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Magic Beat the Heat in Exciting Rivalry Matchup

2016 April 8
by Adam Papageorgiou
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Fernando Medina/Getty Images

The sunshine state matchup received a jolt of resuscitation as the Orlando Magic took down the Miami Heat 112-109 at Amway Center on Friday. The atmosphere was dominated most of the evening by Heat ‘fans’, but Orlando supporters would finally earn the last laugh and cheers on this night. It’s Orlando’s first home win against Miami since March 13, 2012.

Nikola Vucevic (29 points) and Evan Fournier (28 points) were absolutely brilliant. Both men came up with clutch moments on numerous occasions. Fournier shot 12-of-15 from the free throw line, which is more than the entire Heat’s 11-of-21 team outing from the charity stripe. Vooch had two ferocious jams. A kicking one on Dwyane Wade that sent the Heat guard to the floor, and the other a flying dunk in between Hassan Whiteside and Josh Richardson that ended up being the game-winner with 20.7 second on the clock.

Elfrid Payton chipped in with a solid 16 points and 10 assists. Before getting knocked out with a concussion in the 3rd period, Victor Oladipo finished with 13 points. Mario Hezonja poured in 9 points off the bench. The Croatian rookie along with C.J. Watson were on the floor down the stretch. Orlando shot 52.4 FG%. It’s not often you see the Magic make 10 more free throws than their rival.

The Magic somehow won despite losing the rebound battle 53-27. The Heat shot 18 more field goal attempts than the hosts, and won second chance points 31-8. Hassan Whiteside had 13 points and 16 rebounds off Miami’s bench. Dwyane Wade was held to 17 points on 7-of-19 shooting.

It’s a confidence-boosting win for a Magic team that had nothing to play for but pride. Orlando fans should feel plenty prideful after this victory.

Below is the game recap.

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The Basketball Universe Will Enjoy ‘This Magic Moment’ Come April 14th

2016 April 7
by Adam Papageorgiou
Courtesy of MBO

Courtesy of MBO

Whether you’re an Orlando Magic fan or a casual basketball viewer, I advise you to set your DVRs on your ESPN channel come April 14th between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. EST. 30 for 30 put together a film on the mid-’90s Magic and how they put Orlando on the sports map. It’s also a tale of how fortunes can quickly change. It’s called ‘This Magic Moment‘. It’s a fitting title considering how much happened in such a short amount of time.

It’s a documentary that brings excitement, but also sadness of course. Magic Basketball Online had the privilege of attending a private showing of the film on Thursday at the AMC Theatre in Disney Springs.

I won’t spoil anything. I will have a review-type post put together at a later date that will have my opinions. But I do want to point out a few things for those curious about how this film will go.

This film doesn’t piggyback much off of Grantland‘s oral history on the same mid-’90s Magic. The film has its own personality. The pacing of the 2-hour documentary (100 minutes without commercials) is solid, and your casual viewer should remain interested throughout.

Shaquille O’Neal and Anfernee Hardaway are executive producers on this documentary, but they don’t dominate the film. That’s a very good thing. Many people get interviewed. I’ll leave it at that.

The fun parts of the film are evened out by the pain brought to Magic fans. It’s what makes this a great film. This isn’t a documentary meant for diehard Magic fans, or folks that are born and/or raised in Orlando. The target audience is the rest of the country and the world. However, there’s enough unique material that even the most diehard of fans and amateur historians (like myself) will find worth tuning in for.

John Dahl, vice president and executive producer of ESPN Films, oversees all aspects of the 30 for 30 documentary film series. He’s a very passionate guy, and you admire the type of energy he brings just to the interview he gave prior to the screening.

I’ll be very interested to see how the viewers outside of Orlando view the film and what type of lasting impact that squad had on the NBA. There were quite a few ‘firsts’ that group of men in pinstripes accomplished. It does suck to always play the ‘what if’ game when it comes to that era. Especially since a championship banner hasn’t been hoisted up yet, and the Magic in the present are absent from a 4th consecutive postseason. We just need to remind ourselves of the good whenever that occurs.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.

***Join Magic Basketball Online on Facebook and our post-only Twitter profile***

WATCH: Locker Room Interviews After Magic Lose to Pistons

2016 April 6
Fernando Medina/Getty Images

Fernando Medina/Getty Images

This late into a disappointing season, there’s not much more you can really state about losses because many start looking the same. Promising first half. Shaky start to the third period and bad finish to the quarter. Fourth period resurgence to gain a small cushion only to see it slip through your fingers by midway through the final quarter of regulation. The Orlando Magic just have not been good enough in a large amount of their games, and that’s why they’re and under-.500 bunch.

Evan Fournier:

 

Elfrid Payton:

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Orlando Drops Home Contest to Playoff-Hungry Pistons

2016 April 6
by Adam Papageorgiou
Fernando Medina/Getty Images

Fernando Medina/Getty Images

The Orlando Magic held a seven-point lead early in the fourth period over a Detroit Pistons team that was looking to grow their 8th-seed playoff spot cushion. The Magic would eventually fall 108-104 on Wednesday evening. The long-ball was the difference. Orlando was only 4-of-15 on 3s while Detroit shot 11-of-27 from deep.

You could see Stan Van Gundy’s coaching playing a large role in the second half against a Magic team that just looked frustrated trying to score points. Reggie Jackson led all scorers with 24 points thanks to 9-of-11 free throws. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Orlando played Andre Drummond well, as their big center only had 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting to go with 16 rebounds.

Orlando won points in the paint (52-44) as well as second chance points (20-4). The Magic just had too many offensive stretches where they didn’t do much. Evan Fournier led the pinstriped patrol with 19 points. Elfrid Payton had 17 points. Victor Oladipo added 16 points. Nikola Vucevic (15 points and 13 rebounds) and Andrew Nicholson (14 points) were big bench boosts.

Below is the game recap.

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Magic Make Minced Meat of Memphis Grizzlies

2016 April 4
by Adam Papageorgiou
Gary Bassing/Getty Images

Gary Bassing/Getty Images

The Orlando Magic took care of business against a battered Memphis Grizzlies squad that is lacking depth on its roster. Still, beating a 5th-seeded Western Conference team 119-107 on Sunday isn’t something to just brush away. It’s another double-digit margin of victory for the pinstriped patrol. Four wins their last five contests. Memphis had 7 players reach double figures, but Orlando had plenty of control of the second half. The Magic’s largest lead was twenty.

Nikola Vucevic continues to dominate since missing 13 games with that groin injury. Dewayne Dedmon may have gotten the start, but Vooch made the immense impact at center. Nik finished with a game-high 25 points to go with 10 rebounds. It’s Vooch’s twelfth 20-10 game this season.

Victor Oladipo was questionable for the contest due to a sprained ankle, but it was nice to see the guard post a decent 22-point outing. ‘Dipo played a role in Orlando winning the fast break points battle 28-8. Evan Fournier – sporting a smaller band-aid for that forehead – also scored 22 points. Elfrid Payton continues to play well, dishing out 11 assists. Aaron Gordon contributed a very active 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Former Magic man Matt Barnes hit 4 treys in the first period. Prior to the contest, Barnes was 4-of-19 in his last five contests. The basketball gods can be cruel sometimes. Barnes with 24 points, which surprisingly is not a season high. As for the Magic, they couldn’t buy a jumper. Their first 16 points came in the paint as the 3-pointers were not dropping, which is why Memphis held a 30-29 lead after one quarter.

Vucevic really was a savior for much of the first half. When offense was lacking, the Montenegrin center dug deep into his offensive bag of tricks and put the squad on his back. Vooch was up to 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting heading into halftime as Orlando’s 38-point second period gave them a 67-56 advantage at the break. Oladipo and Fournier each added 12 points. Elfrid had already tallied 9 assists. Payton continues to separate himself from Brandon Jennings, C.J. Watson and Shabazz Napier. EP throwing up awesome alley oops doesn’t hurt either.

When Elfrid threw this glorious bounce pass to Oladipo for the swift 2 points to put the Magic up 76-60 three minutes into the 3rd quarter, you had to feel confident that Orlando wasn’t going to choke this contest away.

 

 

Scott Skiles’ bunch was ahead 86-66 midway through the third, and it was smooth sailing from there. Despite a little talking from guys like Barnes and Tony Allen, Orlando never let their lead drop into the single digits from there. Former Magic man Vince Carter scored 13 points off the Memphis bench. The Grizzlies made a bit of history when Bryce Cotton checked into the game. It’s Memphis’ 28th different player they’ve used this season which is an NBA record, surpassing the 27 players the ’96-’97 Dallas Mavericks had to use. Crazy.

Your 33-44 Magic continue to notch victories of late. They have a few days off before hosting Stan Van Gundy, Tobias Harris, and the Detroit Pistons at Amway Center on Wednesday night.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.

***Join Magic Basketball Online on Facebook and our post-only Twitter profile***

Orlando Drops Fun Seesaw Battle in Milwaukee

2016 April 1
by Adam Papageorgiou
Gary Dineen/Getty Images

Gary Dineen/Getty Images

An Evan Fournier off-balanced 3-point attempt at the buzzer clanged off the back iron. It was the conclusion to a very entertaining contest. Too bad the Orlando Magic were on the wrong end of that result as they fell to the Bucks in Milwaukee 113-110 on Friday evening. The defeat snaps Orlando’s 3-game win streak. Magic had good energy considering it was the second night of a road back-to-back. This contest had plenty of dunks on thrilling moments.

The Bucks going on a 6-0 run between the 2-minute and 1-minute mark at the finish line was a reminder of why the Magic were out of playoff contention. Jabari Parker led all scorers with 26 points. Giannis Antetokounmpo keeps racking up triple-doubles at the point guard spot, notching 18 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds. Greg Monroe and Khris Middleton each also added 18 points. Milwaukee shot 54.7 FG%. Orlando’s 53.5 FG% wasn’t shabby though. Milwaukee shot 15-of-25 from the free throw line, Orlando was 10-of-12.

Nikola Vucevic came off the bench, dropping 22 points on a superb 10-of-13 shooting. He should be starting next contest. Victor Oladipo joined an exclusive Magic player club. He recorded the 5th game ever in which an Orlando player notched at least 5 steals and 4 blocks. Both of those match Vic’s career highs. Oladipo scored 18 points, but coughed up 5 turnovers and got rejected 3 times. Fournier and Aaron Gordon each contributed 14 points. Andrew Nicholson (13 points) and Mario Hezonja (11 points) brought huge bench production.

Below is the game recap.

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Magic Win Again Playing Spoiler In Indy

2016 March 31

efindy

As the Magic rolled into Bankers Life Fieldhouse in the heart of a state with such rich basketball history, it was hard not to reflect on the season that has been so far–the missed opportunities, the injuries, the stretches of listless play. On Thursday night in Indianapolis, Orlando showed their full potential as a team and painted a picture of what could have been. The Magic looked like the team fighting for their playoff lives while the homestanding Pacers looked like a team dogging it to the finish line. Orlando defeated Indiana 114-94 and are now riding a three-game winning streak for the first time since December 14th-18th earlier this season. It also marks the third time the Magic have won three straight contests by 20+ points in franchise history, and first since December 22-27, 2008.

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Magic Clobber Nets To Earn Feel-Good Victory

2016 March 29

efnets
On a dreary Tuesday night, already eliminated from playoff contention and playing against an inferior opponent, the Orlando Magic had every reason to mail in an effort befitting such an occasion. But, they played perhaps their most complete game of the season and gave their Senior Chairman and Owner Rich DeVos a performance to be proud of on the evening of his induction into the Orlando Magic Hall of Fame. The Magic absolutely routed Brooklyn by a final score of 139-105 en route to sweeping the Nets 4-0 for the season series. The win marks the first time the team has won back-to-back games since February 7th and 8th when they swept a home-and-home series with the Atlanta Hawks.

The Magic started slow, turning the ball over and playing generally lethargic as they quickly found themselves down 8-2. But, Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon sparked an energetic 17-3 run midway through the first quarter, highlighted by a ridiculous one-handed, two-footed dunk in transition from the Slam Dunk Content Runner-Up who took flight from near the free-throw line and the Magic truly never looked back after that moment.

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Do Not Allow Dwight Howard to Emasculate this Franchise Again

2016 March 27
by Adam Papageorgiou

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Emasculate: To make (something) weaker or less effective

 

The biggest mistake in Orlando Magic history will be if the franchise re-acquires Dwight Howard.

I respect all of the on-court and off-court accomplishments and successes that Dwight brought in his 8 seasons with the Magic. But the former franchise center made numerous avoidable mistakes his final year and half in Orlando that inevitably ripped the relationship apart. 4 years later, and we’re still recovering.

Not only did the front office get torn to shreds, more importantly, the Magic booted Stan Van Gundy. SVG is undeniably the best coach in franchise history. It’s stuff you can’t patch up. Not until Howard retires anyway. The ‘Dwightmare’ saga isn’t something that magically disappears.

Dumping former agent Dan Fegan is a good step for Dwight to rehabilitate his image and pursue one final huge payday. But Shaquille O’Neal getting involved isn’t exactly the greatest thing the Magic brass wants to be hearing either. A press conference apology tour means nothing if I can’t trust your word.

I would lose enormous respect for the decision maker(s) that would bring Dwight back to O-Town. Let’s not forget all of the ‘loyalty’ nonsense. If Dwight wants to blame the people around him or his management crew for past mistakes, then I question his judgement as a professional. How am I expected to hand the keys to the franchise over to you yet again? You can already question his personal judgement.

What narrow-minded human being compares themselves to Nelson Mandela, Muhammad Ali, and Michael Jordan? WHO DOES THAT?! And I know Bob Vander Weide is telling the truth because there’s no way you could fake such outlandish quotes and comparisons. You couldn’t get a Hollywood writers’ room to get that creative.

What is the point of bringing back an old #12 – there are over 30,000 minutes on that body – that has dealt with so many injuries? Dwight’s game depends so much on being more athletic than others on the court. Will he ever get that Orlando dominance back? Highly unlikely. His defensive impact is barely ‘good’ at this point.

Mentoring the young players? Dwight’s a 30-year-old big kid still. Aaron Gordon – a man 10 years younger than Dwight – is infinitely more mature than Howard.

Houston is going to barely sneak into the playoffs this season. You want to potentially throw maximum salary money to a player that has not proven of late that he can carry a team towards the top of a conference?

Even if Dwight signed at a discount (not happening), I just don’t see why you would want that toxic situation in the locker room and potentially again with the front office and ownership.

From a coaching perspective, if Dwight allegedly clashed with Stan Van Gundy and Kevin McHale, what the hell is going to happen with Scott Skiles?

So why would this get done? To sell a few more tickets and jerseys? Because it’s very debatable if Dwight makes this Magic team better on the court, especially if assets have to be dumped to clear the way for his return. He’s not much better than Nikola Vucevic. Especially when you factor in that Vooch is only making about $12 million per season over the next few years. You can count on Vooch to knock down free throws and hit a game-winning tough shot if necessary. You can’t with Dwight.

Who are we trying to satisfy here? Who really benefits in a Dwight return? To make the local media outlets happy? To boost the web hits of sites like mine? To watch people pretend to have to like Dwight all over again? Not worth it. Not even close. There are no championship banners being raised inside Amway center if Howard wears those pinstripes again. Not as one of the go-to guys.

Dwight is like that wife who slept with some randoms, requested a divorce from her husband, takes a large portion of the husband’s assets, burns his house down, all while leaving the husband a sexually-transmitted disease. There were no kids in the relationship. She gets re-married 2 times all while the formerly married man is simultaneously still trying to put his life back together, but the task is beyond difficult due to the prior damage done.

The man is lonesome. Then, 4 years later, the ex-wife wants to come back and patch things up. There’s nothing that’s improved with her since she departed the man’s life. The man’s best friends despise this woman and beg the man to not fall for the trap again. What do you do?

Don’t bring Dwight back.

He’s not LeBron James. Dwight is no where near a top-10 NBA player, and he hasn’t been since being dealt to the Lakers in 2012. And Dwight certainly can’t attract and recruit players like James has. Howard couldn’t do it in the past and there’s nothing to indicate he’d be successful now. The ‘coming home’ thing hasn’t exactly worked out for LeBron in Cleveland.

You bring Dwight back to Orlando, and he’ll believe he has full power over the franchise. Then you’re right back in the same horrendous situation that existed in 2011 and 2012. An environment where Dwight holds a ton of of power. That’s definitely not working out for LeBron and the Cavaliers at this moment. And again, Dwight isn’t anywhere close to LeBron’s playing level, and the Magic roster as a whole isn’t up to par with the current Cavs roster which doesn’t appear close to winning a championship.

Just say ‘no’ to Dwight. It’s an easy decision no matter how much losing may cloud minds and raise the levels of desperation for relevancy. Howard isn’t the antidote, he’s the poison. There are more logical solutions.

Those people who still emphasize that Dwight should return to Orlando ought to be forced to spray some heavy coats of Howard’s Stickum onto both of their hands and place those palms onto their foreheads. You deserve permanent facepalms.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.

***Join Magic Basketball Online on Facebook and our post-only Twitter profile***

WATCH: Orlando Locker Room Interviews After Victory Over Chicago

2016 March 26
Fernando Median/Getty Images

Fernando Median/Getty Images

Some Orlando Magic players shared how intense the huddle was in the third quarter after the Chicago Bulls chopped down their double-digit lead to single digits. For one night at least, the Magic were able to re-gather themselves and not fold to Chicago’s advances at trying to come back.

Dewayne Dedmon was one happy man as he’ll be looking at getting a new NBA contract this offseason. Elfrid Payton continues to play like his old self, wearing an Allen Iverson t-shirt in the locker room. Evan Fournier didn’t let the 6 stitches in his forehead bother him too much.

Dewayne Dedmon:

 

Elfrid Payton:

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