The Orlando Magic will honor emergency medical personnel, firefighters, police officers, sheriff’s deputies, and corrections officers with a First Responder Night today (March 1st) when the Magic take on the Charlotte Hornets. The night will feature the “Guns n’ Hoses” first responder basketball tournament, a VIP reception, halftime presentations, and the Harris Hometown Heroes recognition.
During the “Guns n’ Hoses” basketball tournament, Central Florida police officers, sheriff’s deputies, corrections officers and firefighters will compete on the Amway Center court prior to the Magic game. Harris will donate $5,000 to the 1st place team and $2,500 to the 2nd place team to contribute to the first responder charity of their choice. At a special reception, government officials, Magic CEO Alex Martins, and Harris Vice President of Government Relations Tania Hanna will recognize and meet with first responders. Florida first responders will also be recognized and celebrated throughout the game.
The Harris Hometown Hero program recognizes a Central Florida first responder prior to each home Magic game (emergency medical, fire, police and military). The Hometown Hero first responder receives four Ultimate Seats with access to Fields Ultimate Lounge and is recognized at center court before tip-off. First responders can be nominated by visiting www.OrlandoMagic.com/Hero.
The playoff chase not something this Orlando Magic team should be thinking about right now. They’re 19-41, 4-4 under James Borrego, are owners of the 5th-worst record in the Association, are on a 2-game slide, and are still an awful 9-19 at Amway Center. That’s where they begin a 4-game home stand starting with the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday.
There are only two numbers to worry about now at this point in the season: 22 and 6
22 – Number of games left in this 2014-2015 season
6 – Number of games back of the 8th seed in the East
6 games back is steep now that we’re beginning March, but Orlando has two weeks to make a dent into that deficit. It has to start now though. Forget about the disheartening Bulls and Heat losses. Disregard the difficult defeat in Atlanta after a hard comeback in the first half. It’s 4-4 under Borrego. Not 6-2 or 7-1. The 15-man roster has to push that to the side and look at these next 2 weeks as do-or-die time if they want any hope of being in the playoff race discussion.
All of those are winnable, even the over .500 Suns. Charlotte, Indiana, and Boston are all in the dog fight for those last two playoff spots. After those 7 games in the schedule, things get very difficult with the Cavaliers coming to town on March 15th. The Magic need to go 7-0 or 6-1. If they don’t, stick a fork in them because it’s not likely they’ll win in Texas or beat tough playoff teams like Portland. It goes against the ‘one game at a time theory’, but not much for Orlando has gone right this season so let’s look at things as one big 2-week period.
Orlando needs to be 26-41 or 25-42 going into the Cavs game or this season is over. 37-45 should be the target for getting the 8th seed in a weak East. Heck maybe 36-46 or even 35-47 could get you in, but that’s pushing it.
It’s great that Orlando finally hit a 3-game win streak recently for the first time in a year. They need to find a way to double it. The Magic’s fantastic defensively play – holding opponents to under 100 points in 8 straight contests – will be paramount in making this feat possible. The honeymoon period for Borrego is over. The mental psyche of the Magic has been tested with some heart-ripping defeats since J.B. took over on February 5th. We’ll really see what the team is made of starting Sunday. Either fight to the finish, or roll over and die so we can start projecting ping pong balls and lottery prospects.
I’d much rather the Magic rack up wins and start statistically projecting postseason odds than to be officially eliminated from the playoffs for the 3rd consecutive year before we even reach April. The past few weeks have shown that Borrego can get this bunch of players to rally around each other and win without much practice time. The effort that was absent at the end of Jacque Vaughn’s run is now present once more. Now it’s about will and pride and who truly wants to avoid being on the couch come the postseason.
In the on-going celebration of Black History Month, the Orlando Magic, along with Magic Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw, and former Magic player Tony Battie, made a special visit to Evans High School on February 23rd for the Dream Orlando initiative. Dream Orlando is a multi-platform program providing curriculum to students to educate them on the rich history of African-Americans.
The initiative is a joint effort between the NBA, its teams. and EverFi – a leading education technology company – to create a digital curriculum which launched in 30 schools across all NBA team markets during Black History Month last season. The Magic supported the launch at Evans High School last year and has been tracking the progress of the students participating in the curriculum and rewarding those who successfully completed the program with tickets to home games.
The Magic celebrates diversity and embraces its many characteristics and the value it brings to both business and community—understanding what can be accomplished when everyone works together to achieve legendary moments. The Magic are committed to creating an environment in which employees, community partners, and fans feel welcome, valued, and appreciated.
The Orlando Magic were down 19-3 to open up their contest in Atlanta against the Hawks. Who would have thought Orlando would come back, take the lead at halftime, only to not have enough offensive power to take down Atlanta. Hawks won 95-88 on Friday night. Great effort by the Magic, but as usual it wasn’t seen in all four quarters. Atlanta was 14-of-31 on 3-pointers, doubling up Orlando’s makes.
Nikola Vucevic led Orlando with 21 points and 15 rebounds. Victor Oladipo added 19 points while Tobias Harris tallied 15 points. Paul Millsap led Atlanta with 20 points while Al Horford had 17 points and 13 rebounds. Jeff Teague scored all of his 17 points in the second half.
Below is the full game recap.
The Orlando Magic for the 7th straight contest – all under James Borrego – held an opponent under 100 points. It wouldn’t be enough though as Orlando lost 93-90 in overtime to the Miami Heat after being up 8 points with 42 seconds remaining in regulation. A tough pill to swallow as Orlando’s 3-game win streak is over. On a night where offense wasn’t looking so good, and Miami had a personal foul advantage, Orlando appeared as if they’d win on just pure defense, holding Miami to 38.1 FG%.
Orlando was only 18-of-31 at the free throw line, and some of those misses would be crucial. Victor Oladipo set a new career-high in rebounds with 13 to go with 13 points. Nikola Vucevic led all scorers with 26 points. Miami was led by Luol Deng and his 21 points. Henry Walker had 10 points and was only 2-of-11 on 3-pointers, but the two he made were the reason why the game went to overtime. A stunning defeat for the home side.
Below is the full game recap.
Orlando Magic players Kyle O’Quinn and Tobias Harris on Monday afternoon went on a post-practice trip out to Orlando International Airport to take on the roles of Southwest Airlines employees. To celebrate the partnership between the Magic and Southwest, the players and employees joined forces to work a scheduled flight, assist customers at the gate podium, help load bags into the aircraft, and take customer boarding passes. T12 and KOQ also dealt in Flight Safety on the Flight Deck from Southwest pilots.
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) February 23, 2015
It was also a special day for one young individual. Three-year-old Brayden, with Make-A-Wish Central and Northern Florida, loves the Orlando Magic and he joined the players, Stuff, as well as the Magic Dancers to assist with the operation of the flight.
A video posted by Orlando Magic (@orlandomagic) on
No one is going to let a little 3-game Orlando Magic win streak get any player too big-headed, but that roster is feeling very confident about their improvements. Elfrid Payton gets to celebrate his 21st birthday with a victory, and Channing Frye wore the correct shirt for the occasion. Victor Oladipo had his right forearm wrapped in ice. We’ll see if any lingering pain exists going into Monday’s practice. James Borrego isn’t concerned about Tobias Harris and his sluggish game tonight. Neither is T12.
Below are interviews of James Borrego, Tobias Harris, Elfrid Payton, Nikola Vucevic, and Channing Frye.
The Orlando Magic definitely didn’t want to lose again to the Philadelphia 76ers like they did in December. It wasn’t easy, but the Magic won 103-98 on Sunday night. First 3-game winning streak of the season for the pinstriped patrol. Orlando is now 4-0 under Borrego when Luke Ridnour plays. Orlando survived despite the Sixers making thirteen 3-pointers.
Nikola Vucevic led Orlando with 31 points and 14 rebounds. Victor Oladipo added 17 points while Channing Frye contributed 15 points. Birthday boy Elfrid Payton poured in 10 points, 7 assists, and 8 rebounds. It’s the sixth consecutive game (all under Borrego) where the Magic have held their opponent to under 100 points scoring. Robert Covington and JaKarr Sampson led Philadelphia with 16 points each.
Below is the full game recap.