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The NBA Championship of Florida: Heat v. Magic

2014 August 18
by Adam Papageorgiou

beattheheat

Rivalries bring out the passion that makes sports as popular as they are today. Especially regional and local rivalries. Yankees-Red Sox. Barcelona-Real Madrid. Gators-Seminoles. Auburn-Alabama. Giants-Dodgers. Olympiakos-Panathinaikos. UCF-USF. Packers-Bears. Duke-North Carolina. Maple Leafs-Canadiens. Blackhawks-Red Wings. Sounders-Timbers. Seahawks-49ers. Michigan-Ohio State.

Miami versus Orlando. Magic versus Heat. Why is this Sunshine State NBA matchup never in the conversation? There are only these two professional basketball clubs in Florida.

Whenever these two expansion teams face each other, the word ‘rivalry’ almost never gets used anymore. You can credit a variety of things for this being the case. Free agency and trades. A lack of playoff meetings (only one in 1997). The locker rooms and coaching staffs of both franchises never hyping up a sunshine state clash. Probably the main factor is that the Heat and Magic are still young organizations with developing fan bases.

If you commute via the Florida Turnpike, the two franchises are separated by 234 miles. Only a three or 4-hour drive.

Miami got their NBA franchise in the ’88-’89 season while Orlando followed a year later.

Orlando’s franchise win-loss record is 1002-1000. Miami’s is 1085-999.

The regular season win-loss matchup record is 55-44 in favor of the Heat.

Since the Southeast Division was created in the 2004-2005 season, either the Heat or Magic have won the division crown.

The Heat have had 18 playoff appearances. Orlando has been stuck on 14 for a few years.

Miami has 5 Conference titles. The Magic have two.

The Heat have 11 division titles. Orlando trails with five.

Miami has 3 jerseys retired: Tim Hardaway, Alonzo Mourning, and Michael Jordan (which is still strange to me). Orlando has #6 hanging in the rafters in honor of its fans being the Sixth Man.

Obviously the biggest gap between the two teams is Miami’s 3 NBA championships to Orlando’s zero. It hurts for sure if you live in Central Florida. If it doesn’t, then you’re either a transplant and/or you don’t like basketball.

But what happens when we do a season by season breakdown of the two franchises to see which team is superior?

 

1988-1989 Season

Heat: 15-67; 6th in Midwest Division; No Playoffs

Magic: N/A

Winner: Heat…by default.

Although if you only manage fifteen victories in an 82-game season, can you REALLY be considered a winner? Orlando already knew it was being given a franchise after all. Kevin Edwards was Miami’s leading scorer on the season at 13.8 ppg. That’s bad and there is no sugarcoating it. Miami ranked dead last out of 25 NBA teams in points scored per game. Do Heat fans even know who Rory Sparrow was? I will say it’s pretty cool that Ron Rothstein is still with the Heat franchise, and here he is as the Head Coach of their inaugural season.

 

1989-1990 Season

Heat: 18-64; 5th in Atlantic Division; No Playoffs

Magic: 18-64; 7th in Central Division; No Playoffs

Winner: Magic

For starters, it’s Orlando’s inaugural season. There were only 27 NBA teams – see the wonky division placements – at the time and Miami ranked 24th in both offense and defense. Orlando may have had the worst defense in the league – giving up a gaudy 119.8 ppg – but at least Coach Matt Guokas had his Magic men running on offense which was 5th-best in the Association. The entertainment tiebreaker is obvious here. Terry Catledge and Reggie Theus were doing a lot of scoring in those pinstripes. The Orlando Arena also beat out the Miami Arena in attendance. Rony Seikaly did at least make quite a leap in his sophomore season to lead Miami in scoring.

 

Below you’ll find things get much better for both franchises. 

read more…

France Falls to Australia as Fournier Scores 9 Points

2014 August 17
by Adam Papageorgiou

fournierbatumbored

The French men’s senior national basketball team concluded their 3-game exhibition tournament in Antibes, France on Sunday with a 76-74 loss to Australia. Orlando Magic wing Evan Fournier finished with 9 points and 3 rebounds on 3-of-6 shooting (1-for-2 on 3-pointers). Just like against Ukraine yesterday, the French paid for keeping Evan on the bench in crunch time when they needed 3-point shooting in 16 minutes of action. Below is Evan’s shot chart.

FournierShotChartAussies

Nicolas Batum led all players with 24 points. Boris Diaw tallied 14 points for France, but committed some horrible errors down the stretch that sealed their fate.  Another San Antonio Spur, Aron Baynes led Australia with 21 points. Cleveland Cavalier Matthew Dellavedova notched 10 points and 5 assists. Magic fans will be happy to know that Dante Exum struggled. In 14 minutes, Utah’s draft pick only managed 2 points on a bad 1-for-8 shooting.

With Nando De Colo breaking his hand and being ruled unavailable for the FIBA World Cup, Evan is expected to receive more meaningful playing time. Coach Vincent Collet wasn’t disappointed tonight as Fournier had seven first half points on 2-of-4 shooting (1-for-2 on 3s) as they led Australia 36-34 at the break in what was a physical exhibition. It needs to continuously be preached that Evan needs many more touches on offense, especially since Evan’s been quite sturdy on defense. Fournier even had to play post-up defense against big men like Brock Motum an David Andersen, even fronting properly.

France gets a few days off before hosting one final pre-World Cup exhibition tournament. This time it’ll be in the town of Strasbourg. They’ll play Finland and Australia (again) between August 22nd and the 24th.

 

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

Ukraine Defeats France as Fournier Has Quiet Outing

2014 August 16
by Adam Papageorgiou

fournierhat

Day 2 of France’s exhibition tournament in Antibes found the French national team losing to Ukraine 63-56 on Saturday. Orlando Magic wing Evan Fournier had a relatively quiet outing off the bench. French Coach Vincent Collet decided not to utilize his best 3-point shooter down the stretch and it costed him as guys like Nicolas Batum and Mickael Gelabale clanked 3-pointers late. In 15 minutes of action, Evan only managed 3 points and 1 rebound on 1-of-3 from long distance. The French team as a whole was 6-for-21 from long distance.

France coughed up 16 turnovers and a few of those were just horrible passes sent in Evan’s direction after the 21-year-old put himself in prime position to score. Ukraine were led by their diminutive starting point guard, Pooh Jeter, who scored 23 points. It was fun seeing former NBA coach Mike Fratello getting into the leading referee’s ear and earning Ukraine some questionable calls down the stretch.

France will finish off their 3-game weekend in Antibes on Sunday as they take on Dante Exum and Australia. We’re exactly 2 weeks away from the FIBA World Cup tournament kicking off in Spain.

 

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

 

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Fournier Contributes 6 Points as France Edge Past the Philippines

2014 August 15
by Adam Papageorgiou

EvanFrancePrep

The French men’s national basketball team on Friday kicked off another 3-day weekend exhibition tour in preparation for the FIBA World Cup that takes place in two weeks. This time the Blue-White Tour is in the town of Antibes. France struggled from the perimeter but still managed to beat the Philippines 75-68 in the first of three consecutive days of games. France were 2-for-17 from 3-point range while the Philippines were 12-of-29 from deep.

It was the 1st contest played since Orlando Magic wing Evan Fournier officially was announced as a member of the 12-man squad that will be heading to Spain. Coach Vincent Collet had Fournier come off the bench as usual. Evan finished with 6 points, 2 rebounds, and a block  on 2-for-5 shooting (0-of-2 from long distance) in twelve minutes of action.

fournierphilippinesshotchart

All six of those points came in the first half as Evan did an outstanding job of utilizing his quickness and size advantage over the Philippines’ small guards to attack the paint at will and convert on his aggressive takes to the rim. Fournier displayed a wide variety of off-ball cuts and dribble drives. You forget the 21-year-old is 6′ 7″ when he moves so fast. He just needs more touches. Surprisingly, Evan’s biggest problem on the court currently is that he just cannot drain a 3-pointer when he’s left wide open. Both missed attempts he didn’t have anyone within a few yards of him. Hand in Evan’s face, no problem. Fifteen feet of space to take your time and release, nope.

San Antonio Spur Boris Diaw saw his first court action since winning the NBA Finals. Boris looked rusty as he had 1 point, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists. Nicolas Batum tallied a respectable 16-point and 11-rebound double-double.

Andray Blatche believe it or not plays for the Philippines. Blatche scored 12 points on 5-of-17 shooting. Both Blatche and Fournier ended up rolling their ankles in this contest. Evan’s at least came as a result of taking a hard charge on a driving Blatche.

France continues their Antibes Tournament with Day 2 action on Saturday as they take on Ukraine.

Below is part 3 of the French Basketball Federation’s summer series on their national team. Fournier once more gets a lot of air time.


Bleu Blanc Tour – La Série – Épisode 3 by FFBB

 

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

Digging Deeper into Orlando’s Roller Coaster Schedule

2014 August 14
by Adam Papageorgiou

coachhjv

The Orlando Magic preseason and 2014-2015 regular season schedule are out in the open. We know when former Magic men like Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo, Stan Van Gundy, Dwight Howard, J.J. Redick, and others are coming back to Amway Center. Orlando once again won’t be on a true nationally televised game. Got it. Let’s dig deeper into the regular season schedule difficulty level itself. All of the graphics provided in this piece come courtesy of Ed Kupfer.

19 of Orlando’s first 28 contests are on the road. Only nine of those contests are against Western Conference opposition, so the Magic will find out quickly how they stack up in the East. Also, 17 of those 28 games are against franchises that reached the playoffs last season. Their season-long 6-game road trip is in the heart of that stretch. Other than that though, Orlando has no 5-game road trips and only one 4-game roadie (Jan. 7th-12th) for the entire season.

Talk about rookie trial by fire for Aaron Gordon, Elfrid Payton, and Devyn Marble. We’re in the third year of the Rob Hennigan-Jacque Vaughn era. 20-something wins should not be tolerated again this upcoming season. The Magic were a franchise-worse 4-37 on the road in ’13-’14. It’s awful in an NBA perspective. If Orlando mirrors similar road failures in the ’14-’15 campaign, then it’s going to be a horrendous first 1/3 of the season.

16 out of 23 games from January 14th to March 8th – with the February 12th through Feb. 19th All-Star Break in between – are played inside Amway Center. Thirteen of those 23 contests are against squads that were in the postseason last season. This is where Jacque’s roster is going to have find their winning ways if they want a chance at the playoffs. Orlando was only 19-22 at home last year and it’s a given that you have to be over .500 on our own floor to have a prayer at a playoff bid.

From March 20th through the conclusion of the regular season, 8 of the Magic’s final 12 games are at home (with the last 2 being in Miami and at Brooklyn). Their season-high 5-game home stretch is at the start of this period. Seven of those twelve games are against opponents who made the playoffs last season. If Orlando can survive hell for the first two months, there are some very kind home-heavy stretches that Coach Vaughn’s squad can take advantage of. When you’re a team that has been at the bottom of the totem pole, no contest is easy.

 

Below we get into rest, travel, and back-to-back discussion.

read more…

Magic Release 2014 Preseason Schedule

2014 August 14
by Adam Papageorgiou

Dwight Howard, Nikola Vucevic

On Wednesday the Orlando Magic released their entire ’14-’15 regular season schedule. Today we found out the team’s 8-game exhibition schedule. Coach Jacque Vaughn’s squad have three straight road games before their first Amway Center contest against Brazilian champion Flamengo on October 15th. The official Orlando return of Stan Van Gundy will come Oct. 17th as SVG will be at the helm of the Detroit Pistons. October 22nd sees another Dwight Howard return with his Houston Rockets. It’ll be interesting if he even participates in that contest. Finally, the preseason concludes with Jameer Nelson’s first game in Orlando that won’t be in a Magic jersey as the Dallas Mavericks come to town on October 24th.

Below is the entire Orlando preseason agenda.

 

HOME GAMES AT AMWAY CENTER IN ALL CAPS

Date                Opponent                                           Time (ET)

Oct. 7              @ Miami                                                  7:30 p.m.

Oct. 10            @ Indiana                                               7 p.m.

Oct. 13            @ Charlotte                                            7 p.m.

Oct. 15            FLAMENGO (Brazil)                            7 p.m.

Oct. 17            DETROIT                                                  7 p.m.

Oct. 18            @ Philadelphia (site TBA)                 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 22            HOUSTON                                                7 p.m.

Oct. 24            DALLAS                                                    7 p.m.

 

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

 

The Summer of Victor Oladipo Continues

2014 August 14
by Adam Papageorgiou

Oladiposoulfood

Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo says he blends in very well whenever he walks around our fair city of Orlando, but that ‘Dipo anticipates things to change next year. He won’t be wrong if Victor can make the jump in on-court production we’re anticipating. The man craves meaningful social interaction and he’s a human sponge soaking up information from everyone and everything. Below is part 2 of VICE Sports‘ offseason coverage of the Indiana Hoosier product. The entire clip focuses on Victor during July’s Summer League. Click here if you missed part 1.

We learn about how Oladipo didn’t drive a car or even go on dates in high school. The funniest moment is definitely Vic saying that Maurice Harkless looked like Chris Bosh when the 21-year-old was younger. Victor bonds with Harkless, Kyle O’Quinn, and rookie Devyn Marble at a local soul food establishment. We broke down Victor’s overall successful Summer League week. Oladipo is a student of the game of basketball and it is very easy to see how a 22-year-old entering his sophomore NBA campaign has been handed the keys to the Magic franchise. ‘Dipo is a pure leader.

 

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

 

***Join Magic Basketball Online on Twitter and Facebook!***

Orlando Magic 2014-2015 Regular Season Schedule Released

2014 August 13
by Adam Papageorgiou

daviskoq

It’s that time of year again, the NBA has released its 2014-2015 regular season schedule. Time for Magic fans to get excited for training camp which comes on September 30th. As for the preseason schedule, we had some of it leak out but we don’t have it in its entirety just yet.

Below is the regular season schedule:

 

October 

Tue. 28 @ New Orleans 8 pm

Thu. 30 WASHINGTON 7 pm

 

November

Sat. 1 TORONTO 7 pm

Tue. 4 @ Chicago 8 pm

Wed. 5 @ Philadelphia 7 pm

Fri. 7 MINNESOTA 7 pm

Sun. 9 @ Brooklyn 3:30 pm

Tue. 11 @ Toronto 7:30 pm

Wed. 12 @ New York 7:30 pm

Fri. 14 MILWAUKEE 7 pm

Sat. 15 @ Washington 7 pm

Mon. 17 @ Detroit 7:30 pm

Wed. 19 L.A. CLIPPERS 7 pm

Fri. 21 @ Charlotte 7 pm

Sat. 22 MIAMI 7 pm

Mon. 24 @ Cleveland 7 pm

Wed. 26 GOLDEN STATE 7 pm

Fri. 28 @ Indiana 8 pm

Sun. 30 @ Phoenix 8 pm

 

December

Tue. 2 @ Golden State 10:30 pm

Wed. 3 @ L.A Clippers 10:30 pm

Fri. 5 @ Utah 9 pm

Sat. 6 @ Sacramento 10 pm

Wed. 10 WASHINGTON 7 pm

Fri. 12 @ Atlanta 7:30 pm

Sat. 13 ATLANTA 7 pm

Mon. 15 @ Toronto 7:30 pm

Wed. 17 @ Boston 7:30 pm

Fri. 19 UTAH 7 pm

Sun. 21 PHILADELPHIA 6 pm

Tue. 23 BOSTON 7 pm

Fri. 26 CLEVELAND 7 pm

Sat. 27 @ Charlotte 7 pm

Mon. 29 @ Miami 7:30 pm

Tue. 30 DETROIT 7 pm

 

January

Fri. 2 BROOKLYN 7 pm

Sat. 3 CHARLOTTE 7 pm

Wed. 7 @ Denver 9 pm

Fri. 9 @ L.A. Lakers 10:30 pm

Sat. 10 @ Portland 10 pm

Mon. 12 @ Chicago 8 pm

Wed. 14 HOUSTON 7 pm

Fri. 16 MEMPHIS 7 pm

Sun. 18 OKLAHOMA CITY 6 pm

Wed. 21 @ Detroit 7:30 pm

Fri. 23 @ New York 7:30 pm

Sun. 25 INDIANA 6 pm

Mon. 26 @ Memphis 8 pm

Thu. 29 MILWAUKEE 7 pm

Sat. 31 DALLAS 7 pm

 

February

Mon. 2 @ Oklahoma City 8 pm

Wed. 4 @ San Antonio 8:30 pm

Fri. 6 L.A. LAKERS 7 pm

Sun. 8 CHICAGO 6 pm

Mon. 9 @ Washington 7 pm

Wed. 11 NEW YORK 7 pm

Fri. 20 NEW ORLEANS 7 pm

Sun. 22 PHILADELPHIA 6 pm

Wed. 25 MIAMI 7 pm

Fri. 27 @ Atlanta 7:30 pm

 

March

Sun. 1 CHARLOTTE 6 pm

Wed. 4 PHOENIX 7 pm

Fri. 6 SACRAMENTO 7 pm

Sun. 8 BOSTON 6 pm

Tue. 10 @ Indiana 7 pm

Wed. 11 @ Milwaukee 8 pm

Fri. 13 @ Boston 7:30 pm

Sun. 15 CLEVELAND 6 pm

Tue. 17 @ Houston 8 pm

Wed. 18 @ Dallas 8:30 pm

Fri. 20 PORTLAND 7 pm

Sun. 22 DENVER 6 pm

Wed. 25 ATLANTA 7 pm

Fri. 27 DETROIT 7 pm

 

April

Wed. 1 SAN ANTONIO 7 pm

Fri. 3 @ Minnesota 8 pm

Sat. 4 @ Milwaukee 8:30 pm

Wed. 8 CHICAGO 7 pm

Fri. 10 TORONTO 7 pm

Sat. 11 NEW YORK 7 pm

Mon. 13 @ Miami 7:30 pm

Wed. 15 @ Brooklyn 8 pm

 

Below you’ll find the analysis and breakdown of the schedule.

read more…

Nicholson Concludes European Tour with Outstanding Double-Double

2014 August 12
by Adam Papageorgiou

canadaangola

Orlando Magic big man Andrew Nicholson saved his best performance of Canada’s 11-game European exhibition tour for last. The 24-year-old Missaussaga, Ontario native was vital in Canada’s 89-65 victory over Angola on Tuesday in Granada, Spain. Nicholson tallied his only double-double of the summer with 21 points and 10 rebounds on 8-for-11 shooting (3-of-6 on 3-pointers) in 26 minutes of action. Angola isn’t a basketball juggernaut, but this is very encouraging news for Magic fans wanting ‘Drew to find his confidence again.

Below is Andrew’s shot chart.

NicholsonAngola

Green is great obviously. Canada concluded their eleven contests with a 5-6 record.

It’s not bad for a squad that didn’t have guys like Tristan Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, and Anthony Bennett with the team. Coach Jay Triano wanted to test his internationally inexperienced squad and I’d say this has been a successful experience for them heading into the 2015 FIBA Americas tournament. The squad will hop on a plane and be back in Toronto on Wednesday. Andrew will now be able to solely focus on preparing for Magic training camp that will begin in a month and a half.

 

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

Are the Magic Inviting Corey Maggette to Training Camp?

2014 August 12
by Adam Papageorgiou

maggettemagic

Let me preface by stating that there are no inside sources involved in this post. This is the power of Twitter research being put to work. It’s been 14 years, but Corey Maggette and the Orlando Magic could potentially reunite. Maggette has received Orlando player follows recently from Victor Oladipo (@VicOladipo), Maurice Harkless (@moe_harkless), Tobias Harris (@tobias31), and even Andrew Nicholson (@nicholaf44) who is in Europe touring with Canada. Even the Magic’s official team Twitter account is now following Corey. Also, Maggette has recently listed his California home. Or maybe Maggette is going to put together some type of charity event and this post is me exaggerating, but hang in there with me.

Wait a minute, Adam, don’t the Magic already have 15 players under contract with Peyton Siva becoming the 16th player at training camp who is destined to head to the Erie BayHawks at the start of the ’14-’15 regular season? Why yes, you are correct. HOWEVER, Dewayne Dedmon‘s contract for this upcoming campaign is completely non-guaranteed until the Magic’s first regular season game.  So it’s fourteen guaranteed deals currently. The Magic are expected to have 3-4 non-guaranteed players at training camp in October. That means there is potentially room for another veteran like Maggette. That may come in handy because Orlando is still about one million dollars under the salary floor. Corey – if he makes the final squad - at the veteran minimum more than gets you above the floor.

Three years ago I broke down the top 10 Magic small forwards in the franchise’s history. Corey made it to #9 as a rookie who only played 77 games for Orlando. He was a 20-year-old making a huge impact on Doc Rivers‘ Heart ‘N Hustle squad with phenomenal feats of athleticism and a sneak peek at his potential offensive arsenal.

Maggette had to be dealt though in that famous summer of 2000 to create salary cap space for John Gabriel’s signings of Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill (with Tim Duncan being more than a viable signing option). Corey was shipped to the Los Angeles Clippers – where he’d become a borderline All-Star – along with Keyon Dooling, Derek Strong, and cash for a 2006 first round draft pick.

What do the Magic still need to desperately improve on? FREE THROW ATTEMPTS! Who in their prime was one of the best basketball players on the planet that could find a way to get to the charity stripe? Corey Maggette. He’s still only 34 years old. At worst Maggette is in a mentoring role. At best, you have another potential Trade Deadline asset. Corey didn’t play last regular season after being waived by the San Antonio Spurs last October. It’s a matter of shaking off past injuries and the wear-and-tear of being a professional athlete for well over a decade.

The Magic are not exactly deep at the center position. Dedmon by default is at worst the 3rd-string center. For Maggette to get on the 15-man roster, the Duke Blue Devil is going to have to find some past prime form to impress Rob Hennigan and the front office enough to cut ties with Dewayne before Opening Night and depend on a guy like Nicholson to cover the third-string center role.

This is all speculation, but Twitter research has come in handy before in potentially breaking stories. This would be a nice one. I’d love to have Corey put on those pinstripes and watch him try and prove his value to an NBA franchise.

 

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