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Second Unit Dazzles as Magic Beat Pacers for 1st Preseason Win

2016 October 14
by Adam Papageorgiou

The Orlando Magic on Friday claimed their first preseason victory as they took down the Indiana Pacers 114-106 at Amway Center. It was a contest where both sides stuck with their starters in crunch time. Coach Frank Vogel went with a 10-man player rotation, and the second unit’s contributions were outstanding. They were a massive reason why Orlando took the second period 44-23.

Jeff Green continues to prove doubters wrong. 16 points in 23 minutes. Bismack Biyombo had another high-impact line with 9 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Probably the more surprising performances came from Damjan Rudez, C.J. Wilcox, and C.J. Watson. Rudez – give him the 14th roster spot now – had 11 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds on 4-of-6 shooting (3-of-5 on 3s). Wilcox was a game-high plus-minus of +26 as he tallied 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals on 4-of-6 shooting (3-of-5 on 3s) as well. Watson also went 4-of-6 from the field and reminded us why Rob Hennigan signed him last year as he had 8 points, a game-high 10 assists, 4 rebounds.

The Magic shot 50.6 FG% including 12-of-24 on 3s. They out-rebounded Indiana 51-38. Although they struggled defensively, holding Indiana to 19 points in the fourth is a sign of a potentially elite defense. Pacers shot 46.6 FG% including 7-of-16 (43.8 3PT%) from deep in the contest.


Frank Vogel on Damjan Rudez: “Maybe our highest IQ player on the team. He just really has a great feel for the game. He’s a knock down shooter so there is a reason he’s here. He has had a great camp for us.”


Not to be ignored, Serge Ibaka had a fantastic 19 points and 17 rebounds on 7-of-9 shooting (3-of-3 on 3s) in 28 minutes. Aaron Gordon is finding his form, posting 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals. He shot 6-of-7 at the charity stripe. Elfrid Payton is still struggling with his jumper (4-of-13 FGs), but he looked active with his 11 points and 4 steals on the night.  All 5 Pacers starters for new coach Nate McMillan scored 14+ points including 17 from Myles Turner and sixteen points from Paul George.


Below is the game recap.

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WATCH: Magic Postgame Interviews After Defeat to Spurs

2016 October 12


There are 20 possible spots in the Orlando Magic locker room. Right now, 19 of those seats and storage spaces are occupied at the moment. The preseason always brings that intriguing atmosphere of established roster players, and those guys who are scraping just to make an NBA final 15-man squad. It’s not tough to notice who is relaxed and who is feeling career pressure.

For guys like Aaron Gordon, it just felt outstanding being back on the parquet court. Would the team have preferred to win? Of course. But getting that feel of a home crowd put a smile on some of the players’ faces. I will share that some of the players are having fun with the label maker and sticking phrases on other teammates’ lockers. Just getting through the grind of the exhibition season.


Evan Fournier on Bismack Biyombo‘s defensive presence: “Biz is a monster. I’ve never played with a guy that can get you open on screens like that. I was playing the pick and roll and I was all of a sudden by myself. It’s great. It’s really, really good.”


Aaron Gordon:

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Fournier, Green, Biyombo Impress in Magic Loss to Spurs

2016 October 12
by Adam Papageorgiou


The Orlando Magic dropped to 0-3 in the preseason on Wednesday after falling 95-89 at Amway Center to the San Antonio Spurs. The score doesn’t matter. It was about Orlando finally showcasing their potential starting lineup of Vucevic-Ibaka-Gordon-Fournier-Payton.

Serge Ibaka, Aaron Gordon, and Elfrid Payton all displayed rust in their first actual game action in the Frank Vogel era as all are still looking to get back into game shape following their returns from ailments. Ibaka had 7 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 block on 3-of-8 shooting in twenty minutes. Gordon and Vooch shot a combined 4-of-17 and each finished with 6 points and 10 boards. Elfrid had 3 points, 1 assist, and 5 turnovers on 1-of-5 shooting. To be fair, D.J. Augustin also coughed up 5 turnovers.

Three Magic men in particular had great nights though, and all of them were seeing their third preseason game action this month: Evan Fournier, Jeff Green, and Bismack Biyombo. Fournier did his damage early, scoring 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting (3-of-5 on 3s) in 27 minutes. Green was even more efficient as he notched 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting in 23 minutes. Biyombo started slow and took control on both ends of the court as the game progressed. Biz tallied 9 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 blocks in 23 minutes.

The game was determined by who won the 3-point battle as both shot about 39% from the field. Spurs shot 11-of-24 from deep (45.8 3PT%), while the Magic were just 7-of-21 (33.3 3PT%) from downtown. Orlando won the points in the paint battle 38-28. However, Spurs held the 16-6 fast break points advantage. The Magic’s starters being a combined plus/minus of -65 didn’t help. Vogel’s bench certainly looked better.


Aaron Gordon on the defensive impact of Serge Ibaka: “We’re going to be very, very good defensively. After we get everything together, we’re going to be very tough to score on. We had flashes of it today. If we can put 48 minutes together, it’s going to be crazy.”


Below is the game recap.

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Orlando Magic: Expectations for the 2016-2017 Season

2016 October 12
by Brian McGuire
MEMPHIS, TN - JANUARY 25:  Elfrid Payton #4 of the Orlando Magic handles the ball against Mike Conley #11 of the Memphis Grizzlies on January 25, 2016 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Orlando Magic sort of pressed the reset button this offseason. After four straight seasons of not making the playoffs, General Manager Rob Hennigan made a major trade that affected the core of the team and also hired a proven coach. Besides the Cleveland Cavaliers, the hierarchy in the Eastern Conference is hard to predict. There are about 12 teams in the East that will be fighting for those other seven playoff seeds, including the Orlando Magic.

The Magic’s offseason started with a major head coaching change. Scott Skiles stepped down from the Magic head-coaching job, citing that he wasn’t the right person to coach this team. After Larry Bird and the Indiana Pacers shockingly decided to fire Frank Vogel, the Magic signed him to a four-year/$22 million contract. Vogel made the playoffs every season but one (Paul George missed 76 games in 2014-2015) with the Pacers, reaching the Conference Finals in back-to-back seasons in 2013 and 2014. Vogel proved his amazing defensive coaching ability, as the Pacers were a top-10 defense last season with a lineup that included Monta Ellis, Lavoy Allen, and George Hill.

The dynamic of the Magic roster completely changed on the night of the 2016 NBA Draft. The Magic traded the rights to their #11 overall pick Domantas Sabonis, Victor Oladipo, and Ersan Ilyasova to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Serge Ibaka. The move was truly a puzzling one, as the front office broke up the promising young backcourt of Oladipo, their second overall pick in 2013, and Elfrid Payton.

In return, the Magic received Ibaka, a great two-way player, as he can rebound, defend, and shoot as well as any power forward in the league. If Ibaka was under contract for longer, the move would have made a little more sense, but that is simply not the case. Ibaka will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and with the way players such as Allen Crabbe are getting paid, Ibaka will be looking for a big-time contract. The Magic decided to trade away a pivotal player of their young core, as well as a chance to add another player to that young core, for a player who may only spend one season in Orlando, even though he has said he wants to play in Orlando “forever.”

The Magic will likely enter the season with a starting lineup of Elfrid Payton, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Serge Ibaka, and Nikola Vucevic. If it’s one thing the Magic should be able to do well, it’s rebound. Vucevic stands at 7’0” with 9.8 rebounds per game in his career, Ibaka is 6’10” with a 7.4 average, and the 6’9” Gordon averaged 6.4 rebounds in his first full NBA season. The Magic also signed 6’9” Bismack Biyombo and his 8.0 rebounds per game this offseason. With the acquisitions of both Biyombo and Jeff Green this offseason, it meant Aaron Gordon will have to adjust to playing the small forward position.

The Magic will have an interesting season. They will roll with a big, athletic, and two-way frontcourt with Ibaka, Biyombo, Vucevic, Gordon and Green all splitting time. The backcourt will consist of Evan Fournier coming off a career-high with 15.4 ppg last season and Elfrid Payton improving his scoring capabilities. The bench of Mario Hezonja, D.J. Augustin, Jodie Meeks, Green, and Biyombo should be serviceable.

The Magic are not at the level of the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors or have the talent level of the New York Knicks or the Chicago Bulls, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be in the thick of things in the East. They should be able to compete with teams like the Charlotte Hornets, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, and Milwaukee Bucks.

Frank Vogel will be one of 10 new coaches this season trying to change the culture of their teams. Vogel is a winning coach and will not accept not making the playoffs. The Magic are headed in the right direction with Vogel, but a season filled with ups-and-downs should be expected. The Magic should be positioned in the playoff race all season, something that hasn’t been said for too long.


Brian McGuire is a contributor to MBO.

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

Penny & Pops Podcast: Post-Matthew and Preseason Week 1

2016 October 11
by Adam Papageorgiou


With Orlando getting very lucky to have not been heavily impacted by Hurricane Matthew, we discuss how the Magic have looked so far as owners of an 0-2 preseason record following a road trip to Memphis and Cleveland.

Should we worry about Mario Hezonja? Has D.J. Augustin looked like a viable backup point guard? Which of the 6 training camp invites as stood out?

Out of Elfrid Payton, Aaron Gordon, and Serge Ibaka, we bring up which of the 3 returnees from injury needs to have a great week of home exhibition contests.

The Magic are doing some pretty great things for their fans and also in honor of the ‘Pulse’ nightclub shooting.

Plus, much more.

Warning: Adult Language


Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.

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

Magic to Honor ‘Pulse’ Victims, Families and Heroes on October 26th

2016 October 11


Opening night for the Orlando Magic’s 2016-2017 regular season just became more special. The game against the Miami Heat on Wednesday October 26th will be dedicated to those people who lost their lives, and those whose lives have been impacted by the ‘Pulse’ shootings that occurred this summer.

Tributes have been planned to honor the lives of the 49 victims who died less than 2 miles away from Amway Center on June 12th at Pulse nightclub.

A video highlighting the city’s unity will be shown. The team will also hold a moment of silence and honor first responders from the night of the attacks as the “Hometown Heroes.” The Magic are also expected to host survivors, family members, and Pulse employees at the contest.



The evening will also include the Magic raising a #49 banner during the pregame ceremonies to honor the 49 victims. In remembrance, the number “49” on the banner will be filled with each person’s name who lost their life that night. Count me as a fan of this decision.

The team is not retiring the #49. Remember, #6 is also up in the rafters – which represents ‘the fans’ – but the Magic have never had anyone wear #49 in its franchise history.

If you’re in attendance for the game, I’d highly recommend you not get to your seat(s) late.


Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.

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

Spurs at Magic on October 12th to be Streamed on Facebook Live

2016 October 10
by Adam Papageorgiou


The Orlando Magic on Monday announced that the Wednesday October 12th preseason contest versus the San Antonio Spurs will be broadcast on Facebook Live. Here is the link. Coverage of the first Magic home game for Frank Vogel’s bunch begins at 7 p.m. EST.

Per NBA rules, the game will be available to anyone on Facebook within a 75-mile radius of the Amway Center. So if you’re not in the arena, you still need to be in the Central Florida area to actually view the stream. *cough*Andthenitwillprobablybeaccidentallyillegallyfedelsewhereforglobalviewers*cough*

It’s better than nothing, that’s for sure.



As far as I know, this is the first time any NBA team is utilizing Facebook Live for an exhibition game. Definitely the first time the Magic are doing it. The team has used Facebook Live and Periscope for interviews and other non-game things to show in the past.

This is the franchise, and the Association, picking up the slack for FOX Sports Florida not wanting to broadcast the game.

The game broadcast will feature the in-arena video feed from Amway Center along with Magic radio broadcasters Dennis Neumann and Richie Adubato calling the action. I hope the NBA assigns a ref that Richie hates.


Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.

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

Are Orlando’s Shifting Odds a Good Bet?

2016 October 6
by Adam Papageorgiou


Depending on how optimistic you are about this 2016-2017 Orlando Magic team, there are opportunities that you can potentially take advantage of.

This site lists out some of the sportsbooks and the upcoming NBA season’s prop bets. I pulled some Magic examples.


Over/Under 36.5 Wins

Topbet actually might be the most optimistic site I’ve seen. They placed the over/under at 36.5, which is on par with everyone else, but you earn more money if you pick the ‘under’ rather than the ‘over’. That means Topbet seems to think Frank Vogel’s squad will surpass the national predictions that they won’t reach the postseason.






As an example, bet $100 on the ‘over’ of 36.5 wins and you’ll win $80. Bet $100 on the ‘under’ and you’ll win $95.23.

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Orlando Now 0-2 After Preseason Defeat in Cleveland

2016 October 5
by Adam Papageorgiou


The Orlando Magic fell to 0-2 in their preseason campaign, falling 117-102 on Wednesday night in Cleveland to the Cavaliers. It never was close after the first few minutes of action. Orlando’s starters and rotation players had some problems shooting the ball, only managing 35.9 FG% in the first half. By the end of the game, Orlando’s end-of-the-bench contributors raised it to 44.0 FG%.

Frank Vogel’s squad did at least shoot 11-of-24 (45.8 3PT%) on triples. Evan Fournier looked good offensively, tallying 14 points in 21 minutes. He struggled early on both ends, but Mario Hezonja settled down and finished with 17 points on 6-of-14 off the bench. #8 also got a few and-1s. Jeff Green started in place of the Croatian at small forward and dropped 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting (3-of-5 on 3s) in 24 minutes.

Rookie Stephen Zimmerman continues to show promising spurts, notching 9 points. Nick Johnson played the entire fourth period only and tallied 4 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Bismack Biyombo shot a rough 1-of-6 shooting as he had 3 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals.

It was all Cleveland though. They shot over 60% much of the contest, finishing at 53.2 FG% as well as 13-of-27 on 3-pointers. At one point, they were 9-of-12 from long range. Jordan McRae led everyone with 20 points. Cavs rookie Kay Felder had 14 points.

It was kind of a familiar storyline for the Magic in Cleveland as in years past. The Cavaliers’ starters looked very comfortable. This is only exhibition play though.

Below is the game recap.

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Orlando Drops 2016 Opening Preseason Contest in Memphis

2016 October 3
by Adam Papageorgiou


The Orlando Magic opened their seven-game 2016 NBA exhibition schedule on Monday, falling 102-97 in Memphis to the Grizzlies. The final score didn’t mean anything since a lot of third-stringers could be spotted throughout the fourth period.

Frank Vogel and his coaching staff got his squad to hit triples and to run rampant against a grind-it-out Memphis side that has a new coach of their own in former Miami Heat assistant David Fizdale. Turnovers were the reason Orlando lost. That’s the trade-off when trying to boost offensive tempo.

23 turnovers and just 19 assists for the men in black. Memphis had the same amount of dimes, but only coughed it up 13 times. Orlando shot 47.9 FG% and a great 45.8 3PT% (11-of-24). The 16-of-25 free throw shooting is a bit concerning.

Evan Fournier led all Magic men with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Nikola Vucevic only shot 4-of-12 but tallied 11 points, 9 rebounds, and a team-high 5 assists. Bismack Biyombo finished with 5 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. C.J. Watson looking to avoid leg issues this season, as he hoisted in 10 points. Rookie Stephen Zimmerman added 8 points. Damjan Rudez also had 8 points on 3-of-3 shooting (2-of-2 on 3s). Wade Baldwin led Memphis with 15 points. The Grizzlies were held to 20.8 3PT% (5-of-24).



It’s amazing that we’re in 2016 and we could not visually watch this contest live. Disappointing.

Below is the game recap.

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