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Orlando Magic Deliver Big Smiles to Kids at Florida Hospital

2014 December 9
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo taken by Gary Bassing

Photo taken by Gary Bassing

The Orlando Magic on Monday spread holiday cheer by visiting young patients at Florida Hospital for Children. Magic Community Ambassador Bo Outlaw sang karaoke and signed autographs for the children with Magic Dancers, Magic Community Ambassador Nick Anderson, and STUFF the Magic mascot. As part of NBA Cares Season of Giving, throughout December Orlando Magic players, coaches and staff will “deck the halls” around Central Florida.

 

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

 

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Magic Must Shift Mindset to Protecting Home Court

2014 December 7
by Adam Papageorgiou
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

 

The Orlando Magic are the owners of a respectable 9-14 record following their six-game road trip. Coincidentally, 9 of the next 14 games on Orlando’s schedule – December 10th through January 3rd – will be played at home inside Amway Center. This is a drastic change of pace from the road warrior mentality that Orlando has dealt with so far this 2014-2015 regular season. 16 of the 23 contests the Magic have played were on the road. The sixteen are the most – by a large amount – road games an NBA team has played in thus far.

 

 

The 23 games played total are also more than any other team has participated in the Association. So these 3 full days of rest and practice are happily welcomed by Head Coach Jacque Vaughn to prepare his squad to host the Washington Wizards on Wednesday. A Wizards team that has already beaten the Magic twice this season, including at Amway Center on October 30th. At least team morale appears to be at an all-time high under this current regime. After going 4-37 on the road in ’13-’14, the Magic are already at 7-9 away from Amway Center this season. Now it’s time for Orlando to start taking care of business at home where they were 19-22 last season.

Orlando is 2-5 at Amway Center in the ’14-’15 campaign. Not ideal, but the Magic won’t be playing their first consecutive games on their parquet floor until until December 19th when the franchise begins a 4-game home stretch. So being 2-5 isn’t awful when there’s so much coming and going occurring. The two wins came against the inexperienced Timberwolves and the Bucks who are a playoff team. The 5 defeats are encouraging though. Washington, Toronto, Clippers, Heat, and Golden State. All are playoff teams and their combined records are 68-29, winning seventy percent of their games.

So let’s take a peek at those 9 home games in the upcoming fourteen contests. Washington, Atlanta, Utah, Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Brooklyn, and Charlotte. Only 4 of those teams would be in the postseason if the playoffs started today. Orlando already has road wins against Utah, Philly, Detroit, and Charlotte. A lot of Southeast division meetings as well when you include 3 of the 5 road games during this stretch. My points is there are a lot of winnable games. It means nothing though if the Magic don’t start finding their groove at Amway Center. Remember, there are 8 players on this roster that weren’t wearing pinstripes 6 months ago. Orlando isn’t a comfortable home setting for them. Not yet anyway. That needs to change. Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, Victor Oladipo, and Kyle O’Quinn continuing to play well is a must.

A game and a half. That’s it. 1.5 games out of the Eastern Conference 8th seed are where the Magic currently stand. Jacque Vaughn’s squad did the hard part, they stuck together and persevered through quite a gauntlet. They’re stronger as a whole for it. Now it’s about taking care of business at home and defeating the teams that we know Orlando can beat. Maybe managing to come up with a surprise here and there. Do that, and the Magic locker room can truly start contemplating about a possible opportunity of playoff basketball as the calendar prepares to flip to 2015. Magic fans, you’re responsible as well for making this a possibility. Attendance needs to improve, as does the overall crowd atmosphere and vocal volume. There’s a lot to cheer for now.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

Magic Defeat Kings, Conclude Six-Game Road Trip at 3-3

2014 December 7
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The Orlando Magic completed their 6-game road trip with a 3-3 record thanks to a 105-96 victory Saturday evening in Sacramento. The win over the Kings gives the Magic 7 away wins on the young season. This trip can definitely be viewed as a success considering the hurdles the squad had to leap. Tobias Harris led the Magic with 27 points. Victor Oladipo added 16 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds. Evan Fournier notched 15 points. Kyle O’Quinn finished a perfect 5-for-5 from the field with 13 points. Ben Gordon added scoring punch off the bench with eleven.

It was the first time the Magic won back-to-back road games in consecutive days since December 2nd and 3rd of 2012. Long time coming. Magic shot 50.6 FG% thanks to 26 assists and winning the rebound battle 40-35. The Magic won despite Sacramento attempting twice as many free throws. Kings were led by Darren Collison‘s 22 points. Jason Thompson tallied 18 points and Rudy Gay had 16 points.

 

Below is the full game recap.

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Magic 8-Ball: Surviving a Western Whirlwind of a Schedule

2014 December 6
by Adam Papageorgiou

Magic8Ball

In our Magic 8-Ball you’ll find quotes, tweets, Orlando 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: This Rough Schedule is Toughening Orlando Up

 

     

Below are #2 through #8.          

 

read more…

Ben Gordon Has Been Far From ‘Toxic’ in Orlando

2014 December 6
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

 

An intriguing factoid tweeted out by Orlando Magic television broadcaster David Steele caught my curiosity Friday evening before the Magic defeated the Utah Jazz to improve to an 8-14 record.

 

 

Look, you and I both know that Ben Gordon is not even close to being one of the Magic’s better defenders. That tweet reminded me though that – film wise – Ben Gordon has been a decent contributor off of Head Coach Jacque Vaughn‘s bench over the past few weeks. Since seeing zero court time against the L.A. Clippers at Amway Center on November 19th, the 31-year-old has played in each of the last 9 contests averaging 8.9 ppg on 54.7 FG% (29-of-53) and 35.3 3PT% (6-of-17) at about 16 minutes per contest. Orlando may be 3-6 in those nine games, but you can see Ben is finding his groove playing with the second unit. He’s never going to be a great rebounder or assists man, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised that Ben is more unselfish than expected and is capable of dishing off an impressive pass on occasion. He’s not a blackhole like Willie Green or Andrew Nicholson.

For this entire ’14-’15 campaign, Gordon is averaging 46.3 FG% – despite the low 3-point percentage – which would be his best shooting season…EVER. This is Ben’s 11th season in the Association, and no one expected him to post the numbers that he did in his prime Chicago days. However, it’s encouraging to see Gordon raise his offensive efficiency while for the most part not being a horrendous defender simultaneously.

It’s a far cry from what Bill Simmons and Grantland expected out of Ben back in their October team preview.

ToxicBenGordon

No toxic moments as of yet. Ben has already played 19 games this ’14-’15 Magic campaign, matching the amount of contests he participated in last season with Charlotte when he averaged career-lows of 5.2 ppg, 34.3 FG%, and 27.6 3PT%. Whatever ugliness occurred between Ben and that Bobcats/Hornets franchise, thankfully hasn’t carried over to Orlando as of yet. All offseason it was known that Ben was one of the hardest working Magic players once he was introduced as a new Magic addition back in July. The UCONN product has caused no locker room disturbances, and seems to be fully embracing this new opportunity the Orlando front office has given him.

The $4.5 million per season is no longer the first thing Magic fans think about when discussing Ben Gordon and his contributions. Yeah his shot selection is still shaky at best and inconsistency can quickly rear its head again. But starting with that 23-point comeback victory in Charlotte, Gordon is performing and is muting a lot of hate and criticism that was being sent in his direction (including from myself). If Ben continues to play the way he has the past few weeks, it’ll be interesting to see if any trade rumors of playoff teams seeking Gordon’s scoring capabilities begin to leak out. For now, Magic fans should enjoy a rejuvenated Ben Gordon who is contributing positively to an Orlando roster that is dealing with a road-heavy schedule better than many anticipated.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

Tobias Harris Hands Magic Important Road Victory in Utah

2014 December 5
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

The Orlando Magic beat the Utah Jazz 98-93 on Friday night thanks in large part to Tobias Harris scoring 12 of his 22 points in the fourth period. The Magic as a whole shot 50.0 FG% and really displayed several spurts of great ball movement. Victor Oladipo had one of his best 2-way games this season as he notched 20 points and 6 assists. Kyle O’Quinn started in place of the injured Nikola Vucevic and tallied 13 points while Ben Gordon added 12 points off the bench. Channing Frye added 11 points and 6 rebounds.

Utah may have barely won the rebound battle (41-38), but the Magic committed only 9 turnovers the entire contest. Utah was led by Derrick Favors who had 21 points and 13 rebounds. Enes Kanter finished with 16 points. Rodney Hood had fifteen, and Trey Burke tallied 13 points and 11 assists. It’s Orlando’s second road win of this 6-game trip.

 

Below is the full game recap.

 

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Clippers Capitalize Against Center-less Magic Squad

2014 December 4
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The Orlando Magic were without the services of Nikola Vucevic and then saw Kyle O’Quinn get ejected in the first half of Wednesday evening’s 114-86 loss against the Clippers in Staples Center. The sending off of Kyle just deflated the Magic and it was tough to recover from there. Having to depend a lot on Dewayne Dedmon, Andrew Nicholson, and Channing Frye proved too much. The Magic got schooled on the boards and in second chance points.

Tobias Harris led the Magic with 16 points and 8 rebounds. Harris and Victor Oladipo finished with a plus/minus of -28. That’s rough. Oladipo was the only other starter to reach double figures with 11 points on 2-of-8 shooting. Ben Gordon added 11 points off the bench. Dewayne Dedmon – playing in front of family – hustled his way to a career-high 9 points while nabbing 8 rebounds. Good for him. Former Magic men J.J. Redick (20 points) and Matt Barnes (17 points) got the better of their ex-employer. Blake Griffin tallied 21 points while Chris Paul poured in 19 points, 10 assists, and 5 rebounds. All of these road games are starting to wear down the Magic.

 

Below is the full game recap.

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Oladipo Season-High Not Enough to Snap Warriors Win Streak

2014 December 3
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

The Orlando Magic came oh so close to pulling off a signature victory on Tuesday evening. The Magic were without Nikola Vucevic and lost 98-97 to the Warriors. Stephen Curry drained an outrageously clutch transition 3-pointer to put Golden State up 1 with 2.2 seconds left as the Magic had their chances to end what’s now a 10-game win streak for Golden State. Curry finished with 22 points. Whatever final play Jacque Vaughn drew up for his squad never came to fruition as no Magic player could get open and the Warriors ended up batting the inbounds pass into the backcourt, concluding the contest. Coach Vaughn admitted in the postgame interview that he was seeking Tobias Harris on that last possession. Golden State overcame their 8-for-27 3-point shooting when it mattered most.

Victor Oladipo had himself a stat line. A season-high 27 points along with 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. Kyle O’Quinn notched 21 points and 11 rebounds while Tobias Harris contributed 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. Klay Thompson tallied 20 points for the Warriors while Harrison Barnes added 14 points and 12 rebounds. Orlando can look at their rebounding (49-40) and assist (25-19) disadvantages when examining the game in its entirety.

 

Below is the full game recap.

read more…

Magic 8-Ball: Bring on New December Challenges

2014 December 2
by Adam Papageorgiou

Magic8Ball

In our Magic 8-Ball you’ll find quotes, tweets, Orlando 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: Your Top 10 Magic Plays of November

Orlando goes from 11 road games in November to nine in December, so the Magic’s schedule gets a tad bit friendlier.

 

Below are #2 through #8.

 

read more…

Magic Stave Off Suns 4th Quarter Comeback to Claim Win

2014 November 30
by Adam Papageorgiou
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

After a disappointing result in Indiana, the Orlando Magic claimed their 5th road victory of the season (more than all of the ’13-’14 campaign), defeating the Suns in Phoenix 93-90. Orlando did a nice job getting a double digit advantage in the contest. Despite a 32-24 Phoenix fourth quarter, Orlando imposed their will defensively. Nikola Vucevic drained a big time shot over Markieff Morris to put Orlando up five points with 42.1 seconds remaining, and you could begin dreaming of the victory from there as Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek got tagged with a technical foul following the play. Orlando shot 46.1 FG% while the Suns only managed 40.0 FG%. Orlando off-set their 23 turnovers by winning the free throw and rebound battle. The Magic benefited from Phoenix’s 7-of-26 3-point struggles.

Goran Dragic led all scorers with 22 points and Markieff Morris also tallied an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double. The Magic were led by Tobias Harris who notched 21 points and 8 rebounds. Nikola Vucevic managed 18 points and 8 rebounds. Evan Fournier added 18 points while Victor Oladipo poured in 12 points. Elfrid Payton had a game-best plus/minus of +10 with 7 points and a career-high 9 rebounds. Credit bench contributions from Ben Gordon, Willie Green, and Kyle O’Quinn.

  • The Magic were taking part in their second game of this 6-game road trip. Isiah Thomas being unavailable for the Suns certainly didn’t hurt Orlando’s cause. It was a Channing Frye reunion in Phoenix.
  • It’s important to point out that Victor Oladipo made better PG decisions to open the contest though Goran Dragic still utilized a speed advantage against ‘Dipo to get to the rack. Orlando was up 16-15 midway through the first period following an Evan Fournier 3-pointer as Elfrid Payton came in for Channing Frye as Jacque Vaughn‘s first substitution.
  • Orlando was showing some initial aggressiveness, leading 25-20 thanks to some Tobias Harris and Victor Oladipo shots.
  • The Magic led 27-23 after one period thanks to 52.4 FG% and hailing a 6-4 turnover advantage over the Suns. Tobias had 9 points after one quarter.
  • The rest of the contest was a grind-it-out Magic affair that the Magic got the better of. Orlando led by 13 at halftime. Defense won that game, and credit Jacque Vaughn for shortening the rotation to 9 Magic men.
  • Tobias Harris drained a jumper off a Nikola Vucevic tap back to put Orlando up 81-70 with 3:47 remaining, and you felt good about the Magic being able to hold on and claim the victory from there despite the tight final scoreline.

The 7-12 Magic snapped their 4-game losing streak and are in Golden State on Tuesday to take on a very challenging Warriors squad.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek