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.
The Orlando Magic along with center Nikola Vucevic and rookie point guard Elfrid Payton will head out to Lake Eola to meet fans for the Downtown Food & Wine Festival this afternoon (Saturday February 21st). There will be a Magic booth on the corner of Robinson Street and Rosalind Avenue. The Magic Dancers and Southwest Airlines Flight Crew will be present at the event as well. Tickets to the festival start online at $15 and they’re $20 at the entrance. It’s always a very popular event.
WHEN: Saturday, February 21st
3:00 – 4:00 p.m. – Nikola Vucevic to meet fans, sign autographs, and take photos
4:00 – 5:00 p.m. – Elfrid Payton to meet fans, sign autographs, and take photos
Enjoy the beautiful weather out there, Magic fans, and congratulate the guys on a wonderful win. Keep that confidence and optimism flowing.
The second half of that win over the Pelicans was mighty impressive. That Orlando Magic locker room has bought into what ever interim Head Coach James Borrego has been saying. The evidence is there 5 games under J.B., Jacque Vaughn just wasn’t getting his message across to this roster. Hopefully this nice stretch of Orlando play continues into the remainder of the season and beyond.
The first game out of the All-Star Break for the Orlando Magic and they got a hard fought 95-84 victory over a Pelicans team that is clawing for a Western Conference playoff spot. It’s a strong win considering New Orleans shot 22 more free throws than Orlando. Magic shot 50.0 FG% in the contest while holding their opponent to 42.0 FG% and 5-of-19 on 3-pointers. Orlando dominated points in the paint 64-36 and won the fast break points battle 15-8.
Orlando was led by Victor Oladipo who had 22 points. Elfrid Payton tallied his fourth career double-double with 10 points, 11 assists, and 7 rebounds. Nikola Vucevic notched 18 points and 13 rebounds while Evan Fournier poured in 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists with no Tobias Harris available. Tyreke Evans notched 14 points, 10 assists, and 8 boards for the Pelicans while Anthony Davis, Quincy Pondexter, and Ryan Anderson each scored 13 points while struggling from the field. Fantastic team defensive performance by Orlando.
Below is the full game recap.
While much of the league was participating in Trade Deadline deals on Thursday afternoon, all was quiet for GM Rob Hennigan and the Orlando Magic. But in the front office’s silence, the Magic made some statements.
Tobias Harris is making about $2.3 million this season. Kyle O’Quinn at around $915,000. Both are restricted free agents in a few months. Both are looking at substantial raises. How substantial will determine whether or not Rob Hennigan wants to match contract offers that other teams will dish out at the 22-year-old and 24-year-old, or if he’ll let one or both of them walk away.
Tobias Harris is rumored to be looking for somewhere around $14 million per season (close to a max deal). T12 is averaging 17.4 ppg and 6.6 rpg on 46.5 FG% and 37.5 3PT%. He’s got a couple of game-winners in his pocket as a member of the Magic, and Harris seems to be Orlando’s crunch time player down the stretch of contests. But is that enough to make him Orlando’s highest paid player? That’s very much up for debate. If Tobias can close out his 4th NBA season strong, I’m fairly confident a franchise will offer him a maximum deal. We’ll see how he ends this ’14-’15 campaign with James Borrego at the helm. No more coming off the bench for Harris.
O’Quinn is an intriguing case. The bearded one is in his 3rd season averaging 6.4 ppg and 4.2 rpg at around fifty percent shooting at 18 minutes per contest. He’s a bargain now, but where is your payroll threshold for KOQ? $5 million? Six? Seven? Eight? Kyle is vertically challenged, but he’s a solid defender and an even better passer for his size. Dewayne Dedmon is a fantastic insurance policy to own right now. Kyle’s uncertain future Orlando probably played a large role as to why Andrew Nicholson wasn’t dealt either. You’re already paying Channing Frye $8 million per season. Do you want to give his backup that much too?
Both players are young and haven’t reached their production peaks yet. They’ll have plenty of inquiries from other franchises in the offseason. Funny enough, the Knicks could very well open their wallets for both New York natives.
No Team Wanted to Trade for Orlando’s Small Contract Veterans
Keep an eye on a potential waiver in the coming week or so. Willie Green, Luke Ridnour, and Ben Gordon are all still on the Magic’s roster. All can be free agents in a few months. All could have been of some help to a playoff team as a 10th, 11th, or 12th man. Yet no teams made a move to grab any of them. It wouldn’t take much. A second round pick. An expiring contract. Over the past month, Willie has been the more valuable veteran of the three. Both in the locker room and surprisingly on the court.
The Magic want to get Seth Curry onto the roster. He deserves his shot thanks to his solid D-League season with the Erie BayHawks. But the Magic have remained at 15 men the entire ’14-’15 campaign, and would need to waive someone to open up a roster spot. Keep an eye on Luke or Ben.
The Channing Frye Project Will Not be Abandoned
Nor should it. Not when after this season, Frye still has 3 more years and $24 million left on his contract. But Channing’s 7.6 ppg and 4.2 rpg on 39.2 FG% and 39.3 3PT% in 28 minutes per contest are very discouraging. In 9 NBA seasons now, Frye has never had a worse field goal percentage. The 31-year-old is already a massive defensive liability. If the 6’11” man can’t drain jumpers, it’s pointless to have him on the parquet floor.
In comes new Magic lead assistant coach Igor Kokoskov. For 3 seasons in Phoenix, Igor got to see how Frye operated and drew up offensive schemes for getting Frye good perimeter looks. The Serbian will be tasked to do the same thing here in Orlando.
Frye is healing from that dislocated finger, so we’ll see how that hinders him Friday against a Pelicans team that is getting Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson back. This is an opportunity for Frye to turn his season around and to put the front office as ease as they get ready to choose a new head coach.
The Fates of Maurice Harkless and Andrew Nicholson Will be Determined by the New Head Coach
And I don’t mean James Borrego. The 21-year-old and 25-year-old are low on the squad’s totem pole in regards to playing time. Harkless has had his work ethic and mentality questioned. The talent and athleticism are there for Maurice, but he just can’t get on the court. Nicholson went from an outstanding rookie year to learning how to shoot 3-pointers with the Canadian national team in the summer of 2013 and never being the same since then.
Both can turn around their careers though. Not much can be done with less than 2 months remaining this season other than working hard in practice and on rare occasion cracking the lineup, but some hard summer work combined with rejuvenated confidence can give them a clean slate with which ever new head coach gets chosen by the team.
Harkless and Nicholson each make less than $2 million per season. Both had their qualifying options picked up by the Magic for next season. It’s pointless to trade either unless you somehow get offered more than a second round pick. But that wasn’t likely considering how low their trade value was.