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One Year After Jacque Vaughn’s Departure, Magic Remain Flawed

2016 February 4
by Adam Papageorgiou

jvmagic

Jacque Vaughn was relieved of his Orlando Magic head coaching duties on February 5, 2015 following another 10-game losing streak. Vaughn’s 58-158 record is infamous for being the worst win-loss percentage in franchise history. 365 days later, it doesn’t feel like the squad has improved all that much since ‘JV’ departed.

James Borrego finished off that ’14-’15 campaign with a 10-20 record as interim coach. The team appeared to be playing better without any roster changes. Scott Skiles gets hired in the offseason and Rob Hennigan makes some minor player transactions.

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Aaron Gordon is Officially in the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest

2016 February 4
by Adam Papageorgiou

aghammer

Easiest campaign we’ve ever run here at MBO. Orlando Magic sophomore forward Aaron Gordon is officially in the Verizon Slam Dunk competition that will occur on All-Star Saturday night February 13th at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada. Chris Haynes of cleveland.com broke the news on Wednesday night, but it became official news on Thursday evening.

The 6’9″ Arizona Wildcat will be joined by 2015 dunk champion Zach LaVine, as well as Denver Nuggets guard Will Barton, and Detroit Pistons beastly center Andre Drummond. While I expect all four to bring plenty of entertaining moments, I do believe that the winner will be either LaVine or ‘Air Gordon’.

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Gainesville ‘Basketball Cop’ to be Honored by Orlando Magic

2016 February 4
by Adam Papageorgiou

gainesville

The Orlando Magic will host 10 VIPs at their game against the Atlanta Hawks on Super Bowl Sunday afternoon at Amway Center: Gainesville Police Officer Bobby White and nine Gainesville youth. You may recall seeing them in these videos over the past few weeks.

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In Another Thriller Against OKC, Orlando Gets Thunderstruck Again

2016 February 3
by Adam Papageorgiou
AP Photo/J Pat Carter

AP Photo/J Pat Carter

This is becoming an odd trend. The Orlando Magic once again found themselves on the losing end of a phenomenally entertaining contest against the Thunder. The road squad lost in OKC 117-114 on Wednesday after Kevin Durant hit a devastating 3-pointer over Tobias Harris with 0.5 seconds on the clock to break the tie. Orlando has lost 14 of its last 16 contests here in 2016.

Orlando got out-rebounded 50-39, were out-shot 25-14 at the charity stripe, and still don’t have answers for Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook. Durant finished 37 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists on 6-of-12 three-point shooting. Westbrook with a ridiculous 24 points, 19 rebounds, and 14 assists. You don’t have to do much coaching if you’re Billy Donovan when you have those two on the floor.

Victor Oladipo led Orlando with 37 points – one shy of a career high – but couldn’t get that final bucket as the Thunder’s defense turned up when needed. Nikola Vucevic and Mario Hezonja each scored 16 points. Tobias Harris notched 15 points and 7 rebounds. Jason Smith finished with 13 points as he got big PF minutes let with Aaron Gordon struggling from the field. It didn’t matter, Orlando gets their souls crushed once more.

Below is the game recap.

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Spurs Claim Victory as Orlando Runs Out of Gas in 4th Period

2016 February 1
by Adam Papageorgiou
AP Photo/Eric Gay

AP Photo/Eric Gay

The Orlando Magic gave a respectable effort against a superb franchise, but they fell to the now 40-8 Spurs in San Antonio 107-92 on Monday night. After getting off to a nightmare of a start, there were the Magic owning a lead deep into the third quarter. Then the Spurs proved why they’re undefeated at the AT&T Center, comfortably disposing of their guests 32-22 in the final period.

Scott Skiles‘ squad had trouble getting off good jump shots, relying on difficult attempts in the painted area. Orlando shot 40.6 FG% while coughing up 51.3 FG% to Gregg Popovich’s bunch. The Spurs attempted ten more free throws and four more 3-pointers than did the Magic. Orlando stuck around thanks to their 19-5 offensive rebound battle triump. They tallied 54-34 points in the paint as well as 16-9 second chance points advantages. Not enough.

LaMarcus Aldridge led all scorers with 28 points, but Patty Mills draining 22 points off the bench was what truly hurt the road side. Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Aaron Gordon had another awesome night, 12 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. Victor Oladipo notched 19 points, 7 assists, and a career-tying 5 steals. Orlando having to exert so much energy in the first half just to come back ended up harming them in the final twelve minutes of a second game on a back-to-back. The final score doesn’t indicate how competitive the Magic were.

Below is the game recap.

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Aaron Gordon is the Only NBAer that Could Out-Dunk Zach LaVine

2016 February 1
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Photo: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

It will be an immense disappointment if Orlando Magic sophomore Aaron Gordon is not in this month’s All-Star Saturday dunk contest. That’s because the 20-year-old is the only active NBA player that could keep up with defending champion Zach LaVine on that Toronto, Canada stage. Victor Oladipo gave a valiant effort last year, but we all know that a healthy AG could’ve performed even better in Brooklyn, New York.

Aaron has the size, elevation, grace, power, charisma, and creativity to dethrone the champ. Plus, #00 curiously didn’t get a Rising Stars Challenge invite. So AG could focus all of his energy on the event, unlike ‘Dipo who had to play in the exhibition.

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After 3 Games with Erie, Adreian Payne Returns to Timberwolves

2016 February 1
by Adam Papageorgiou

adpayne

After a very successful 3-game stint with the Erie BayHawks, the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday announced that they’ve recalled forward Adreian Payne from the Orlando Magic’s D-League affiliate.

In those three contests with the BayHawks, the 24-year-old averaged 26.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.3 steals on 44.4 FG% in 35.0 minutes per outing. The BayHawks only went 1-2 during that stretch. Payne was assigned to Erie on January 25th, via the Flexible Assignment Rule.

The highlights are pretty solid though.

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WATCH: Gordon, Hezonja, and Rest of Magic Talk Win Over Celtics

2016 January 31
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Everyone in that Orlando Magic locker room was beyond relieved to end such a brutal month with a victory. It certainly makes the immediate night flight to San Antonio less arduous. Whether this win is a sign of more Aaron Gordon and Mario Hezonja court minutes in the future, we’ll just have to wait and find out. Their energy and talent can’t be denied, that’s for certain.

Aaron Gordon:

 

Scott Skiles:

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Orlando’s Two 20-Year-Olds Lead Magic Over Celtics

2016 January 31
by Adam Papageorgiou
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

That’s more like it. Rookie Mario Hezonja and sophomore Aaron Gordon – both 20 years old – led the Orlando Magic to victory on Sunday night. The Magic took down Boston 119-114 to snap their 8-game losing streak. Hezonja notched a career-high 17 points on a fantastic 7-of-13 shooting while Gordon notched his career-tying 19 points and career-best 14 rebounds on 8-of-11 shooting. They paced their teammates when others were hesitant to do so.

Orlando took care of points in the paint (46-32) and second chance points (19-12). Orlando’s main issues were actually at the free throw line, shooting just 21-of-35 from the charity stripe. Boston shot an absurd 46 three-point attempts and only made sixteen.

Evan Fournier had 24 points on 4-of-5 three-point shooting off the bench. The Frenchman had a clutch 13 points in the fourth. Nikola Vucevic finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 assists. Tobias Harris chipped in with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting. But it was really Mario and Aaron that deserve a lot of credit for sparking the squad when the franchise desperately needed it.

Orlando finishes 2-12 for January, but that doesn’t matter. The Magic got a win they desperately needed. Forget about the rough February schedule

Below is the game recap.

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Orlando Gets Blown Out in Boston for 8th Straight Loss

2016 January 29
by Adam Papageorgiou
AP Photo/Elise Amendola

AP Photo/Elise Amendola

It won’t get easier. The Orlando Magic have now lost 8 straight games and 12 of their last 13 contests as they got bulldozed 113-94 on Friday night in Boston to a Celtics squad that is now on a 5-game win streak. Orlando was bullied in the paint once again as the hosts held a 50-32 interior advantage. Boston’s largest lead in the contest was 27 points.

Boston shot 50.0 FG% and had control for much of the contest as 7 Celtics were in double figures. Orlando was held to 40.5 FG%. Aaron Gordon was pretty much the only Magic man who had a decent game with 12 points and 9 rebounds. Nikola Vucevic was 4-of-11 from the field and had 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. Everyone else was garbage.

Scott Skiles is reaching foreign territory as the skid grows. As an NBA Head Coach, Skiles lost 9 straight contests to open the 2004-2005 Chicago Bulls season. He lost 8 straight with the Bulls in the middle of the ’05-’06 campaign. Orlando’s at 8 consecutive defeats and possibly growing.

Below is the game recap.

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