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‘Winning DNA’ Discussed in Bulls-Magic Postgame Interviews

2015 April 8
by Adam Papageorgiou

 

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Orlando Magic Head Coach James Borrego says Aaron Gordon has “winning DNA”, and that’s why he and Evan Fournier were on that parquet floor in crunch time. It was revenge against a Chicago side that broke their hearts 2 months ago in the same building. Oh yeah, there was a game-winner involved too.

James Borrego:

 

Below are interviews of Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Elfrid Payton, Nikola Vucevic, and Victor Oladipo.

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Magic Notch 3rd Straight Win in Thriller Over Chicago

2015 April 8
by Adam Papageorgiou
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

The Orlando Magic won an outstanding contest against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night, 105-103, as Victor Oladipo made a very difficult driving lay-up through winding traffic with 1.5 seconds remaining. Orlando’s defense finished the job to pull out a fantastic victory.

It’s the Magic’s second 3-game winning streak of the season as they held the Bulls to 16 points in the fourth period. The 18,249 folks at Amway Center saw a great show. Orlando held off a Bulls team that shot 12-of-26 from 3-point range. The Magic won the points in the paint battle 42-34.

Victor Oladipo led all scorers with 23 points. Nikola Vucevic added 22 points while Elfrid Payton flirted with another triple-double tallying 17 points, 9 assists, and 9 rebounds. Evan Fournier in his return had 11 points in 21 minutes. Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 19 points. Chicago had three guys scored 15 points: Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson, and Nikola Mirotic. Payton overshadowed the return of Derrick Rose who only managed 9 points on 3-of-9 shooting in nineteen minutes.

Orlando won with a 2-of-13 Tobias Harris remaining on the bench down the stretch as Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon earned the court time late.

 

Below is the full game recap.

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WATCH: Elfrid Payton Slams Home Putback, Detonates Internet

2015 April 8
by Adam Papageorgiou

paytonself

Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton won’t win Rookie of the Year, but tell me how many point guards can do this?!

 

 

I can watch that for days.

 

 

 

Someone forgot to tell Taj Gibson to duck when the Elf Lord takes flight.

 

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

James Borrego to Join NBA and FIBA in Cuba for Camp

2015 April 7
by Adam Papageorgiou

jb

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) announced on Tuesday that they will host their first joint basketball development camp in Havana, Cuba from April 23rd through the 26th. That’ll be over a week after the Orlando Magic will have concluded their 2014-2015 season. It’s very likely interim Head Coach James Borrego will not get the full-time position, so he’s lending his services towards this basketball camp.

Two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo, and WNBA Legend Ticha Penicheiro will lead the four-day camp with the Cuban Men’s and Women’s National Teams, and community outreach projects in association with the Cuban sports ministry, INDER, and the Cuban Basketball Federation (CBF).

“In the continued effort to strengthen our national federations, it is extremely gratifying to see Cuba serve as the center of a development camp of this magnitude,” said FIBA President Horacio Muratore. “This is a country that loves basketball and we are proud to work together with the NBA on this historic venture.”

Through NBA Cares, the league’s global social responsibility program, the NBA and FIBA will refurbish three basketball courts and host youth basketball clinics at two Havana locations.

Coach Borrego will be also joined by Utah Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder, Utah Jazz Assistant Coach Brad Jones, USA Basketball Youth Development Coach Don Showalter, and Director of Basketball Academy of the Americas Victor Ojeda. They will participate in training camp efforts for the Cuban Men’s and Women’s National Teams at the senior (18+) and junior levels. Additionally, the coaches will be joined by Washington Wizards Vice President of Basketball Administration Tommy Sheppard, New York Knicks Associate Athletic Trainer Anthony Goenaga, and FIBA Americas Referee Geraldo Fontana to host workshops for coaches, trainers, and other sports professionals.

Cubans have played basketball since 1906 when young adults brought back the game after learning it in North American colleges and YMCA gymnasiums. The Men’s team has participated in six Olympic Games and four FIBA Basketball World Cups. The team won the Bronze Medal at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, where CBF President Ruperto Herrera contributed with 14 points, five rebounds, and two winning free throws. Two years later, the team finished fourth at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in San Juan.

The reigning FIBA Americas champion Women’s National Team has also competed at a high level on the international stage since the 1970s, with its best results coming in the 1990 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Malaysia (Bronze Medal) and in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona (fourth place). The team has participated in 10 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cups and four Olympic Games.

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

What’s on Tap for Orlando Magic Fan Appreciation Weekend

2015 April 6
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

The Orlando Magic are almost done with their 2014-2015 season. There are 3 home games left at Amway Center starting Wednesday against the Chicago Bulls. That leaves us with an intriguing back-to-back Friday and Saturday to end. So instead of just a ‘Fan Appreciation Night’, Magic fans will get to enjoy a FAN APPRECIATION WEEKEND!

No matter how good or bad the Magic are, the last home game(s) of the season always gets special attention from the organization.

Here’s what’s on tap this weekend.

Activities for Friday April 10th will include:

  • First 5,000 fans will receive Pure Magic sunglasses presented by Florida Hospital
  • Fan Fest outside on Church St. pregame will feature live band, Run for Cover
  • After the game, 10,000 fans will receive Chick-fil-a gift cards for a free chicken sandwich or chicken biscuit
  • Free parking (!!!) in Church Street Garage on first-come, first-served basis (Enter from Hughey Avenue)
  • One fan will win a vacation courtesy of Baha Mar
  • The MTN DEW trick shot winner will be announced (winner to receive 2015-16 season tickets)
  • Special ticket offer starting at $25 on terrace level
  • A ’70s themed halftime show by Orlando Magic performance teams including Orlando Magic Dancers, Silver Stars, Dancing Dads, Magic Minis, STUFF, and the Southwest Flight Crew
  • 25% off all retail purchases at the Orlando Magic Team Shop presented by adidas
  • Wear your Magic gear and receive 35% off your purchase at the Team Shop
  • Face painting
  • Commemorative photo booth with props

That’s pretty solid if you’re in a weekend shopping mood, and the Toronto Raptors will be gearing up for the playoffs.

Activities for Saturday April 11th will include:

  • First 10,000 fans will receive Pure Magic rally towels presented by Amway
  • 15 randomly-selected Magic season ticket holders and representatives from 15 Share the Magic program groups each will receive an authentic autographed jersey from a Magic player prior to tip-off.
    • The 15 are: C.I.A, Christians & Chaplains In Action, Boys Town of Central Florida, Young Men of Excellence, Rosemont Community Center, Englewood Community Center, Central Florida Teen Challenge, Goodwill Good Guides, Saving Our Boys Now, Cherokee School, Kids Beating Cancer, Community Based Care, Center for Multicultural Wellness, Elevate Orlando, Parramore Kids Zone, Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida
  • Magic center Nikola Vucevic will address fans prior to the game
  • After the game, 10,000 fans will receive Chick-fil-a gift cards for a free chicken sandwich or chicken biscuit
  • Free parking (!!!) in Church Street Garage on first-come, first-served basis (Enter from Hughey Avenue)
  • Halftime performance by the Olate Dogs – 2012 winners of America’s Got Talent
  • Jernigan’s restaurant to feature guest chefs from Talk of the Town Restaurants
  • Chase home award presentation
  • Marriott Vacation Club sweepstakes winner announced (winner to receive roundtrip airfare from Southwest Airlines and four day/three night stay at Marriott’s Custom House in Boston or Marriott’s Grand Chateau in Las Vegas)
  • Free throws on the court after the game for ALL FANS
  • 25% off all retail purchases at the Orlando Magic Team Shop presented by adidas
  • Wear your Magic gear and receive 35 % off your purchase at the Team Shop
  • Face painting
  • Commemorative photo booth with props

You may be waiting a while, but shooting on that parquet floor is special if you’ve never done it. The Magic are wearing their Pride silver sleeved jerseys on Saturday against the New York Knicks. It’ll be the 12th and final time this season. Orlando is 5-6 in them, can they get to .500?! They’re 6-12 in blacks, 7-14 in the blues, and 6-21 in the whites. Go sleeves go!

Quick note: Orlando Magic players Tobias Harris, Nikola Vucevic, and Elfrid Payton will visit Chase bank (608 N Orlando Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789) to sign autographs for fans on Thursday April 9th from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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

Magic Surpass ’13-’14 Win Total with Victory in Milwaukee

2015 April 5
by Adam Papageorgiou
AP Photo/Darren Hauck

AP Photo/Darren Hauck

Lost among the NCAA Final Four action and the religious holidays, there was a game in Milwaukee on Saturday. The Orlando Magic are now 24-53 after their second straight road victory in as many nights against the Bucks, winning 97-90. They’ve surpassed the 23 wins they racked up last season. James Borrego is currently 9-16 at the helm.

Tobias Harris tallied 23 points and 10 rebounds on a career-high five 3-pointers as the corner shot was dropping against his former employer. Nikola Vucevic added an efficient 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. Victor Oladipo had another rough shooting night (6-of-19), but quite a few of his 15 points came from clutch moments down the stretch.

Orlando trailed by 12 points early as the playoff bound Bucks were crashing the boards hard. The Magic trailed 31-22 after one quarter before the Magic would recover and settle into the contest. Ersan Ilyasova had eleven points of his 18 points in the first period as he took advantage of wide open looks.

The Magic held a 13-2 fast break points advantage at halftime which was a large reason why they only trailed 53-51 at the break. Elfrid Payton picked up a technical foul, which was pleasant to see.

James Borrego picked up his first technical foul in his coaching career with 4:32 left in regulation with the Magic up 84-83. He was fired up, and that technical helped motivate his team to the victory after Khris Middleton missed the free throw.

A Giannis Antetokounmpo and-1 put Orlando down 88-84 with 3:38 remaining on the clock. Then the Magic went on a 7-0 run to lead 91-88 thanks to jumpers from Aaron Gordon, Victor Oladipo, and a triple from Tobias Harris. A few more Oladipo jumpers would clinch the result.

Aaron Gordon once again found himself finishing a contest at Power Forward. The 19-year-old rookie finally notched his first career double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Speaking of rookies, Elfrid Payton had his 12th career double-double with 10 points and 11 assists.

The Magic are on a win streak as they’re back home to host the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday for their final 3-game Amway Center stretch of the season.

 

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

Orlando’s Next Draft Pick is in Tonight’s Final Four Action

2015 April 4
by Adam Papageorgiou

winslowokafor

If you’re an Orlando Magic fan who hasn’t been paying much attention to the NCAA Tournament, you may want to switch up your Saturday night routine. It’s Duke-Michigan State and Wisconsin-Kentucky. Winners play in the title game on Monday. There is plenty of NBA Draft Lottery talent to keep an eye on and I am very confident that the Magic will use their lottery choice to take a college player that will be performing tonight.

Keep in mind, the Magic already have Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, and Nikola Vucevic locked up as next season’s starters. Let’s look at the college candidates.

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Magic Maul Minnesota with Montenegrin Machine

2015 April 4
by Adam Papageorgiou
AP Photo/Jim Mone

AP Photo/Jim Mone

The Orlando Magic had not won a road game since January 12th. Friday night that changed as Orlando went into Minneapolis and beat the Timberwolves 97-84 on Friday night. Along with their second road win of the 2015 calendar year, the Magic also notched their 23rd victory. That matches the amount of wins they had in the ’13-’14 campaign.

Nikola Vucevic took advantage of fellow Montenegro countryman Nikola Pekovic as well as Gorgui Dieng being out due to injuries. That left the T-Wolves with a thin front court. Vooch tallied a career-high 37 points and added 17 rebounds on 18-of-25 shooting. Nik grabbed 7 of the Magic’s season-high 20 offensive rebounds. The Magic led the contest from start to finish which is rare for this franchise of late.

Tobias Harris ended up stealing Andrew Wiggins‘ spotlight by defending him and out-playing the rookie. Wiggins finished with 22 points but coughed up 5 turnovers. Tobias had a massive 25 points and 12 rebounds. Elfrid Payton had a respectable 10 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals. It’s Elf Lord’s 11th double-double of the season.

Below is the full game recap.

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Aaron Gordon Weighs in on Foot Fracture and Kevin Durant’s Situation

2015 April 2
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Aaron Gordon is still the youngest player in the NBA, but the 19-year-old Orlando Magic forward had some mature viewpoints on his foot fracture and why Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant probably returned too early from his injury.

 

 

Here’s the audio version of those comments from Aaron’s Year One radio show on SIRIUS.

Even though Aaron mentioned back in November that his foot fracture wasn’t as bad as Durant’s, it was strange that Kevin returned from his injury faster than Aaron did. Hindsight is 20/20, but that now seems to have been a mistake on OKC’s part.

Since coming back from his foot fracture surgery in the middle of January, Aaron has only surpassed 23 minutes on the court for TWO GAMES. That’s it. Coincidentally, those two times happened on January 31st and February 2nd. That was in the middle of a stretch where Durant would miss 4 of his next 5 games between January 26th and February 4th. ‘AG’ would sit out  the February 4th game against the Spurs and Gordon has only missed two more games since then.

As for Durant, after coming back on February 6th, ‘KD’ would play the next 5 games before shutting things down for good around February 20th which was just after the All-Star Break. Since the Break, Aaron has only averaged 13.2 minutes per contest – which is over 3 minutes less than what he averaged before the Break – and it just seems like the Magic are being extra cautious with him until the offseason. The coaching change hasn’t benefited him.

It’s a shame because Aaron was a big impact player and a huge reason why the Magic had a good start to their season. Then he misses 30+ games and it appears that he’s received zero guidance since then. Aaron has the athleticism and the talent, but he’s just kind of floating around out on the parquet floor. Lack of identity – is he a PF or an SF? – along with inconsistent minutes have seen Aaron’s numbers plummet. Gordon shot 53.8 FG% before the All-Star Break. The Arizona Wildcat post-Break is at 39.7 FG% as we approach the conclusion of a disappointing ’14-’15 campaign for AG.

Aaron has had good moments here and there, but you to put an ‘incomplete’ grade on his rookie campaign. Injuries robbed an energetic man of some of his confidence. A well-prepared offseason will fix that.

 

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

Why the Magic Could Really Use an NBA Cup Tournament Right Now

2015 April 2
by Adam Papageorgiou

amway-center

I’ve proclaimed the Orlando Magic’s ’14-’15 campaign has been done since losing to the Charlotte Hornets on March 1st. Things haven’t gotten much better since, as James Borrego’s crew has only won 3 of their last 17 games. Brutal to be be a Magic fan right now. With soccer and international basketball midseason elimination tournaments, combined with March Madness, I recalled Adam Silver’s idea back in July about a possible NBA Cup, and how the Magic supporters and players – as well as other franchises also already out of the postseason race – would benefit by being part of an exciting tournament.

Obviously that idea has been thrown to the side because of high-profile players not wanting to extend the NBA season. Injuries seem to be on the rise and certain players already play 100+ games as is. However, I still think an NBA Cup would be a great idea and that it in fact could potentially rest players. Here are my suggestions below to accommodate my idea of an NBA Cup.

 

The Format

A 32-Team Tournament. Spread out across the entire NBA season like they do in England and other nations. Take all 30 NBA teams. You rank #1 through #30 based off how they finish in the playoffs and regular season. Bring over the top two teams that meet in May’s Euroleague Final and rank them #31 and #32 so that the Euroleague runner-up takes on the NBA champs, and the Finals runner-ups take on the Euroleague champions.

It’s single-elimination. Home court goes to the team with the best seed obviously. So if by some craziness the two Euroleague squads make it to the Finals, then the NBA Cup title game will be overseas.

 

Don’t Get Las Vegas Involved

Silver mentioned the entire tournament being played in Vegas. I think that limits the financial and popularity gain potential. Plus, there’s always the worry of extra distractions and Vegas doesn’t even have an NBA team.

 

The Reward

A tiered payout system based on how far you progress in the tournament for the players that goes on top of their normal salaries. I’ll leave the specifics to the NBA, but there’s no reason why they can’t give out more than All-Star Weekend type money. Potential global bragging rights with the international teams being introduced.

As for team benefits? An awesome trophy and banner. How about title belts for every player? Maybe some salary cap relief? Maybe an improvement of draft pick spots? A guaranteed playoff spot? Improved home court advantage in the playoffs? That’s the fun part of this… creativity options.

 

A 76-Game Regular Season

Play 4 division teams 4 times, play other 10 Conference teams 3 times, and take on the 15 opposite conference teams twice. Take 6 regular season games away and that adds 10 to 14 days of extra calendar space.

The purists will cry about the record books being tainted, but we’re here to save the health of the millionaire professional athletes. When you’re seeing the top teams resting players in March, over a month before the playoffs start, that’s a problem. So even though we’re adding an NBA Cup, we’re still going to save the athletes’ legs. The full week of All-Star Break rest is a great start. Let’s improve more.

For NBA viewers, sure we’re taking 6 regular season games away. But we’re taking 4 pointless preseason games away from you to compensate. So that’s 10 games taken away. If you win the entire NBA Cup, that’s 5 games played. So we’re saving you 5 games.

For NBA season ticket holders. We’re taking 3 home games away from the regular season, but we’re also taking away 2 preseason games. You’re not losing much in this deal.

Even if we keep the regular season at 82 games, the two teams in the NBA Cup Final will have only played 1 game extra thanks to the removal of those 4 preseason contests.

Start the NBA Cup in early October. Start the regular season in the middle of October. End the regular season at the end of April. Start the NBA playoffs in May. The Finals would still end some time in June.

 

The Calendar of Play

Round-of-32 play begins BEFORE the first regular season game. So some time around the second week of October. The Euroleague teams will already have their season underway while the NBA teams will have gotten their 4 preseason games out of the way, so the Cup games precede the beginning of the regular season which would be in the middle of October instead of Halloween.

The Round of 32 should have 4 games every night for 4 straight nights. It can kick off the free 2 weeks of NBA League Pass that also involves the first week of regular season play. It’s a perfect way to hype the return of NBA basketball, meld the international game together, and bring legitimacy to this new tournament.

Sweet 16 action should take place in early or mid-December. Some time before the college football bowl games begin but also when schools across the country are letting kids out for winter break so that attendance won’t be a worry. I don’t know if we’re looking at weekends for any of these games, but we can do the 8 games in 2 days.

Let’s do the Elite 8 in February, after the Super Bowl and before All-Star Weekend. At this point there will be teams already looking towards the Lottery. This is where Cup play gets very fun. Because teams that have little to no hope at the playoffs, very would could be in this Elite 8. So they can put a ton of effort into this.

Let’s play the Final Four after the NCAA’s Final Four and champion coronation in the middle of March. I still maintain that we don’t need a neutral site. Let the best seed have the home court.

As for the NBA Cup title game? We can do it the day after the semifinals. Or we can leave a few weeks of distance and do it in early April just as teams are about to spend the last few weeks of the regular season gearing up for the playoffs.

This NBA Cup can work. It’ll bring more money to the NBA. You add the Euroleague teams who would bring more global eyes than for a typical preseason Euroleague v. NBA matchup. Players that are #12 through #15 may find themselves getting more minutes as bench depth importance grows. You can have 10 wins in the regular season, but have a respectable year if you make a deep NBA Cup run.

And hey, your NBA team can go from great to elite if you win both the NBA Finals and the NBA Cup. Just like full-time sleeved jerseys with advertisements, I expect the NBA Cup to happen and to thrive in the future. For Magic fans who have had to deal with 3 miserable seasons of bad play, who knows what NBA Cup play could have done to brighten up all of our moods because the chaos alone from single-elimination matchups brings plenty of entertainment for all. Instead of twiddling our thumbs and awaiting the end of the regular season, we could be prepping for an NBA Cup semifinal or Cup Final.

 

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