happen with Brian Hill and this front office.

You can blast me as much as you want, but to no avail. I am going back to the sideline.

Magic will look to lock up Milicic

"Milicic's agent, Marc Cornstein, said the Serbian has never been happier than he's been with the Magic, calling it 'the perfect marriage.' He said Milicic is eager to continue playing alongside Dwight Howard because the two complement each other so well, and he wants to remain in Orlando long-term." -- Florida Today
It will be a busy off-season. Darko can be extended, Ariza should be resigned, and Stevenson has to announce whether he will opt-out or come back for $3 million next year.

According to this article Darko's agent says he likes playing here. Other interviews have indicated he finds the nightlife non-existant. One other interesting tidbit found elsewhere: Darko & Kasun come from the opposite sides of the Yugoslavia civil war. Kasun has been quoted it would be dangerous for it to be known that he is a friend of Darko's. Don't expect Kasun to be here next year...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Magic finally run out of Magic in OT against CHI

The Magic looked like they would end their home season by winning their 13th home game in a row after they jumped out to a 64-48 lead in the third quarter. From that point on, however, CHI tightened up their defense, forcing the Magic into taking tough shots and committing several TOs, and pulled away in OT to end the Magic's 8 game winning streak 116-112.

HTurkoglu led the Magic with 32 pts (7 of 11 FG, 14 of 16 FT). DHoward had another good game with 22 pts 14 rebs. JNelson added 15 pts, but with 7 TOs, and KDooling led the bench with 12 pts. Three players for CHI scored over 20 pts: Kirk Hinrich with 26 pts 10 assists, Andres Nocioni with 24 pts, and Luol Deng off the bench with 22 pts 11 rebs. Ben Gordon added 18 pts.

Very close stats for the game. CHI (38 of 80, 47.5%) edged the Magic (36 of 82, 43.9%) from the field 81-80. CHI (35 of 45, 77.8%) held a slight edge from the FT line over the Magic (32 of 40, 80%). The Bulls tough defense held the Magic to their lowest FG% in quite some time. ORL edged CHI on the boards 43-41. The Bulls had a superior assist-to-turnover ratio of 27-14, while the Magic ratio was just 18-20. The 20 TOs really hurt ORL. The CHI bench outscored the ORL bench 40-30.

Hedo was outstanding again, but his missed FT in the final seconds of regulation was costly. The Magic were forced to foul in the OT as they fell behind, and CHI hit just about every OT FT. It would have been great to win the home finale and have a 13 game home winning streak, but the Magic have nothing to be ashamed of losing to the tough, scrappy, playoff-bound Bulls, who are playing their best basketball of the season.

ESPN.com - NBA - Power Rankings

ESPN.com - NBA - Power Rankings

Wait 'til next year.

Magic end home schedule with playoff-bound CHI

The Magic (36-44, 26-14 home) still have plenty to play for even though they were eliminated Sunday from playoff contention. They have an 8 game winning streak and a 12 game home winning streak. The Bulls (39-41, 19-21 road) need a win to improve their playoff seeding to avoid a first round matchup with number one seed DET.

CHi is led in scoring by Ben Gordon (16.8 ppg, 44.1% 3 pt FG). Kirk Hinrich (15.7 ppg), Luol Deng (14.1 ppg), and Andres Nocioni (12.8 ppg) also average in double figures. All those players except Hinrich are only in their second year; Hinrich is in his third year. Chris Duhon (8.8 ppg) and Tyson Chandler (9.2 rebs) also contribute. CHI has a deep bench, and expect at least 10 players to see quality minutes. The Bulls average 97.2 ppg, while allowing 96.9 ppg. The Magic average 94.9 ppg, while allowing 95.8 ppg.

Bulls coach Scott Skiles will be recognized by the Magic tonight for his outstanding Magic career. Don't expect Skiles to shed any tears though, as he is very focused on game day for his team. The Magic would love to end the home season with a 13 game home winning streak; what a treat that would be for Magic fans. No line yet for the game (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Sunday, April 16, 2006

CHI win over MIA ends Magic playoff dream

Thanks to a disinterested MIA team that had nothing to play for (except pride), and a CHI team that had everything to play for, the Bulls clinched a playoff spot with a 117-93 rout over the Heat. MIA actually had a 15 pt lead early in the second quarter before the Bulls started pouring it on for their first win in MIA in 12 tries.

Congratulations to the Bulls, as they earned their right into the playoffs by winning several games in the last few weeks that they were projected to lose. When they visit ORL Monday night, CHI still will have a lot to play for as they will be trying for a higher seed to avoid a matchup with DET in the first round.

The Magic can be proud of themselves for making this great playoff run after being given up for dead by just about everyone when they were 20-40. Winning these last two games of the season for the Magic and ending the season with a 10 game winning streak would be almost as good as making the playoffs; to say the least about the great future the Magic have to look forward to.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Monster game by Howard keeps Magic alive

Dwight Howard picked a great night to have arguably the best game of his young NBA career, as the Sixers gave the Magic all they could handle. After PHI took a 95-93 lead, the Magic outscored the Sixers the rest of the way 9-2 to come out with a 102-97 triumph, their 8th win in a row.

Howard had a huge game with 28 pts (9 of 14 FG, but only 10 of 19 FT) and 26 rebounds. Two other Magic players scored over 20 pts; HTurkoglu with 23 pts, and JNelson, with 21 pts, 8 assists, and just 2 TOs. Three other Magic players (Battie, Stevenson, Darko) scored 8 pts apiece. Allen Iverson had his usual outstanding game with 36 pts, but shot just 12 of 29 from the field. Chris Webber had 20 pts and 11 boards, and former Magic draftee Steven Hunter 12 pts.

The FG shooting stats were virtually identical. The Magic (38 of 81, 46.9%) and PHI (39 of 83, 47%) each scored 81 pts from the field. The Magic (21 of 34, 61.8%) outscored PHI (16 of 20, 80%) from the FT line. The Magic dominated the boards 46-33 (including 17 offensive rebs to just 8 for PHI). Both teams took good care of the ball with 10 TOs each. PHI had 19 assists to 16 for the Magic, and the Sixer bench outscored the Magic bench 19-14. The bench is hanging in there despite missing CArroyo with his hamstring injury.

The Magic now have won 12 of 13, 16 of 20, and 12 in a row at home. They now trail the Sixers by just 1 game and CHI by 2 1/2 games. Magic fans must root for the Heat tomorrow to beat the Bulls to keep the Magic from being eliminated from playoff contention.

Dramatic CHI win puts Magic on brink of elimination

MIA did their part for the Magic by routing PHI Friday night. WAS put up a great fight against CHI, but thanks to an absolutely unconscious, record-tying display of 3 pt shooting by Ben Gordon (32 pts, 9 of 9 3 pt FG), the Bulls were able to overcome being down most of the game and hung on for a 103-101 victory. What a great game that was to watch; it definitely had playoff intensity. The Magic's "tragic number" to being eliminated is now down to a mere one.

Even if the Magic win their final 3 games, and the Bulls lose their next two to MIA and ORL, the Bulls close the season with woeful TOR in CHI. No way the Bulls are losing that one, and that win would eliminate the Magic.

I've watched CHI a lot this season. They remind me of the Magic, as both teams have outstanding young talent. However, the Magic have one thing the Bulls don't: a superior inside game with Howard, Darko, and Battie, as compared to Tyson Chandler, Mike Sweetney and Othella Harrington of the Bulls. Those three are not bad players, but no way do they compare with the Magic's "big three".

PHI (37-42) comes to TDW Saturday night just two games ahead of the Magic (35-44). The Magic will look to increase their 7 game winning streak and 11 game home winning streak. It should be a playoff-like atmosphere inside TDW; the House will be rocking!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Dime Magazine Smack

"We’re just gonna come out and say it: we love the Orlando Magic. We really do. Jameer, Dwight and Darko - the foundation of what will be a very good team in the very near future. Last night O-Town won their 11th game in 12 tries, this time improbably knocking off the Spurs. In San Antonio. With Tim Duncan having a huge game. Unbelievable stuff. In this run, Orlando has now beaten San Antonio, Miami, Detroit, Milwaukee, Dallas, Chicago and Philly, among others. They’re 2 1/2 games behind the Sixers and the Bulls for the final playoff spot in the East with three to play and stranger things have happened. At this point, with Philly and Chicago battling for the right to get pounded by Detroit in the first round, who wouldn’t rather see this Magic squad battle the Pistons? … "

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Magic pull off huge upset in SA

The Magic, playing the second of back-to-back nights and again without CArroyo, go into SA, who is playing for the best record in the West, and somehow manage to beat the Spurs... by 12 points no less, 92-80.

Another great team effort by the Magic, with 5 players in double figures. Coach Hill used an 8 man rotation. DHoward led the way with 22 pts and 13 rebounds. JNelson had an outstanding game with 19 pts, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds. HTurkoglu added 15 pts, Darko with 14 pts, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks off the bench, and DStevenson added 10. Tim Duncan kept the Spurs in the game with 31 pts and 13 rebs. Michael Finley added 16 off the bench, and Tony Parker added 12, but with 7 TOs. Manu Ginobili was held out due to his injury. Brent Barry scored just 5 pts in his place.

Good team stats for the Magic. They outscored SA 78-71 from the field on 49.4% shooting. SA shot 45.2%. The Magic shot 14 of 19 from the FT line (73.7%), while SA was just 9 of 16 (56.2%). SA outrebounded the Magic 42-39. The Magic took great care of the ball with just 9 TOs, while SA had 16. The Spurs added 22 assists to 15 for the Magic. The Spurs bench outscored the Magic bench 27-20.

The Magic continue their incredible run (7 wins in a row, 11 of 12, and 15 of 19). They desperately need help from WAS and MIA Friday night to beat CHI and PHI. If that happens, the Magic will be only 2 games behind both teams. Even Coach Hill's harshest critics have to admit he's done a really nice job preparing his team for each game and getting them to believe in themselves.

Magic look for big upset in SA

The Magic (34-44, 9-30 road) go into San Antonio (60-18, 33-6 home) to face the defending World Champs. The Magic will be trying to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. The Spurs are trying to clinch the best record in the West.

SA is led by pt guard Tony Parker, who averages 19.2 ppg on 54.6% shooting and 5.9 assists. Tim Duncan (18.6 ppg), Manu Ginobili (15.1 ppg) and Michael Finley (10.0 ppg) all average in double figures. Bruce Bowen (7.7 ppg, 42.2 3 pt %) completes the starting lineup. Ginobili is questionable for the game tonight with calf and shin problems, but Brent Barry scored 16 pts starting in his place the last game. Spurs are averaging 95.5 ppg, while allowing just 88.8 ppg.

The Magic will be going for their 7th win in a row and 11th game of their last 12 in a hostile atmosphere in SA. The Spurs are 8 pt favorites to win (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Good news/bad news: Magic win, but so do CHI/PHI

The Magic continue their hot streak with a 103-96 victory over TOR, their 10th win in 11 games and sixth in a row. However, their playoff hopes took a severe blow as CHI and PHI won, reducing the Magic's "tragic number" to being eliminated to 2.

It was a balanced effort by the Magic, as all 5 starters scored in double figures. JNelson led the attack, scoring 27 pts. He was helped by HTurkoglu (18 pts), TBattie (16 pts), DHoward (14 pts), and DStevenson (10 pts). KDooling led the bench with 6 pts. Morris Peterson (23 pts), Mike James (21 pts), and Charlie Villanueva (19 pts) led TOR.

TOR outscored the Magic 82-81 from the field, thanks to 8 of 15 3 pt shooting. The Magic shot 47.5%, TOR 47.4%. ORL shot 22 of 33 from the FT line (66.7%), while TOR shot just 14 of 23 (60.9%) from the line. TOR outrebounded the Magic 41-37. The Magic had a very good assist-to-turnover ratio of 22-10, while TOR's ratio was just 18-18. The Magic bench was outscored by the TOR bench 19-18, as the Magic bench shot a collective 5 of 20. Darko did add 3 blocks in just 18 minutes.

Essentially, the Magic need to win their remaining 4 games, including Thursday night at SA, while hoping CHI and PHI win no more than 1 game each. It's not going to happen, but the Magic are convincing most people what a great future is in store!

Magic look to keep hot streak going against struggling TOR

The resurgent Magic, 33-44 and 24-14 at home, will try to increase their winning streak to 6 games against TOR, 26-52 and 12-27 on the road. TOR has lost 9 games in a row. Fortunately, the Magic won't have to worry about the injured Chris Bosh, who will sit out for the remainder of the season.

TOR is led by Mike James, who averages 20.1 ppg (43.9% 3 pt %). He has scored 32 or more pts in 4 consecutive games while shooting 54.2% during that time. Morris Peterson (16.4 ppg) and rookie Charlie Villanueva (12.7 ppg) are the only other Raptors in double figures. TOR averages 101.1 ppg and allows 103.6 ppg. The Magic average 94.7 ppg and allow 96 ppg. During their 9 game losing streak, TOR has allowed 112.6 ppg.

The Magic will try to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, and prevent a TOR sweep of the Magic this season. The way the Magic have been playing, they should have no problems, as they should easily top the 100 pt mark and shoot 50%+, going for their 11th home win in a row. The Magic are solid 9 1/2 pt favorites (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Stupid Magic Tricks

Just a few reminders that this franchise is always just a half-step away from screwing up a good thing.

1. Last night the coach sends Outlaw in the game first, instead of Darko, because he is concerned about Darko matching up against the Hawks. Magic lose the first quarter badly. Fortunately, Hill comes to his senses and it turns out it's the Hawks who can't match up to Darko while he's on the floor shooting 5-6.

2. Magic announce they will hire a GM before the draft. Huh? The article actually indicates they may hire someone from outside the franchise. Yeah, now that the franchise finally has a clear vision of the future let's hire someone new and change the freaking plan. The fools simply should have announced Otis Smith's promotion once he accepts the job. Lord knows he deserves it after the Detroit and New York heists.

3. Garrity back. Middle of playoff push with an athletic, ball moving, shot blocking, rebounding nine playing the most exciting Magic basketball in three years and Garrity is going to get minutes? Yikes. Does this mean, would Ariza leave the rotation? All Ariza did last night in 10 minutes is grab 5 boards and score 4 points.

4. Grant Hill: The papers are still writing things like: "even though the Magic have re-entered the Eastern Conference playoff race that Grant Hill won't play again this season." Why won't this franchise disabuse the local press of the notion that Grant Hill is part of the Magic's future? At this point he's old, injury prone and can't be anything more than a distraction to this teams winning ways. Turkoglu has been fantastic during the turnaround. The mere idea of taking his minutes away, let alone starting role at this point is disgusting.

Sheesh. I need to stop reading the papers. All they ever report on is bad news. I shouldn't have to be worrying about all this bad stuff in the middle of a 13-4 run that is the 3rd best record in the league over the last 17 games.

$10 Upper Bowl Tix for 76ers

Dr. Phillips Little League has received an offer from the Magic for $10 Upper Bowl tickets to the 76ers game this Saturday. Here is the order form.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Magic make it 5 in a row with win over ATL

After the Hawks pulled to within 5 pts midway through the fourth quarter, the Magic finished the game on a 22-10 spurt to cruise to a 105-88 victory. The Magic have now won 13 of 17 games, 9 out of 10 games, and 10 home games in a row.

A great team effort by the Magic with 6 players in double figures, led by DHoward with 20 pts and 16 rebs. Also contributing were JNelson (17 pts), HTurkoglu (16 pts), DStevenson (14 pts), Darko (13 pts), and KDooling (10 pts). CArroyo sat out due to the strained hamstring he suffered against MIA, but his teammates sure picked up the slack. Six players scored in double figures for ATL, led by Al Harrington (19 pts). Joe Johnson, who torched the Magic in two previous games this year, was held to just 12 pts.

Great stats for the Magic tonight. They outscored ATL from the field 88-70 on 52.6% FG shooting. ATL shot 43%. The Magic shot 17 of 24 from the FT line (70.8%). ATL shot 18 of 26 (69.2%). ATL C ZaZa Pachulia missed the game due to an achilles injury, and that really hurt them as they were outrebounded 46-39 by the Magic. The Magic had great ball movement with 27 assists, and only 12 TOs. ATL's assist-to-turnover ratio was just 10-11. The ATL bench outscored the Magic bench 48-31, but that was due to two of ATL's starters playing only 4 and 6 minutes.

The Magic started out slow, falling behind after one quarter, before waking up and then pulling away in the fourth. Good job by Coach Hill helping the team maintaining its focus of one game at a time and not suffering a letdown. The only bad news: PHI beat WAS, so the Magic remain 3 games behind PHI.

Playoff Horse Race

Playoff Race:

I consulted my Crystal Ball and looked at the Magic’s chances for making the playoffs. With only 6 games left there is a glimmer of hope.

7. Indiana 36-40 overall, Hm: 23-14, Aw: 13-26, L10: 2-8
Playoff Chances: High. Should be favored in all 6 remaining games regardless of 2-8 record in last 10 games.
Expected Finish: 41-41
New York W New York on 3 game win streak but 7-30 on road.
Boston W Boston playing out string with young guys 12-27 on road.
Minnesota W Minnesota 8-30 on road.
@Charlotte W No frontline left. 15-23 at home. Slight chance for an upset.
@Toronto W Bosch gone, team on 8 games losing streak.
Orlando L Deserve playoffs.

8. Chicago 35-41 overall, Hm: 18-20, Aw: 17-21, L10: 6-4
Playoff Chances: Luke Warm. Will be favored in 3 of remaining 6.
Expected Finish: 37-45
Expected Ending Conference Record: 27-25 (current: 24-22)
NJ L Top 6 NBA team on a roll.
@Atlanta W ATL 17-21 at home. Magic fans must hope for an upset in this game.
Washington L Wash 14-21 on the road. Playing well.
@Miami L Miami should win, might not care enough though.
@Orlando L Orlando simply better at this point.
Toronto W Toronto gave up two weeks ago.

9. Philadelphia 35-41 overall, Hm: 21-18, Aw: 14-23, L10: 4-6
Playoff Chances: Weak. Will be favored in 1 of 6 remaining.
Expected Finish: 36-46
Washington L Wash 14-21 on the road. Playing well
@Miami L
@Orlando L
@Charlotte W

10. Orlando 32-44 overall, Hm: 23-14, Aw: 9-30, L10: 8-2
Playoff Chances: Weak. Will be favored in 4 of 6 remaining
Predicted Finish: 37-45
Ending Record vs. Chicago: 2-2
Ending Conference Record: 26-26 (Current: 21-26)
Magic miss playoffs by tiebreaker with Chicago.
Atlanta W Every game is important starting here!
Toronto W FL Gators have more talent with Bosch out.
@San Antonio L Upset would be great! Dallas, Detroit, Miami…
Philadelphia W Must win.
Chicago W Must win
@ Indiana W Must win

Magic try to get closer in playoff chase vs ATL

The red-hot Magic (32-44, 23-14 home), coming off a huge win at MIA, face a struggling Hawks team (24-52, 7-31 road) coming off a 1 pt loss to MIN yesterday. It is absolutely imperative that the Magic avoid a letdown tonight.

Joe Johnson (20.4 ppg), Al Harrington (18.6 ppg), and ZaZa Pachulia (11.6 ppg 8 rebs) lead the Hawks. Josh Smith (10.8 ppg), Ty Lue (10.5 ppg), and Josh Childress (10 ppg) also average in double figures. ATL is averaging 96.9 ppg and allowing 101.7 ppg. The Magic average 94.6 ppg, and allow 96.1 ppg.

Two things point to a Magic win... they have dominated ATL in TDW, winning 11 of their last 12 meetings. Also, ATL has dropped 39 of 45 games this year when scoring fewer than 100 pts, and they have not won on the road since March 1st against TOR. Magic are looking for their 5th win in a row, 10th in a row at home, and 9 out of 10 overall. The Magic are solid 7 1/2 pt favorites to beat the Hawks (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Amazing Magic pull off upset in MIA

Thanks to the return to form of Jameer Nelson, and with 4 of the 5 starters scoring in double figures, the Magic continue their late season surge with a stunning 93-84 win over the Heat. The Magic had as much as a 20 pt 3rd quarter lead, and saw it get cut to 5 early in the 4th. However, the Magic were able to extend the lead from that point on.

Nelson scored 26 pts on 9 of 16 shooting. DHoward (16 pts 8 rebs), HTurkoglu (14 pts), and DStevenson (11 pts) all scored in double figures. KDooling (9 pts) and BOutlaw (4 pts 6 rebs 2 steals and a block) had good efforts off the bench. Only 3 Heat players scored in double figures: Dwyane Wade (27 pts but with 7 TOs), Shaq (16 pts 9 rebs), and Udonis Haslem (10 pts).

The Magic outscored the Heat 72-68 from the field on 51.5% shooting. MIA shot 50%. Surprisingly, the Magic had the edge from the FT line, shooting 21 of 30 (70%). The Heat shot just 16 of 23 (69.6%). The Heat decisively won the rebounding battle 37-25. However, the Heat had 20 costly TOs compared to just 12 for the Magic. Magic had just 13 assists, compared to 18 for the Heat. The Heat bench barely outscored the Magic bench 26-24.

The ORL defense was able to keep Shaq under control, 4 of the 5 starters played well for the Magic, the bench stepped in with nice performances (Outlaw and Dooling in particular), the defense played well (forcing 20 TOs) and the refs called a good game (25 MIA fouls, 22 ORL fouls). All those factors combined for a huge Magic win! The Magic streak is now at 8 out of 9, and 12 out of 16. The playoff dream is still alive, at just 3 games back. If the Magic beat ATL Mon night, WAS beats PHI, and NJ beats CHI Tues night, the Magic are only 2 games out!

To foul or not to foul... the actual numbers

I found a really informative article on the internet about what we all were debating about last week after the Magic/MIL game... if a team that's ahead by 3 late in the game should foul the opposing team to prevent that team from taking a three pt shot. Here's the link to type in:


The numbers and percentages in this article may surprise you.

Another article I found was written by two gentlemen who have a combined 80 years basketball coaching/teaching experience that explains their view on what they think should be done in that situation. Here's the link to type in for that:


When you get to that site, click on "Clock Management and Fouling", and scroll down to "End of Game Strategy".

Magic to try to pull upset against Shaq, DWade, Miami

The Heat come into the game tonight with a 50-26 record, 29-8 at home. The much-improved Magic are 31-44, 8-30 on the road. MIA is coming off a 99-86 victory at WAS Saturday night, and were led by Shaq with 27 pts and reserve Derek Anderson with 20 pts. DWade was in foul trouble and only scored 11 pts.

DWade leads the Heat, averaging 27.5 ppg on 49.7% shooting. He also averages 6.8 assists and 5.8 rebounds. Shaq is averaging 20.4 ppg on 59.8% shooting, along with 9.2 rebounds. Jason Williams (12.4 ppg) is resting his injured knee and will not play. Antoine Walker (11.8 ppg) is the only other Heat player to average in double figures. For the Magic, hopefully HTurkoglu will feel well enough to play, as he took a nasty tumble at the end of the DET game as the players were fighting for a rebound.

MIA averages 100.3 ppg and allows 96 ppg. The Magic average 94.6 ppg, while allowing 96.3. MIA is only 2-3 in its last 5 games, but have beaten the Magic 5 straight in MIA. The Magic have beaten DAL and DET in the last week; adding MIA to that list will be very tough, but it can be done. MIA is a 7 pt favorite (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Friday, April 07, 2006

Magic edge Pistons in thriller

Jameer Nelson, who was suffering through his second straight sub-par game, turned out to be the hero for the Magic. He hit two huge clutch shots in the final minute of the game, the first of which tied the game and the second with 6 seconds left that was the game-winner, as the Magic edged DET, who was playing without Rip Hamilton due to a death in his family, 89-87. The Magic held a 15 pt halftime lead, but DET made their run in the second half.

Four players scored in double figures for the Magic, led by HTurkoglu, who continues to play well, with 26 pts on 10 of 13 shooting. DHoward added 12 pts and 15 rebs, TBattie 11 pts, and CArroyo with 10. Darko added 8 pts and 4 rebs. Jameer finished with 8 pts. Three players scored in double figures for DET; CBillups (25 pts 12/12 FTs), Tony Delk (18 pts) but who missed the potential game-tying FTs with 3 seconds left, and Tayshaun Prince (15 pts).

The Magic outscored DET 73-66 from the field on 52.9% FG shooting. DET shot 45.6%. The Pistons shot 21 of 31 from the FT line (67.7%), while the Magic shot 16 of 21 (76.2%). Magic led in rebounds 39-30, but the Pistons had the better assist-to-turnover ratio of 14-9, compared to 15-15 for the Magic. The Pistons bench outscored the Magic bench 36-24.

Granted, the Pistons were without Hamilton, but still, a great win for the Magic. Nine home wins in a row, and 11 out of 15 overall.

NBA's best team, DET, to test Magic at TDW

The Pistons, coming off a big win Thursday night over MIA, come into Orlando tonight with a league-best 61-14 record (and a league-best 27-11 on the road). The Magic (30-44, 22-14 home) have won 6 of their last 7, 10 out of their last 14, and 8 home games in a row.

Richard Hamilton leads DET with 20.4 ppg. Chauncey Billups (19.0 ppg, 8.7 assists), Rasheed Wallace (15.6 ppg), and Tayshaun Prince (14.3 ppg) all average in double figures. Big Ben Wallace averages 11.6 rebs and 2.2 blocks. The Pistons average 97.1 ppg, while giving up 89.9 ppg. The Magic average 94.7 ppg, whie allowing 96.4 ppg.

DET holds a 3 game lead with 7 games left over SA for the league's best record and home-court advantage through the playoffs. They might be due for a letdown tonight after the big win against MIA last night; and the Magic are certainly capable of winning this game. However, don't expect the Magic to score over 100 pts or shoot 50+% against a great defense like DET. Also, DET has beaten the Magic 10 of the last 12 meetings. No line out for the game yet (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Jameer labelled best PG in 2004 Draft

NBADraft.net | Five Rights and Wrongs of the 2005-2006 NBA Season: "Five Rights:

Jameer Nelson

1) Jameer Nelson is proving to be the best point guard out of the 2004 Draft

The night of the 2004 NBA draft was an embarrassing time for player of the year Jameer Nelson. After a stellar four year career at Saint Joseph's, scouts relied too much on negative information about Nelson that proved to be wrong. First, they said the A-10 was weak (they had 2 teams in the Elite 8 in 2004). Second, they said he didn't play against anyone (SJU had the highest RPI in 2004). All of this led Nelson to fall to the 20th pick in the draft, as Devin Harris, along with two high-school point guards, Shaun Livingston and Sebastian Telfair, were taken ahead of him. Harris has been solid but unspectacular. Livingston has the size and skill, but is so physically weak that he can't be relied on. Sebastian Telfair's best weapons are the ones he conceals on the team plane. It certainly isn't his 37% field goal percentage.

Nelson, on the other hand, has been a bright spot on a rebuilding Magic team that will make a play-off push next year. He proved himself earlier in the year during Steve Francis' team troubles and injuries, effectively running the point, scoring and playing good defense. The result; the Magic traded Francis and gave the job to Nelson. Jameer is averaging 15ppg and 5 assists in only 28 minutes per game. That number will certainly go up. Also, Nelson is shooting a spectacular 49% from the field and 42% from beyond the arc. He is a smart, physically strong player that will undoubtedly be one of the top point guards in the game for years to come."

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Magic blow big lead but hang on for win vs Bucks

Thanks to yet more hot shooting, the Magic built a 20 pt lead in the third quarter against MIL, saw the Bucks come back to take a one point lead with under a minute left in the fourth, but re-took the lead and won 108-105, despite a career night from Bucks guard TJ Ford.

Ford scored a career high 34 pts along with 11 pts, and the Magic had no answer for his speed and quickness attacking the basket. Michael Redd added 25 pts. Bobby Simmons and Charlie Bell added 11. HTurkoglu led the Magic with 24 pts, and DHoward added 19 pts and 17 rebs. Three players off the bench scored in double figures, led by CArroyo with 17 pts. KDooling scored 14, and Darko added 10 pts. The Magic were able to overcome JNelson's worst game ever since he became starter. He scored just 2 pts with 4 TOs and fouled out in just 16 minutes. Arroyo stepped in and did the job instead.

Despite MIL hitting 11 of 24 shots from 3 pt range, the Magic outscored MIL from the field 87-81. The Magic shot 55.3%, (42 of 76), while MIL shot 44.9% (35 of 78). The Bucks outscored the Magic from the FT line 24-21, as MIL shot 80% from the line compared to 77.8% by the Magic. The Magic controlled the boards 43-33, but were sloppy with the ball with 18 TOs, compared to 15 by MIL. Both teams had 19 assists. The Magic bench was huge, outscoring the MIL bench 49-24.

Despite blowing the big lead, not taking good care of the ball, and being totally dominated by TJ Ford, the Magic still had enough poise to re-take the lead and hang on for their eighth home win in a row and 10 out of 14 overall. DET is next Friday.

Florida Today: Howard's Summer

The rub: Rising star Dwight Howard aspires to be like Minnesota power forward Kevin Garnett, who is provided the freedom to post up or roam the perimeter as a means of finding open shots.

Meanwhile, the Magic would prefer Howard to be more like San Antonio's Tim Duncan, a back-to-the-basket force who pounds foes down low and occasionally drops in the mid-range jump shot.

After 4 days off, Magic back in action against Bucks

The surging Magic (29-44, 21-14 home), winners of 9 of their last 13 games, 5 of their last 6, and 7 home games in a row, take on MIL (37-37, 14-23 road) tonight at TDW.

In the Magic's last 5 wins, they are averaging 105.2 ppg while shooting a torrid 54.1% from the field while holding opponents to just 93.2 ppg. JNelson has averaged 19.6 ppg in the 5 wins.

MIL is coming off a big loss to MIA Tuesday, losing 115-89. Star G Michael Redd (25 ppg, 40% 3 pt FG%) leads the Bucks. Bobby Simmons (13.5 ppg), Mo Williams (13.2 ppg), and TJ Ford (11.2 ppg) all average in double figures, while Jamaal Magliore averages 9.6 pts and 9.6 rebs. Number one draft pick Andrew Bogut is averaging 8.9 ppg and 7.1 rebs. One player that the Magic better not overlook is G Charlie Bell, who scored a career-high 29 pts against the Heat, and is averaging 16 ppg in his last 9 games, nearly double his season average of 8.3 ppg.

The Bucks set an all-time NBA record last week in a game against IND, committing only 2 TOs the whole game. They are currently in 6th place in the East and have not clinched a playoff berth, so this is a big game for them. Coach Hill better have his team ready after 4 days off, as they must be anxious to get back on the floor and continue their impressive play. Magic are 3 pt favorites (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Another view

I am no fan of Peter Vecsey's writing. But he actually had some kind words to say about our beloved Magic, as surprising as it may seem...

April 2, 2006 -- Orlando future bright with Darko
I'D LIKE to take this opportunity to thank the Mavericks for taking the suspense out of the NBA's last remaining division competition.
Losers of three straight and five of seven, Friday night's 108-99 collapse at Orlando was especially hideous because it wasted Dirk Nowitzki's 38 points and 15 rebounds.
The Magic, meanwhile, are infinitely better than their 29-44 record suggests. Since distancing themselves from Steve Francis, acquiring Darko Milicic, Carlos Arroyo and Trevor Ariza, committing to Jameer Nelson and G'ing up Tony Battie for $22 million over the next four years, Orlando has become what's known outside of New York as a "team." Let's hear some appreciation for Magic management. Co-GMs Otis Smith and Dave Twardzik, with plenty of input, no doubt, from coach Brian Hill, are re-building the rational way.
Half past their first year in charge, they dumped swollen salaries/egos, established Dwight Howard as the rightful franchise player upon Francis' extradition and took a relatively irrelevant financial gamble by agreeing to assume Arroyo's two-year, $8 million contract as the tax for attaining a luxury item such as Milicic.
Describing Milicic as a luxury item? Only those who haven't closely checked out how the lefty 7-foot, 21-year-old (come June 20) is doing in Orlando think I'm goofing on him. From where I'm scoping, he's an adept shooter, a clever-touch distributor, a skilled rebounder, an adroit outlet passer and a fertile shot blocker. Look, Ma, Darko's fundamentally flawless.
Furthermore, Milicic does something you rarely see anymore: he sets a pick and holds it. What that does, aside from freeing up his teammate, is make him a dangerous receiver the very next time they run the screen-and-roll. Because now Darko's man believes he's going to hold it. Instead, he rolls to the hoop for an open layup and has the hands to catch the pass
Finally, deep into his third season, I almost grasp what Pistons president Joe Dumars was thinking when he elected to take Milicic No. 2 behind LeBron James, instead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh or Dwyane Wade.
"The day we traded Darko I told our media, given the daylight he's bound to get in Orlando, he'll put up 18 points, ten rebounds and four blocks from time to time," said Dumars, whose Hall of Fame selection will be announced tomorrow. So far in 20 games, Darko is averaging 7.9 (55 FG%), 4.7 and 2.4 in 21.4 minutes.
"He has that kind of talent. He just never got the chance to show it here because we had three All-Stars ahead of him, all in their prime. I'm aware what Darko's capabilities are, but over the course of time he became increasingly depressed. He couldn't take sitting anymore. "... Our media thinks I was blowing smoke, but I knew he was going to fulfill his promise once he cold relax and stop looking over his shoulder when he got in the game."
Orlando's Darko Deal, it says here, will go down in NBA history as one of th league's all-time player-jackings. Even if I'm rowdy wrong, even if Milicic should mysteriously suffer a relapse and turn into another Nikoloz Tskitishvili (No. 5 overall pick in '02 by Denver), his procurement still was meticulously worth the Magic's monetary investment; that's all they really gave. Unlike Isiah Thomas, who misused Penny Hardaway's supposedly precious $15.75 million expiring contract on three more years ($48.5 million) of Francis ("You mean to tell me he couldn't even get Larry Brown a role player he liked for that asset?" wrote LA Times columnist Mark Heisler), the Magic took a low-rent risk on Milicic.
In exchange for Kelvin Cato's virtually vanished $8.6 million salary, the Magic accepted Arroyo's two-year, $4 million-per obligation and Milicic's one year at $5.1 million. If the coaching staff falls out of love with Darko next season, his departure won't leave the franchise capsized a la New York. If he turns out to be a certified center, well, this is how championship contenders are constructed.