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.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Game night preview

Saturday, Dec. 19. 7:00 p.m.

Amway Arena
Orlando, FL

The Magic (19-7, 9-2 home) close out their four-game week when they battle the Portland Trail Blazers (16-11, 6-7 road) on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET at Amway Arena. The matchup initially looked to feature two of the league’s best young centers in All-Star Dwight Howard and Portland’s Greg Oden. However, after Oden went down with a season-ending knee injury, the matchup now has a completely different feel. Portland is 3-3 since losing their young big man, including a double-overtime loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Magic will likely look to capitalize on the Trail Blazers’ misfortune and work the ball inside to Howard. With a thinned frontline, it will make it difficult for Portland to consistently foul the Magic’s All-Star center, a tactic that many of Orlando’s opponents have recently employed to force him to shoot free throws rather than attack the rack from the field. Whichever approach Portland decides to take is of no concern to Howard. “I just look at the big picture,” Howard said. “Sometimes it’s tough, but I just have to keep my composure and understand what other teams are trying to do.”

Here is the complete preview from Yahoo! Sports.

The Magic are 8 1/2 point favorites.


  • At 3:17 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Despite not having Greg Oden and Rudy Fernandez and a couple other players due to injury, the Blazers are still a talented team. They came from behind to Phoenix the other night, so the Magic better not take Portland lightly.

    It's been a while since the Magic beat a team over .500, so tonight would be a good time to start.

  • At 5:11 PM, Blogger Ken said…

    Aren't these the type of teams the Magic fall to? Teams that are missing one or more of their star players. Seems they get over confidend and don't bother to show up, while the other team has nothing to lose and lays it all on the line.. I hope i'm wrong, but i ain't holding my breath.

    Dwight has had some phenominal games so far this season. But he also seems to get frustrated and distracted more easily than he did last season. It actually seems to me anyway, that his game has regressed a bit.. Double teams and other dominate Centers can totally take him out of his game. And his complaining, to no avail has made him a league leader in technicals.. Free throws and turnovers continue to be a problem.

    Wasn't Patrick Ewing hired as a Big Mans coach for Dwight? if that was his pourpose, I personally don't see much improvent in Dwights game the last few years..

    Rip me a new one guys.. I'm sure i got it comming..

  • At 6:26 PM, Blogger Matt said…


    You are right. While I don't think that Dwight is regressing in the "last few years" as you have put it, his numbers are not better than last year, and his game has not improved considerably. He is a bit better offensively, but not tougher mentally. I think that Dwight would never be an 'enforcer' despite his power game. An enforcer is a guy who would do all the dirty plays, and if one dares to come to the paint, he will put him on his back so that next time he would think twice before coming to the paint. We needed that enforcer in MIA's game. Could BB be an enforcer? Probably. Magic is so soft right now. We don't even have a Rajon Rondo type of tough guy.

  • At 4:37 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Ken, it's ironic that on the same day you say that you think Dwight Howard's game has regressed, he goes out and grabs 20 rebounds!

    For comparative purposes, let's compare his stats so far this season to last season's, with last season's stats in parenthesis:

    PPG: 17.9 (20.6)
    FG%: 63.2% (57.2%)
    FGA: 9.2 (12.4)
    FT%: 58.8% (59.4%)
    FTA: 10.9 (10.8)
    REB: 13.0 (13.8)
    BLK: 2.3 (2.9)
    AST: 1.5 (1.4)
    TO: 3.2 (3.0)

    To summarize, he is down 2.7 points per game from last season, down 3.2 field goal attempts per game, down 0.8 rebounds per game, down 0.6 blocks per game, and up 0.2 turnovers per game.

    He is up 6.4% in FG percentage.

    He is about the same in FT percentage, FTs attempted, and assists.

    It would be accurate to say Howard's game has regressed a bit, considering he is worse than last season in 5 categories and has improved in only 1 category.

    Despite that fact, he still leads the league in rebounding, is second in FG percentage, and tied for second in blocks.

    Pretty darn good for someone who's game has "regressed" a bit!

    However, as Matt said, Dwight needs to get more mental toughness at times and not let himself get distracted over opponents' fouling him or getting upset at the refs' calls and losing focus.

  • At 5:40 PM, Blogger Matt said…


    With all due respect, it is important in statistics to interpret the data right. Using the number which you have provided, Dwight is up in FG percentage only by 6% (not 6.4%). Taking the data that he attempts 9.2 shots in average, that converts to 9.2 x 0.06 = 0.552extra points while his points average in general is down by 2.5 points which leaves us with a negative of 2 points per game.

    Additionally, mentioning Dwight's standings in different categories within the NBA is the wrong way to frame the discussion. Progress is understandably expected unless we think that Dwight has hit the ceiling, which he has not.

  • At 12:14 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Matt, in the course of updating Howard's numbers to include last night's game against Portland, his FG% had gone down from 63.6% before the game to 63.2% after the game. I had forgotten to correct the numbers in my summary; you are right, of course, 63.2% - 57.2% = 6% (not 6.4%, as I had forgotten to correct that number). Thanks for catching my error.

    Anyway, I was just stating a fact that Howard still ranks among the league leaders in three different categories, regardless of the fact his numbers are down in several categories this season. How people interpret that is up to them. I concluded in my summary that it would be accurate to say Howard's game has regressed a bit.

    Of course, progress is expected of D12, as he just turned 24 years old and is still several years away from being in his prime.


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