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, February 29, 2008

A look ahead to the month of March for the Magic

The Magic enter the month at 37-23, which is the tenth best winning percentage in the NBA. Their 21 road wins is tied with the Lakers for the most road wins in the NBA; the Magic still lead the NBA in most road games played.

The Magic play 14 games this month... ten at home and only four on the road. Eight of those games are against teams under .500. Six home games are against losing teams (NY, ATL, LAC, IND, WAS, PHI). Four home games are against winning teams (TOR, GS, CLE, SA). All four away games are against losing teams (WAS, MIA, ATL, MIL). The Magic's busiest stretch will be between MAR 10-22, as they will play 8 games in this 13 day stretch, but 6 of those games are at home. The Magic have three sets of back-to-back games, but only one of those games involves a winning team.

Optimistic view of how the Magic finish the month: 11-3
Pessimistic view: 7-7

The Magic have a great chance of solidifying the third spot in the East in March. If they finish third, their first-round playoff opponent would be the sixth seed, currently WAS. Even if the Wizards get Gilbert Arenas back, the Magic should be a solid favorite to beat them in a playoff series. A second round matchup against DET looms as a strong possibility, though.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sixers lead from start to finish in win over Magic

The key to beating PHI is to score at least 100 pts against them; unfortunately for the Magic, they didn't get anywhere close to that. The Sixers jumped out to a whopping 24 pt second qtr lead; the closest the Magic (37-23, 21-12 road) could get after that was nine points briefly midway through the final qtr, as PHI (26-32) won their seventh home game in a row 101-89.

Five players scored in double figures for the Magic, led by HTurkoglu with 20 pts (5 of 12 FGs), 7 rebs, 6 asts, but 5 TOs; RLewis 19 pts (5 of 15 FGs), 6 rebs; DHoward 14 pts (6 of 13 FGs), 16 rebs; KBogans off the bench with 13 pts (5 of 7 FGs); and JRedick, seeing extended minutes for the first time in a while, 10 pts (4 of 10 FGs). The Magic's starting backcourt of JNelson and MEvans combined for 2 pts on 1 of 6 FGs. KDooling, who played just 10 mins, left the game with a sprained foot.

Three Sixers scored over 20 pts, led by Andre Miller with 26 pts, Willie Green a season-high 26 pts, and Andre Iguodala 24 pts. PHI's starting backcourt of Miller and Green combined for 52 pts on 22 of 34 FGs, outscoring the Magic's starting backcourt 52-2.

The statistical breakdown:

FGs... PHI 37 of 83 (44.6%) ORL 30 of 74 (40.5%) PHI 76 ORL 71
3 PT FGs... ORL 11 of 26 (42.3%) PHI 2 of 10 (20%)
FTs... PHI 25 of 30 (83.3%) ORL 18 of 27 (66.7%)
REBs... PHI 41 ORL 41
AST/TO... PHI 24/11 ORL 18/20
BENCH... ORL 34 PHI 10

The Magic finish the month of FEB at 8-5, for an overall record of 37-23. They were 4-2 on the road, and 4-3 at home. They finished 2-4 against teams that are currently over .500, and 6-1 to teams currently under .500. The Magic hold an 8 1/2 game lead over second place WAS, and are the third seed in the East 3 games ahead of TOR and 4 games ahead of CLE.

Magic start off the month of March SAT hosting NY.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Magic pull away late to defeat NJ

Through three qtrs, this was a very close game as the lead changed hands many times with the Magic holding a 3 pt lead entering the final qtr. NJ (25-32) then scored the first 8 pts of the fourth for a 5 pt lead at 75-70, then the Magic (37-22, 21-11 road) took over as they outscored the Nets 32-17 the rest of the way as HTurkoglu scored 17 of his 25 pts in the final qtr and the Magic took advantage of a huge edge in FTs for a 102-92 win.

Five Magic players scored in double figures, led by Turkoglu with 25 pts (8 of 13 FGs), 5 rebs; RLewis also with 25 pts (7 of 10 FGs), 6 rebs; DHoward 17 pts (5 of 10 FGs), 10 rebs; MEvans 14 pts (7 of 12 FGs), 5 rebs; and KDooling off the bench with 14 pts (4 of 6 FGs). JNelson, with 4 pts, added 5 asts.

Vince Carter (26 pts) and Richard Jefferson (20 pts) combined for 46 pts for NJ.

The statistical breakdown:

FGs... NJ 35 of 82 (42.7%) ORL 34 of 65 (52.3%) NJ 82 ORL 73
3 PT FGs... NJ 12 of 26 (46.2%) ORL 5 of 17 (29.4%)
FTs... ORL 29 of 43 (67.4%) NJ 10 of 16 (62.5%)
REBs... NJ 40 ORL 37
AST/TO... NJ 25/13 ORL 16/10
BENCH... NJ 19 ORL 17

The Magic shot 60.7% in the second half (17 of 28 FGs), including 5 of 10 3 pt FGs after not making a single 3 pt shot in the first half. The Magic have now won 5 of their last 6 games and are a season-high 15 games over .500. Magic go right back at it WED night at PHI.

Magic/Nets preview

The Magic (36-22, 16-11 home), winners of four of their last five games, take on the new-look Nets (25-31, 11-16 road), winners of five of their last seven games and four home games in a row. NJ is adjusting to life without traded G Jason Kidd, and is coming off a 102-91 win over IND on SAT, with Richard Jefferson scoring 36 pts.

The probable starting lineup for NJ:

G... Marcus Williams (4.3 ppg)
G... Vince Carter (20.7 ppg, 5.7 rebs. 5.2 asts)
F... Richard Jefferson (23.5 ppg)
F... Nenad Krstic (4.5 ppg)
C... Josh Boone (7.9 ppg, 7.0 rebs)

Top reserves: Devin Harris (14.4 ppg); Bostjan Nachbar (9.9 ppg); Sean Williams (7.2 ppg, 5.4 rebs); Stromile Swift (6.6 ppg); Darrell Armstrong (2.5 ppg)

NJ is averaging 94.2 ppg while allowing 99.1 ppg; ORL is averaging 104.4 ppg while allowing 100.7.

The Magic have beaten NJ two out of three games this season, winning in NJ by 25 pts in NOV. Magic are 5 pt favorites tonight (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Magic break open game in second half to cruise past SAC

Going into the half tied with SAC (26-29) at 46, the Magic (36-22, 16-11 home) shot 25 of 43 in the second half (58.1%), including 6 of 12 on threes, on their way to a 112-93 win.

Six players scored in double figures for the Magic, led by DHoward with 26 pts (10 of 13 FGs), 10 rebs; RLewis 16 pts (5 of 12 FGs), 7 rebs; MEvans 14 pts (7 of 10 FGs); KDooling of the bench 14 pts (5 of 9 FGs); BCook off the bench with 14 pts (4 of 5 3 pt FGs); and HTurkoglu 13 pts (4 of 9 FGs), 5 rebs. Even though JNelson scored just 6 pts (1 of 11 FGs), he added 7 asts with just 1 TO.

Only three SAC players scored in double figures, led by Ron Artest with 23 pts and Kevin Martin with 21 pts.

The statistical breakdown:

FGs... ORL 40 of 83 (48.2%) SAC 35 of 81 (43.2%) ORL 91 SAC 76
3 PT FGs... ORL 11 of 22 (50%) SAC 6 of 15 (40%)
FTs... ORL 21 of 29 (72.4%) SAC 17 of 26 (65.4%)
REBs... ORL 42 SAC 42
AST/TO... ORL 24/8 SAC 19/15
BENCH... ORL 37 SAC 28

Magic have now won 4 of their last 5 games and move a season-high 14 games over .500. Next game is TUE night at NJ.

Kings/Magic preview

SAC (26-28, 9-18 road) visits the Magic (35-22, 15-11 home) for a Sunday evening contest. SAC is coming off a 116-115 OT victory FRI night at CHA, with Brad Miller scoring 22 pts along with 14 rebs.

The probable starting lineup for SAC:

G... Beno Udrih (12.1 ppg)
G... Kevin Martin (23.1 ppg)
F... Ron Artest (19.4 ppg, 5.8 rebs)
F... Mikki Moore (7.8 ppg, 5.9 rebs)
C... Brad Miller (14.5 ppg, 9.8 rebs)

Top reserves... John Salmons (13.8 ppg); Francisco Garcia (12.6 ppg); Anthony Johnson (6.1 ppg); Quincy Douby (4.3 ppg)

SAC is averaging 100.9 ppg while allowing 102.4 ppg, ORL is averaging 104.3 ppg while allowing 100.9 ppg.

Magic had one of their worst losses of the year earlier this season against the Kings in SAC 104-100 as the Kings were missing several key players for that game. Magic are 7 pt favorites tonight (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Friday, February 22, 2008

Turk's hot shooting leads Magic past PHI

Looking to bounce back after a bad loss to TOR WED night, the Magic (35-22, 15-11 home) did just that against PHI (24-32) as the Magic made 15 3 pt FGs en route to a 115-99 victory, led by HTurkoglu who scored a season-high 31 pts (9 of 17 FGs, 7 of 11 3 pt FGs), along with 7 asts and 5 rebs.

Three other players scored in double figures for the Magic, with DHoward having an excellent all-around game with 24 pts (9 of 12 FGs), 18 rebs, and 3 blocks; JNelson 17 pts (5 of 5 3 pt FGs), 4 asts; RLewis also with 17 pts (6 of 16 FGs), 5 asts. KDooling led the bench with 9 pts (4 of 6 FGs).

Three players scored over 20 pts for PHI, led by Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala with 25 pts, and Willie Green with 21 pts.

The statistical breakdown:

FGs... ORL 42 of 82 (51.2%) PHI (36 of 79) ORL 99 PHI 75
3 PT FGs... ORL 15 of 33 (45.5%) PHI 3 of 13 (23.1%)
FTs... PHI 24 of 32 (75%) ORL 16 of 20 (80%)
REBs... ORL 38 PHI 34
AST/TO... ORL 24/11 PHI 12/9
BENCH... ORL 20 PHI 18

The Magic were able to put this game away in the fourth qtr, as they scored 39 pts on 7 of 9 3 pt FG shooting. Turkoglo and Lewis combined for 24 of those points. Magic will try to get 14 games above .500 for the first time this season as they host SAC SUN evening.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Trade deadline passes quietly for Magic

Just as GM Otis Smith had been predicting for the last week or so, the Magic did not make any moves at the trade deadline and will finish the rest of the season with this roster; Tony Battie may be activated for the playoffs depending on his recovery, but other than that, no changes.

There was a big 11-man, three team trade made involving two teams from the East, CHI and CLE, and SEA from the West. CLE gets Ben Wallace and Joe Smith from CHI, along with Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West from SEA. CHI gets Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmons, and Shannon Brown from CLE. SEA gets Ira Newble and Donyell Marshall from CLE, and Adrian Griffin from CHI.

Magic have no answer for Bosh in decisive TOR win

Coming off a surprisingly easy win over DET TUE night, the Magic (34-22, 20-11 road) knew they would be in for a tougher game WED against well-rested TOR (29-23). They made it much tougher than the Magic would have hoped for, as the hot-shooting Raptors led by 14 at the half and by 20 pts after 3 qtrs, shooting 39 of 62 (62.9%) the first three qtrs. The Magic never got closer than 12 pts in the final qtr, as TOR went on to its highest point total of the season in a 127-110 win.

TOR's Chris Bosh was the star of this game, as he continued his excellent career against the Magic with 40 pts on 14 of 16 FGs and 11 of 11 FTs, and also 5 rebs and 5 asts. He had plenty of help, as 4 other teammates scored in double figures, with G Jose Calderon scoring 19 pts (8 of 10 FGs) with 13 asts and just 1 TO. Carlos Delfino came off the bench to score 23 pts (7 of 11 FGs) along with 5 asts.

Six players scored in double figures for the Magic, led by DHoward with 37 pts (13 of 16 FGs, 11 of 15 FTs), 15 rebs but just 1 block, and could not handle Bosh defensively; RLewis (6 of 14 FGs) and HTurkoglu (4 of 16 FGs) 16 pts each; Turk added 9 asts; JNelson 13 pts (5 of 10 FGs), 4 asts; MEvans 12 pts (5 of 9 FGs), 7 rebs; and KBogans off the bench with 11 pts (3 of 12 FGs).

The statistical breakdown:

FGs... TOR 47 of 80 (58.8%) ORL 38 of 84 (45.2%) TOR 105 ORL 85
3 PT FGs... TOR 11 of 20 (55%) ORL 9 of 28 (32.1%)
FTs... ORL 25 of 32 (78.1%) TOR 22 of 25 (88%)
REBs... ORL 40 TOR 34
AST/TO... TOR 33/8 ORL 18/9
BENCH... TOR 37 ORL 16

Magic coach Stan Van Gundy after the game: "There was not one thing they did that we could guard. Chris Bosh, we could not guard. We're going to have to think about double-teaming him next time."

Magic play at home FRI night against PHI.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Magic/Raptors preview

The Magic (34-21, 20-10 road), after a very impressive win against the Pistons, take on another tough opponent in TOR (28-23, 15-11 home). TOR has had a whole week off, and is coming off a 109-91 win against NJ, with Chris Bosh scoring 27 pts and underrated PG Jose Calderon had 22 pts with 12 asts.

The probable starting lineup for TOR:

G... Jose Calderon (12.9 ppg, 8.9 asts)
G... Anthony Parker (11.5 ppg)
F... Jamario Moon (8.2 ppg, 6.1 rebs)
F... Chris Bosh (22.5 ppg, 9.2 rebs)
C... Andrea Bargnani (10.3 ppg)

Top reserves: Carlos Delfino (9.1 ppg); Jason Kapono (8.2 ppg); Kris Humphries (6.0 ppg); Juan Dixon (4.3 ppg); Rasho Nesterovic (4.2 ppg) Guard T.J. Ford is doubtful.

TOR is averaging 99.0 ppg, while allowing 95.2 ppg; ORL is averaging 104.0 ppg, while allowing 100.4.

Bosh has always played well against the Magic, averaging 32.3 ppg and 11 rebs in his last four games. Magic beat the Raptors earlier this season in TOR 105-96 back in NOV. TOR is a 4 1/2 pt favorite over the Magic (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Magic break Pistons' 10-game winning streak with rout

It looked like it would be another tough go of it for the Magic (34-21, 20-10 road) in DET, as the Pistons (39-14) had a 5 pt lead after the first qtr. The Magic then stunningly turned the game around in the second and third qtrs, as they outscored the Pistons 63-37 in those qtrs, with DET only making 10 of 41 FGs in that time, while the Magic shot 20 of 36 FGs and saw their lead swell to as much as 25 pts in the fourth qtr on their way to a shockingly easy 103-85 win. DET saw their 10 game winning streak come crashing to an end.

Six players scored in double figures for the Magic, led by RLewis with 20 pts (8 of 10 FGs, 4 of 4 3 pt FGs); KBogans off the bench with 19 pts (6 of 8 FGs, 3 of 4 3 pt FGs); MEvans 16 pts (6 of 10 FGs, 4 of 5 3 pt FGs); HTurkoglu 12 pts (4 of 13 FGs), 6 asts; KDooling off the bench 11 pts (3 of 6 FGs); and JNelson 10 pts (5 of 8 FGs). DHoward had a rather quiet night with 8 pts (2 of 9 FGs), 8 rebs, 5 TOs, but 4 blocked shots. The Magic are now 23-2 when Howard blocks at least 3 shots in a game.

Only three DET players scored in double figures, led by reserve Rodney Stuckey with 16 pts.

The statistical breakdown:

FGs... ORL 36 of 74 (48.6%) DET 32 of 83 (38.6%) ORL 85 DET 66
3 PT FGs... ORL 13 of 20 (65%) DET 2 of 14 (14.3%)
FTs... DET 19 of 25 (76%) ORL 18 of 23 (78.3%)
REBs... DET 44 ORL 35
AST/TO... ORL 18/14 DET 17/13
BENCH... ORL 37 DET 37

The Magic won for the first time in DET since FEB of 2004, and split the season series 2 games to 2. Magic now have a whopping 8 game lead in the SE division over WAS. Magic go right back at it WED night with another tough game at TOR.

Magic back in action tonight against red-hot Pistons

The NBA returns to action after the All-Star Break, with the Magic (33-21, 19-10 road) facing a very difficult task playing at DET (39-13, 21-4 home). Since the Magic beat DET on JAN 21st, the Pistons have won ten games in a row by an average of double digits.

The probable starting lineup for DET:

G... Chauncey Billups (17.3 ppg. 7.1 asts)
G... Richard "Rip" Hamilton (18.3 ppg)
F... Tayshaun Prince (13.3 ppg)
F... Antonio McDyess (9.3 ppg, 8.7 rebs)
C... Rasheed Wallace (12.8 ppg, 7.1 rebs)

Top reserves: Jason Maxiell (7.9 ppg, 5.3 rebs); Jarvis Hayes (6.8 ppg); Arron Afflalo (3.5 ppg); Walter Hermann (3.0 ppg); Primoz Brezec (1.7 ppg)

DET is averaging 97.7 ppg, while allowing 89.6 ppg; ORL is averaging 104.0 ppg, while allowing 100.7 ppg.

The Magic have not won in DET since FEB of 2004. However, the Magic have "Superman" (DHoward) on their side; what will he do for an encore after last week's dominant performance against DEN, and his performance in the slam-dunk contest last weekend? DET is a 6 1/2 pt favorite (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Monday, February 18, 2008

Solid outing by Howard helps East beat West in All-Star Game

Starting his first All-Star Game, and after his spectacular performance in the slam-dunk contest SAT night, the Magic's Dwight Howard had a solid all-around game as the East All-Stars beat the West All-Stars in New Orleans 134-128. In slightly more than 30 minutes, Howard scored 16 pts on a perfect 7 of 7 from the field, along with 2 of 3 FTs; he grabbed 9 rebs, along with 3 asts, 3 steals, and a blocked shot. CLE's LeBron James was named the MVP with 27 pts (12 of 22 FGs), 9 asts, 8 rebs. BOS's Ray Allen added a game-high 28 pts (5 of 9 3 pt FGs).

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Howard puts on amazing show to win Slam-Dunk title

With four of the most athletic, creative, and powerful slam dunks in the history of the competition, Dwight Howard stole the show and easily defeated MIN's Gerald Green, the defending slam-dunk champion, in the final round of the Slam-Dunk competition SAT night to become the new Slam-Dunk champion. TOR's Jamario Moon and MEM's Rudy Gay were eliminated in the first round.

For the complete story... http://www.sportsline.com/nba/story/10648432

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Howard to compete in slam dunk contest tonight

From today's Sentinel:

The Magic's Dwight Howard will compete against Minnesota's Gerald Green, Memphis' Rudy Gay and Toronto's Jamario Moon in the 2008 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest at the NBA ALL-Star Weekend in New Orleans. The contest will be shown live at 8 p.m. on TNT.

Fans can vote via SMS TXT message and at NBA.com/allstar2008. Listen to the telecast announcers to find out when the voting window opens and closes.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Howard responds in a big way in Magic win over DEN

The Magic head into the All-Star Break with a 33-21 record after outscoring DEN (32-20) 61-50 in the second half for a 109-98 victory. This was the Magic's 15th consecutive home win over DEN.

After Magic Coach Van Gundy singled out DHoward for his lack of defense after MON night's loss to CLE, Howard responded with a huge 23 pts (8 of 13 FGs, 7 of 14 FTs), 24 rebs, and 2 blocked shots performance. Four other Magic players scored in double figures, led by RLewis with 25 pts (9 of 14 FGs), 7 rebs; HTurkoglu 18 pts (8 of 17 FGs); BCook off the bench with 18 pts (7 of 9 FGs, 4 of 5 3 pt FGs), 5 rebs; JNelson 13 pts (6 of 15 FGs), 5 asts, 2 TOs. KDooling added 8 pts (3 of 9 FGs) off the bench.

The high-scoring duo of DEN, Carmelo Anthony (32 pts) and Allen Iverson (21 pts), combined for 53 pts. Kenyon Martin added 17 pts, 9 rebs.

The statistical breakdown:

FGs... ORL 43 of 93 (46.2%) DEN 33 of 75 (44.0%) ORL 94 DEN 73
3 PT FGs... ORL 8 of 22 (36.4%) DEN 7 of 19 (36.8%)
FTs... DEN 25 of 33 (75.8%) ORL 15 of 23 (65.2%)
REBs... ORL 51 DEN 35
AST/TO... ORL 18/18 DEN 18/15
BENCH... ORL 28 DEN 20

The Magic end their 5 game homestand at 2-3, and will now enjoy 5 days off for the All-Star Break (except for Howard, who will have a busy All-Star Weekend). Their next game is a tough test at DET next TUE.

Nuggets/Magic preview

The Magic (32-21, 13-11 home) will try to end a disappointing homestand on a winning note as high-scoring DEN (32-19, 11-13 road) comes into Amway Arena. The Nuggets are coming off a 114-113 OT win at MIA TUE night, with J.R. Smith scoring 28 pts with eight 3 pt FGs. DEN has won 3 games in a row, 6 of their last 7, and trail UT by only 1/2 game in the NW division in the Western Conference.

The probable starting lineup for DEN:

G... Anthony Carter (8.1 ppg, 6.2 asts)
G... Allen Iverson (26.6 ppg, 7.3 asts)
F... Carmelo Anthony (26.1 ppg, 7.3 rebs)
F... Kenyon Martin (11.1 ppg, 6.4 rebs)
C... Marcus Camby (9.3 ppg, 14.5 rebs)

Top reserves: Linas Kleiza (12.1 ppg); J.R. Smith (9.7 ppg); Eduardo Najera (5.9 ppg)

DEN is averaging 106.8 ppg while allowing 103.8 ppg; ORL is averaging 103.9 ppg while allowing 100.8 ppg.

Even though DEN beat the Magic by 10 pts in JAN, the Magic have won an amazing 14 games in a row at home against the Nuggets; the last time DEN beat the Magic in ORL was March of 1992. The Magic are 6 pt favorites (www.pinnaclesports.com) in this, their last game prior to the All-Star Game.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Magic crumble in second half defensively in surprising loss to CLE

With CLE coming off an embarrassing loss SUN to DEN, and missing three key players (Daniel Gibson, Anderson Varajao, Sasha Pavlovic) for the game against the Magic, this was an opportunity for the Magic, at home, to make a statement and put away the Cavs. Unfortunately for the Magic, CLE (29-22), down by 3 at the half, scored 66 second-half pts on 16 of 30 FG shooting, including 6 of 9 3 pt FGs, and 28 of 34 FTs, to stun the Magic (32-21, 13-11 home) 118-111.

CLE superstar LeBron James had his usual outstanding game with 29 pts, 10 asts, 7 rebs, and 3 steals; but it was G Larry Hughes who really burned the Magic as he scored 40 pts (12 of 19 FGs, 4 of 5 3 pt FGs, 12 of 13 FTs). Hughes scored an amazing 23 3rd qtr pts on 6 of 7 FGs (2 of 2 3 pt FGs) and 9 of 10 FTs. Devin Brown (11 pts) and Ira Newble (10 pts) each scored well above their season averages. Drew Gooden added 10 pts.

Five Magic players scored in double figures, led by HTurkoglu with 25 pts, (10 of 17 FGs), 6 rebs, 5 asts; JNelson 22 pts (7 of 14 FGs), 4 asts but 5 TOs; DHoward 16 pts (6 of 11 FGs), 9 rebs; RLewis 15 pts (6 of 13 FGs); MEvans 10 pts (4 of 12 FGs), 8 rebs. KBogans and CArroyo each scored 7 pts off the bench. Usual sparkplug KDooling was inactive for the game.

The statistical breakdown:

FGs... ORL 41 of 85 (48.2%) CLE 38 of 71 (53.5%) ORL 92 CLE 85
3 PT FGs... ORL 10 of 26 (38.5%) CLE 9 of 14 (64.3%)
FTs... CLE 33 of 43 (76.7%) ORL 19 of 29 (65.5%)
REBs... ORL 41 CLE 41
AST/TO... CLE 21/13 ORL 16/10
BENCH... CLE 24 ORL 23

Magic are now a disappointing 1-3 on the homestand and close the homestand out WED night against another tough opponent, DEN, which will also be the last game for the Magic prior to the All-Star Game on SUN.

Magic host injury-plagued CLE tonight

CLE (28-22, 13-14 road) is coming off a thrashing at the hands of DEN Sunday 113-83, as the Cavs were without four major players... Drew Gooden, Daniel Gibson, Sasha Pavlovic, and Anderson Varajao. Superstar LeBron James scored 30 pts, but sat the whole fourth qtr. Gooden and Gibson are questionable for tonight's game. The Magic (32-20, 13-10 home) beat CLE in NOV in an OT thriller.

The probable starting lineup for CLE:

G... Eric Snow (0.9 ppg)
G... Larry Hughes (10.8 ppg)
F... LeBron James (30.1 ppg, 7.9 rebs, 7.2 asts)
F... Ira Newble (4.2 ppg)
C... Zydrunas Ilgauskas (13.8 ppg, 9.7 rebs)

Top reserves: Shannon Brown (7.0 ppg); Devin Brown (6.2 ppg); Donyell Marshall (3.0 ppg)

CLE is averaging 96.7 ppg while allowing 98.0 ppg. ORL is averaging 103.8 ppg and allows 100.4 ppg.

CLE had won 13 of 16 games before their injury problems and have lost 2 of their last 3. Magic are 1-2 on their homestand and are 8 1/2 pt favorites over the Cavs (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Friday, February 08, 2008

Magic fail to take advantage of fast start in loss to Lakers

The Magic (32-20, 13-10 home), notorious for their slow starts to games this season, shot a sizzling 75% from the field, including 8 made 3 pt FGs, to score a franchise-record 44 1st qtr pts to take a 44-33 lead against LAL (32-17). However, the Lakers proceeded to outscore the Magic 65-43 in the second and third qtrs to take an 11 pt lead entering the fourth. The Magic, though, made a run in that final qtr and took the lead in the last few minutes with their last lead at 112-111. However, the Magic missed their last 5 FGs and the Lakers went on to a 117-113 win.

Kobe Bryant (36 pts) and Pau Gasol (30 pts) were too much too handle for the Magic, as they combined to score 66 pts along with 19 rebs. Bryant continued to struggle with his jumpers, but was aggressive in driving to the hoop and went to the FT line 16 times, making 14.

Even though no Magic players scored over 20 pts, seven players scored in double figures, led by DHoward with 19 pts (8 of 8 FGs), 11 rebs; JNelson 17 pts (7 of 15 FGs), 9 asts, 0 TOs; RLewis 16 pts (5 of 11 FGs); HTurkoglu 16 pts (5 of 13 FGs), 6 asts; MEvans 12 pts (5 of 10 FGs); KBogans in reserve 11 pts (4 of 8 FGs); BCook in reserve 11 pts (3 of 4 3 pt FGs). Howard and Turkoglu were in foul trouble most of the second half.

The statistical breakdown:

FGs... LAL 41 of 77 (53.2%) ORL 40 of 81 (49.4%) ORL 95 LAL 92
3 PT FGs... ORL 15 of 32 (46.9%) LAL 10 of 20 (50%)
FTs... LAL 25 of 30 (83.3%) ORL 18 of 21 (85.7%)
REBs... LAL 40 ORL 35
AST/TO... ORL 25/10 LAL 22/9
BENCH... ORL 33 LAL 15

Magic fall to 1-2 on their 5 game homestand and have lost to the Lakers 3 times in a row at ORL. Magic have the weekend off before hosting CLE and LeBron James MON night.

Nelson to start at PG tonight as Magic take on Lakers

The LAL (31-17, 14-10 road), in the midst of a team-record nine game road trip, stop off in ORL to take on the Magic (32-19, 13-9 home). So far, the Lakers are 3-2 on the trip, and are coming off a 98-95 loss to ATL WED night, with Lamar Odom leading with 19 pts. Superstar Kobe Bryant has scored just 17 pts in his last two games, as he is being bothered by a dislocated little finger that is affecting his shooting.

Newly acquired C Pau Gasol will play in his third game with LAL tonight; but Andrew Bynum (knee) and former Magic F Trevor Ariza (foot) are out indefinitely.

The probable starting lineup for LAL:

G... Derek Fisher (12.7 ppg)
G... Kobe Bryant (27.6 ppg, 6.2 rebs, 5.3 asts)
F... Vladimir Radmanovic (7.7 ppg)
F... Lamar Odom (13.4 ppg, 9.6 rebs)
C... Pau Gasol (18.9 ppg, 8.8 rebs)

Top reserves: Jordan Farmar (9.4 ppg); Sasha Vujacic (7.3 ppg); Luke Walton (7.1 ppg); Ronny Turiaf (6.9 ppg)

JNelson returns to the starting PG spot for the Magic after not starting for 10 games. Magic have won 9 of their last 12 games, including 6 of their last 7 at home; but Lakers have beaten them twice in a row in ORL. Magic beat LAL earlier this season, and are 1 1/2 pt favorites tonight (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Magic overcome slow start to rout NJ

Magic Coach Van Gundy had seen enough after seeing his team fall behind 15-4 in the first 5 1/2 minutes. Reserves KDooling and BCook led the Magic charge from behind, as the Magic built a 9 pt halftime lead and eventually a 17 pt lead after 3 qtrs, as the Magic (32-19, 13-9 home) avenged a 1 pt loss to the Nets (20-29) last month 100-84.

Six Magic players scored in double figures, led by DHoward with 21 pts (6 of 11 FGs), 13 rebs; RLewis 19 pts (6 of 14 FGs), 6 rebs, 4 steals; HTurkoglu 19 pts (7 of 13 FGs), 6 asts. Three reserves scored 11 pts for the Magic... JNelson (3 of 6 FG, 8 asts, 1 TO); BCook (4 of 8 FGs, all in the first qtr); and KDooling (4 of 6 FGs).

Five players scored in double figures for NJ, led by Vince Carter's 18 pts.

The statistical breakdown:

FGs... ORL 34 of 72 (47.2%) NJ 33 of 79 (41.8%) ORL 78 NJ 71
3 PT FGs... ORL 10 of 27 (37%) NJ 5 of 15 (33.3%)
FTs... ORL 22 of 28 (78.6%) NJ 13 of 16 (81.2%)
REBs... ORL 42 NJ 42
AST/TO... ORL 22/12 NJ 20/16
BENCH... ORL 35 NJ 28

With Arroyo's quick hook at PG and Nelson's effective performance in reserve, it looks like the Magic's ever-changing PG rotation will be changing once again. Magic have now increased their SE division lead to 6 1/2 games over WAS, and face the new-look Lakers with Pau Gasol FRI night as the five game homestand continues.

Nets/Magic preview

On the second game of a five-game homestand, the Magic (31-19, 12-9 home) take on struggling NJ (20-28, 10-13 road), who has lost 11 of their last 13 games, including a 105-90 home loss to the Lakers TUE night. Stromile Swift, recently obtained by NJ from MEM for Jason Collins, most likely will not play tonight.

The probable starting lineup for NJ:

G... Jason Kidd (11.1 ppg, 10.4 asts, 8.1 rebs)
G... Vince Carter (20.7 ppg, 5.5 rebs, 5.1 asts)
F... Richard Jefferson (23.8 ppg)
F... Sean Williams (7.3 ppg, 5.6 rebs)
C... Josh Boone (7.7 ppg, 6.9 rebs)

Top reserves: Bostjan Nachbar (10.0 ppg); Malik Allen (5.7 ppg); Nenad Krstic (4.2 ppg); Darrell Armstrong (2.1 ppg)

NJ is averaging 93.5 ppg, while allowing 99.5 ppg; ORL is averaging 103.7 ppg, while allowing 100.4 ppg.

The Magic and Nets each have won at the other's arena this season, with the Nets beating the Magic by 1 pt last month. The Magic are double-digit favorites by 11 pts (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Monday, February 04, 2008

Bad start for homestand in Magic loss to DAL

DAL (32-15) led this game by as much as 19 pts, only to see the Magic (31-19, 12-9 home) chip away in the second half and cut the lead down to 3 pts with a little over 7 mins remaining on the fourth qtr; however, DAL then scored 10 in a row and made their FTs down the stretch for a 107-98 victory, breaking the Magic's four game winning streak.

The Magic had 6 players in double figures, including a triple-double from HTurkoglu with 13 pts (4 of 14 FGs), 13 asts, and 12 rebs; DHoward 28 pts (11 of 16 FGs), 7 rebs; MEvans 16 pts (6 of 8 FGs), 5 rebs; KDooling off the bench with 14 pts (5 of 8 FGs); RLewis 13 pts (5 of 16 FGs); and CArroyo 12 pts (4 of 9 FGs).

DAL, playing without Devin Harris and Jerry Stackhouse, had 3 players with at least 20 pts... Josh Howard with 28 pts, and Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry each with 20 pts.

The statistical breakdown:

FGs... DAL 41 of 80 (51.2%) ORL 36 of 78 (46.2%) DAL 87 ORL 80
3 PT FGs... ORL 8 of 20 (40%) DAL 5 of 10 (50%)
FTs... DAL 20 of 25 (80%) ORL 18 of 26 (69.2%)
REBs... DAL 47 ORL 34
AST/TO... ORL 22/8 DAL 18/7
BENCH... DAL 46 ORL 16

The Magic also had their 5 game home winning streak broken with this loss, and have 4 games remaining on the homestand, with the only game against a sub-.500 team coming up with NJ on WED.

DAL/Magic preview

The Magic (31-18, 12-8 home) will try for their 5th win in a row, and 6th home win in a row as they host Western Conference contender DAL (31-15, 11-12 away) tonight. DAL will be without PG Devin Harris and possibly F Jerry Stackhouse also due to injuries. DAL is coming off a bad 90-67 loss at DET SUN, with Dirk Nowitzki scoring 15 pts.

The probable starting lineup for DAL:

G... Jason Terry (14.8 ppg)
G... Eddie Jones (3.4 ppg)
F... Josh Howard (20.7 ppg, 7.5 rebs)
F... Dirk Nowitzki (22.3 ppg, 8.7 rebs)
C... Erick Dampier (5.4 ppg, 7.0 rebs)

Top reserves: Brandon Bass (7.9 ppg); Jose Juan Barea (4.2 ppg); DeSagana Diop (5.1 rebs); Trenton Hassell (2.2 ppg)

DAL is averaging 100.1 ppg, while allowing 95.9 ppg; ORL is averaging 103.8 ppg, while allowing 100.3 ppg.

The Magic have beaten DAL 12 of the last 15 games in ORL, and are 4 1/2 pt favorites tonight (www.pinnaclesports.com).

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Magic win high-scoring affair over IND for 4th in a row

The two highest-scoring teams in the East went at it and both teams lived up to their offensive reputations, as not much defense was played; but the Magic (31-18, 19-10 road) made their FTs down the stretch and beat IND (19-29) 121-115, their 8th win in the last 10 games. The Pacers have lost 6 in a row.

Six Magic players scored in double figures, led by DHoward with 24 pts (8 of 13 FGs), 12 rebs; HTurkoglu 23 pts (10 of 16 FGs), 8 asts, 5 rebs; RLewis 19 pts (5 of 11 FGs), 5 rebs; and MEvans (6 of 11 FGs), CArroyo (9 of 9 FTs), and KBogans (4 of 6 3 PT FGs) each scored 16 pts.

Five IND players scored in double figures, led by Danny Granger with 29 pts and Mike Dunleavy with 19 pts. Former Magic Travis Diener scored 5 pts with 10 asts, 6 rebs, and 1 TO.

The statistical breakdown:

FGs... ORL 39 of 70 (55.7%) IND 39 of 87 (44.8%) ORL 92 IND 92
3 PT FGs... ORL 14 of 25 (56%) IND 14 of 34 (41.2%)
FTs... ORL 29 of 42 (69.0%) IND 23 of 28 (82.1%)
REBs... ORL 40 IND 37
AST/TO... IND 30/11 ORL 22/15
BENCH... IND 40 ORL 23

The Magic have now won their league-leading 19th road game, and have moved 5 games ahead of second-place WAS in the SE. Magic begin a 5 game homestand MON against DAL.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Magic win tight one in Philly

In a super-close game throughout, the Magic (30-18, 18-10 road) held a 3 pt lead over PHI (18-29) entering the final qtr. The lead changed hands several times in the final four minutes, with the Magic clinching the game with 2 seconds remaining on HTurkoglu's two FTs to win 108-106. Turk had another outstanding game, his first game since the All-Star reserves were announced, with him not making the team despite deserving numbers.

Six Magic players scored in double figures, led by Turk with 23 pts (9 of 15 FGs), 7 rebs, 6 asts; RLewis 18 pts (7 of 15 FGs), 7 rebs, 5 asts; DHoward 17 pts (6 of 10 FGs), 14 rebs despite 5 TOs; CArroyo 14 pts (5 of 8 FGs), 5 asts; MEvans 13 pts (5 of 7 FGs); and KDooling off the bench with 10 pts (4 of 5 FGs).

PHI also had 6 players in double figures, with Andre Miller scoring 23 pts and Louis Williams 20 pts off the bench.

The statistical breakdown:

FGs... PHI 42 of 84 (50%) ORL 40 of 74 (54.1%) ORL 89 PHI 87
3 PT FGs... ORL 9 of 27 (33.3%) PHI 2 of 5 (40%)
FTs... PHI 20 of 27 (74.1%) ORL 19 of 24 (79.2%)
REBs... ORL 42 PHI 33
AST/TO... PHI 26/8 ORL 21/15
BENCH... PHI 35 ORL 23

Magic now have an NBA-high 18 road wins, have won 7 of their last 9 games, and are back at 12 games over .500, their most since starting 16-4 before losing 12 of 19 games reminding Magic fans of their collapse from last season under Brian Hill. Now, if the Magic play at least .500 the rest of the way, they will finish with at least 47 wins compared to just 40 last year. Magic travel to IND SAT night.

A look ahead to the month of February for the Magic

The Magic go into FEB with a 29-18 record, still the third-best record in the East, and their 29 wins is tied for 6th most in the NBA. Their 17 road wins are tied with PHO and DET for the most in the NBA. The Magic finished JAN winning 6 of their last 8 games for a 7-7 record for the month.

The Magic have 13 games in FEB, 7 home and 6 away. At home, they play 4 teams that are currently over .500 (DAL, LAL, CLE, DEN), and 3 teams currently under .500 (NJ, PHI, SAC). On the road, the Magic play 2 teams currently over .500 (DET, TOR), and 4 teams currently under .500 (PHI twice, IND, NJ).

The month features a season-high 5 game homestand from FEB 4-13. Also, the Magic play 5 games in the month's first 8 days, and 6 games the last 9 days of the month. The Magic also play three sets of back-to-back road games. Thanks to the All-Star break, the Magic play only 2 games in the 10 day span from the 9th through the 18th.

Optimistic view of how the Magic will fare this month: 10-3
Pessimistic view: 5-8