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, November 30, 2007

All-Star Voting

In case you missed it there is a widget to vote for NBA all-stars in the right hand column.

Vote every day, vote often.

You can just vote for the Magic 4 if that's all you want to do.

Howard MUST start over fat Shaq.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

USATODAY Says Howard's the Man

Magic's Howard, not Shaq, is NBA's leading big man - USATODAY.com

I've been grumpy for years about Orlando not getting any love from the national press, the ref's or just about anyone else. But that has changed these first five weeks of the season. The Magic are getting recognition for being really good (various ESN rankings have them listed anywhere from 2nd to 4th best team in the league), SVG is getting good press, and Howard is now being talked about as either the best big man in the game, or getting ready to pass Yao as such. Yesterday's talk on ESPN was (in order) LeBron, Howard, then KG for early season MVP honors.

Pretty damn cool. 14-3, 9-1 on the road. Howard ended last night at 23.5 / 14.5 / 2.7 bpg

Enjoy the article if you haven't read it yet.

Career night by Howard, late Magic surge helps top SEA

The Magic (14-3, 9-1 road) reverted back to a familiar pattern of having a comfortable second half lead, only to see the other team frantically come back, but then putting the other team away in the final minutes. Against SEA (2-14), the Magic had a 15 pt lead after three qtrs, only to see SEA cut the lead to 1 pt with around five minutes remaining. The Magic then went on a 3 pt shooting tear, scoring 17 of the last 19 pts, to win easily 110-94.

DHoward scored a career-high 39 pts (12 of 17 FGs, 15 of 20 FTs) along with 16 rebs and 5 blocks. HTurkoglu scored 15 pts (4 of 11 FGs); KBogans 14 pts (4 of 10 FGs). RLewis, making his return to SEA, had a horrible shooting game, going just 3 of 19 for 9 pts, but he did grab 10 rebs to go with 2 steals. JRedick took advantage of rare playing time, as KDooling was unavailable for the second straight game, and led the bench with 11 pts (4 of 5 FGs). Also off the bench, CArroyo scored 2 pts, but with an eye-popping 14 asts to just 1 TO.

SEA rookie Kevin Durant led with 22 pts, but shot just 6 of 21 FGs.

The statistical breakdown:

FG... ORL 36 of 83 (43.4%) SEA 34 of 96 (35.4%) ORL 82, SEA 73
3 PT FG... ORL 10 of 30 (33.3%) SEA 5 of 18 (27.8%)
FTs... ORL 28 of 37 (75.7%) SEA 21 of 26 (80.8%)
REBS... ORL 55 SEA 48
AST/TO... ORL 26/15 SEA 18/11
BENCH... SEA 36 ORL 27

Magic lead the NBA in games played and wins, and trail only BOS in winning pct. After a day off, Magic face their toughest test on this road trip at PHO, though the Suns have lost two in a row.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Magic/Sonics preview

The Magic (13-3, 8-1 road), who have the best road record in the league, take on SEA (2-13, 0-6 home) tonight, who have the worst home record in the league. SEA is coming off a 106-99 loss to the Lakers TUE night. Kevin Durant led SEA with 25 pts. This is the Magic's second game of a five game west coast swing, having beaten POR 85-74 MON.

The probable SEA starting lineup:

G... Delonte West (8.1 ppg)
G... Kevin Durant (19.3 ppg)
F... Damien Wilkins (14.7 ppg)
F... Chris Wilcox (15.9 ppg, 7.4 rebs)
C... Kurt Thomas (5.3 ppg, 8.2 rebs)

Top reserves: Wally Szczerbiak (10.1 ppg); Jeff Green (9.6 ppg); Nick Collison (8.1 ppg); Earl Watson (7.2 ppg)

SEA is averaging 99.6 ppg, while allowing 108.4 ppg. The Magic are averaging 102.9 ppg, while allowing 95.8.

The could be the Magic's final visit to SEA for a long time, if SEA proceeds with plans to move to Oklahoma City next season. Magic have beaten SEA four straight times, and are 8 pt favorites tonight (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Everything is Magical lately

Rosen drops petition drive; city OKs millions in bonds to help pay for arena

8-1 on the road. 13-3 overall.

One of the best 4 teams in the league right now. Playing every game like they know what they're doing.

That's how you get the shiny new building:
Hotelier Harris Rosen has given up his battle against a new Orlando Magic arena, even as the city approved $340 million in financing for the project Monday. The International Drive hotel magnate couldn't find many people willing to sign his petition to stop the construction of the arena and upgrades to the Citrus Bowl, said Steve Braun, a Rosen employee who was leading the petition drive. With time running out and only a fraction of the 30,000 signatures collected, the venues' most vocal critic decided to throw in the towel.

'I met with him, and he said, 'If the people in Orlando want it and they feel they have made an educated decision, so be it.' He was backing down,' said Braun, adding that there are no plans for a legal challenge, either.

Magic win low-scoring affair over POR

The Magic (13-3, 8-1 road), despite having only two players in double figures, were able to outscore POR (5-9) by ten pts in the fourth qtr and began their five game west coast swing with a 85-74 victory.

The Magic were led by HTurkoglu with 21 pts (9 of 17 FGs) and RLewis with 20 pts (6 of 15 FGs), 6 rebs. DHoward had his worst scoring game of the season with 9 pts (4 of 10 FG), but grabbed 14 rebs with 3 blocks. Three players scored 8 pts: JNelson (4 of 8 FGs) with 6 asts; KBogans (3 of 9 FGs); and AFoyle off the bench (3 of 9 FGs) with 10 rebs. MEvans, subbing in place of Keyon Dooling, who was unavailable, scored 7 pts (2 of 6 FGs). LaMarcus Aldridge scored 16 pts to lead POR.

The statistical breakdown:

FG... ORL 33 of 80 (41.2%) POR 32 of 81 (39.5%) ORL 73 POR 67
3 PT FGs... ORL 7 of 27 (25.9%) POR 3 of 15 (20%)
FTs... ORL 12 of 17 (70.6%) POR 7 of 13 (53.8%)
REBS... ORL 49 POR 39
AST/TO... ORL 19/14 POR 18/12
BENCH... POR 23 ORL 19

Magic started out slow in this game, scoring just 17 1st qtr pts and trailing by 10, but were able to come back and tie by the half and pulled away in the 4th. The Magic became the first NBA team with 13 wins, and have a day off before their next game WED at SEA.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Magic Coverage around the U.S.

MySA.com: San Antonio:
"It is Orlando that plays the insideout game that has produced four titles for the Spurs since the 1998-99 season. That is because the Magic has the Tim Duncan of the East. Dwight Howard, still 21, has neither the fundamentals nor the finesse that defines Duncan's game, but when Duncan was Howard's age he was still in his senior season at Wake Forest.

Imagine Howard at 25, with Nelson having improved his perimeter shot the way Tony Parker has over the past three seasons, and it is not hard to envision spending a lot of time at NBA Finals in central Florida."
Milwaukee: Fast Start provides hope:
"The point guard is one of the keys for them, I think, right now. Jameer (Nelson) is playing great. They've got the other end of the spectrum in Dwight Howard and they've got a lot of pieces in between. So it's a pretty good formula."
New York Daily News

They waged the battle of Florida Saturday night, which never used to be much of a battle, and would never be mistaken for a blood feud.

But now it's as bitter a rivalry as we have in the NBA, because of the coaches. Saturday night was the first time that Pat Riley faced new Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy since driving Van Gundy off the Miami Heat's bench and taking over the Heat two seasons ago.

When the Heat went on to win the title in 2006, Riley offered his long-time, right-hand man a championship ring. Technically, Van Gundy was still a consultant as he was in exile, and Riley insisted throughout the Heat's playoff run that his former right-hand man was an integral part of the staff, always deeply involved in strategy sessions via e-mail.

But Van Gundy refused to take the championship jewelry, which tells you all you need to know about whether he really resigned, as the company line went, or whether he was forced by Riley to leave. So last night marked the start of an intense rivalry.

"Stan could come out and say that Riley got rid of him, but he keeps everything on the positive," said a Magic insider. "Stan wants to beat him, of course, and now he has the great, young superstar in Dwight Howard to make Riley pay. But he'll never say what really happened."

Not for publication, anyway, and not that it really matters, three seasons later. Let's just say that Van Gundy likes where he sits these days. While Riley has his hands full trying to coax Shaquille O'Neal into giving him productive minutes and dealing with characters such as Ricky Davis, Van Gundy has the luxury of going into battles with Howard, who outplayed Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan during a four-day span last week, as the Magic sent the Celtics to their first defeat of the season, 104-102, and then lost to the Spurs, 128-110.

Looking at the two rosters and where each team is headed, Riley probably wishes he could force Van Gundy out of this job, too.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Magic continue dominance over Heat in 21 pt win

The Magic (11-3) were only ahead by 1 pt over the Heat (3-9) halfway through the second qtr, but then gradually increased their lead the rest of the way, withstood 32 pts by Dwyane Wade, and cruised to a 120-99 win.

Five players scored in double figures for the Magic: HTurkoglu 27 pts (9 of 16 FGs); RLewis 19 pts (7 of 18 FGs); DHoward 17 pts (6 of 7 FGs); KDooling off the bench with 17 pts (8 of 8 FTs); and JNelson 12 pts (5 of 8 FGs), 7 rebs, 7 asts. Newcomers Brian Cook (4 pts) and Maurice Evans (6 pts) combined for 10 pts. Shaquille O'Neal added 20 pts and Ricky Davis 23 for MIA.

The statistical breakdown:

FG... ORL 42 of 75 (56%) MIA 37 of 79 (46.8%) ORL 92 MIA 79
3 PT FG... ORL 8 of 22 (36.4%) MIA 5 of 19 (26.3%)
FT... ORL 28 of 39 (71.8%) MIA 20 of 25 (80%)
REB... ORL 37 MIA 37
AST/TO... ORL 24/11 MIA 21/13
BENCH... ORL 36 MIA 13

With the season a little less than a month old, the Magic are now a stunning 8 games ahead of the Heat in the standings. After a day off, the Magic are off on yet another road trip, this time on a 5 game, 8 day trip through the West that begins MON night at POR.

Shaq, Penny, return to ORL tonight with Heat

The Magic (11-3, 2-4 home) take on struggling MIA (3-9, 2-4 road) tonight, as both teams are coming off wins FRI night; the Heat with their most impressive win of the season 98-91 over HOU, as Dwyane Wade scored 31 pts and Shaquille O'Neal added 26 pts, 14 rebs.

The probable starting lineup for MIA:

G... Jason Williams (8.6 ppg, 5.7 asts)
G... Dwyane Wade (21.2 ppg, 6 asts)
C... Shaquille O'Neal (16.3 ppg, 7.7 rebs)
F... Ricky Davis (14.8 ppg)
F... Udonis Haslem (12.6 ppg, 9.5 rebs)

Top reserves: Alonzo Mourning (5.7 ppg); Penny Hardaway (4.8 ppg); Smush Parker (4.5 ppg); Mark Blount (3.9 ppg)

Last season, the Magic defeated the Heat in all four games, holding the Heat to an average of just 80 ppg; however, the Heat was without O'Neal and Wade in three of those four games. The Heat are playing better with Wade back, and Shaq has improved his game also. Stan Van Gundy will be coaching his first game against his old team. Magic are 7 pt favorites.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Howard's big game leads Magic over CHA

Led by DHoward's 34 pts (11 of 14 FGs), 17 rebs, 4 blocks, and 3 steals, the Magic (11-3) widened their SE division lead with a 105-92 win over CHA (6-6), in a game the Magic led throughout.

Six Magic players finished in double figures, including all 5 starters. In addition to Howard, HTurkoglu scored 16 pts (6 of 17 FGs), 7 rebs, 6 asts; JNelson 14 pts (6 of 11 FGs), 3 asts; RLewis 12 pts (4 of 12 FGs), 6 rebs; and KBogans 11 pts (4 of 10 FGs). KDooling played well off the bench with 14 pts (6 of 8 FGs). Brian Cook made his Magic debut, playing 8 mins and making a 3 pt FG finishing with 3 pts. CHA also had six players in double figures, led by reserve Walter Hermann with 16 pts. Emeka Okafor added 12 pts, 18 rebs.

The statistical breakdown:

FG... ORL 38 of 80 (47.5%) CHA 37 of 90 (41.1%) ORL 83 CHA 79
3 PT FG... ORL 7 of 28 (25%) CHA 5 of 21 (23.8%)
FT... ORL 22 of 39 (56.4%) CHA 13 of 20 (65%)
REB... ORL 52 CHA 50
AST/TO... ORL 20/12 CHA 18/9
BENCH... CHA 50 ORL 18

Not a pretty game for the Magic statistically. If you subtract Howard's stats, the Magic shot just 27 of 66 FGs (40.9%), including just 7 of 28 3 PT FGs. However, the Magic got a break when CHA's Gerald Wallace had to leave the game after the first qtr with a calf strain; and the Bobcats had no answer for Howard, who continues to show why he is becoming one of the top players in the NBA. Magic go right back at it SAT night, hosting the rival Heat.

Bobcats/Magic preview

After a tough loss at SA WED night, the Magic (10-3, 3-2 home) go back at it tonight at home against CHA (6-5, 1-2 road). CHA is coming off a 114-111 OT loss WED night at home to WAS. G Raymond Felton led CHA with 27 pts, 12 asts.

The probable starting lineup for CHA:

G... Raymond Felton (17.6 ppg, 7.8 asts)
G... Jason Richardson (17.1 ppg, 5.5 rebs)
C... Primoz Brezec (1.6 ppg)
F... Emeka Okafor (13.1 ppg, 12.5 rebs)
F... Gerald Wallace (20 ppg, 5.2 rebs)

Top reserves: Matt Carroll (9.8 ppg); Jeff McInniss (4.1 ppg); Jared Dudley (3.6 ppg); Ryan Hollins (3.3 ppg).

Two key players for the Bobcats are out for the season with major injuries... Adam Morrison and Sean May. Wallace has bruised ribs, but will probably play tonight.

CHA is averaging 93.5 ppg, while allowing 95.5 ppg. The Magic are averaging 102.8 ppg, which is second in the East, while allowing 97.5 ppg.

The Magic are 9 1/2 pt favorites (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Spurs pull away in fourth to end Magic road streak at seven

The Magic (10-3) were more than competitive for the first three qtrs against SA, as the Magic held a 5 pt halftime advantage and trailed by just 3 entering the fourth. However, the Spurs (10-2) upped their game to another level in the final stanza, as they shot 67%, including a perfect 5 of 5 from 3 pt range in that final qtr, to pull away from the Magic 128-110 to give the Magic their first road loss of the year. SA committed a franchise-low 3 TOs.

The Magic had another monster game from DHoward, and all 5 starters scored in double figures. Howard scored 34 pts (14 of 19 FGs), 16 rebs; HTurkoglu 26 pts (9 of 18 FGs); JNelson 15 pts (6 of 11 FGs), 9 asts; and RLewis (5 of 10 FGs) and KBogans (4 of 7 FGs) 12 apiece. CArroyo led the bench (newcomers Brian Cook and Maurice Evans were unavailable) with 7 pts. SA had 5 players in double figures, led by Tony Parker (14 of 22 FGs) with 32 pts, 9 asts, and Tim Duncan 20 pts, 16 rebs. Manu Ginobili led a strong bench effort with 27 pts (8 of 17 FGs).

The statistical breakdown:

FG... SA 48 of 93 (51.6%) ORL 42 of 75 (56%) SA 109 ORL 94
3 PT FG... SA 13 of 24 (54.2%) ORL 10 of 20 (50%)
FT... SA 19 of 24 (79.2%) ORL 16 of 24 (66.7%)
REB... SA 40 ORL 37
AST/TO... SA 30/3 ORL 20/11
BENCH... SA 51 ORL 11

Magic have nothing to be ashamed of, as the Spurs played at another level this game and proved why they are the world champs. The Magic go back at it FRI night at home against CHA

After big trade, Magic take on World Champs

One day after obtaining Brian Cook and Maurice Evans from the Lakers for Trevor Ariza, the Magic (10-2), who are 7-0 on the road, will take on the Spurs (9-2), who are 6-0 at home. SA is coming off a 95-83 win in ATL TUE night with Tony Parker scoring 31 pts and adding 9 asts.

The probable starting lineup for the Spurs:

G... Tony Parker (19.3 ppg, 6.2 asts)
G... Michael Finley (8.4 ppg)
C... Fabricio Oberto (4.9 ppg)
F... Tim Duncan (17.2 ppg, 9.3 rebs)
F... Bruce Bowen (5.1 ppg)

Top reserves... Manu Ginobili (19.9 ppg, 5 rebs); Matt Bonner (6.2 ppg); Brent Barry (5.5 ppg); Francisco Elson (4.8 ppg)

ORL is averaging 102.2 ppg, while allowing 95 ppg; SA is averaging 97.2 ppg while allowing 89.3 ppg.

The Magic have tied for their best start after 12 games, going 10-2 for the first time since the 1995-96 season. They are trying to become the first team to win their first eight road games since the 1996-97 Houston Rockets. The Magic have split their last 6 games against SA, with Dwight Howard averaging 14.5 ppg and 10 rebs in those games; Duncan has averaged 24.7 ppg and 12.2 rebs against Howard in those games. The Magic last won in SA 2 seasons ago.

SA is a 5 1/2 pt favorite (www.pinnnaclesports.com)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Magic Acquire Brian Cook and Maurice Evans From L.A. Lakers

Orlando, FL – The Orlando Magic have acquired forward Brian Cook and guard Maurice Evans from the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for forward Trevor Ariza, General Manager Otis Smith announced today. In addition, the Magic have waived forward Bo Outlaw. “Brian (Cook) helps bolster our frontcourt,” said Smith. “He is a power forward who shoots the ball extremely well, while also bringing added toughness to our roster. Maurice (Evans) is a tremendous athlete, a solid defender and capable of playing multiple positions. Both Brian and Maurice fit in very well with what we are trying to accomplish.” Smith also added: “Trevor (Ariza) is a great talent and we certainly wish him well. We also thank Bo (Outlaw) for everything he has done for our organization as a player.” Cook (6’9”, 250, 12/4/80, Illinois, 4 years) has played in six games (two starts) this season with the L.A. Lakers, averaging 2.3 ppg. and 1.7 rpg. in 11.7 minpg. Evans (6’5”, 220, 11/8/78, Texas, 4 years) has appeared in seven games this season with the Lakers, averaging 4.4 ppg., 1.7 apg. and 1.3 rpg. in 13.7 minpg. Cook has played in 259 career NBA regular season games, all with the Lakers, averaging 6.6 ppg. and 3.2 rpg. in 16.0 minpg. He has shot .392 (162-413) from three-point range. Cook has also appeared in 25 postseason contests, averaging 3.0 ppg. and 1.6 rpg. in 7.0 minpg. Originally selected in the first round (24th overall) of the 2003 NBA Draft by the Lakers, Cook netted a career-high 28 points on Feb. 7, 2006 @ Dallas and pulled down a career-best 14 rebounds on Mar. 4, 2007 @ Phoenix. Evans has appeared in 238 career NBA regular season games with Minnesota, Sacramento, Detroit and the Lakers, averaging 6.3 ppg. and 2.5 rpg. in 17.8 minpg. He has also played in 24 playoff outings, averaging 4.0 ppg. and 1.2 rpg. in 10.0 minpg. Evans originally signed as a free agent with Minnesota on July 23, 2001, after he was not selected during the 2001 NBA Draft. He poured in a career-high 26 points on Feb. 25, 2007 @ Golden State and recorded a career-best 14 rebounds on Mar. 8, 2005 vs. Memphis. Ariza has played in 11 games this season with the Magic, averaging 3.3 ppg. and 2.2 rpg. in 10.5 minpg. Outlaw has played in two games with Orlando this season, averaging 2.0 ppg. in 3.5 minpg.

Magic Thanksgiving

ESPN.com - NBA - 2007-2008 Hollinger Power Rankings

It might not last, then again Dwight Howard may make it last for another 6 to 8 years. It's at least worth taking the time to savor as we prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Your Orlando Magic are the second best ranked team in the NBA by John Hollinger after last nights win over New Orleans. According to Hollinger the only statistically better team at the moment is Boston who lost on Sunday to the Magic.

The Magic are first in the Southeast Division.

They are 0.5 games better than Boston for first place in the conference.

They are 7-0 on the road.

The last time they were 10-2 they were a playoff team.

They are finishing games and winning where they used to give up and lose.

Stan Van Gundy would win coach of the year if the vote were today.

Dwight Howard was the Eastern Player of the Week last week.

Dwight Howard is now getting press about being a candidate for league MVP.

They are currently on a 68 win pace.

Yes, it will all quiet down sometime soon. And it's way to early to get excited. But we can still be thankful for a wonderful start to a long NBA season.

Go Magic!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Magic make it 5 in a row with win over NO

Just like the previous night against the Celtics, the Magic (10-2) jumped out to a big first qtr lead, only to see NO cut into the lead and eventually take a 5 pt lead in the 4th qtr; however, the Magic were able to come back, despite 20 TOs, and made the clutch shots in the end for a 95-88 win, snapping the Hornets' 5 game winning streak.

Four of the five Magic starters scored in double figures, led by DHoward with 24 pts (10 of 14 FGs) and 15 rebs; RLewis 19 pts (7 of 12 FGs, 5 of 9 3 pt FGs), 7 rebs; JNelson 16 pts (7 of 15 FGs), 5 rebs, 5 asts; and HTurkoglu 15 pts (4 of 13 FGs), 7 rebs. KDooling came off the bench for 15 pts (4 of 8 FGs). Peja Stojakovic led 5 NO players in double figures with 21 pts. NO center Tyson Chandler had to leave the game in the 2nd qtr with a knee injury and could not return.

The statistical breakdown:

FG... ORL 34 of 72 (47.2%) NO 36 of 83 (43.4%) ORL 76 NO 76
3 PT FG... ORL 8 of 30 (26.7%) NO 4 of 17 (23.5%)
FT... ORL 19 of 23 (82.6%) NO 12 of 16 (75%)
REB... ORL 43 NO 36
AST/TO... ORL 19/20 NO 19/14
BENCH... NO 20 ORL 17

Magic now have the most wins in the NBA, and will look to extend that with yet another tough game WED night at defending world champ SA.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Magic barely hang on to give BOS first loss

The Magic started off quickly against BOS, and held a 58-41 halftime lead. After the Magic increased their lead to 20 early in the third qtr, the Celtics (8-1) began a furious comeback that ended with Paul Pierce's missed shot in the final seconds that allowed the Magic (9-2) to escape with a narrow 104-102 victory.

The "Big Three" of BOS combined for 61 pts: Pierce 28 pts (10 of 17 FGs); Ray Allen 19 pts (7 of 17 FGs); and Kevin Garnett 14 pts (7 of 13 FGs), 11 rebs before fouling out late in the game. Rajon Rondo contributed 18 pts (8 of 9 FGs). The Magic's "Big Three" held their own with 62 combined pts: DHoward 24 pts (7 of 9 FGs, 10 of 20 FTs), 6 rebs; RLewis 22 pts (6 of 11 FGs); and HTurkoglu 16 pts (7 of 13 FGs), 6 rebs. JNelson added 18 pts (6 of 15 FGs), 6 asts and KBogans (4 of 10 FGs) 10 pts. CArroyo led the bench with 5 pts.

The statistical breakdown:

FG... BOS 40 of 75 (53.3%) ORL 33 of 65 (50.8%) BOS 84 ORL 73
3 PT FG... ORL 7 of 25 (28%) BOS 4 of 16 (25%)
FT... ORL 31 of 44 (70.5%) BOS 18 of 26 (69.2%)
REB... BOS 41 ORL 28
AST/TO... BOS 17/19 ORL 14/14
BENCH... BOS 18 ORL 14

The Magic, despite being outshot and outrebounded by BOS, finally proved they could beat a quality team at home after big losses to DET and PHO. Magic have an extremely difficult 2 game road trip starting MON at NO and WED at SA.

Can the Magic be the first team to defeat BOS?

The Magic (8-2), coming off a 25 pt win FRI at NJ, face another strong test at home SUN evening, this time against the unbeaten Celtics (8-0). BOS is coming off a very close 92-91 win at home against MIA, where the Celtics blew a 15 pt 4th quarter lead but barely managed to hang on. Kevin Garnett led BOS with 26 pts, 11 rebs.

The probable BOS starting lineup:

G... Rajon Rondo (9.4 ppg, 5 asts)
G... Ray Allen (20.4 ppg)
C... Kendrick Perkins (6.9 ppg, 5 rebs)
F... Paul Pierce (22.0 ppg)
F... Kevin Garnett (21.6 ppg, 13.6 rebs)

Top reserves... Eddie House (8.7 ppg); James Posey (7.2 ppg); Brian Scalabrine (3.3 ppg); Tony Allen (3.2 ppg)

Let's compare some statistics for both teams, since this is a key early season matchup:

Pts for.......... ORL 102.7 BOS 102.8
Pts against... ORL 95.0 BOS 87.6
FG%............. ORL 45.4% BOS 50%
3 PT FG%..... ORL 38.8% BOS 39.4%
FT%............. ORL 73.6% BOS 76.2%
Rebounds.... ORL 44.5 BOS 42.2
Assists........ ORL 22.1 BOS 24.6
Turnovers... ORL 14.8 BOS 16.9
Steals.......... ORL 5.6 BOS 10.8
Blocks......... ORL 4.3 BOS 4.6

BOS has a decided advantage in fewer pts against, FG%, FT%, asts, and steals. ORL has an advantage in rebs and fewer TOs; while the two teams are nearly even in the other three areas.

The Celtics have played only 3 road games so far and 5 home games, while the Magic have played 6 road games and 4 home games.

The Magic have beaten BOS 4 games in a row at home and have not lost to BOS at home since NOV of 2004, and will try to keep that string going tonight and hand BOS their first loss of the season.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Magic keep road record perfect with easy win over cold-shooting NJ

The Magic (8-2) held a 69-60 lead early in the 4th qtr over NJ (4-5), then quickly blew open the game, and cruised to their largest win of the year 95-70, as the Nets (29.8% FGs) continue to struggle without injured Vince Carter. This was the Magic's first win in NJ since APR 2005.

Four Magic players scored in double figures, led by RLewis with 27 pts (9 of 16 FGs); DHoward 21 pts (8 of 13 FGs), 19 rebs; JNelson 15 pts (3 of 4 3 pt FGs), 7 asts; HTurkoglu 12 pts (8 of 8 FTs) 7 rebs. PGarrity and TAriza led the bench with 4 pts apiece. JKidd managed another triple-double with 11 pts, 19 rebs, 10 asts. Richard Jefferson led NJ with 15 pts.

The statistical breakdown:

FG... ORL 34 of 83 (41.0%) NJ 25 of 84 (29.8%) ORL 75 NJ 52
3 PT FG... ORL 7 of 22 (31.8%) NJ 2 of 11 (18.2%)
FT... ORL 20 of 25 (80%) NJ 18 of 26 (69.2%)
REB... NJ 51 ORL 49
AST/TO... ORL 20/14 NJ 21/22
BENCH... NJ 17 ORL 14

Another milestone for DHoward... he grabbed his 3000th career rebound during the game, becoming the youngest player ever to have 3000 rebs. Magic have a day off before the undefeated Celtics come to ORL SUN evening.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Rest of the Month

Orlando Magic Schedule

A quick look ahead. First nine games Magic are 7-2, they have nine games left in November in what should be a tough stretch of games. The 5-0 road warriors have six of nine on the road

Fri, Nov 16 @ New Jersey (4-4, 3-3 at home) Just got blown out by Celtics so they should play tougher against Orlando. Vince Carter signed his last contract and now seems dedicated to coasting for the rest of his career. Big shock. Carter's scoring is at 17 ppg, down from 25 last year. Beyond the big 3, they just don't seem to have that much. Howard could have another huge game. Jason Kidd leads the team in rebounding at 8.3. This is the type of game the Magic have been winning this year and should win a close one.

Sun, Nov 18 Boston (7-0, 3-0 on road) Having a great start against a mostly weak schedule. The big 3 will be on the court 39-40 minutes each and score 70% of the teams points. Their defense is the big surprise, they are at the top of the league in points allowed per 100 possessions. Their offense is #2 ranked. It can't go on forever, Magic need to score against Garnett and pull off a mild upset.

Mon, Nov 19 @ New Orleans (7-2, 3-1 at home) Off to a great start. #8 in offense, #6 in defense. Chris Paul is great but their home building is mostly empty. This will be a tough game but Magic can win here.

Wed Nov 21 @ San Antonio (7-1, 5-0 at home) #6 offense, #4 defense. Tim Duncan is allowing the offense to flow through Parker & Ginobli and concentrating on defense. He is probably the smartest NBA player. Tough team, but Howard loves playing against SA. Should be a great game with SA winning a close game.

Fri Nov 23 Charlotte (4-4, 1-2 at home) Simply a mediocre team that has suffered a lot of injuries. This is just the team that B.Hill would wind up losing to the past few years. Magic by 25.

Sat Nov 24 Miami (1-7, 1-3 at home) Were it not for the Knicks Miami would be winless. Pat Riley ruined this team starting with suspending players last year for not being in shape. The whole team is a mess. If Dwyane Wade can turn them around he is truly the best player in the NBA. This game shouldn't be close. The two worst executives on the team are Pat Riley the GM (Smush Parker?) and Pat Riley the Coach. I glory in this. Magic by 15 if Wade is still playing, by 35 if not. Afterwards, would SVG please finally rip Riley and Shaq for stabbing him in the back?

Mon, Nov 26 @Portland (4-4, 4-0 at home) Game 1 of a 5 game western road trip. Portland should be vying for the number one pick in next years draft but has been surprising. It's early, they will wind up being bad. Magic can and should win this one.

Wed, Nov 28 @Seattle (1-8, 0-4 at "home") If not for Miami, they would be winless. Horrible team, Durant will eventually be brilliant, but he is only 19 and skinny at the moment. They should only be scouting the 3 best college players for next years draft. Magic by 19.

Fri, Nov 30 @ Phoenix (6-2, 2-1 at home) They killed the Magic at home, but they have a look of a team that peaked last year in the playoffs. I'm not sure Magic can play with this team yet.

Pessimistic: 2-1 home, 2-4 road, 4-5 overall
Optimistic 2-1 home, 4-2 road, 6-3 overall

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Magic hang on to edge CLE in OT

In what was probably the most exciting game of the NBA season, the Magic (7-2), thanks to two clutch FTs with 5 seconds remaining in OT by DHoward, held on as HTurkoglu forced a jump ball with LeBron James with 2 seconds left and enabled the Magic to edge CLE 117-116 in OT, despite a triple-double by James.

Howard offset James' huge game with a huge game of his own, with 35 pts (11 of 17 FGs, 13 of 16 FTs), 16 rebs. James scored 39 pts (15 of 27 FGs, 7 of 9 FTs), 14 asts, 13 rebs. Both players had help, though. The Magic had 5 other players in double figures: JNelson 21 pts (8 of 17 FGs), 11 asts, 1 TO; RLewis 20 pts (7 of 18 FGs); HTurkoglu 13 pts (5 of 15 FGs); KBogans 11 pts (3 of 6 3 pt FGs), and CArroyo off the bench with 10 pts. For the Cavs, former Magic F Drew Gooden scored 23 pts, 13 rebs; Zydrunas Ilgauskas 18 pts, 11 rebs; and Daniel Gibson 16 pts.

A statistical breakdown:

FG... CLE 45 of 99 (45.5%) ORL 41 of 86 (47.7%) CLE 97 ORL 93
3 PT FG... ORL 11 of 30 (36.7%) CLE 7 of 16 (43.8%)
FT... ORL 24 of 32 (75%) CLE 19 of 22 (86.4%)
REB... CLE 49 ORL 42
AST/TO... ORL 30/14 CLE 25/15
BENCH... ORL 17 CLE 16

Great Sign for the Magic to win this game after letting a 4th qtr lead slip away. This is the first time the Magic have started a season at 7-2 since 1998-99. After a day off THU, Magic play at NJ FRI.

Magic/Cavs preview

The Magic (6-2), after their 27 pt win over SEA, take on the defending Eastern Conference champ Cavs (4-4) in CLE tonight. CLE is coming off a 122-100 loss at DEN MON night, with LeBron James scoring 27 pts. That game was the last game of a 6 game road trip, with CLE finishing at 3-3.

The probable starting lineup for CLE:

G... Daniel Gibson (11.8 ppg)
G... Larry Hughes (7.4 ppg)
C... Zydrunas Ilgauskas (15.6 ppg, 12.2 rebs)
F... Drew Gooden (13.6 ppg, 10.1 rebs)
F... LeBron James (26.6 ppg, 7.1 asts, 6.9 rebs)

Top reserves: Devin Brown (8.1 ppg); Damon Jones (7.9 ppg); Sasha Pavlovic (5.4 ppg); Shannon Brown (6.0 ppg). Donyell Marshall is on the injured list, while Pavlovic has back spasms and is questionable.

Magic beat CLE 2 out of 3 last season, while holding them to under 80 ppg. The Cavs are 3 pt favorites (www.pinnaclesports .com).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Magic keep Sonics winless in rout

The Magic (6-2) overcame a season-high 26 TOs thanks to good 3 pt shooting and a cold-shooting SEA (0-8) team as the Magic cruised to a 103-76 victory to ready themselves for a tough stretch of games coming up.

Eleven of twelve players scored for the Magic, led by RLewis, who scored 22 pts (9 of 15 FGs) against his old mates; HTurkoglu 17 pts (7 of 15 FGs), 8 TOs; KBogans 16 pts (5 of 9 3 pt FGs); and DHoward 13 pts, 12 rebs. JNelson chipped in with 8 pts, 6 asts, 6 rebs; TAriza led the bench with 11 pts, 11 rebs, and AFoyle with 6 pts, 7 rebs. SEA was led by Nick Collison with 15 pts, with highly touted rookie Kevin Durant held to just 10 pts on 4 of 13 FGs.

The statistical breakdown:

FG... ORL 38 of 82 (46.3%) SEA 33 of 96 (34.4%) ORL 86 SEA 68
3 PT FG... ORL 10 of 25 (40%) SEA 2 of 10 (20%)
FT... ORL 17 of 22 (77.3%) SEA 8 of 14 (57.1%)
REBS... ORL 58 SEA 44
AST/TO... ORL 24/26 SEA 16/17
BENCH... SEA 41 ORL 27

Thanks to the Magic having a 29 pt lead going into the 4th qtr, the only starter to play more than 30 mins was Bogans with 32 mins. The Magic travel to CLE WED night, and to NJ FRI night.

John Denton Speculates


Magic fans desperate to see Orlando upgrade its smallish frontline might want to remember this name: Shareef Abdur-Rahim.

The power forward has averaged 18.1 points and 7.5 rebounds over his career and his rugged 6-foot-9, 245-pound frame would give the Magic some much-needed size at power forward.

Sacramento starting the rebuilding process and is turning the focus of its team over to Kevin Martin and rookie center Spencer Hawes.

Abdur-Rahim is represented by Aaron Goodwin... Goodwin also represents the Magic’s Howard and assuredly would like to get his top client some big-man support in Orlando.

Otis Smith can’t comment specifically about players on other teams, but he did say this Monday: ``Yeah, we’re looking. But we’ve been looking. There’s just not a lot out there available right now.’’

Magic guard J.J. Redick was again limited in practice on Monday and won’t dress for Tuesday’s home game against the Seattle SuperSonics. Redick has been out for a week with back spasms.

Redick went through a hour-long workout prior to Saturday’s game and worked on his shooting some in Monday’s workout. He’ll likely miss Wednesday’s game in Cleveland as well, and is a possibility to play Friday in New Jersey.
If Sacramento wants to keep Artest after this year they could certainly use the cap relief. Ron Artest has a player option for next year. Reggie Theus has stopped playing Abdur-Rahim over the last three games and Abdur-Rahim is said to be upset. Artest is yet to play do to yet another suspension, so the minutes will really shrink for A-R.

This team is really shaping up under SVG's superior coaching, but it's clear from the Detroit and Phoenix games that if the Magic want to break into the upper tier they need to add another quality big to the rotation. Unfortunately, it is never clear that the Magic want to break into the upper tier of the NBA by adding the last few necessary pieces.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Suns stop Magic winning streak in decisive victory

This first home game after an undefeated road trip did prove to be a trap game for the Magic (5-2), as they were not up to the challenge of facing PHO (5-2), who blew out to a 16 pt halftime lead, led by as much as 23 in the third, and coasted to a 106-96 victory. In the second half, the Magic could get no closer than the final score.

The Suns were led by a career-high 39 pts from Leandro Barbosa (15 of 26 FGs, 8 of 13 3 pt FGs), who started in place of an injured Raja Bell; Steve Nash added 19 pts (9 of 13 FGs) and 11 asts; the three other Suns starters also scored in double figures, including Grant Hill in his return to ORL with 14 pts, 8 rebs. With RLewis scoring just 7 pts (3 of 14 FGs) and HTurkoglu scoring just 11 pts (5 of 11 FGs), DHoward tried his best to carry the load for the Magic with 33 pts (13 of 24 FGs) and 18 rebs; however, Howard made just 7 of 16 FTs.

The Magic bench, seeing their first extended playing time of the season, did well as three players scored in double figures: CArroyo 13 pts, 8 asts; TAriza 11 pts, and KDooling 10 pts.

The statistical breakdown:

FG... PHO 45 of 94 (47.9%) ORL 40 of 85 (47.1%) PHO 102 ORL 88
3 PT FG... PHO 12 of 29 (41.4%) ORL 8 of 19 (42.1%)
FT... ORL 8 of 19 (42.1%) PHO 4 of 5 (80%)
REB... ORL 43 PHO 42
AST/TO... PHO 29/11 ORL 25/14
BENCH... ORL 36 PHO 10

Magic have two days off before getting back in action hosting SEA on TUE.

Grant Hill returns to ORL tonight with Suns

Grant Hill and PHO make their only visit to ORL this season tonight, as the Magic (5-1) try to sustain their monentum from a 4-0 road trip. PHO (4-2) is coming off a 106-101 come from behind victory FRI night over the struggling Heat. Steve Nash had 30 pts and 8 asts.

The probable starting lineup for PHO:

G... Steve Nash (23.5 ppg, 8.5 asts, 18 of 29 3 pt FGs)
G... Raja Bell (10.2 ppg)
C... Amare Stoudamire (13.0 ppg, 5.0 rebs)
F... Grant Hill (11.3 ppg, 5.2 rebs)
F... Shawn Marion (17.3 ppg, 13.7 rebs)

Top reserves: G Leandro Barbosa (15.2 ppg), C Boris Diaw (9.5 ppg) F Sean Marks (6.5 ppg) G Marcus Banks (5.6 ppg)

This will be the Suns' 4th game in 5 days, and 7th game in their last 10, while this will be the Magic's 6th game in 9 days. Magic have lost 8 of their last 10 against the Suns, and are 1 pt underdogs to the Suns tonight (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Friday, November 09, 2007

Magic complete perfect road trip with win over NY

The Magic found themselves in another close game early in the 4th qtr, as they led the Knicks 77-76. The Magic then went on a 18-5 run, and sealed the win by making their FTs down the stretch for a 112-102 win. The Magic completed a 4-0 road trip, and this is the first time the Magic have started 5-1 overall since the 2002-03 season.

Four of the five Magic starters scored 21+ pts. JNelson had a double-double with 24 pts (10 of 11 FTs), 10 asts; DHoward (8 of 16 FGs) also had a double-double with 22 pts, 20 rebs, 3 blocks; RLewis (4 of 10 3 pt FGs) and HTurkoglu (9 of 17 FGs) each added 21 pts. KDooling led the bench with 8 pts in just 13 mins. All five starters for the Knicks scored in double figures, led by Zach Randolph with 23 pts, 13 rebs; QRichardson and Eddy Curry each added 19 pts.

The statistical breakdown:

FG... ORL 40 of 85 (47.1%) NY 35 of 79 (44.3%) ORL 89 NY 77
3 PT FG... ORL 9 of 29 (31%) NY 7 of 19 (36.8%)
FT... ORL 23 of 28 (82.1%) NY 25 of 33 (75.8%)
REB... NY 43 ORL 40
AST/TO... ORL 24/15 NY 22/20
BENCH... ORL 15 NY 14

ORL returns home SAT night to face Grant Hill and PHO.

Magic/Knicks preview

The Magic (4-1) will try to extend their perfect road record in NY tonight against the Knicks (2-1). NY is coming off a 119-112 victory over DEN TUE night with new acquisition Zach Randolph scoring 22 pts and adding 17 rebs. The Magic are coming off a 105-96 win at TOR in which the starting five for the Magic carried the load.

The probable starting lineup for the Knicks:

G... Stephon Marbury (16.0 ppg, 7.0 asts)
G... Jamal Crawford (24.7 ppg, 7.0 asts)
C... Eddy Curry (18.7 ppg, 7.3 rebs)
F... Zach Randolph (19.3 ppg, 13.7 rebs)
F... Quentin Richardson (4.3 ppg)

Key reserves: G Nate Robinson (9.7 ppg); F David Lee (10.0 ppg); F Renaldo Balkman (4.7 ppg).

NY is averaging 107.3 ppg while allowing 105.0 ppg. The Magic is averaging 100.8 ppg, while allowing 96.0 ppg. The Knicks are unbeaten in two games at home so far. However, the Magic have won 7 of the last 11 games at MSG.

The Knicks are a 1 pt favorite (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Magic make it 3 in a row on road trip with win over TOR

Just like TUE night against MIN, the Magic found themselves with a double digit lead in the fourth qtr against TOR, only to see the Raptors come back with a big run, like the TWolves the previous night. In fact, TOR eventually took a 92-91 lead, only to see the Magic come alive and outscore TOR 14-4 the rest of the way for a 105-96 victory, their third win in a row. The Magic are in first in the SE with a 4-1 record, while TOR falls to 2-3.

All 5 Magic starters scored in double figures: HTurkoglu 24 pts (8 of 18 FGs), a career-high 15 rebs, and 6 asts; RLewis 24 pts (10 of 16 FGs); DHoward 17 pts (7 of 12 FGs), 9 rebs; KBogans 17 pts (5 of 11 FGs) 11 rebs; and JNelson 10 pts, 7 asts, 6 rebs. CArroyo and KDooling each scored 4 pts off the bench. Chris Bosh led TOR with 26 pts (14 of 14 FTs), 10 rebs, and Andrea Bargnani 16 pts 8 rebs.

A statistical breakdown of the game:

FG... ORL 38 of 76 (50%) TOR 34 of 89 (38.2%) ORL 88 TOR 74
3 PT FG... ORL 12 of 31 (38.7%) TOR 6 of 20 (30%)
FT... TOR 22 of 26 (84.6%) ORL 17 of 22 (77.3%)
REB... ORL 51 TOR 41
AST/TO... ORL 25/17 TOR 17/8
BENCH... TOR 31 ORL 13

Magic get a well-deserved day off before going to NY FRI for a tough matchup against the improved Knicks.

Magic/TOR preview

The Magic (3-1) continue their road swing at TOR (2-2) tonight. The Raptors are coming off a 112-85 beating from MIL TUE night. No starter scored in double figures for TOR, and Chris Bosh, who has been dealing with a nagging knee injury since preseason, had probably the worst game of his career with just 1 pt and 2 rebs. The Magic is coming off a 111-103 win at MIN.

The probable starting lineup for TOR:

G... T.J. Ford (15.5 ppg, 7.5 asts)
G... Anthony Parker (8.2 ppg)
C... Andrea Bargnani (13.8 ppg, 5.5 rebs)
F... Jason Kapono (8.5 ppg)
F... Chris Bosh (12.8 ppg, 5.2 rebs)

Top reserves: G Juan Dixon (10.2 ppg), F Kris Humphries (6.7 ppg) G Carlos Delfino (7.8 ppg) G Jose Calderon (9.2 ppg)

Last season, TOR swept the Magic in all 4 games, and Bosh averaged over 34 ppg in 3 of the games. TOR is a 4 1/2 pt favorite (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Magic, Lewis hold off MIN in fourth for third win

The Magic looked to be on their way to a comfortable win, as they led MIN 92-76 in the fourth qtr, but then the T-Wolves scored 14 pts in a row to close within 2, but RLewis (27 pts, 7 of 9 3 pt FGs) hit 3 3 pt FGs down the stretch to lead the Magic to a 111-103 win, their third in four games.

Missing JNelson (concussion) and JRedick (back spasms), other players stepped up for the Magic. In addition to Lewis, DHoward led with 28 pts (12 of 16 FTs), 16 rebs; CArroyo, who started for Nelson, 18 pts, 6 asts and just 1 TO; and HTurkoglu 14 pts, 6 rebs. PGarrity led the reserves with 9 pts (4 of 6 FGs), 4 asts. MIN was led by Al Jefferson with 25 pts, 10 rebs, and Greg Buckner 18 pts.

A statistical breakdown of the game:

FG... ORL 35 of 73 (47.9%) MIN 40 of 81 (49.4%) MIN 85 ORL 80
3 PT FG... ORL 10 of 24 (41.7%) MIN 5 of 13 (38.5%)
FT... ORL 31 of 44 (70.5%) MIN 18 of 25 (72%)
REB... MIN 42 ORL 40
AST/TO... ORL 21/9 MIN 26/14
BENCH... MIN 39 ORL 15

Magic don't have much time to rest, as they play at a tough TOR team WED night.

Magic/MIN preview

The Magic (2-1), on the second game of their four game road trip, take on the rebuilding T-Wolves (0-2) tonight. MIN is coming off a 97-93 loss at NY, with Al Jefferson scoring 16 pts.

The probable MIN lineup:

G... Sebastian Telfair (9.0 ppg, 6.0 asts)
G... Rashad McCants (18.0 ppg)
C... Theo Ratliff (11.0 ppg, 5.0 rebs)
F... Ryan Gomes (14.0 ppg, 5.5 rebs)
F... Al Jefferson (16.0 ppg, 12.5 rebs)

Usual starting PG Randy Foye is injured and out indefinitely. Top reserves: G Greg Buckner (11.5 ppg); F Craig Smith (9.0 ppg); F Antoine Walker (2.0 ppg).

Through three games, the surprise for the Magic is HTurkoglu leading the team in scoring at 22.0 ppg; RLewis has been solid at 21.7 ppg; and DHoward at 16.3 ppg, 13.3 rebs.

The Magic are 6 1/2 pt favorites (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Strong 4th qtr leads to big win for Magic over WAS

The Magic (2-1) looked to be in trouble heading into the 4th qtr, trailing 67-64 to WAS after the Magic scored just 14 3rd qtr points. However, the Magic held the Wizards to 5 of 25 FG shooting in the 4th, and the Magic hit 15 of 16 FTs in the quarter to win going away 94-82, as the Wizards are 0-3 for the first time since 1992.

The Magic had four of their five starters score in double figures, led by HTurkoglu with 25 pts (8 of 16 FGs), 8 asts, and 7 rebs; RLewis 18 pts (8 of 15 FGs), 8 rebs; DHoward 17 pts (7 of 11 FGs), 15 rebs, 3 blocks; and JNelson 17 pts (3 of 6 3 pt FGs), 7 rebs. KDooling scored 7 pts to lead the reserves. The big three of WAS was held to a combined 53 pts... Caron Butler 23 pts, Antawn Jamison 20 pts, and "Agent Zero" Gilbert Arenas just 10 pts.

The Magic (33 of 77, 42.9%) outscored WAS (31 of 89, 34.8%) from the field 76-68. The Magic hit on 10 of 30 3 pt FGs, while WAS was just 6 of 23. The Magic (18 of 21) also had the edge at the FT line (WAS 14 of 20). WAS had the edge rebounding 50-46. The Magic had the better AST/TO ratio of 21/14, with WAS at 15/15. The WAS bench had a 14-9 advantage over the Magic bench.

A nice win for the Magic, as they showed they can bounce back on the road against a division opponent after a bad loss. Magic get two days off before resuming at rebuilding MIN TUE night.

Magic/Wizards preview

The Magic (1-1) will find out in a hurry if they can bounce back from the big loss to DET last night as they travel to WAS to take on the winless Wizards (0-2). The Wizards are coming off a big loss also, losing to the new look Celtics 103-83 last night. WAS set an all-time record for futility in that game, going 0-16 on 3 pt FGs.

WAS is 0-2 for the first time in 10 years, and will be trying to avoid an 0-3 start for the first time in 15 years.

The probable WAS starting lineup:

G... Gilbert Arenas (27.5 ppg)
G... DeShawn Stevenson (4.5 ppg)
C... Brendan Haywood (10.0 ppg, 12.5 rebs)
F... Caron Butler (18.5 ppg, 9.5 rebs)
F... Antawn Jamison (18.5 ppg, 13.0 rebs)

Key reserves include Darius Songaila (9.5 ppg), Andray Blatche, and Antonio Daniels.

WAS is a 2 pt favorite (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Friday, November 02, 2007

All Pistons in blowout over Magic

Things looked promising for the Magic after the first qtr, when they led DET, who was without Rip Hamilton, 30-28. However, it was all downhill from there as DET led 64-55 at the half and the Magic never challenged in the second half, scoring just 37 pts on 10 of 36 FG shooting, losing 116-92.

Six Pistons scored in double figures, led by reserve Ronald "Flip" Murray with 19 pts. Chauncey Billups added 18 pts, 7 asts, Tayshaun Prince 17 pts, and Rasheed Wallace 16 pts. Four Magic players scored in double figures, led by RLewis with 21 pts (5 of 11 FGs); HTurkoglu 17 pts ( 6 of 15 FGs), 4 rebs; DHoward 16 pts (6 of 15 FGs), 13 rebs; and KBogans 14 pts (4 of 4 3 pt FGs). TAriza led the bench with just 5 pts in 9 mins.

The Pistons dominated statistically. DET (43 of 73, 58.9%) outscored the Magic (31 of 77, 40.3%) from the field 93-70. ORL shot 8 of 18 (44.4%) from 3 pt range, while DET shot 7 of 15 (46.7%). DET (23 of 30) had the edge at the FT line over the Magic (22 of 33). DET had the rebounding edge 42-34, and also a better AST/TO ratio 22/13, compared to 16/12 for the Magic. The DET bench was superior, outscoring the Magic bench 45-17.

Quote from Coach Van Gundy after the game: "We couldn't stop anything that they did and we couldn't score on them and we couldn't rebound with them. That's how far we have to go right there to play with the best teams in the East."

DET/Magic preview

The Pistons come into ORL FRI night at 1-0 coming off a 91-80 victory at MIA. Rip Hamilton missed the game to attend to a family matter, but Tayshaun Prince scored a career-high 34 pts on 13 of 23 shooting. Chauncey Billups added 19 pts and 11 asts; and Rasheed Wallace 11 pts, 8 rebs. Jarvis Hayes led the reserves with 10 pts, 5 rebs. The status of Hamilton for tonight's game is not known. Rookie Arron Afflalo will start if Hamilton won't play.

The probable starting lineup for DET: G Billups... G Afflalo or Hamilton... F Prince... F Antonio McDyess... C Wallace. Top reserves... Hayes, Jason Maxiell, Nazr Mohammed, and Ronald Murray

The Magic will be looking to build off their impressive 102-83 opening night win over MIL. They should have extra motivation for this game, knowing that the Pistons swept the Magic in embarrassing fashion 4-0 in last season's playoffs. DET also swept the Magic 4-0 in the regular season last year. This will be a far different Magic team than the one that walked off the floor more than six months ago after getting swept by the Pistons.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Rosen's Populist Ploy Not Working

Downtown Makeover:
"Hotelier Harris Rosen's petition drive is a flop so far, and time is running out for the millionaire businessman to put a downtown sports-venue referendum to voters on the Jan. 29 ballot.

Rosen wants to stop or delay construction of the $480 million Orlando Magic arena and $175 million in Florida Citrus Bowl upgrades that Orlando and Orange County leaders approved in July. The International Drive hotel magnate says voters should have a say on such costly projects.

But his anti-venue strategy calls for pushing the issue to voters fast, before Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty endorse huge project contracts and loans.

Wednesday was Rosen's self-imposed deadline to turn in the about 31,000 petitions needed to get a referendum to the ballot. But so far, only 1,215 have been certified."
I thought it was a real hoot that the richest guy in town was running a populist campaign to stop the arena from being built where he couldn't make money off of it. What's worse is some of *his* tourist tax money wasn't going to be controlled and spent by him.

I was worried too. Because so many of these populist initiatives wind up getting passed by know-nothing voters. Hopefully this puts the question to rest and our shiny new building will be ready in just 3 years from last night.

Cable TV Fiasco Continues ...

The fiasco, that I may rightfully call Bright House Scheme, continues. All three involved parties ought to be blamed:

1 - They had 4 months to resolve the issue, and Alex Martins started applying some pressure only recently. Instead of giving the whole package to Sun Sports, the Magic signed with its sister company FSN for a presumably larger contract.
2 - Bright House is working only on greed trying to squeeze a few more bucks out of the subscribers.
3 - FSN wants the games on basic cable - like its sister company SUN Sports - so that the viewing would be broader, and the advertising contracts more lucrative.

In this hazy environment, I put the blame on all three in the following order: Bright House, Magic and lastly FSN, just because their proposed plan favors consumers, as well.

Bright House claims that they would listen to their subscribers. Don't they pay any attention to what is happening online? They are risking the loss of tens of thousands of their subscribers. They have been the best advertisers for satellite TV. in the process they will lose their telephone contracts, as well. What else do they need to come to their senses?

Make a deal fools, and make it today.