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Fournier Concludes French Exhibition Tour with Win Over Australia

2014 August 24
by Adam Papageorgiou

FournierAutographs

The Orlando Magic’s Evan Fournier and his eleven French national team comrades have concluded their month long Blue-White Tour that prepared the squad for the FIBA World Cup. In Strasbourg on Sunday, France defeated Australia 73-50. Evan finished with 3 points and a rebound on 1-for-5 shooting (1-of-4 on 3s) in 16 minutes of bench action, but the stat line doesn’t give him enough credit for his floor spacing.

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Before the start of the fourth period, Evan was only 0-for-2 in just a handful of minutes. In the huddle before the final 10-minute session began, Coach Vincent Collet drew up a few plays for Evan to get the ball and hopefully hoist up some shots. It worked. Evan with some swift passing and screen run-offs was able to get some decent looks on the perimeter. He missed four deep looks but he was able to draw out defenders which opened up the paint for teammates.

On one play, Fournier came off a right side curl, caught a pass and pump faked Brad Newley almost out of his sneakers. Newley tried to recover but grabbed Evan for a foul. Fournier made the shot from just inside the 3-point line, but for some inexplicable reason the ref didn’t give him the and-1 claiming the foul was on the floor.

Aron Baynes was the only Australian who scored in double figures with 17 points. Utah Jazz guard Dante Exum managed 6 points and 1 rebound on 3-for-5 shooting in 20 minutes off the Aussie bench. Exum had a transition dunk. Other than that, Dante primarily focused on not making mistakes which he accomplished.

So with that, we can focus on games that will actually count. France’s World Cup play begins in Spain on August 30th. Be on the lookout for a formal preview for Evan. That path to a podium spot will be difficult for sure.

 

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

France Defeats Finland; Fournier with 3 Points

2014 August 23
by Adam Papageorgiou

FournierGobertHair

We’re one week away from the start of the FIBA World Cup in Spain. The French national basketball team is in Strasbourg this weekend for a 2-day exhibition series. On Saturday they defeated Finland 74-69. France finished the game on a 17-2 run in the  last four minutes to nab the victory. Finland doesn’t sound like a basketball power, but they were a pleasant 2013 EuroBasket surprise and it looks like they’ll be poised to impress again. The Orlando Magic’s Evan Fournier only played 6 minutes and scored 3 points on 1-for-3 shooting, but sat the entire second half.

FournierFinlandshotchart

Evan didn’t really have a good second period, but didn’t warrant being benched the rest of the game. He committed a turnover when Finland trapped him just past halfcourt. Evan then missed an open 3-pointer and was also forced into a tough running floater with the shot clock winding down.  Finland went on a 17-2 run of their own in the third quarter to make it an even contest heading into the final ten minutes. Nicolas Batum led all scorers with 28 points. Boris Diaw tallied 10 points, 11 assists, and 6 rebounds.

The French team wore white sleeved jerseys that actually looked pretty decent. Something for Magic fans to keep an eye out in the future. France will play Australia once again on Sunday in the last exhibition contest of the Blue-White Tour before the World Cup starts on August 30th. Dante Exum was miserable in last week’s meeting.

Below is part 4 of the French Basketball Federation’s summer series on the national team. This episode doesn’t show much of Fournier, but there is a lot of English dialect spoken when the Larry O’Brien trophy makes a visit as well as when FIBA referees come in to give the French squad a seminar on defensive fouls.


Bleu Blanc Tour – La Série – Épisode 4 by FFBB

 

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

Top 10 Jameer Nelson Magic Game Performances

2014 August 22
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

 

We gave him a nice farewell, but let’s reflect on the best Orlando Magic games that Jameer Nelson had in his 10 years serving O-Town. This includes regular season and playoff contests.

 

#10

January 7, 2013

Magic @ Portland Trail Blazers – Lost 125-119 in Overtime

21 points, 12 assists, 3 rebounds, 7-for-21 FGs

It’s all about the feat achieved in this case. Jameer would take first place on the Magic’s all-time assists list, surpassing Scott Skiles and his tally of 2,776 assists. Nelson departed Orlando with 3,501 dishes, a number that won’t be reached for a very long time. Jameer has notched 12+ assists eighteen times in his Magic career.

 

Below you’ll find the rest of the Top 10.

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Magic to Announce New Erie BayHawks Head Coach Soon

2014 August 21
by Adam Papageorgiou

magicerie

The Orlando Magic are close to announcing the hiring of a head coach for the team’s new NBDL single-affiliate, the Erie BayHawks, according to John Dudley of the Erie Times-News. Below is a quote from BayHawks team president Matt Bresee.

“Right now, as I understand it, (the Magic) have a finalist and they’re in the process of going though the necessary background checks and other final steps that the NBA requires,” Bresee said.

This makes sense because you would hope Erie’s coaching staff would be finalized considering BayHawks player tryouts are occurring September 14th and the 21st.

Orlando and Erie are entering their first year of a D-League hybrid agreement in which the Magic organization is making the decisions on who will be part of the coaching staff, what player transactions occur between the Magic and BayHawks, and what type of basketball system will be put in place. Orlando has never had a strong affiliation with the D-League until now and this is an opportunity to develop their talent in whatever manner they choose.

Whoever the Magic name as head coach will be replacing Gene Cross who coached the team starting in 2012. Orlando didn’t keep Cross once the New York Knicks transferred over their D-League operations from Erie to Westchester County, New York. The BayHawks were 16-34 last season and have missed the past two playoffs.

 

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

Victor Oladipo Works Out in Indiana with Heat Players

2014 August 21
by Adam Papageorgiou

dipoheatzeller

Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo has been working out in Bloomington, Indiana this week and taken part in an ‘On The Road’ tour. That’s no surprise considering the Hoosier product frequently returns to his old stomping grounds. Indiana’s Head Coach Tom Crean is known for running great offseason programs for players. Along with the Hornets’ Cody Zeller though, ‘Dipo also worked out with Miami Heat players Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem, Mario Chalmers, former Magic man Josh McRoberts, and Norris Cole. Wade played for Coach Crean at Marquette, McRoberts is an Indiana high school kid, and the other Heat members felt like tagging along.

Victor also gave an interview to Hoosier media chatting about the rigors of the NBA, taking up a leadership role, and how saying how excited he is to play with Orlando’s new 3-point shooters. ‘Dipo also uses “process”.

If the audio is an issue, here’s a higher quality video of the interview. It’s tough to rekindle an in-state rivalry when you’re spending time with your opponent. In all seriousness though, there a lot of similarities in Oladipo’s body type and style of play as D-Wade. If Victor can pick the brain of the All-Star and champion, then more power to him. It only benefits Orlando more. Victor is definitely putting in the effort to lead the Magic franchise back to success and should see large playing improvements in his upcoming sophomore campaign.

 

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

Orlando Dodged a Joel Embiid Twitter Bullet

2014 August 20
by Adam Papageorgiou

embiiddraftface

The Philadelphia 76ers already have a star on their hands in Joel Embiid. Not a basketball star, but one of the social media variety. The 3rd overall selection from June hasn’t stepped on a court in months and he’s already the most popular NBA rookie as the ‘MVP of Twitter’. Joel has grabbed plenty of attention via his Twitter account. From hitting on a married woman, to making USA soccer fans angry, to recruiting LeBron James then blocking him on Twitter, to having an obsession with Rihanna that would get your average man smacked in the face with a restraining order. But it’s good entertainment for fans and basketball media who have a sense of humor towards embarrassing situations. It’s hilarious, except for his employer. I can’t imagine what the Sixers’ public relations folks are feeling every time Joel is sending out a tweet.

It’s something that I’m sure the Magic are beyond glad they won’t have to deal with. It’s been 3 years since Gilbert Arenas went through a vast amount of Twitter shenanigans while a member of the Orlando Magic. It got ugly with ‘Agent Zero’ and his public backlash until he deleted his Twitter account. Everyone considered Gilbert a hilarious human being including myself. Plus, I once won one of his sneaker giveaway contests. Joel’s not at the level that Gilbert’s tweeting reached. Not yet anyway. There’s no dislike for Embiid on my end. If you have the testicular fortitude to put yourself out there with little worry for tweeting repercussions, good for you. I can appreciate a good Maury joke. Just know that even though you’re already financially secure for life, you have to keep the people and the organization you represent somewhere in the back of your mind constantly. You don’t have to be that public to get a celebrity to notice you. Plus, it smells of desperation for any and all sorts of attention. read more…

Top 5 Magic Playoff Wins Officiated by Dick Bavetta

2014 August 19
by Adam Papageorgiou

dickdwightmagic

After 39 years of officiating games in the National Basketball Association, Dick Bavetta is finally retiring his whistle. The 74-year-old from Brooklyn, New York is stepping away from his job as probably the most recognizable NBA official in the league’s history. Whether that’s a positive or negative statement I’ll leave that up to you.

Over my lifetime I have found myself disagreeing with Bavetta’s officiating decisions on countless occasions over a wide variety of Magic games. It’s rather easy to shout disapproval when the individual’s first name you’re yelling can easily be used in a cursing manner.  But you don’t survive a profession for so many years – including a ref scandal – without being good at your job and being admired by your peers. Dick was known as the Cal Ripkin Jr. of refereeing with that 2,635-game officiating streak he held.

I’ve created a Top 5 list of the best Orlando Magic playoff games that Bavetta officiated. No coincidence, that all of these contests resulted in Orlando victories. Dick’s officiated 270 playoff games, these are the ones that matter to Magic fans.

 

Honorable Mention

May 12, 1996 – Orlando Magic @ Atlanta Hawks

Game 3 Result: Magic Win 103-96

Series: Magic Lead Eastern Conference Semifinals 3-0

 

After sweeping the Detroit Pistons in the 1st Round, Coach Brian Hill’s team took care of business in the first two home games at the O-Rena. The Magic were primed to make another trip to the NBA Finals, and the Hawks weren’t about to slow them down in this Game 3 contest at the Omni Coliseum. Brian Shaw was the only Magic bench player to score with 5 points. It wasn’t a worry though because each Orlando starter had 15+ points. Shaquille O’Neal led the way with 24 points and 12 rebounds, Anfernee Hardaway notched 21 points and 6 assists, and Horace Grant added 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Atlanta had double-digit contributions from their starters as well. Christian Laettner had 26 points, Grant Long posted 13 & 13, while Mookie Blaylock notched 20 points and 8 assists. The contest was tied entering the 4th quarter as the Magic won the period 21-14. Orlando won the rebounding battle 39-31 and had slightly better shooting percentages. Atlanta would take Game 4 to stay alive in the series, but the Magic would send Atlanta fishing by winning Game 5 in O-Town and punching their ticket to another Eastern Conference Finals.

 

Below is the Top 5 List.

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FanDuel Becomes New Orlando Magic Sponsor

2014 August 19
by Adam Papageorgiou

fanduellogo

FanDuel, the leader in one-day fantasy sports, has joined the Orlando Magic as a “Champions of the Community (COTC)” sponsor. FanDuel joins Walt Disney World, GEICO, Florida Hospital, PepsiCo, Southwest Airlines, Harris, and Chase as Champions of the Community.

“We are honored to have FanDuel join our family,” said Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins. “This is yet another example of an innovative company showing its commitment to the Magic. We believe this sponsorship will be mutually beneficial and will provide the opportunity for FanDuel to deliver a direct, positive and engaging message to our fan base and beyond. Through this new agreement, together we will also seek opportunities for local outreach.”

FanDuel specializes in fantasy sports games. It was founded in 2009. FanDuel offers fast game play and cash prizes across both web and mobile devices. FanDuel uses the same format as any other season-long fantasy game, the only difference is games last one day or one week with winnings paid out immediately after a game concludes.

FanDuel will receive prominent exposure at Amway Center, including on-the-court exposure. FanDuel will also sponsor the North Club Bar at the Amway Center, where fans will be able to get up-to-date stats on their favorite players, as well as the Orlando Magic’s Mobile App.

 

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

Magic Family Participates in ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

2014 August 19
by Adam Papageorgiou

harkless bucket

By now you have seen numerous people participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge that is spreading ALS Awareness and raising donations across the country. If you don’t know what Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is – otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease – below is an explanation from ALSA.org.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons  die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has proven to be phenomenally effective in bringing in funds that go to researching and hopefully one day finding a cure for the disease. There’s a wonderful and emotional ESPN piece on the origins of the challenge. It’s taken a while for the movement to grow. Now it’s spreading like a wildfire thanks to celebrities and professional athletes from across the globe partaking in dousing cold water over their heads. Orlando Magic players have joined in on the cause.

 

Maurice Harkless:

 

Below you’ll see who else from the Magic organization has taken part following Maurice.

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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. 

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