Oh yeah, I’m going with the Willie Green photo. Finally, we’re done with this Orlando Magic preseason. I’m not the only one relieved it’s over. The good news is Luke Ridnour only has a right quad contusion which isn’t as awful as say blowing out your knee. Channing Frye seems pretty confident he has a great chance to play Tuesday. Let’s see.
The Orlando Magic concluded their exhibition campaign on Friday night with a 4-4 record in preseason play. The Dallas Mavericks came into Amway Center and won comfortably 117-92. It was the return of Jameer Nelson who tallied 4 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds in the opposing uniform. Jameer did have a game-best plus/minus of +20. Dallas was led by Chandler Parsons who had 24 points while Dirk Nowitzki contributed sixteen. Al-Farouq Aminu poured in 13 points thanks to an improved 3-point shooting game.
The Magic committed way too many mistakes throughout the night on both ends of the court as they coughed up 26 turnovers. Orlando was led by Tobias Harris who had 14 points. Nikola Vucevic tallied a 10-point and 13-rebound double-double. Evan Fournier notched 12 points while Kyle O’Quinn also added twelve.
Below is the full game recap.
It’s to no surprise that Jameer Nelson got properly acknowledged by the Orlando Magic organization and any fans inside Amway Center on Friday night. It was the celebrated return of Nelson, even if after 10 years in Orlando he’s now in a Dallas Mavericks jersey.
Those cheers were definitely louder than what Stan Van Gundy received a week ago. During a first period timeout, the Magic showed a tribute video in honor of Jameer and all of the years he’s served with the Magic.
If you haven’t heard, Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo is out indefinitely with a fractured face that he suffered on Thursday afternoon. Oladipo is going to undergo a corrective surgical procedure on Saturday. Supposedly it happened on the first or second play of Victor’s first practice since spraining his MCL. Bad luck as it’s rumored Dewayne Dedmon accidentally caught Victor with his elbow on a challenge at the rim. It’s basketball, it happens.
Depending on what type of facial fracture it is and how the surgery goes, Oladipo could be out a few weeks to as much as a month. It’s awful timing considering the Magic’s road-heavy schedule to begin this 2014-2015 campaign. Now what?
Well Head Coach Jacque Vaughn has to figure out how to begin the regular season without Victor and Channing Frye available. As far as power forward goes, that means we’re probably looking at either Kyle O’Quinn or Tobias Harris starting at PF. Harris is a lock to be in the starting lineup along with center Nikola Vucevic, but T12 very well could be beginning contests at small forward.
The guard spots get more intriguing. I hope Elfrid Payton gets the starting nod in New Orleans on October 28th, but we can’t rule out the steady veteran Luke Ridnour from starting at PG. Evan Fournier has struggled with his shooting in this preseason, which opens the door for Maurice Harkless or even Ben Gordon to start at shooting guard. Harkless has earned extra playing time with his improved offensive arsenal, but Evan can be trusted more as a ball handler to deflect any added attention and pressure defenses impose on Payton.
No Oladipo and Frye means more potential minutes for Aaron Gordon and Andrew Nicholson, especially if Harkless sees time at shooting guard. I’m leaning toward a Vucevic-O’Quinn-Harris-Fournier-Payton regular season starting lineup for now. Jacque for the last two preseason games (Houston & Dallas) is starting Vucevic-O’Quinn-Harris-Harkless-Ridnour. It’s very possible that Jacque roles with this lineup against the Pelicans on Tuesday and doesn’t put immediate pressure on his rookies and the 21-year-old Fournier.
One positive from all of this is that Jacque has already been able to experiment with lineups and rotations with Oladipo sidelined. The other positive is that when Victor does come back healthy, he’ll set foot on the basketball court having fully recuperated from his sprained MCL. Maybe we’ll see ‘Dipo with a cool looking mask on like Courtney Lee wore during the 2009 playoffs.
Victor being out of the lineup for a while doesn’t mean we can talk about tanking again. So stop looking at Karl Towns and the rest of the 2015 Draft class. Orlando has great depth for the first time in Coach Vaughn’s tenure and injuries won’t stop this Magic squad from competing and actually having a chance to put together some win streaks.
The Orlando Magic regular season begins October 28th. That means it’s MBO roundtable discussion time where we get to analyze this ’14-’15 squad and make predictions that we can look back on and regret immensely. We’re breaking this roundtable into several parts, so be aware. Contributing to the discussion are Brian Serra, Spenser Strode, and Adam Papageorgiou.
What 1 Magic player has impressed or disappointed you the most so far in the preseason?
Brian Serra: The (lottery) rookies. Both have gigantic flaws in their games (SHOOTING), but Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon know what they do well and they STICK to it. They are confident and don’t seem to be shying away from the game – ya know, the way that Maurice Harkless and Andrew Nicholson have consistently done for two years. Because they know their strengths and stick to them, they’ve shown that 1) Payton should be starting from day one and 2) Gordon deserves 20 minutes per game every night.
Adam Papageorgiou: You rebel, I only asked for one.
Spenser Strode: I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Nikola Vucevic so far this preseason. He’s been very efficient and effective (as expected), but he’s shown a bit more patience and seems to be much more sure of himself when operating in the post. Now, with the weight of a will-they, won’t-they extension off his mind, I expect Vooch to continue his improvement into the regular season and beyond.
Adam Papageorgiou: I was going to show support to Ben Gordon, but Maurice Harkless could use it more. I was not pleased with Harkless backing out of Puerto Rican national team duty as I viewed the FIBA World Cup as a more important experience than any type of training and self-improvement exercises he participated in. So far the 21-year-old has proven me wrong. He’s probably still not going to score a lot, but Maurice has shown growth in his dribble drives to the rim. Most importantly, Harkless is taking and draining pull-up jumpers which you could never trust him to make last season. Maurice is also showing reliability at shooting guard, which means Coach Vaughn could give his wing more minutes. Maurice still has his defense and his open 3-pointer, and I think he’s going to solidify himself as a core member of this squad moving forward.
Below is the rest of Part 1.
Let’s keep this short. The Orlando Magic dominated Houston for three quarters. The final twelve minutes won’t mean much in the grand scheme of this campaign. Let’s prepare for the final preseason game and look forward to these contests truly mattering. The locker room name plates for Kadeem Batts, Seth Curry, Peyton Siva, and Drew Crawford have all been removed. Expect to see those four with the Erie BayHawks soon.
The Orlando Magic are now 4-3 in preseason play after their third unit gave away a 13-point fourth quarter lead, losing to the Houston Rockets 90-89 on Wednesday night. Houston only shot 36.5 FG% and was led by Troy Daniels and Isaiah Canaan who each had 14 points. The Rockets were 9-for-34 from 3-point range. Orlando spread out their scoring across the roster. Orlando won the points in the paint battle 48-40. Nikola Vucevic had 12 points in 19 minutes on 6-of-7 shooting. Maurice Harkless and Ben Gordon each contributed 11 points. Andrew Nicholson added 10 points.
- Having lost in Miami on Tuesday night, Rockets Head Coach Kevin McHale decided to completely rest Dwight Howard and Trevor Ariza. I’m sure Howard wanted to to avoid the boos he would have received tonight. D12 also probably didn’t want Kyle O’Quinn blocking any more of his shots. Ariza was a big reason why the Lakers defeated Orlando in the 2009 NBA Finals. That’s okay, more Kostas Papanikolaou for me.
- Magic Coach Jacque Vaughn went with a big starting lineup: Nikola Vucevic, Kyle O’Quinn, Tobias Harris, Maurice Harkless at shooting guard, and Luke Ridnour.
- 7,000 pink t-shirts were given away at Amway Center in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Orlando’s ‘Pink in the Paint’ theme night.
- For what it’s worth, Victor Oladipo and Channing Frye were in Magic gear warming up with their teammates before tip-off. Oladipo doing a lot of shooting and dancing while Frye was mostly rebounding under the rim.
- The Magic did a solid job of handling the fullcourt press that Houston was offering. Patrick Beverley and Ish Smith are as pesky as they come defensively. Aaron Gordon was getting doubled by Ish and James Harden and Gordon would go between the legs and left Harden in the dust. It was glorious.
- Nikola Vucevic and Maurice Harkless got offer to a superb start as they each notched 8 points in the first quarter. Orlando led Houston 31-24 after one period. The Magic shot 52.4 FG% while Houston only managed 35.0 FG%. Magic held an 18-8 points in the paint advantage.
- Orlando’s offense slowed down in the 2nd quarter because the Magic were trying to attempt to have Tobias Harris take advantage of James Harden or Troy Daniels defending T12 in the post.
- Magic led 51-43 at halftime as Orlando shot 54.1 FG% while holding Houston to 37.5 FG%. Vucevic led all scorers with 12 points. Ben Gordon was an efficient 3-for-3 with 7 points. More importantly, Harden got called for an offensive foul. Rockets only kept their deficient under double digits due to their 5-of-16 3-point shooting.
- Troy Daniels can only shoot 3-pointers, but man can he do that so well. Needs zero time to release his shot.
- The third period was a blur of blocked shot and dunk attempts, but Orlando maintained a steady cushion and led 74-61 entering the fourth quarter. Orlando at this junction had a 46-26 points in the paint advantage. Harkless and Ben each had 11 points, joining Vucevic in double figures.
- Jeff Adrien picked up a flagrant 1 foul at the 7:48 mark as he tugged Dewayne Dedmon to the ground using his Magic jersey. Easy call.
- Houston ended up taking the lead with less than 2 minutes remaining. Exhibitions or not, you never want your bench unit to cough up such a huge lead.
- Willie Green would tie the game at 89-89 with exactly one minute remaining in the contest. Jeff Adrien would split a pair of free throws to put Houston ahead again 90-89 with 35.7 seconds left as Coach Vaughn had to draw up a play.
- Andrew Nicholson ended up airballing a stationary leaning floater from about 20 feet. Orlando would get another chance, but Green missed a running right floater and Nicholson couldn’t get the tip to drop in.
The Magic welcome back Jameer Nelson and the Dallas Mavericks to Orlando as the preseason will conclude Friday evening.
The 2014-2015 NBA General Manager Survey results are out, and the Orlando Magic almost don’t exist based on the responses. Remember, Rob Hennigan can’t vote for his own team or personnel. So what do we know? Well, not one of the other 29 GMs think the Magic can win the Southeast division. None of the GMs believe either Elfrid Payton or Aaron Gordon will win Rookie of the Year. Not one GM believes any of Orlando’s rookies will be the best player of his class in 5 years, and none of the GMs believe a Magic rookie was a steal in June’s Draft. This is a sharp contrast to the support Victor Oladipo received in his rookie campaign. Not a single GM believes that a Magic player will have a breakout season. Jacque Vaughn didn’t obtain a vote in any question asked that related to coaching.
There is some good news though. Check below.
Who cares about Dwight Howard and his Houston Rockets when Nikola Vucevic unofficially has a shiny new contract extension and we need to find out if Victor Oladipo is going to be ready for the regular season opener. Well Orlando Magic Head Coach Jacque Vaughn says Oladipo is day-to-day. Victor himself wasn’t wearing the bulky knee brace he wore for the open practice, but he still had his right knee protected as you see above.
Below are interviews of Victor Oladipo, Jacque Vaughn, and Tobias Harris.
In our Magic 8-Ball you’ll find quotes, tweets, Magic player social media posts, a random prediction that sticks to the Magic 8-Ball theme, any stats or tidbits you don’t find in our other MBO postings, and more. Basically a buffet of things that may slip through the cracks that are worth bringing up.
#1: VUCCI MANE GOT PAID
I imagine the next big team meal check will be picked up by Nikola Vucevic. Vooch certainly deserves his new contract extension. This deal coincides with Orlando’s previous great center *cough* Dwight Howard *cough* returning to Orlando Wednesday evening. You’re next, Tobias Harris.
Congrats to the bro @NikolaVucevic !!!!!!!!!!!
— Tobias Harris (@tobias31) October 22, 2014
Below is #2 through #8. read more…