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, October 31, 2007

Magic break open close game in third to coast past MIL

Leading 48-46 at the half, the Magic used torrid 3 pt shooting in the third quarter, led by RLewis and HTurkoglu, and started the season off with a rousing 102-83 victory over MIL. In the 3rd qr., the Magic shot a blistering 7 of 8 from 3 pt range, with Lewis and Turkoglu combining for 19 pts on 5 of 5 3 pt shooting, while the team outscored MIL 35-19.

Lewis led the Magic with 26 pts (9 of 13 FGs), followed by Turkoglu with 24 pts (8 of 15 FGs); DHoward had a solid game with 16 pts (8 of 10 FTs), 12 rebs, and 7 blocks; JNelson added 10 pts, 7 asts, and just 2 TOs. Three reserves added 6 pts each: CArroyo, KDooling, and AFoyle. MIL was led by Michael Redd with 25 pts and reserve Bobby Simmons added 18 pts.

The Magic (32 of 73 FGs, 43.8%) outscored MIL (33 of 87, 37.9%) from the field 76-70. The Magic (12 of 22, 54.5%) dominated MIL (4 of 17, 23.5%) from 3 pt range. The Magic (26 of 35) outshot MIL (13 of 22) from the FT line. The Magic were outrebounded by MIL 48-42, including 18-9 offensively. The Magic took good care of the ball, with a 15/10 AST/TO ratio; MIL's was 16/14.

A very encouraging opening night performance by the Magic, especially seeing Lewis shoot so well after an injury-plagued preseason. Magic host DET on FRI night.

Stan Van Gundy era opens tonight in Orlando

It's been a long six months since the Magic were swept in the first round of the 2007 playoffs by DET on April 28th. Opening night is finally here, as the Magic open one of their most highly anticipated seasons in franchise history with new head coach Stan Van Gundy and newly signed free agent forward Rashard Lewis as they will battle the Milwaukee Bucks.

MIL also has a new coach in Larry Krystkowiak. Their probable starting five tonight: G Mo Williams G Michael Redd C Andrew Bogut F Yi Jianlian F Desmond Mason

The Magic probable starting five: G Jameer Nelson G Keith Bogans C Dwight Howard F Hedo Turkoglu F Rashard Lewis

Quote from Stan Van Gundy: "We're going to work our butts off on the defensive end of the court and then we're going to try to run the ball up the floor," he said. "Give them freedom to play the game. We're going to try to play that way until proven we can't."

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

Magic sign PG Nelson to contract extension

By John Denton

ORLANDO-- Jameer Nelson and the Orlando Magic reached an agreement Tuesday night on a contract extension that will keep the point guard with the team for at least five more seasons, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

Nelson had until midnight Wednesday to get an extension signed or he would have become a restricted free agent next summer. Fearing that he might have had to play this season without a contract extension, Nelson revealed recently that he had taken out an insurance policy to cover him in case of a career-threatening injury.

The exact specifics of the deal were unknown, but the Magic had been offering Nelson a five-year, $30 million deal. Nelson, 25, had hoped to get a contract similar to the $42 million pact that point guard Devin Harris signed with the Dallas Mavericks.

It is believed that the two sides met somewhere in the middle.

"I'm a starting point guard. I need starting point guard money," Nelson said on Monday, a day before the deal was finalized.

Nelson has been one of Orlando's best players this preseason, averaging 9.9 points and 5.0 assists per game. He has thrived in new coach Stan Van Gundy's wide-open offense and has a sparkling 35-to-9 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Bright House Needs to be Pushed

With two days left to the start of the season, the status of Magic games on Bright House cable is still in limbo. I think Magic organization's decision to sell the portion of the games that they were covering to a cable network was an indication of greed. That, however, does not warrant Bright House's greedy approach in milking Orlando market while they are offering FSN free of any extra charge in other markets. We have to make Bright House aware that their greed could not pass unnoticed. I cancelled not only my cable TV but also Internet connections in multiple locations and made sure that they are aware of the reason behind these moves.

Quote of the Day

Orlando Magic's Bogans on the rebound -- OrlandoSentinel.com:
"'I want to be coached. And [Stan] doesn't let you take a day off. If he sees your potential, he works you hard,' Bogans said. 'Last year I didn't get coached at all. It makes a difference. This year you make a mistake, he lets you know. You do something well, he lets you know. I respond to that.'"
"Last year I didn't get coached at all" I guess that's why a guy like Brian Hill relied so much on old guys like Grant Hill, Tony Battie & Pat Garrity. Hill's "coaching" killed this team last year and took the joy out of covering it. That will definitely change this year.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Quote of the Day

Howard hopes for double-team relief -- OrlandoSentinel.com:

"'They've got a lot of great pieces,' Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich said.

'They have inside threats combined with a lot of guys that can knock the shot down. That's a great combination. It's always worked well for us."

Friday, October 26, 2007

Magic end preseason with win over SA

The Magic finished the preseason on a six game winning streak and 6-1 record with a 99-90 win over SA.

Rashard Lewis played nearly 32 mins and scored 16 pts on 6 of 15 FGs (2 of 5 3 pt FGs); reserve guard Carlos Arroyo also scored 16 pts (8 of 10 FGs) along with 4 asts; Hedo Turkoglu added 13 pts (5 of 10 FGs); Dwight Howard 11 pts, 13 rebs, but with 5 TOs; Keith Bogans (3 of 4 3 pt FGs) also added 11 pts; Jameer Nelson 9 pts 4 asts.

In addition to Lewis, Trevor Ariza (4 pts) and Keyon Dooling (8 pts) tested their injuries. However, J.J. Redick sat out to rest his sore right hand.

Magic continue to shoot well, shooting 40 of 78 FGs (51.3%), and 9 of 15 3 pt FGs.

The season starts for real Halloween night, with the Magic hosting MIL.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Chris Sheridan is an Ass, And Other Magic Predictions...

ESPN - Daily Dime 2007-08 Preview Edition: Orlando Magic - NBA

9 out of 10 ESPN idjits predict a 1 or 2 finish in the Southeast.

Quote of the Day

Heat trade won't impact this season - 10/25/2007 - MiamiHerald.com
Walker is heavy and inefficient and one of the most unpopular players in Heat history, so Miami's disastrous offseason got slightly less disastrous with his subtraction. But a less awful offseason is still awful. Davis does not fix that.

Step back from Wednesday's feel-good and examine the larger picture: This summer, Miami essentially traded James Posey, Jason Kapono, Eddie Jones, Walker and Michael Doleac for Davis, Mark Blount, Smush Parker and Anfernee Hardaway. That's not a net gain, no matter how much Carlos Boozer raves about how good Hardaway has looked in their Overtown scrimmages. Boston and Orlando have gotten a lot better. Miami is not any better than it was while getting swept out of the playoffs in the first round.

I just spent a couple of days in Miami. There is nothing more fun than listening to Miami talk radio when the Dolphins are losing. It's even better when the Heat have had a bad offseason. The callers just get hysterically depressed.

Right now it looks like Atlanta may be the biggest competition in the Southeast division with the addition of Horford and so many players on contract years while Wade is not ready to start the season, Etan is out in Washington and Morrison / May are out in Charlotte.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Magic injury update

A day after the Orlando Magic finally got their full squad back on the court together the injury bug struck again on Tuesday.

Rashard Lewis tried to practice Tuesday, but once again pulled up lame on his sore right ankle. Shooting guard J.J. Redick had to sit out because of lingering pain in the right hand that he broke prior to training camp. And point guard Jameer Nelson was unable to practice because of a stomach virus.

Coach Stan Van Gundy said Lewis started practice Tuesday, but asked out because of discomfort in the ankle.

Redick said he re-injured his hand in Monday's practice when he fell awkwardly on his right wrist. He said he notified the Magic's trainers of the injury early Tuesday morning and X-rays show no broken bones. Redick was scheduled to have a MRI later Tuesday afternoon. He had his wrist and hand wrapped Tuesday as he watched practice from the sidelines.

On the positive side, Trevor Ariza and Keyon Dooling - who missed all three of the games the Magic played while in China - not only practiced Tuesday, but Van Gundy said they were two of the best players in drills. Ariza had been out with tendinitis in his foot, while Dooling had been bothered by pain in his groin and hip.

-by Florida Today sports reporter John Denton

Monday, October 22, 2007

Quote of the Day

ESPN - Hollinger:
"If you haven't seen Dwight Howard yet this year … holy moly. He is even bigger and more ripped than ever, and Orlando folks tell me he's shooting the ball more consistently after working on his touch in the offseason."

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Magic sweep China trip with victory over Cavs

The Magic improved their preseason mark to 5-1 with their 5th win in a row, and 3rd win in China, with a 100-84 victory over CLE. A 29-15 edge in the 4th qtr helped the Magic pull away, as both teams' stars, LeBron James and Dwight Howard, sat out the 4th.

Six players scored in double figures for the Magic, including all 5 starters. Howard (6 of 8 FGs) had 17 pts in just 23 mins, Pat Garrity (6 of 10 FGs) and Keith Bogans (5 of 7 FGs) each added 14 pts, Jameer Nelson (5 of 9 FGs) and Hedo Turkoglu (4 of 8 FGs) had 13 pts. Reserve J.J. Redick, after struggling the last two games, had a much better game with 14 pts (5 of 10 FGs). Adonal Foyle chipped in with 8 pts, 6 rebs.

The Magic continue to shoot the ball well, hitting 35 of 65 FGs (53.8%), including 9 of 15 from 3 pt range. They shot 21 of 32 from the FT line (65.6%), and had a 21/15 AST/TO ratio. They were outrebounded by CLE 42-35.

Rashard Lewis, Trevor Ariza, and Keyon Dooling all continue to nurse injuries, and did not play.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Magic trounce Chinese All Stars

The Magic players who saw limited or no game action against CLE saw plenty of action against the Chinese All Stars, and for the most part looked pretty impressive as the Magic ran out to a 25 pt halftime lead and cruised to a 116-92 victory.

Carlos Arroyo, who came off the bench and played more than 35 mins, had a stellar game with 25 pts (9 of 15 FGs), 9 asts, and just 1 TO. Hedo Turkoglu added 17 pts and Dwight Howard 12 pts in limited action. James Augustine made a strong bid to make the final roster with 14 pts and 7 rebs. Marcin Gortat, who is battling Augustine for one of the final roster spots, added 8 pts and 6 rebs. J.J. Redick had his second straight poor shooting game, scoring just 6 pts on 2 of 9 FGs.

The Magic shot the ball much better than they did against CLE, shooting 44 of 80 (55%), and 9 of 22 from 3 pt range (40.9%). They had an AST/TO ratio of 21/12.

Magic wind up their overseas trip with another game against CLE on SAT.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Magic come back to beat Cavs in China

Not much can be taken from the Magic 90-86 comeback win over CLE, which was played on the outskirts of Shanghai. CLE's two best players, LeBron James and Larry Hughes sat the whole fourth quarter, and none of CLE's starters played more than 28 minutes, while the five ORL starters playede between 32 and 40 mins.

"It shows that their first team is better than our second team" CLE coach Mike Brown said after the game.

Dwight Howard continues to impress, scoring 31 pts (9 of 17 FGs) with 14 rebs in 37 min. The most encouraging sign was the 13 of 16 FTs by Dwight. Jameer Nelson also continues his excellent preseason, with 24 pts (6 of 10 FGs 12 of 12 FTs), 6 asts, and just 2 TOs in 40 minutes. Hedo Turkoglu added 12 pts, and Keith Bogans 11 pts, 8 rebs. Pat Garrity led the reserves with 5 pts, 5 rebs. J.J. Redick, who had shot the ball so well this preseason, had an off-game with just 3 pts (1 of 6 FGs) in 33 min.

The Magic shot just 25 of 65 (38.5%), and 5 of 18 (27.8%) from 3 pt land. Take away Nelson and Howard's stats, and the Magic shot a frigid 10 of 38. However, the Magic did excellent at the FT line, shooting 35 of 40 (87.5%). The Magic also had their worst AST/TO ratio of the preseason at 12/17.

Rashard Lewis, Trevor Ariza, and Keyon Dooling sat out for the Magic.

Magic next play on THU against the Chinese national team, and will play CLE again SAT.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Magic impressive in rout of Heat

With several key players sitting out for both teams, six players scored in double figures for the Magic in an easy 103-69 win over MIA, who was without Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O'Neal, Penny Hardaway, and Jason Williams. The Magic was without Rashard Lewis, Trevor Ariza, and Keyon Dooling.

The Magic were led by reserve J.J. Redick, who continues his deadeye shooting with 19 pts on 5 of 6 FGs (3 of 3 3 pt FGs). All five starters scored in double figures, led by Hedo Turkoglu with 14 pts (4 of 5 3 pt FGs). Pat Garrity (3 of 7 3 pt FGs) and Dwight Howard each scored 13 pts, with Howard adding 10 rebs and 8 blocks. Keith Bogans had 10 pts, 10 rebs; and Carlos Arroyo 10 pts, 7 asts along with 3 TOs.

The Magic shot well again from 3 pt range (13 of 23, 56.5%); they also shot well from the FT line, going 19 of 24 (79.2%); and dominated the boards 47-30. The Magic had 24 total assists, but were rather sloppy with 20 TOs.

The Magic leave for a long plane trip to China on Saturday, where they will play CLE and the Chinese National Team next week.

Quote of the Day

Miami Heat | Sun-Sentinel Blogs: Meanwhile... moving on to other subjects:

"Riley reiterated his belief that former Heat coach Stan Van Gundy would wind up as the Magic's top offseason acquisition. The Heat plays Friday in Orlando, with several Heat veterans joking it would be nice to see Van Gundy bellowing at someone else's players, instead."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Magic rout Charlotte for first preseason win

Eight Magic players scored in double figures, including 5 players off the bench, led by Hedo Turkoglu's 20 pts, to lead the Magic to a resounding 123-99 win over CHA.

Many positives from this game:

1) Jameer Nelson with 12 asts and just 2 TOs in 22 minutes of play
2) J.J. Redick shooting 5 of 8 from 3 pt range and winding up with 17 pts
3) Adonal Foyle with his second strong game in a row with 14 pts, 8 rebs. and 3 blocks in 23 minutes
4) Another solid game from Dwight Howard, with 10 pts, 8 rebs, and 3 blocks
4) The strong bench play, as 8 reserves combined to shoot a sizzling 29 of 42 FGs (even Pat Garrity had a good game with 12 pts)
5) Magic shooting 64.1% FGs (50 of 78) for the game, and 82.4% FTs (14 of 17)
6) 29 total assists to 19 TOs

The only real negative was Rashard Lewis scoring just 2 pts in 8 minutes and leaving the game with a sprained ankle.

ESPN Hollinger Ranks Top NBA Players

1. Yao
2. Wade
3. LeBron
4. Kobe
5. Dirk
6. Chris Paul ??
7. Dwight Howard
8. Gilbert
9. KG
10. Chris Bosh
27. Rashard

There's only 3 guys in that top ten that I would be as happy to have as Howard right now. One game against ATL doesn't mean much, but if he really has developed a bit of range out to 12 feet then look out NBA.

Hollinger also has the Magic down for 49 wins and first in the Southeast division. Says they were good enough for 44 wins last year but were coached to 40, and sees a five game improvement.


I'm not a big fan of the Lewis signing long-term, but in the immediate future one has to admit the prospects for the Magic look fairly bright. The team badly needed an outside gunner last season and has found it in Lewis; if Redick emerges as well that will give them a second one and really loosen things up for Howard.

And while the losses of Hill and Milicic hurt, those are positions where the Magic are pretty well covered. Van Gundy should keep this team defending at a high level as well, even though Lewis was never much for defense in Seattle. And while losing Battie leaves a hole, it also might force the Magic to better utlilize Turkoglu and Lewis together at the forward spots. I don't think Van Gundy's instincts lean toward playing small, but it appears this is easily his best lineup, and if he doesn't have a choice it might work out surprisingly well.

But perhaps the biggest reason to like this team is their birth certificates. With several players in their early 20s, including Howard (21), Ariza (22), Redick (23) and Nelson (25), the Magic almost can't help but improve. On the flip side, the only rotation players on the wrong side of 30 are big men Foyle and Battie. Their age profile should gently push the Magic forward, and combined with the Lewis signing, will make the Magic a factor in the East.

One other thing to remember is that these guys were better than their record last season, having the scoring margin of a 44-win team. With the youth and the addition of Lewis, a five-game improvement doesn't seem outrageous, so you're looking at a team that's pushing 50 wins.

Thus, while I don't think they can win the conference and question how they'll manage their cap situation from here, the Magic have more than enough talent to win the division this season. After the struggles of the past couple years, that would be a nice story in itself.

Prediction: 49-33, 1st in Southeast, 4th in Eastern Conference

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Magic lose preseason opener by one to Hawks

Carlos Arroyo missed 1 of 2 FTs with 15 seconds remaining in the game, allowing ATL to hold on to beat the Magic 94-93.

Dwight Howard was the star for the Magic, scoring 30 pts in just 28 minutes of action on 13 of 20 FG shooting and 4 of 6 FTs. He also added 11 rebounds. Adonal Foyle (4 of 7 FG) added 11 pts and 6 rebs off the bench, and J.J Redick (4 of 9 FG) scored 10 pts. Rashard Lewis scored 8 pts in his Magic debut before leaving with cramps. In the battle of the PGs, Jameer Nelson had 6 pts, 6 asts, and 0 TOs, while Carlos Arroyo had 6 pts, 4 asts, and 2 TOs.

The Magic shot 38 of 92 (41.3%). Take away Howard's stats, and the Magic shot an icy 25 of 72, including 3 of 13 from 3 pt range. From the FT line, the Magic shot just 14 of 25 (56%). They had 15 TOs.

Charlotte comes to ORL Wednesday for the next preseason game.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Bogans to start in Magic's preseason opener tonight

Veteran Keith Bogans has won the shooting-guard spot left vacant by Grant Hill --- at least for the Magic's opening preseason game tonight against the Atlanta Hawks.Bogans, 6-5, will start with point guard Jameer Nelson in the backcourt.Dwight Howard will start at center, Rashard Lewis at power forward and Hedo Turkoglu at small forward.Bogans is in competition for the job with Trevor Ariza, J.J. Redick and Keyon Dooling.Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy picked Bogans mainly because of the solid defense he displayed in training camp. It is clear that he considers Bogans and Ariza his stoppers at the two-guard spot."I wanted to play the smaller lineup. So I wanted to play Turk and Rashard together. Dwight is an obvious. The guards, both of them, are still up in the air, but I wanted to play Keith with Rashard at the start of the game," Van Gundy said." I wanted to play J.J. with Trevor more so I can get Keith and Trevor really taking on tough defensive assignments. So that was more of it, the combinations, than who has played better."Van Gundy said he will experiment with lineups this preseason.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Training Camp Underway...News And Notes

The Orlando Magic's last possession of the 2006-2007 season -- Game 4 of the playoffs against the Detroit Pistons -- ended, fittingly, in a turnover.No wonder that on the first day of training camp last Saturday, new Orlando Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy angrily halted practice after another pass ended up in the wrong hands."What were we in turnovers last season? Anybody know? 25th? 28th?" Van Gundy said, staring through several of his players. "No one-handed passes! Come on take care of the ball!"The Magic actually ranked 29th in turnovers last season, committing 1,392 -- second-most in the NBA behind the New York Knicks.Orlando averaged almost 17 per game. Their careless ways undermined their play, costing them valuable possessions, making the opposition's job easier.The Magic had 27 turnovers in a February game against the Chicago Bulls, 11 by center Dwight Howard, who finished with an NBA-high 317.Like his predecessor, Brian Hill, Van Gundy is determined to limit the miscues."If we want to win, we better," he said. "It's very difficult to overcome turning the ball over a lot. You'd have to make a lot of shots offensively, and your defense would have to be incredible to overcome it. They're giveaways, and they lead to points. It hurts you in a myriad of ways."Hill's impatience with the turnover outbreak reached a boiling point after one game when he growled, "This has got to stop!" It didn't.The Magic won't improve unless Howard and point guard Jameer Nelson (184 turnovers) reduce their mistakes.Howard, who gets the most touches, committed 100 more turnovers from Year 2 to Year 3. Opponents often knocked the ball out of his hands as he made a move. Other times, teammates struggled to feed him in the post."We just have to play smarter," Nelson said. "It's just playing the right way and developing good habits."Last season, there were spates of unforced errors. Instead of making the simple play, the Magic sometimes tried to go for the highlight-reel assist.Van Gundy has told his players he is backing off on playing such a structured style. But the leash will grow shorter if turnovers mount. "It's up to them," Van Gundy said.It didn't take long for players to discover that Van Gundy has little patience for carelessness.Guard Keith Bogans is worried each time a ball gets lost in practice. Van Gundy punishes players for various crimes against basketball fundamentals by making the offender (or offenders) run sprints."I had to run five sprints for not getting back on defense. Sprints will make you remember," Bogans said.