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Ecstatic Magic Players React Following Win Over Lakers

2015 February 6
by Adam Papageorgiou

 

AP Photo/John Raoux

AP Photo/John Raoux

Orlando Magic forward Tobias Harris didn’t get back to town until less than 3 hours before tip-off. That’s because he and Channing Frye were at their grandfather’s funeral in New York. T12 dedicated his career-high 34-point night and the victory to him. Tobias didn’t even have time to get a change of clothes, wearing his funeral suit after the victory.

 

 

Head Coach James Borrego was truly touched following the team’s victory. His first as Head Coach. Borrego took the game ball home with him. It’s a great sign when Victor Oladipo can be heard singing, or teammates are blaring music or sharing laughs.

Tobias Harris:

 

Below are interviews of James Borrego, Kyle O’Quinn, Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, and Aaron Gordon. 

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Tobias Harris Career-High 34 Points Leads Magic Past Lakers

2015 February 6
by Adam Papageorgiou
AP Photo/John Raoux

AP Photo/John Raoux

The James Borrego era begins 1-0. The Orlando Magic needed overtime against a tanking L.A. Lakers side, but Orlando prevailed on Friday night 103-97 to snap their 10-game losing streak. FOX Sports Florida should mic up Tobias Harris for every game. Harris had a career-high 34 points on 14-of-18 shooting. Nikola Vucevic tallied 25 points and 13 rebounds.

After 14 straight games of conceding 100+ points, the Magic finally held an opponent below that mark. Lakers only shot 40.2 FG%. Victor Oladipo struggled from the field (5-of-14) but had 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists. Ryan Kelly led 6 Lakers in double figures with 20 points. It’s the heart, guts, and effort we’ve been begging to see from that Magic roster in quite some time.

 

Below is the full game recap.

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James Borrego Becomes 11th Orlando Magic Head Coach

2015 February 5
by Adam Papageorgiou
AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Stephen M. Dowell

AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Stephen M. Dowell

Remember, Brian Hill counts twice. The Orlando Magic move on from ‘JV’ to “J.B.”. James Borrego gets his first NBA regular season chance in the Head Coach position after being an assistant coach for over a decade.

It’ll be interesting to see how long James Borrego is actually Head Coach. It could be for only 2 and a half weeks. It’s most likely going to be for 2 and a half months. Player development coaches Laron Profit and Jay Hernandez are now Borrego’s assistant coaches. I wonder which of them will handle the halftime interviews now.

They have a tough task and little time to change much before next week’s All-Star Break. This franchise has a career 1017-1037 record. They’re 15-37 this ’14-’15 campaign. They’ve lost 10 straight. They’ve given up 100+ points in 14 straight contests now. Borrego, like Jacque is a very nice guy who is respected by peers. Borrego is also not known for being a very vocal coach. He may need to change that part.

At the press conference on Thursday afternoon, James mentioned that defense and being more aggressive with the players were going to be a huge focus. We’ll see. You can definitely tweak your defense quicker than offense when being provided limited practice opportunities. Now with that said, I wouldn’t expect a 2-3 zone or anything radical.

We got a great feel for Borrego’s mentality back in the 2013 Orlando Summer League in which ‘JB’ coached guys like Kyle O’Quinn, Maurice Harkless, and a rookie Victor Oladipo:

Borrego is in his third season with the Magic. He spent the previous two seasons as an assistant coach with New Orleans. Prior to joining New Orleans, Borrego spent seven seasons with the San Antonio Spurs from 2003-2010. He started as an assistant video coordinator in the summer of 2003 and finished his tenure as an assistant coach. During those seasons, Borrego was a part of two NBA Championships in 2005 and 2007.

Borrego also coached the New Orleans summer league team in 2012. Borrego has participated in the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program in both Tokyo, Japan and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Borrego began his coaching career at the University of San Diego, where he was an assistant coach for two seasons from 2001-2003. During the ’02-’03 campaign, San Diego captured the West Coast Conference Championship and earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Borrego played three seasons at the University of San Diego, and during his senior season (2000-2001) he was named to the West Coast Conference All-Academic Team. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in leadership studies.

Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Borrego led Albuquerque Academy to a pair of state championships. He and his wife, Megan, have a daughter and two sons. I wish Borrego good luck. We’ll all be mighty curious to see if he can turn this team’s season around even slightly towards the positive.

The Magic have 30 games left this season – 19 of which are at Amway Center where they’re a horrific 5-17 at home – and are 7.5 games out of the 8th seed in the East. Borrego is now the 4th man to become Head Coach in the middle of a season in franchise history. Richie Adubato finished the ’97 season 24-12 and almost pulled off a phenomenal upset over the Heat in that postseason. Johnny Davis went 20-51 to finish that abysmal 2003-2004 campaign. Chris Jent finished the ’04-’05 season in place of Davis and had a 5-13 record.

If Borrego can somehow get this Magic squad above 30 wins to finish the campaign, don’t completely count him out as being a long-term solution. The odds of that occurring are certainly not in his favor though. Again, much of what happens the final 30 games rests on the players’ shoulders.

 

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

Magic Bid Farewell to Jacque Vaughn and 3 Assistant Coaches

2015 February 5
by Adam Papageorgiou
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

For just the 4th time in franchise history, the Orlando Magic will have a different individual finish up a season from the one that began training camp. Jacque Vaughn is no longer Head Coach of the Magic as he along with assistant coaches Brett Gunning, Wes Unseld Jr., and Zach Guthrie have all been let go. This coming with the Magic currently on a 10-game losing streak, something that has been more common during the Jacque Vaughn era than anyone could have anticipated.

 

 

Jacque Vaughn finishes with a career 58-158 coaching record. The .269 win-loss percentage is the worst in franchise history. Even worse than the 5-13 (.278) Chris Jent. Along with the current 10-game losing streak, the Magic are 15-37. It’s the same record they were through 52 games last season, when they were trying to tank. This Magic team is too talented to be this awful.

franchisecoaches

“Jacque (Vaughn) has been a trusted friend and colleague,” said GM Rob Hennigan. “We thank him immensely for his contributions and sacrifices in bringing our team to this point, and we greatly appreciate his unwavering commitment to our organization. We have tremendous respect for Jacque and certainly wish him the best as he embarks on the next phase of his career.”

Anyone who watched the press conference this afternoon knows how much Hennigan, CEO Alex Martins, and now interim Head Coach James Borrego had massive respect for Vaughn. That firing was tougher for Martins and letting go of Stan Van Gundy. Not kidding. SVG has all the wins and the charisma, but Jacque was a company man all the way. He never put the franchise in an awkward situation. That’s why Jacque won’t have too much trouble finding future employment whenever that time comes. It just won’t be as a Head Coach.

Jacque’s inability to tap into the psyches of his group of players ended up being his downfall. With that said, Jacque made great progress with Orlando’s youth and the next permanent Head Coach will benefit from all the hard work Vaughn and his staff put into development. Jacque just never could find a set rotation or make appropriate in-game adjustments to rack up more victories. Once the team stopped giving consistent effort, this outcome became inevitable.

I’m in the middle of my 3rd season with a Magic game credential, being able to cover the franchise that I love and will always support. Jacque Vaughn is the only Head Coach I’ve dealt with, but I can’t think of anyone that was more classy and professional than Jacque Vaughn. The man never threw anyone under the bus, even in the bitter end. I wish Jacque and his family all the best in the future.

Speaking of the future, the Magic’s just got all the more intriguing. No matter who or when the permanent coach will be announced, it’s up to that 15-man Magic roster to wake up and start caring about performing well night in and night out. Or else it won’t matter who the Head Coach is.

“I would like to thank Mr. DeVos and family for the opportunity of representing the Orlando Magic as head coach. I am a stronger and wiser man and coach because of the opportunity. I look forward to seeing this group continue to grow. God bless, good luck. Jacque Vaughn…Proverbs 3:5-6.”

 

 

 

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

OMYF Distributes $1 Million to 21 Central Florida Organizations

2015 February 5
by Adam Papageorgiou

omyf

The Orlando Magic Youth Fund, a McCormick Foundation Fund (OMYF-MFF), presented checks totaling $1,000,000 to 21 grantee organizations in a surprise ceremony on Thursday at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Over the past five years nearly $5 million has been granted through OMYF-MFF.

The OMYF-MFF All-Star team was announced in the spirit of the NBA Draft as each non-profit organization was recognized and presented with an OMYF-MFF jersey or specialty basketball. Representatives were greeted by Orlando Magic Chairman Dan DeVos, Magic CEO Alex Martins, Magic Vice President of Philanthropy and Multicultural Insights and OMYF President Linda Landman Gonzalez, and the OMYF team.

With funds raised by OMYF, and the match provided by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, a total of $1 million in grants was distributed to these charities. In addition to the OMYF-MFF All-Star team announcement, the organizations will be recognized during the remaining home games this season.

 

 

After an extensive five-phase process, which began in April of 2014, the beneficiaries were recommended by the OMYF Board and then approved by the McCormick Foundation’s Board of Directors.

“We are so honored to assist these very deserving organizations who work tirelessly to improve the lives of youth in Central Florida,” said Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins. “There are hundreds of youth organizations in our community who are doing great work to help guide at-risk youth on a path for a better life. This is just a small way for us to try and help them do their work. I also want to recognize the collaborative effort of the DeVos family, the McCormick Foundation, this community, our players, coaches, staff, corporate partners and season ticket holders that have made it possible to distribute more than $19 million to Central Florida youth over the last 25 years. For us to be able to distribute these funds and expand the number of children served or perhaps add another program, it’s incredibly humbling.”

The 2015 OMYF-MFF grant recipients: Aspire Health Partners – Zebra Coalition, Apopka Family Learning Center, BETA Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, Children’s Home Society of Florida, City Year Orlando, Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, Elevate Orlando, Florida Hospital for Children, Foundation for Orange County Public Schools, Foundation for Seminole County Public Schools, Foundation for Seminole State College of Florida, Harbor House of Central Florida, Hope Community Center, Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando, Junior Achievement of Central Florida, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Osceola County Council on Aging, The Howard Phillips Center for Children & Families, University of Central Florida Foundation, and Valencia College Foundation.

 

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

The Orlando Magic Celebrate Black History Month

2015 February 5
by Adam Papageorgiou

bhm-logo0107

The Orlando Magic along with Chase celebrates February as Black History Month with a variety of activities, starting on February 6th when the Magic will host the Dream Big Orlando Black Male Youth Summit: The Magic of Mentoring program from 2:30-4:00 p.m. on Friday at Amway Center. The summit will provide youth the opportunity to hear from prominent minority community leaders and top executives in various industries who will challenge the youth to “dream big.” The program is in partnership with the NBA, the National Basketball Player’s Association, MENTOR, Council of the Great City Schools, and the National Basketball Retired Player’s Association in support of President Barack Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative to address gaps faced by boys and young men of color. The goal is to put them on a pathway to success by building education, mentors, and job opportunities in under-served communities.

In addition to the youth summit, the tip-off celebration will feature “The Black History Month Showcase” pregame during Fan Fest presented by FanDuel starting at 5:30 p.m. on Church Street outside of Amway Center prior to the Magic vs. Lakers matchup on Feb. 6th. The showcase will feature 10 talented local groups in the forms of step and dance teams, drumlines, and singers. In addition, the Magic will join the African-American Chamber of Commerce to host a VIP networking reception which will include live jazz music, food, and drinks along with a special presentation featuring prominent local African-American community leaders.

As the Magic prepare to take the court against the Lakers, there will be a special pregame performance of the National Anthem by local artist Sisaundra Lewis, who was a finalist on the television show The Voice. At halftime, the Magic and Chase will recognize Palmetto Elementary as the recipient of a court refurbishment service project in January to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy leading up to Black History Month. Along with the refurbished court at the school, the Magic and Chase donated $5,000 in brand new sports equipment and the students had the opportunity to learn some skills from Magic player Kyle O’Quinn, as well as Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw in a mini basketball clinic on their new court. This is the fifth basketball court in the community the Magic and Chase have refurbished. The night will also feature other highlights and recognitions throughout the game to celebrate Black History Month at Amway Center.

On February 23rd the Magic, along with Anderson and Outlaw, will make a special visit to Evans High School for the Dream Orlando initiative. Dream Orlando is a multi-platform program providing curriculum to students to educate them on the rich history of African-Americans. The initiative is a joint effort between the NBA, its teams, and EverFi, a leading education technology company, to create a digital curriculum which launched in 30 schools across all NBA team markets during BHM last season. The Magic supported the launch at Evans High School last year and has been tracking the progress of the students participating in the curriculum and rewarding those who successfully completed the program with tickets to home games.

 

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

Spurs Splash in 3-Pointers as Magic Lose 10th Straight

2015 February 4
by Adam Papageorgiou
AP Photo/Darren Abate

AP Photo/Darren Abate

The Orlando Magic actually tried to win for a change on Wednesday night, but the San Antonio Spurs were desperate for a victory and the Magic lost 110-103 on the road. Orlando shot 50.0 FG% for the game, and only coughed up 3 turnovers in the second half. It wasn’t enough as the Spurs shot 52.4 FG% including 14-of-32 from 3-point range.

The ageless Tim Duncan led San Antonio with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Kawhi Leonard had 18, Tony Parker 15, and Manu Ginobili added 13 points and 10 assists. Orlando moved the ball well by dishing 27 assists. Spurs were better with 32. Nikola Vucevic led Orlando with 25 points and 13 rebounds in defeat. Tobias Harris contributed 23 points, 10 rebounds, and a career-high tying 6 assists. Rookie Elfrid Payton notched 14 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds. All three were very efficient from the floor. 10 straight losses for the pinstriped patrol.

 

Below is the full game recap.

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Elfrid Payton Named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month

2015 February 4
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton was named the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in January, the NBA announced on Wednesday.

Payton is just the sixth Magic player to be awarded the honor. Dennis Scott won the award once, and Shaquille O’Neal was awarded the honor 4 times. Anfernee Hardaway, Mike Miller, and Victor Oladipo each won twice.

Payton, the 10th overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft, ranks first among rookies in assists (5.7 apg.), sixth in scoring (7.7 ppg.), second in steals (1.45 spg.), ninth in rebounds (3.6 rpg.), seventh in field goal percentage (41.1 FG%), and fourth in minutes (27.4 mpg.). He also ranks among all NBA players in assists (T-19th) and steals (T-31st).

During January, Payton scored in double figures 8 times, led the team in scoring once, in rebounding once, and in assists 13 times. He also recorded new career highs in points (22 points on Jan. 16th vs. Memphis), assists (12 assists on Jan. 16th vs. Memphis), and rebounds (nine rebounds on Jan. 2nd vs. Brooklyn) during the month of January. Payton also dished out 10+ assists three times and notched two double-doubles.

Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins was the winner of the award for the Western Conference.

 

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

Up Your Trick Shot Game for Season Tickets, Orlando

2015 February 4
by Adam Papageorgiou

trick

The Orlando Magic and Mountain Dew are challenging fans to the Magic Trick Shot Challenge for a chance to win 2015-2016 season tickets and be featured at a Magic home game in April. Magic players Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic recently showed off their trick shots off an Amway Center balcony recently.

Fans can post their videos to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using the hashtag #MagicTrickShotSweeps. In addition to a social media entry, fans can also enter the sweepstakes through an online entry by recording a video of a successfully made trick shot and completing an official entry form online. Entries will be accepted through April 1st. For an entire list of official rules and submission guidelines please visit www.orlandomagic.com/trickshot.

No purchase is necessary. The contest is open to Central Florida residents, age 18 years and over.

 

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

OKC Behind Westbrook’s Triple-Double Give Orlando 9th Straight Loss

2015 February 2
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images

Even without Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City Thunder had little resistance in cruising to a 104-97 victory against the Orlando Magic on Monday night. The final score again doesn’t show how bad the Magic were. Defensive blunders prevailed as the Thunder shot just a hair under 50% from the field. It was the first time OKC had cracked one hundred points in 7 games.

Russell Westbrook led OKC with 25 points, 14 assists, and 11 rebounds. Dion Waiters contributed 24 points. Victor Oladipo led the Magic with 22 points. Nikola Vucevic had 20 points while Tobias Harris tallied 18. Willie Green got hot again in the 4th period. Fascinating. It’s the first time Willie has scored 13+ points in 3 consecutive games since early December of 2009. Behind Vooch, Willie has been the Magic’s best player of late.

 

Below is the full game recap.

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