Are we allowed to get this excited during preseason? Bismack Biyombo is making it very difficult not to see how different this Orlando Magic squad will be in 2016-2017.
In just 16 minutes of first half action on Sunday night, Biz had already racked up 13 rebounds and 4 blocks. The fourth swat coming on this beautiful run-down rejection of Mike Scott’s feeble attempt at an interior bucket.
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) October 16, 2016
Biz is one member of the ‘Republic of Rejection’ with Serge Ibaka being the other since both come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
I want Biz to create his own anti-spyware company so he can block spam and viruses.
Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.
The Orlando Magic and Papa John’s will once again partner up for the eighth consecutive season to offer people one of the greatest food deals in Central Florida – the Papa John’s ‘MAGICWIN’ victory pizza promotion.
If you need a refresher, the promotion offers fans 50 percent off (50%!!!) Papa John’s regularly priced online menu the day after any Magic victory. Just enter the promo code ‘MAGICWIN’ at PapaJohns.com when you’re ordering online for pick-up or delivery.
The local area promotion began on Saturday following the Magic’s 114-106 victory over the Indiana Pacers the night previous. Only participating Central Florida Papa John’s restaurants will give you the discount. You can’t claim this promotion in person or over the phone, you have to order online.
The Papa John’s ‘MAGICWIN’ offer will be available for all games during the 2016-2017 campaign. The franchise and pizza company have had a partnership since the 2000-2001 season.
Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.
The Orlando Magic hosted their annual open practice Saturday, which included a scrimmage, a three-point contest, a game of knockout, and Magic rookie Stephen Zimmerman singing to “Let It Burn” by Usher.
Magic head coach Frank Vogel got things started by thanking the fans for showing up, and then proceeded in asking the fans if they were “tired of missing the playoffs.” After a loud cheer by the crowd, Vogel followed it up with “that ends this year.” Before the Magic can start thinking about the playoffs, they have to focus on the last 11 days before they tip off the season against the Miami Heat.
After Vogel addressed the fans, the team went on to take warm-up shots on both sides of the court, then the team was split up into two squads for the scrimmage. The scrimmage consisted of two 6-minute halves with a timeout after the three-minute mark.
The scrimmage was short for the Magic, but Serge Ibaka stood out in the first half with a couple of really nice moves in the post. Ibaka was teamed up with Elfrid Payton, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic. The other team consistent of D.J. Augustin, Mario Hezonja, Bizmack Biyombo, Jeff Green and Damjan Rudez.
The Ibaka-led Blue team won the first half of the scrimmage, 14-9.
In the second half of the scrimmage, Cliff Alexander and Mario Hezonja stood out. Alexander had two really nice moves in the post, while Hezonja caught an alley-oop from Nick Johnson and had a couple of other highlight plays in the process.
Frank Vogel probably didn’t tell that Orlando Magic locker room to beat Indiana for him, but you could tell from the players’ reactions that coach was definitely thrilled with the final result. While the starters still have some rust to shake off and more meshing to do, the second unit was flying.
It’s going to make for some intriguing extra competition in practices moving forward. 1-3 sounds a whole lot better than 0-4.
Nikola Vucevic made a fun remark that Damjan Rudez looked like “Steve Nash” out there this evening. And the ‘let Jeff Green be Jeff Green‘ movement has picked up plenty of momentum. Aaron Gordon was rocking a jersey that looked awfully familiar to something you would have seen in Space Jam as he departed the locker room.
Serge Ibaka: “It’s always good to get your feel and your legs back, especially not only because of the way I played, but because we got the ‘W’ to get our confidence back up was important.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On October 26 we will dedicate our Opening Night to those who lost their lives and those whose lives have been forever changed from the tragedy at Pulse Night Club. We will also be raising a no. 49 banner during pregame to honor the 49 victims. The number “49” will be filled with each person’s name who lost their life that night.
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.