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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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Orlando Defeats Denver for Much-Needed Home Victory

2016 March 15
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo: Fernando Medina

Photo: Fernando Medina/Getty Images

The Orlando Magic took care of business on Tuesday night, knocking off the Denver Nuggets 116-110. It appeared that a repeat of other big lead collapses was on the horizon – with Denver cutting an 18-point Magic lead down to 3 early in the fourth period – but Orlando learned from past failures and put away a squad that was on a second game of a back-to-back.

The Magic got a career-tying 30 points out of Evan Fournier. The surprise performance belonged to Jason Smith though. 25 points – 1 shy of his NBA best – on 10-of-15 shooting and 13 rebounds off the bench, both season high totals. In his first Orlando start, Brandon Jennings racked up his first double-double of the season by tallying 12 points and 11 assists. Victor Oladipo notched 23 points and 6 assists. Aaron Gordon finished with 16 points, a large chunk of it coming in the first quarter.

Denver shot 50.0 FG%, but coughed up 54.3 FG% to the home squad. Denver stuck around by winning the interior scoring battle 50-38. Denver had seven players score in double figures. They were led by 18 points from Garry Harris. Will Barton contributed 15 points off Mike Malone’s bench. Despite being short-handed, it’s a victory Orlando needed to grasp onto some faint postseason hope.

Below is the game recap.

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Magic Partner in #RethinkHomelessness Social Media Campaign

2016 March 14

cropped-rethink-logo

The Orlando Magic will join partner FanDuel in an awareness campaign with Impact Homelessness and the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness that is meant to raise support for those who struggle with homelessness. FanDuel will donate $1 for every tweet sent out using the Twitter hashtag #RethinkHomelessness during the team’s Tuesday March 15th matchup with the Denver Nuggets at Amway Center.

The campaign will run from 5:00 p.m. EST on March 15th, all the way up until two hours after the game ends (so just before 11:30 p.m. EST if it ends in regulation), and will be promoted on social media and throughout the arena during the game.

The franchise over the past 5 years has donated more than $4 million to homelessness causes in Orlando and the surrounding area.

The Central Florida Commission on Homelessness has been quite a success story recently in the Orlando area under the guidance of Andrae Bailey. Bailey was named the 2015 Central Floridian of the Year.

This campaign appears to be an almost effortless way for Magic fans, and anyone in general, on Twitter during a 6-hour window of time on Tuesday to come through with a good deed for the day. Just use your phone/computer, Twitter, and your fingers. Tweet away. Make FanDuel write out a huge check. #RethinkHomelessness

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO. 

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Portland Pounds Orlando as Magic Conclude Road Trip 1-3

2016 March 13
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo: Sam Forencich

Photo: Sam Forencich

The Orlando Magic laid down on Saturday night. It was depressing to watch them show zero fight against a Trail Blazers team that shows so much energy to compensate for any lack of depth or talent. Portland annihilated the men in black 121-84. Yes, that’s a 37-point loss.

Portland shot the ball well all evening, finishing at 56.0 FG%. Making 17-of-35 three-pointers doesn’t hurt either. 34 of Portland’s 47 made field goals were assists. They also out-rebounded the Magic 51-39. Nothing went well for O-Town as they shot a weak 37.4 FG%. They just didn’t appear competitive.

Victor Oladipo led the Magic with 18 points. Evan Fournier had 15 points, but only scored 2 of those in the final three periods. Aaron Gordon continues to be one of the Magic’s few bright spots as he had 17 points. Ersan Ilyasova had the worst plus/minus at -33 and played way too many minutes (28) while a guy like Dewayne Dedmon only played fifteen.

No Elfrid Payton hurt. C.J. Watson and Shabazz Napier – the point guard fill-ins – were each 1-of-9 from the field. Nikola Vucevic is the Magic’s best scorer and rebounder. His presence was dearly missed as well. Portland had 6 players in double figures. Damian Lillard tallied 19 points and 10 assists. C.J. McCollum and Allen Crabbe each added 18 points. Portland was just more locked in as the Magic got pummeled. Orlando flies back to East with a 1-3 record on this road trip.

Below is the game recap. 

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Orlando Earns Needed Victory In Sacramento

2016 March 12

agkings

At this point in the grueling NBA season, the Orlando Magic must resemble a staggered fighter looking stunned in the ring. They entered SleepTrain Arena in Sacramento having lost three straight games. They folded in the second-half against a hapless Lakers team in their most recent effort. But, on Friday night the Magic inflicted the blows against a Kings opponent that entered the contest battered and bruised to begin with. Orlando did just enough to outlast Sacramento by a final score of 107-100, securing a less than beautiful, but much needed, road victory.

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Orlando’s Stumbling Slide Continues, Lose to Kobe-less Lakers

2016 March 9
by Brian Serra

magiclal

After putting forth an encouraging effort on Monday night in Oakland, the Orlando Magic could not muster the same energy in Los Angeles on Tuesday, falling 107 – 98 to the Lakers.  It was the dynamic young Laker backcourt that out-shined the suddenly fading Magic backcourt as D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson combined for 51 points.

For Orlando, the loss all but seals the fate of an already long-shot playoff run. After losing to the woeful Phoenix Suns last Friday, it was another egg laid against the Lakers who hold the second worst record in the league. Since the Calendar Year began, Orlando has lost to each of the three worst teams in the league (Didn’t forget ya Philly!) and have an impressive 8-23 record.

The Lakers were without Kobe Bryant, but it’s hard to make much of his absence considering the lack of impact he has had on the rest of their season. Nik Vucevic missed his second straight game with a sore groin. Victor Oladipo led the Magic with 26 points and Evan Fournier had 23. Jason Smith and C.J. Watson “chipped in” with 10 points each and no other player reached double figures.

“We played like we were tired, like we didn’t want to win,” Fournier said. “On good nights, we’re full of focus on what’s going on on the floor. It’s very frustrating. We should have won.”

I appreciate Fournier’s optimistic viewpoint, at a minimum.

You’d like to blame the absence of Vucevic and coming off a back-to-back, but you just can’t make that excuse anymore. It’s the same energy and effort story every night, for one of the league’s youngest teams. Does that sound strange? It is. It doesn’t add up.

At this point, you want the team to compete and win games of course… but perhaps it would be more beneficial to also root for some losses for the Bucks/Nuggets/Kings/Knicks. Tanking season is back!

Let’s ignore the loss and any reality that may be showing its ugly face, and just revel in another beautiful Aaron Gordon fast break dunk.

Orlando has two remaining games on the Best Coast road trip and is back in action Friday night against the Sacramento Kings before playing the following night in Portland.

 

Brian Serra is the Sr. Editor Emeritus of Magic Basketball Online and is enjoying being most retired from writing. You can follow him on Twitter.

Magic Visit Oracle; See Warriors Historic Victory

2016 March 8
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

A perfect storm conspired against the Magic on Monday night.

For starters, Orlando had to travel across three time zones to begin a four-game road trip without their starting center and leading scorer. They also had to play against perhaps the greatest basketball team ever assembled, that was coming off an unexpected defeat the day before, and that had the opportunity to redeem themselves by setting an NBA record with a 45th consecutive home victory.

Despite all of those factors conspiring against them, Orlando nearly pulled of a miraculous comeback. On this night however, the Magic simply could not stand in the way of history and fell by a final score of 119-113.

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