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Dewayne Dedmon Career Night Sparks Magic to Beat Bulls

2016 March 26
by Adam Papageorgiou
Fernando Medina/Getty Images

Fernando Medina/Getty Images

The Orlando Magic finally claimed their 30th win of the season on Saturday night, defeating the Chicago Bulls for the second time in March 111-89. It will go down as the Dewayne Dedmon game. The 26-year-old center had the performance of his life. He tallied a career-high 18 points on a career-high 9-of-14 shooting to go with 13 rebounds. The 6-game losing streak is over.

Orlando hovered around 60% shooting most of the night, settling on 53.9 FG% to finish. Elfrid Payton had another solid night, finishing with 15 points and 10 assists on 7-of-9 shooting. Jason Smith and Andrew Nicholson bolstered the bench play by each pouring in 14 points. Chicago – who is in the hunt for 8th – looked out of sync as they never led. The Magic’s largest lead was 29 points. Bulls were held to 40.9 FG%. Taj Gibson led Chicago with 16 points.

Below is the game recap. 

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Magic Can’t Handle Heat; Eliminated from Playoff Contention

2016 March 25
by Adam Papageorgiou
Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

The Orlando Magic have now lost 14 of their last 15 meetings against the Heat, falling 108-97 in Miami on Friday evening. Some in-state rivalry. Orlando has officially been eliminated from the playoff race. The Magic have now lost 6 straight games, including 10 of their last 12 contests. The pinstriped patrol are also just 6-14 since the All-Star Break.

Miami shot 50.0 FG% and were led by Hassan Whiteside‘s 26 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 blocks off the bench. Goran Dragic poured in 22 points and 8 assists. Orlando was led by Evan Fournier‘s 20 points. Andrew Nicholson came off Scott Skiles‘ bench and tallied a season-high 19 points in 17 minutes of action. In his first start since March 8th, Elfrid Payton had a respectable 14 points, 7 assists, and 7 rebounds.

Miami took the points in the paint battle 62-46. Orlando is lacking bodies and spirit as they reach the finish line of another disappointing season. The Magic face Miami two more times in April.

Below is the game recap. 

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Orlando Clinches 4th Consecutive Below-.500 Season by Losing in Detroit

2016 March 23
by Adam Papageorgiou
B. Sevald/Einstein - Getty Images

B. Sevald/Einstein – Getty Images

The Orlando Magic have lost 5 straight games and 9 of their last 11 contests after falling in Detroit on Wednesday night as the Pistons won 118-102. At 29-42, even if the Magic win out the rest of the season, Orlando will finish with their 4th consecutive under-.500 season. Not something to be proud of.

Elfrid Payton may have had his best game of the season, and that’s something to be fairly happy about. EP recorded his 3rd triple-double of his career – 1st this season – with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists on 9-of-21 shooting in 34 minutes off the bench. It’s the 23rd triple-double in franchise history. Only Elfrid and Hedo Turkoglu have 3 each now. Brian Shaw‘s triple-double on December 29, 1995 was the only other Magic trip-dub to get tallied off the bench.

That was all of the good news Orlando got though. The Magic shot 39.8 FG% while Detroit shot 53.8 FG%. The Pistons shot 11-of-24 on triples. Andre Drummond led 7 Pistons that were in double figures as the center notched 30 points and 14 rebounds. Former Magic man Tobias Harris scored 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Reggie Jackson tallied 16 points and 9 assists.

Behind Elfrid’s 20 points off the bench, Aaron Gordon notched 15 points and 11 rebounds but shot a rough 5-of-15. Still love that hustle though. Evan Fournier and Victor Oladipo each added 14 points. Jason Smith had 12 points. Orlando never led, though they threatened a few times during the contest. Just didn’t have enough on the interior as Detroit won the scoring in the paint, 58-46.

Below is the game recap.

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Orlando Drops Another East Road Contest in Boston

2016 March 21
by Adam Papageorgiou
David Sherman/Getty Images

David Sherman/Getty Images

The Orlando Magic gave a decent effort against a very good Celtics squad, but lost in Boston 107-96 on Monday. Similar problems. Not enough of an interior presence. Too many inconsistent moments to validate stealing a road victory.

Orlando was once again led by Victor Oladipo who tallied a solid 25 points. The Magic got 13 points each from Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, and Andrew Nicholson. The Magic had to battle all night for their points, as Boston held them to 42.4 FG%. Orlando was an ice cold 5-of-18 on triple tries.

Boston was led by Isaiah Thomas who notched 28 points. They got 22 points each from Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk. Evan Turner chipped in with 16 points while Amir Johnson snagged a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. You can never doubt the effort of a Brad Stevens coached team. Celtics made 7 more free throws than the men in black. Boston ran Orlando ragged, taking transition points 29-13. Boston’s largest lead was 14 points.

Below is the game recap. 

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Development is All Orlando Can Play for Now

2016 March 21
by Adam Papageorgiou

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Breaking News: For the 4th consecutive season, your Orlando Magic will not be making the playoffs this 2015-2016 campaign. It’s not official per say, but the Magic would have to go undefeated the rest of this season to maybe have a chance at grabbing the 8th seed in the East. That’s not happening. If the Magic somehow make the playoffs next month, I’ll be happy to buy the entire roster dinner. It’ll be worth the few thousand dollars I would spend because that means Orlando will have had to beat the Miami Heat 3 times.

Long gone is the optimism of 19-13 as the past two and half months have sucked away all of the great things Scott Skiles‘ team was accomplishing early this campaign. The result of the damage done by the awful play on the court is failure! The franchise is running out of actual Magic fans with some many folks jumping ship. This 4th straight year of no playoff basketball in O-Town is a stretch only matched by the 1989 through 1993 squads.

Below you’ll see comments and suggestions from me on how Orlando should handle the final dozen games.

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Rotations and Free Throws at Fault for Magic in Loss to Toronto

2016 March 20
by Adam Papageorgiou
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

The Orlando Magic lost 105-100 to a short-handed Toronto Raptors squad on Sunday. It was a self-inflicted defeat as the coaching staff inexplicably stuck with Ersan Ilyasova and a tired Andrew Nicholson, instead of coming back with Dewayne Dedmon and Aaron Gordon to beef up the frontcourt with their strength and athleticism. The Raptors closed out the contest with a 20-9 run.

Toronto crushed Orlando at the free throw line, shooting 29-of-45 from the charity stripe. DeMar DeRozan was 13-of-16. That’s more made free throws than the entire Orlando squad which tallied 12-of-18 FTs. DeRozan led all scorers with 25 points. Luis Scola continues to turn back the clock, dropping 20 points. Kyle Lowry had a relaxed 18 points. Bismack Biyombo keeps starting for the 2nd best team in the East as he notched 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 blocks. Toronto only distributed minutes to 8 players.

Victor Oladipo scored 21 points, but was scoreless in the fourth period. Evan Fournier also notched 21 points, but at least hit a 3-pointer to cut their deficit to just 1 point with about a minute left in the contest. Toronto won the offensive rebound battle 14-7. Crunch time made that difference quite obvious as Orlando struggled to get crucial boards.

Andrew Nicholson had a great 6-minute stretch to begin the fourth period, but he should not have been out there in crunch time. The Canadian tallied 15 points and 9 rebounds in 20 minutes, which is two more minutes than what Aaron Gordon tallied, and four more than Dewayne Dedmon. The biggest problem is Skiles unbelievably sticking with Ilyasova on the floor when the Turkish forward was getting crushed on both ends of the court. Ersan notched 10 points and 9 rebounds in 32 minutes.

Below is the game recap.

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WATCH: Victor Oladipo Talks About “Lifetime High” 45-Point Performance

2016 March 18
Fernando Medina/Getty Images

Fernando Medina/Getty Images

Obviously the Orlando Magic lost, but it’s hard to just ignore one of the franchise’s players dropping 45 points for the first time in over 4 years. That’s what Victor Oladipo did. It’s also something he’s never done. Not in the NBA. Not in college. Not in high school. No even in grade school. It’s a reminder of how much ‘Dipo has grown as a scorer.

Evan Fournier really busted his tail to keep LeBron James in check. He mostly succeeded, but foul trouble robbed him of some playing time in the fourth, and that proved to be when Cleveland went on to not relinquish the lead again. Aaron Gordon, you have to love him. He was down about his offensive struggles, but he cares and has played with more energy than anyone. The 20-year-old will be fine.

Victor Oladipo:

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Career-High 45 Points From Victor Oladipo Not Enough to Top Cavs

2016 March 18
by Adam Papageorgiou
Fernando Medina/Getty Images

Fernando Medina/Getty Images

Despite a career-high 45 points out of Victor Oladipo, the Orlando Magic lost another Eastern Conference contest on Friday night. This time it was 109-103 to the Cleveland Cavaliers inside Amway Center. Oladipo tied his career-high in 3-pointers made (6), and set another career best in field goals made (16) as he was a very efficient 16-of-22 from the field.

The 45 points is the most scored by a Magic player since Dwight Howard dropped that many in Golden State on January 12, 2012. Victor scored 16 points in the 1st period, 8 in the second, 15 in the third, and only 6 in the fourth. Orlando held a tiny fourth period advantage until their offense just stalled with the Magic unable to get anyone but Vic going. The 45 points is also the most a Magic man has ever scored against Cleveland. The 23-year-old Victor supported the likelihood of getting a nice payday come this offseason for the next with this huge performance. Too bad it came in defeat.

On a typical night, holding LeBron James to 18 points on 6-of-15 shooting gives you a pretty decent shot at victory, and it did. However, 26 points from Kyrie Irving led the way for a Cavaliers team that shot 50.0 FG%. Former Magic man Channing Frye notched 14 points in his return including a dagger triple in crunch time.

Other than 18 points out of Evan Fournier – who played great defense against LeBron – and 10 points off the bench from Jason Smith, no other Magic man could provide much offense. Aaron Gordon finished with 7 points and 10 rebounds, but only shot 2-of-8 from the field despite his immense energy displayed.

The Magic were down 9 at halftime because Cleveland shot 10-of-17 on 3s in the first half. They were held to just 3-of-11 the rest of the way. Orlando held a 9-2 points second chance points advantage entering the final period. However, Cleveland won the 4th quarter second chance points battle 8-2. That was you essentially the difference in the end. It’s another game that Orlando could have used Nikola Vucevic to carry a decent-sized offensive load.

Below is the game recap.

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Short-handed Magic Can’t Overcome Large Deficit in Charlotte

2016 March 16
by Adam Papageorgiou
Brock Williams-Smith/Getty Images

Brock Williams-Smith/Getty Images

This will not be a pleasant final month of the season. The Orlando Magic fell 107-99 in Charlotte on Wednesday night, but the Hornets dominated the starters more than the scoreline indicates. The hosts won the battle of the boards as well, 59-40. That also led to a 14-2 second chance points advantage for Charlotte. That was the difference in a contest that saw both squads shoot in the low-40s.

After trailing by as many as 26 points, second-unit players did bring the Magic back though. It was admirable, taking the fourth period 28-15, but not nearly enough to overcome the starting lineup’s mistakes. Devyn Marble had a career-high 9 points. Andrew Nicholson tallied 13 points, the most he’s notched since scoring 14 in Detroit on January 4th. Mario Hezonja added 11 points. Out of the starters, Victor Oladipo dropped 25 points. Brandon Jennings added 16 points and 8 rebounds.

Charlotte got 26 points each from Nicolas Batum and Marvin WilliamsCody Zeller – a Hoosier like Vic – tallied 13 points and 13 rebounds. Kemba Walker was relatively quiet by his standards with his 16 points on 6-of-16 shooting. The Hornets only shot 11-of-37 on 3-pointers in the game, which made the contest intriguing late in the fourth period where they were 0-of-7 from deep.

Below is the game recap.

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WATCH: Orlando Locker Room Interviews After Win Over Denver

2016 March 15
Photo: Fernando Medina/Getty Images

Photo: Fernando Medina/Getty Images

That entire Orlando Magic locker room had a lot of praise for Jason Smith and what he brought to the center spot with Nikola Vucevic missing another contest. It’s great that the pinstriped patrol punched back after almost coughing up their lead to Denver, but they’re running out of games to go on a meaningful sprint towards the playoffs.

Mario Hezonja playfully ripping Evan Fournier about attacking Balkan players – Nikola Jokic is Serbian, Hezonja is Croatian – was hilarious.

Evan Fournier:

 

Aaron Gordon:

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