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.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Magic finish off Nuggets for a perfect 4-0 road trip

All five Magic starters scored in double figures, led by Hedo Turkoglu's 31 points, 19 of which came in the second half, to make up for a horrible effort from the Magic reserves, who only scored two points the whole game, as the Magic pulled away in the fourth quarter for 106-88 win over Denver, their seventh in a row.

Jameer Nelson scored 21 first half points as the Magic led 26-23 after one, but trailed 48-47 going into the half. Denver's largest lead was 54-49 early in the third, and the last tie of the game was at 61 before the Magic took control. They led 79-70 going into the last quarter and quickly pulled away.

Magic leading scorers

Hedo Turkoglu: 31 points (9 of 16 field goals), 5 assists
Jameer Nelson: 23 points (9 of 15 field goals), 5 assists
Rashard Lewis: 23 points (8 of 12 field goals)
Dwight Howard: 14 points (5 of 15 field goals), 20 rebounds, 3 blocks
Courtney Lee: 13 points (5 of 11 field goals), 6 rebounds, 3 steals

Denver leading scorers

Linas Kleiza (bench): 26 points
Chauncey Billups: 18 points

Overall Game Statistics

FG%: ORL 46.3% (37 of 80) DEN 36.5% (31 of 85)
3 PT FG%: ORL 42.3% (11 of 26) DEN 31.3% (5 of 16)
FT%: ORL 70% (21 of 30) DEN 70% (21 of 30)
REB: DEN 47 (16 offensive) ORL 41 (7 offensive)
AST/TO: DEN 19/17 ORL 16/11

Other game notes and stats:

-The Magic starters outscored the Nuggets' starters 104-44 while shooting 36 for 69 (52.2%), compared to 15 of 57 (26.3%) for the Nuggets
-The Denver bench outscored the Magic bench 44-2 while shooting 16 for 28 (57.1%), compared to 1 of 11 (9.1%) for the Magic
-Anthony Johnson was the only Magic reserve to score
-Brian Cook and Adonal Foyle did not see action
-Lewis and Turkoglu combined for 54 points on 17 of 28 field goals (60.7%), including 8 of 14 three point field goals, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 blocks
-Lee and Nelson combined for 36 points on 14 of 26 (53.8%) shooting
-The Nuggets' starting guards, Billups and J.R. Smith, combined for 27 points on 8 of 30 (26.7%) shooting
-The Magic starting frontline outscored the Nuggets' starting frontline 68-17, and outrebounded them 28-16
-The Magic outscored the Nuggets in the second half 59-40

The Magic finish the first half of the season at a sensational 33-8, just percentage points behind Cleveland for the best record in the NBA!

The Magic get a well-deserved four day break before a huge game Thursday night as Boston comes to Orlando for the first time this season.

For the complete box score, click here


  • At 3:54 AM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Say what you want about Hedo Turkoglu, but how many other players in the league can do what “He-do”?

    Offense, defense (or lack there of), character, and chemistry… This team is legit, and Turk plays a major role. All I’m saying is, as much complaining as I’ve heard lately about Turk, nobody has given me a valid replacement.

    How many times have we heard Magic fans complain about us letting a player go to early, only to see that guy become productive elsewhere? Patience and player development was obviously a problem in the past. I really think Otis Smith realized that fact. And because of that realization, Smith has exercised patience with the players he believed in, and cut dead weight when needed. In the past, guys like Nelson, Turk and Redick would already be gone. Yet Smith has kept them around, and look at where they are now.

    In addition, who knows if Turk or Nelson would have broke out the way they did had we not let guys like Hill, Arroyo, and Dooling move on. Say what you want about this team. It has been a work in progress. But we’ve all had the privilege to watch them grow up before our eyes. It wasn’t by chance. It was well planned. It’s something that could be award winning. As in, Otis Smith should be a leading candidate for NBA Executive of the Year, and Stan Van Gundy should be right there for Coach of the Year.

    Some people dumped on me for calling this team "elite" or a "contender" not long ago, but that's just what they are. The Orlando Magic have a real chance to do something special, not just in the future, but right now, this season.

    It's a good time to be a Magic fan!

  • At 4:59 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Another very well-thought out post, OVERWADED!

    You're absolutely right about Otis Smith being a legitimate candidate for NBA executive of the year (I don't think Matt would vote for him, though) and Stan Van Gundy the leading candidate for NBA Coach of the Year.

    The chemistry on this club right now is so special and is a huge factor in the Magic being 33-8.

    Turk really came back from a sub-par outing against the Lakers with an All-Star like performance against Denver. That's four solid performances from him in the last five games, and I'll take that the rest of the season.

    I thought the bench would have to pull the Magic through against the Nuggets, but the starters did not miss a beat the night after playing such a tough, intense game against the Lakers.

    The bench had been doing relatively well the last several weeks, so I guess they're allowed a "hiccup" like the combined two points scored against Denver.

    It'll be interesting to see what SVG does when Mickael Pietrus is healthy and ready to return. We've talked about it a little before, but right now Courtney Lee is doing a heck of a job as the starting SG. Much credit goes to Otis for selecting Lee in the draft.

    Here's hoping the Magic keep their edge during the upcoming four day break and can pick up where they left off Thursday night against the Celtics.

  • At 11:54 AM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    First let me say props to the magic for beating denver soundly after arriving so late. What an offensive performance from the starters! Mike & intro,i know you guys are both hedo's biggest fans. Both of you seem to be great at reporting how awesome hedo is when he plays well,but when he's poor/horrible i'm the only one detailing how bad he is as well as giving out credit where it is do. Mike you pointed out 4 out of 5 good games for hedo,well let me explain something to all the casual observers. I thought about something 5 games ago,when we started the stretch of division winners i thought hedo should be the happiest person on our roster. You ask why? Its because none of the division leaders offered a small-forward who would challenge hedo offensively,meaning hedo wont have to do the one thing he's bad at over this stretch of games (on-the-ball defense). Lets look at the participants. Against the spurs an old michael finley who is strictly a spot-up shooter. Against the lakers radmonivic who again is strictly a spot-up shooter. Against the kings do we even remember who starts for them (bum). And finally against the nuggets another bum because carmelo anthony is injured. Perfect for hedo right? YUP. The magic went 4-0. Guys i'm not dumping on hedo,just bringing some reality to why his defense hasnt been exposed more on this trip. The lakers and other elite teams always show your true colors to you because play-off basketball is played in the 80's not the 100's,plus these divison winners were solid wins but none of the teams impressed me. The spurs look old,the nuggets have no carmelo (if he would have played,hedo wouldnt have had those offensive numbers)the kings are the kings,and the one solid team we played (lakers)made hedo look soft. Anyhow glad we got the sweep. GO MAGIC!!!!

  • At 12:04 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    Right on Overwaded. And I think I posted this summer that this was a championship worthy team...

    I would only add that my vote for the second best player on the team is Lewis. He is such a consistent, stable force on this team and is quietly having a career year as the only starter not to miss a game while leading the team in minutes and steals, second in points and averaging 5.9 rebounds a game playing PF with a SF body. He is doing everything that Otis had to hope for when signing him, and at least for now is earning his contract.

    One more obvious thought, but without looking it up this has to be the greatest western road trip in the history of the franchise. It would be unfair for the most optimistic Magic fan here to expect them to beat the top 3 teams (and all division leaders) in the West.

  • At 2:11 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Here's your replacement,i keep trying to tell you there is a life after hedo.In Case Turkoglu Leaves, Here's The Plan:
    When Magic General Manager Otis Smith signed Mickael Pietrus as a free agent last summer, it looked as if the move was made to solve the club's inconsistency at the shooting guard-spot.

    But there was something else at work.

    Pietrus is part of Smith's back-up plan if the Magic can't re-sign small forward Hedo Turkoglu, who can opt out of his contract after the season.

    Pietrus can also play small forward.

    This would be the last big contract for Turk, who turns 30 in March. He might be asking for a 5-year, $50 million deal.

    Not that he's not worth it --- he is.

    But with Rashard Lewis' six-year, $118-million contract. . . Dwight Howard's five-year, $85-million contract ... Jameer Nelson's five-year, $40-million deal. . .and Pietrus' four-year $23-million note already on the books....well, you get the picture. Can you carry another contract worth $50-million over five?

    The signing of Lewis for mega-bucks skewed everything else, of course.

    Is Turk your second-best player? Third-best? Fourth-best behind Howard, Lewis and Nelson?

    Smith preaches a lot about chemistry, and losing Turk would put that in jeopardy.

    The Magic, unfortunately, would have to change their offensive approach without Turk --- an approach that has turned them into one of the NBA's elite teams.

    Pietrus certainly would not be sharing playmaking duties as Turk does now with point guard Jameer Nelson.

    They would lose Turk's size and versatility at 6-10, 240. He can come off the pick-and-rolls, hit 3s anywhere, drive and find Howard for the alley-oop.

    If Turk should leave, Lewis could be moved from power forward to small forward, with Tony Battie taking over a power forward. Or they could sign another veteran on the cheap who wants to play with Howard and a contender. Or they could stay with Lewis at PF, go with MP at SF and adjust.

    They could keep MP at shooting guard. But it seems like they have a backlog there, and if you want to develop rookie Courtney Lee, who is currently starting with MP out..... you might need to make a deal for another veteran small forward, offering MP or Reddick. Keith Bogans is a free agent after the season.

    Bogans ($2.9 million). Adonal Foyle ($1.2 million), Jeremy Richardson ($800,000) and Marcin Gortat ($700,000) come off the books after the season, leaving the Magic with 10 players, including Turk. But their payroll, because of ascending salaries, doesn't change much --- still around $69 million. And they still need to sign or re-sign more bodies (presumably, Gortat.)

    Smith told us recently he "assumes" the Magic and Turk are on course to re-sign --- he doesn't get the feeling he has to trade him before the Feb. 19 deadline --- but adds, "I don't know."

    That means the numbers from Turk's camp are not the numbers the Magic have in mind yet.

    Smith said he and Lon Babby, Turk's agent, will talk before the deadline to get a read on the situation.

    Can't see the Magic trading Turk as Smith would opt to keep this team together with it on a roll. He'd risk trying to re-sign Turk this summer.

    While he isn't having a great season --- not like last season when he won the league's most-improved player award --- Turk can also simply play out his contract with Orlando. He has another season left at about $7 million and then head into free agency in 2010.

    But the market will be crowded then with all the big names. It's not going to be great this summer either (it's the economy, stupid). Bschmitz.

  • At 2:38 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Next 4 games,boston,miami,indiana and cleveland. Granger and marion wont be easy nights for hedo and we know labron and paul will be impossible missions,hedo may get some help from SVG by switching the match-ups so he doesnt have to guard any of those guys but we'll see (making our shooting guard guard their small forward and vice versa). If he can at least hold his own i'll be sold,then there will be no question the magic should be the favorite to win the championship. Paul and labron cant have their way with hedo (maybe even tayshaun in an early round)and be the reason why their teams win the game if we expect to at least get out of the east let alone beat the western champion.

  • At 5:24 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    BIG; nice responses, and you’re right; defense is not Turkoglu’s strength. My thing is, I’m not going to stress about Turk’s defense, when a player has an off night, or anything else as long as this team continues to find ways to win.

    That doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about what the Magic’s playoff future holds. Reality is, nobody knows how much of a problem Boston or Cleveland will be for Orlando. At the same time, nobody knows how much of a problem Orlando will be for them. All there is right now is speculation and opinions. We can look back at how we matched up to them last season (3-1, 2-1), but that can't be considered accurate. So this is what we’re left with:

    In the next few months, we should have a better idea of how far this team can go. Orlando still has to play Boston and Cleveland 3 times, and Detroit 2. If we struggle in all of those, then I’ll worry, until then, I’m going to enjoy watching the Magic play the best basketball in the NBA.

    Pietrus and Battie. That’s your solution? That’s who replaces Hedo Turkoglu if we cannot resign him? No offense to either of them, as I think they both have a place on this team; but I would not be happy if that is what happened.

    Would either one of them be able to stay on the court playing starters minutes? I just can't imagine having to rely on either of them that much. Pietrus plays reckless and looks to be injury prone, and Battie is 33. If we cannot resign Turk, we got to do something better than that scenario; because if that is what happens, I would no longer think of this team as a contender...unless Fran Vasquez became a productive starting power forward for us. ;)

    Every team has weaknesses. As of now, it seems like we have two. One is our backup point guard. The other is Hedo Turkoglu's defense. Well, if those are our biggest problems, I'll take them. And you know what, if Turk’s defense really becomes an issue, Pietrus and Bogans can defend that position, or Lewis could slide over and do the same.

    Turk may not be the best defender of the NBA, but you got to consider what he does on the other end of the floor. He's a big game player, and he's shown that time and time again. So while a guy like Pierce might come down and score on him, who says Turk won't come back and do the exact same thing?

    As for the upcoming games, there are alternatives.

    Turk defends Dunleavy, and Lee could defend Granger.

    Marion is no longer an offensive threat now that Nash is out of the picture. The Heat are ready to move on, as he's in every trade rumor out there.

    Pierce will be a challenge, but Turk has shown in the past that he presents just as much of a problem on the other end for Pierce.

    James is a problem for the entire league, and can only be slowed down two ways; when he settles for his jumper, or when he's double teamed. I expect to see multiply guys defending him. Turk might start out, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Bogans, Lee, Lewis, and Pietrus (when he comes back) all get a chance.

    But if you want to stick with the starting lineups, as it relates to the Cavs, Wallace starts with James. He is a non factor on the offensive end, which means Lewis can either help Turk, or Turk can defend Wallace.

    This team is versatile. We have options. So I still think we present more problems for the opposition, than they present to us.

    Considering we’ve been revisiting 20 years of Magical memories in this anniversary season, I’m close with these familiar words. Why not us? Why not now?

  • At 12:54 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    I still have my "Why Not Us, Why Not Now" T-shirt from the 1995 finals!

    Big Figure, when I summarize the games, I always try to point out the good AND the bad that the Magic do as a team and also individually. In regard to Hedo Turkoglu, when he had the two really bad games in the beginning of this month against Miami and Toronto, I made a detailed note of it in my "other game notes and stats" section on both posts.

    Of course, you make some valid points about Turk's lack of defense that I may not always mention in my game summaries (that's what the "comments" section is for), but the way I look at it is... the Magic are 33-8, and only one team in the whole NBA has a better winning pct. than the Magic. Even with Turk and his defensive deficiencies, the Magic's team defense has improved significantly this season (they are giving up more than five fewer points a game than last season), and the combo of Turk and Lewis at forward gives the opposition a whole boatload of problems on trying to guard them, especially with Turk's offensive versatility.

    I think Otis Smith recognizes the excellent chemistry on this team right now, and I would be shocked if he made a trade that included Turk. There's always the risk of having him opt out of his contract and signing with another team this off-season and the Magic getting nothing in return, but we'll see what happens. I'm not too worried about it; I'm just enjoying this great 33-8 ride we're on now!

    Like WeRDevos said, not even the most optimistic Magic fan could have expected them to go 4-0 on this western road trip facing three division leaders, yet that's exactly what happened!

  • At 12:05 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Mike, you pretty much summed it up, and I couldn't agree more.

    Although if the Lakers win tonight, your comment on "only one team in the whole NBA having a better winning %" would change.

    Considering the Lakers are coming off of back 2 back losses only for the 2nd time all season (courtesy of the Magic...both times), I won't be surprised to see the Cavs get a loss tonight.

    Not that it matters much at this point; but after record setting starts, hearing so much hype around the Celtics, Lakers, and Cavs, it'd be pretty damn cool, even if only for a brief time, halfway through the season, we could say the Orlando Magic have the best record in the NBA.

    Funny that you have still have that shirt Mike. That’s awesome. I know I still have my “It’s the Goggles” shirt, and the actually goggles. Actually I have tons of stuff from those seasons. I was a “fanatic”, still am I guess. I’d probably have to say one the coolest things I have from that 95 season is one of the actually bench chairs from the “Championship Tour”. Good memories!

  • At 4:45 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    If my math is correct, the Magic WILL have the best winning pct. in the NBA if the Lakers can beat the Cavs tonight. Even if the Celtics defeat the Suns tonight, the Magic would still have the better winning percentage.

    Assuming a Lakers' and Celtics' win tonight:

    1) Magic 33-8 (.805)
    2) Lakers 32-8 (.800)
    3) Cavaliers 31-8 (.795)
    4) Celtics 34-9 (.791)

    The Cavs are missing Big Z and Delonte West, so I don't expect them to defeat the Lakers, even if LBJ has a huge night.

    I'm in the process of planning my Orlando vacation for sometime later in February for 9 or 10 days. Of course, I plan to attend as many Magic games as I can during my visit. I'm even going to wear my "Why Not Us, Why Not Now" T-shirt to a game!


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