My Farewell to MBO and Basketball Blogging

Since the days when I could piece together thoughts and memories, I’ve been an Orlando Magic fan. I was 8 years old the first time I went to a Magic game. It was Game 3 and Game 4 of that first round series against the Miami Heat. Penny Hardaway will forever be my basketball idol.

Chip Caray, Goose Givens, David Steele, Matt Guokas, Jeff Turner, Dennis Neumann, and Richie Adubato may as well all be considered relatives if I were to think how many hours and days of my life I’ve watched and listened as they called Magic games over the decades.

Between the ages of 11 and 23, I off-and-on assisted my family to park cars on properties we owned near both the old O-rena and the Amway Center for Magic games. I remember that first winter, surprisingly chilly for Florida weather stands. In between monitoring vehicles, I’d hop into my dad’s old Chevy Blazer and tune into the radio play-by-play as much as possible. Dennis Neumann never fails to entertain by masterfully calling contests.

Through that parking business though, I was able to net some pretty sweet free tickets to games here and there. In the middle of those years, I can’t calculate how much my father, uncle, and mother spoiled me with Magic tickets and merchandise. I have relationships and friendships that were created or made stronger because of the Magic. I attended more games during the infamous 2003-2004 debacle of a season than I ever care to admit.

I’ve seen some amazing things on that Orlando parquet floor in person from the stands: Penny, Darrell Armstrong’s steal and buzzer-beating game-winning lay-up, Tracy McGrady’s 62-point game, An enormous amount of Dwight Howard double-doubles, the first Magic playoff series win in a dozen years (2008), Hedo Turkoglu game-winners, Rashard Lewis game-winners. I’m leaving plenty out. I was in the Atlanta stands for Game 4 in 2010 when we swept the Hawks to cruise into the Eastern Conference Finals.

Game-winners, playoff victories, ridiculously outstanding crowd atmospheres, smashed clipboards, superb individual performances, thrown elbows, miracle moments, poetic team basketball, and a whole lot more.

Wanting to extend my Magic fandom to other levels, I started posting on fan forums. ESPN – before it sucked – while in high school, MagicMadness (R.I.P.) in college, and RealGM at and after my UCF days where I’ve spent way too much time perusing and posting. I never thought I’d go from sending Dante Marchitelli and George Galante questions during Summer League broadcasts they called to actually covering Summer Leagues and seeing those guys in person.

First person I ever interviewed as a media member was DeQuan Jones in the 2012 preseason campaign. There have been a lot of great dudes that I’ve had access to in that Magic locker room. Naming a few: J.J. Redick, Maurice Harkless, Kyle O’Quinn, Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier, Mario Hezonja, and more. Numerous unique characters. Many great one-liners.

I always told myself that the day blogging felt like a job or an obligation – more so than a fun hobby – then I would stop. Unfortunately, that time has arrived. It hit me a few days ago that I needed to adjust my personal priorities in order to improve my life. I have given a lot of time and resources to blogging and covering the Orlando Magic. I can’t do that any longer. And I try my best to never half-ass anything. If you want to succeed in this business, you have to be able to do it 24/7.

I’ve blogged for 4+ years at MBO, including almost 2 ½ as the site’s owner. I’ve blogged for about 8 years total if you include Orlando Magic Greek. I want to thank Brian Serra for reaching out to me to write for MBO back in 2012, and for handing the reins of the site over to me a few years after that. This site is Brian’s baby. The site is almost up to 2,000 posts. Over 1,200 of those are mine. I’ve dedicated a large portion of myself to this.

I’m a 28-year-old who for two years now has balanced a full-time HR career that I fully enjoy combined with the responsibilities of running a basketball website while trying to convey my Magic knowledge. People have all sorts of hobbies: cooking, building, alcoholism, running, gaming, etc. Mine was blogging. I also enjoy traveling, movies, and other things that blogging just took a lot of time from.

I’m in front of a laptop 40+ hours a week for my full-time career, and who knows how many extra hours per week in my personal time where the vast majority of that time is spent on MBO in some capacity. That’s not ideal. It’s only recently where I’ve realized I don’t like that my social and vacation schedule was always dependent on if there was a Magic game or event during that time.

I’ve entered my fifth season as a credentialed media member. You can count the amount of preseason and regular season games I missed on two hands be it due to vacation, work travel, or illness. It’s been a fun run. I’m forever grateful to the Magic’s Public Relations and Communications staff. They treated me with great respect and kindness from the beginning.

I’ve saved a lot of money by receiving free dinners and a free spot to sit and observe Magic contests. Either in the media loge, or on really lucky occasions when I would get to sit courtside on those baseline tables. I don’t have the bank account to sit that close. Only when my friends and I won the Magic Scavenger Hunt last year have I ever sat that close for a Magic contest as a non-media individual.

I’ve been able to interact with some great folks, many leaving an ever-lasting impact on me. Many who I know that when I run into them we’ll continue having engaging conversations.

I’m looking forward to being a full-on Magic fan again. I don’t have to quell my energy or enthusiasm for the team I love any longer, even if on rare occasion you could hear and see me bang the media loge table with my fist or drop an expletive when I knew a national media member wasn’t looking as I became unhappy about a play or referee’s decision.

There were times after games over these past few years where I’d walk into the locker room and be so dissatisfied with a Magic performance that I’d want to yell at players to check their hearts to see if they were still beating. That’s just the Greek fire in me. I’m not dumb, you obviously can’t do that and expect to be able to return ever again. That’s why there would be many games where I didn’t ask a single question to any player inside the locker room. I’d film the interviews and get out to post them. If you don’t have something nice to say/ask, it’s probably not wise to say/ask it.

I can’t wait to watch games again with friends and family without me having to constantly stare at my computer and/or phone. I’ll get to savor everything that made me adore this game and the franchise to begin with. It’ll be sweet hitting the road and watching the Magic play in other arenas again in my future vacations.

It was fun doing the Penny and Pops Podcast with my best friend, Spenser Strode. It really added extra excitement to the site. It’s cool to see listeners and Magic fans subscribing from places like: Malta, Taiwan, Micronesia, Australia, Korea, Sweden, Peru, Denmark, Hungary, Mexico, South Africa, Jamaica, Estonia, India, Pakistan, and many more. Fantastic.

Thank you to anyone that heard our voices or read any amount of MBO site posts. I don’t know what’s going to happen to the MBO site at this time. It might be transferred over, it may remain quiet until the domain expires. I tried to grow MBO as much as I could. I’m extremely proud of all that we’ve accomplished here, and how the site never ever got bogged down with too many advertisements and unwanted pop-ups. This was never about money. Whatever little revenue was made went right into paying for the site to continue running.

To the reigning Magic blogger row, good luck. Keep living the dream. I consider Philip Rossman-Reich (Orlando Magic Daily) and Zach Oliver (Orlando Pinstriped Post) friends. If you’re entering the realm of Magic blogging, those are two guys who can show you the ropes. If you’re looking for more of a traditional media route, there’s no one better than Josh Robbins (Orlando Sentinel). Josh always treated me as an equal even when his access and writing quality are far superior.

I may be ending my blogging, but you’ll still find me online. I’ll be tweeting, but obviously not as frequently as you’re used to. Heck, if I’m in a big venting mood and Twitter doesn’t have the character capacity to contain it, the RealGM Orlando Magic board may be seeing more of me. If anyone wants me to provide my verbal or written opinion on something, you know I’m always up for contributing.

The Magic’s win-loss record has nothing to do with this decision. Even if they were undefeated right now, I’d still be walking away. Even had the Magic made the playoffs last season, it would only have been a short-term delay of the inevitable. This day was going to come.

Will I have second thoughts or regrets? Probably. Especially when the Magic make the playoffs finally. I got in right when Dwight Howard left, and I’m leaving without covering a postseason. That’s okay though, that means I’ve improved this ’16-’17 Magic squad’s chances at finally getting the franchise back into the playoffs.

Playoffs. I’ll be fully enjoying that once those days return to O-Town, be it in the arena as a paid spectator, at my house, or out on the town soaking in the moment of potential championship glory.

Let’s Go Magic.

 

Adam Papageorgiou was Owner/Editor of MBO.

Epilogue

by: Brian Serra

The Magic finally broke Papageorgiou. He may not admit it, but I know it. This hobby that we called blogging is a tough gig. Anyone can open a free wordpress site, I did it, and write nonsense (I also did that). But not everyone can turn it into a credentialed, semi-respected site that could deliver not only behind the scenes locker room access but also capology breakdowns. Why the hell did I study the nuances of the CBA? Because it allowed the illusion of expertise. I found myself in the middle of the Dwight Howard trade saga and cultivating (and sometimes stumbling into) actual real life sources. I went from playing “media” to being the media. With that comes pressures that are taxing – especially on those working full-time jobs as Adam and I both were. It’s hard to explain the annoying level of stress that came from continuously telling people, “sorry… can’t do X with you because I have to write a recap of this 20-point Magic loss to the Bucks in the middle of February.” Today Adam is coming to the point I reached a few short years back – not so much a breaking point, but a self-actualization point. It was my very selfish dream that he would never get there and would continue rocking his blue-and-white-and-rose colored glasses for eternity. This site was indeed my baby and I knew Adam would treat it with the respect it deserved – and he did so with even more gusto than I ever expected. I thank him for continuing my “legacy” for as long as he could. He rocked it.

God Bless Adam Papageorgiou. God Bless Magic Basketball Online. And God Bless America.

Coach Vogel Unfortunately Already Owns a Team Record

Frank Vogel is going to be a great coach for this franchise. It’s just too bad his reign as the 12th Head Coach in Orlando Magic team history is off to a very sluggish start. The 43-year-old is already the owner of a not-so-great record: Worst points differential 2 games into a Magic coaching career.

With the 12-point loss in the home opener against Miami, and the 26-point loss in Detroit, that puts this ’16-’17 Magic squad at a -38 point differential two games in.

That dethrones Johnny Davis. Davis took over for Doc Rivers after he got canned with a 1-10 record to begin the eye-gouging 2003-2004 season. After two games and losses in the head chair, Davis’ team was at a -37 point differential.

So it’s not just you if you feel like this Magic season has oddly gotten off to a disastrous 0-2 beginning.

Rewinding a bit, the 12-point opening defeat for the Frank Vogel era was almost the worst for a Magic head coaching debut. Doc Rivers’ 1999-2000 Heart ‘N Hustle group lost by 14 points in Charlotte to open that campaign. That’s the worst point differential so far for a new Orlando coach.

Looking ahead, the Magic are in Cleveland on Saturday. I’m going to be pretty honest, it would take a minor miracle to beat the defending champion Cavaliers. The Magic are staring at an 0-3 start. Others to begin their Magic coaching career with that record and the point differentials:

  • 2003-2004: Johnny Davis at -48 point differential (was 0-9 before first coaching win)
  • 2015-2016: Scott Skiles at -9 point differential (won fourth game)

 

That’s it. In Brian Hill’s second head coaching stint in the 2005-2006 regular season, the Magic were also 0-3. That point differential was -29 before that squad won their 1st game in their fourth contest of that campaign. B-Hill’s team lost that first contest on November 2, 2005 at home against the Indiana Pacers by 12 points, tying Vogel’s opening night defeat. But since we’re not talking about B-Hill’s first stint as coach, the ’05-’06 days can’t technically be counted in this discussion.

Here’s to this current Magic bunch getting out of this funk very fast.

Magic Drop Home Opener to Heat on Pulse Tribute Night

It doesn’t matter if nine of the fifteen members of the current 2016-2017 Orlando Magic roster weren’t part of the team 4 months ago, they needed to know about the sunshine state rivalry. Entering the season opener, Miami had won 15 of the previous 17 regular season meetings. On top of that, the Magic had not won a season opener since 2012, and a home opener since 2013.

That’s a lot of red in recent years. I guess you’d be happy with that if this was an election chart and you were a Republican. Not so great if you’re a Magic fan. However, there was (and still may be) a feeling that a shift in the balance of Florida power was on the horizon. It didn’t occur on Wednesday night.

Orlando – despite seemingly everything lining up in their favor – managed to lose 108-96 in front of their Amway Center supporters. It was a baffling result as the Magic got out-hustled just about the entire evening. I’m not telling you to panic about the season, but this was an awful loss considering the scene.

Miami took control of the contest once they won the third period 30-16, and that was after the Magic were up 3 points at halftime. The Magic got bludgeoned in the paint. On top of giving up 74 points in the paint to the Heat, Orlando shot an awful 18-of-51 inside as well. Orlando got out-worked everywhere. Miami took rebounds 52-44, second chance points 23-18, and fast break points 15-8. The Magic shot 38.6 FG%. It’s extremely difficult to win a game that way if you’re Frank Vogel’s coaching staff.

The Magic just didn’t sync defensively, and their offense got bogged down too often. Miami had six players reach double figures. Hassan Whiteside led the way with 18 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 blocks. He had as many blocks as the entire Magic team. Whiteside’s impact was immense as usual. Goran Dragic chipped in with 16 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds.

Orlando got 20 points on 7-of-19 from Evan Fournier as well as 4 assists, 4 boards, and 2 steals. Nikola Vucevic was 7-of-14 from the field and had 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 assists. Elfrid Paytontallied 16 points, 5 assists, and 4 boards. Serge Ibaka notched 14 points and 7 rebounds. Aaron Gordon rounded out the starting five with 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. It’s a really frustrating loss that needs to be instantly forgotten.

Orlando Exercises Team Options on Hezonja, Gordon, and Payton

The Orlando Magic announced on Tuesday that they have exercised their 3rd-year team option on Mario Hezonja, as well as exercising 4th-year team options on Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton. All three players are now signed through the 2017-2018 season. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, but still important news.

The 21-year-old Gordon played in 78 games – starting 37 of them – last season with the Magic, averaging 9.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg, and 1.6 apg. The 6’9″ forward will be making about $4.35 million in ’16-’17, and about $5.5 million in ’17-’18. Originally selected #4 in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Magic, Aaron has appeared in 125 career regular season games (45 starts) with averages of 7.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg, and 1.3 apg.

The 21-year-old Hezonja played in 79 games – starting 9 of them – in his rookie campaign, averaging 6.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg, and 1.4 apg. The 6’8″ wing will be making about $3.9 million in ’16-’17, and about four million dollars in ’17-’18. Mario was chosen 5th overall in the 2015 Draft by the Magic.

The 22-year-old Payton played in 73 games – starting 69 of them – last season with the Magic, averaging 10.7 ppg, a team-high 6.4 apg, 3.6 rpg, and 1.2 spg. The 6’4″ point guard will be making about $2.6 million in ’16-’17, and about $3.3 million in ’17-’18. Originally selected 10th in the 2014 NBA Draft by Philadelphia, Payton was acquired that same evening by Orlando in exchange for Dario Saric, a 1st round pick, and a 2nd round pick. Elfrid has appeared in 155 career regular season games (132 starts), averaging 9.7 ppg, 6.5 apg, 3.9 rpg, and 1.5 spg. EP was named to the 2014-2015 NBA All-Rookie First Team, and finished fourth in voting for Rookie of the Year.

No word yet on offseason acquisition C.J. Wilcox. The Magic have until October 31st to make a decision on his team option.

Magic Keep Rudez and Onuaku, Waive Johnson and Galloway

The Orlando Magic on Saturday announced that they waived Nick Johnson and the recently signed Ramon Galloway. The team is expected to retain Damjan Rudez and Arinze Onuaku. It will be a 15-man roster – the NBA’s maximum – for when the regular season begins on October 26th as Frank Vogel’s Magic will host the Miami Heat at Amway Center.

The 30-year-old Rudez being chosen as the fourteenth man on the squad should surprise no one. ‘Damo’ was fantastic during the preseason. In 6 games, the Croatian PF averaged 5.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg, and 1.7 apg on 55.6 FG% and 57.1 3PT% in about fourteen minutes per contest. He looked more like the 28-year-old NBA rookie as part of Vogel’s Pacers squad two years ago, than the struggling player he was in Minnesota last season.

The 29-year-old Onuaku has been a pleasant surprise ever since the center played for the team at Orlando Summer League. In 4 preseason contests with the pinstriped patrol, Onuaku averaged 4.0 ppg and 2.3 rpg on 63.6 FG% in about eight minutes per contest.

Still, I didn’t think GM Rob Hennigan would occupy the 15th roster spot. Part of that could be that Bismack Biyombo is expected to serve his 1-game league suspension opening night. Also, rookie big man Stephen Zimmerman may not be ready to play NBA minutes. Onuaku is a large body who can bring some post-up offense.

Nick Johnson came into training camp as the biggest known name among the six total training camp signings. The former Houston Rocket and Arizona Wildcat never made much of an impression. In 4 games played, the 23-year-old Johnson averaged 4.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, and 2.0 apg on 31.3 FG% and 14.3 3PT% in about ten minutes per contest.

Johnson, Onuaku, and Rudez were summer non-guaranteed training camp signings. Onuaku and Rudez now are on the team payroll, but their full season contracts won’t be fully guaranteed until January 10, 2017.

Galloway – who was just signed on Friday by the Magic – is expected to be heading to Erie and the D-League. Johnson very well may be joining him with the BayHawks.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.

Magic Beat Pelicans in Overtime, Finish Preseason with 2-5 Record

The Orlando Magic concluded their 2016 preseason action with a 2-5 record. They looked awful for about the first 40 minutes of Thursday’s contest, but they took down the New Orleans Pelicans 114-111 in overtime. 23-point comebacks are wonderful, even when they don’t officially count.

Despite trailing by 10 entering the fourth quarter Orlando turned on their defense, winning that period 30-20 to force overtime. Some key stops and a crazy Elfrid Payton banking 3-pointer tied the ball game at 105-105 with thirty seconds remaining in regulation. Payton had himself quite the stat line, and saw good and bad moments with him dominating the ball late. EP finished with 17 points, 12 assists, 2 steals, 6 turnovers, and 4 rebounds on 7-of-14 shooting (2-of-5 on 3s). Overtime would soon follow.

The Magic didn’t take their first lead of the contest until Nikola Vucevic opened the OT with a made jumper. Nik finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds, but continues to see his open jumpers not fall as he was 4-of-13 from the field. Evan Fournier had 24 points, but his 4 steals in the fourth and OT were immense in leading the charge.

Anthony Davis led all with 33 points and 13 rebounds in 37 minutes. Terrence Jones is proving to be a great sixth man as he notched 24 points. For the victors, Serge Ibaka tallied 18 points and 9 rebounds, while Aaron Gordon had 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. AG will hit another gear once the ankles fully heal up. Jeff Green had an efficient 12 points. He took 4 field goals attempts but was 7-of-8 at the charity stripe.

 

Aaron Gordon: “That was big. It was definitely a spread of scoring throughout the whole team and just to go into the season on a high note is big. We need to be able to rally from down. It’s part of the game. We did it tonight. That’s a step forward for us.”

 

Both teams shot just under 43% from the field. Orlando won the assists battle, 27-23. After giving up 7 turnovers, the Magic only coughed up eight the rest of the way. The Magic won the fast break points sprint, 18-11.

Biyombo-Ibaka Frontcourt on Display in Loss to Hawks

The Orlando Magic lost to an Atlanta Hawks squad that rested a lot of players on Sunday, falling 105-98 at Amway Center. With Nikola Vucevic receiving the night off, Magic coach Frank Vogel pounced on the opportunity to see what a starting lineup that included both Bismack Biyombo and Serge Ibaka together on the court would look like for long stretches of a contest.

Statistically, the results were intriguing. Serge Ibaka had a game-high 25 points to go with 6 rebounds and 2 blocks on 9-of-15 shooting (1-of-3 on 3s) and 6-of-6 at the free throw line in 36 minutes of work. That’s the same amount of time Bismack Biyombo played as Biz had a game-high 19 rebounds and 5 blocks to go with 7 points, 1 assists, and 1 steal. That bad for Biz was the 2-of-7 shooting, but also the concerning 3-of-10 free throw shooting.

The Magic lost this contest because they gave up too many Hawks 3-pointers (10-of-27) and Orlando shooting just 12-of-24 at the free throw line. Hawks were held to 40.9 FG% Orlando shot 44.2 FG% and 10-of-25 on 3s.

At times, Atlanta figured out ways to exploit Biyombo by making sure he had to defend a Hawks big that was capable of hitting triples. After Orlando had the blocks advantage for the majority of the night, Atlanta got some key swats in the fourth period and won that statistic 11-10. When Orlando desperately needed any time of bucket, not having Vucevic available was a gaping absence.

Paul Millsap tallied 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists in just 19 minutes of action. Tim Hardaway Jr. also notched 19 points. Thabo Sefolosha added 15 points, and rookie Taurean Prince contributed thirteen. The Magic 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists from Evan Fournier. Elfrid Payton added 14 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds, but also 5 turnovers. D.J. Augustin poured in 12 points off the bench.

Orlando Narrows Roster After Waiving Dawson, Murphy, and Alexander

Following the Orlando Magic preseason home loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, it was announced that the franchise has waived forward Cliff Alexander, forward Branden Dawson, and guard Kevin Murphy.

The 20-year-old 6’8″ Cliff Alexander played in two preseason games with Orlando. The University of Kansas product made his only field goal attempt and totaled 2 points and 2 rebounds in 10 minutes.

The 23-year-old 6’6″ Branden Dawson also saw action in 2 exhibition contests. The Michigan State Spartan totaled 6 points on 3-of-4 shooting, 4 rebounds, and 1 steal in 13 minutes.

Also seeing two games and 13 total minutes, the 26-year-old 6’5″ Kevin Murphy posted 5 points and 1 rebound on 2-of-2 shooting (1-of-1 on 3s).

All three players were originally signed as free agents on September 8. All three of those men can find employment overseas or in the D-League. However, if I had to pick one, I’d say that Murphy has the best chance of landing on an NBA roster in the regular season. The Tennessee Tech product has the shooting ability and defensive capabilities to be a 14th or 15th man somewhere.

GM Rob Hennigan’s Magic roster has now been narrowed to 16 players. There are thirteen Magic men under contract, and now three training camp invites remaining. The NBA allows a maximum of 15 players per team roster once we get into the regular season.

It’s pretty evident that the 14th spot for the Magic will belong to Damjan Rudez based on how heavily involved the Croatian forward has been in Frank Vogel’s rotations.

The thought going into training camp was that the coaching staff and front office was planning on beginning opening night of the regular season on October 26th with 14 players, leaving a vacant spot open in case injuries or something else happens that could give the Magic flexibility to go after a specific type of player.

But Arinze Onuaku and Nick Johnson also remain. The Magic are already heavy at guard, so I’d be surprised if Johnson – considering his bad jump-shooting as well – claimed that final roster spot. Onuaku is intriguing because he’s a big man the Magic could prefer to give third-string minutes to rather than rookie Stephen Zimmerman. The picture gets clearer a week from now.

Magic Entertain at Open Practice

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.

 

THREE-POINT CHAMPION

After the scrimmage, Vogel decided to have some fun and set up a three-point competition in front of the fans. The most exciting three-point contest was the first one between CJ Wilcox and Augustin. Wilcox knocked down 18 shots in a one-minute span, while Augustin fell just short with 17.

Hezonja, Green and Johnson also participated with Hezonja finishing with 15, Green with 8 and Johnson with 13.

 

KNOCKOUT

Following the three-point contest, the Magic had a full-team knockout game which was the most exciting part of Saturday’s event. Vogel said after the event that playing knockout is something that he brought over from his days in Indiana and the Magic players seemed to enjoy it.

Vucevic eliminated Fournier during the game, Green eliminated both Ibaka and Vucevic, while Hezonja eliminated Rudez.

The final four of the game were Hezonja, Green, Johnson and Wilcox. After a couple of minutes of all four players going at each other, Hezonja finally eliminated Johnson to cut it down to three participants. After another strong shooting display, Wilcox eliminated Green after his shot hit the side rim and flew into the corner.

It came down to Wilcox and Hezonja and Wilcox took down Hezonja after his shot rattled on the rim for a second and then Wilcox hit his jumper from the top of the key, giving the third-year player the win in both competitions Saturday.

 

QUOTABLES

Hezonja after losing in knockout: “Oh, man, I hate losing,” he said with a smile. “I’m so pissed, that’s crazy. That was a great shot by CJ, I don’t even know how to call it. I did the lay-up first and he takes his shot and my ball stays on the rim, it was crazy. It was a good match.”

Vogel on knockout: “It’s just something we did in Indiana that, you know, we had a lot of fun with. It’s fun to see NBA players basically play a kids game .. We’ve had a lot of fun in year’s past. I remember one year, George Hill and Paul George were the final two and it went on for like ten straight minutes. They couldn’t knock each other out. Finally we had to call it a tie, but these guys went on and had a lot of fun.”

Vogel on if winning both competitions is going to earn him more playing time: “No, we know he can shoot,” he said jokingly.

Vogel on Zimmerman singing Usher: “You know, I wasn’t even going to ask him to sing or dance. I wasn’t going to do that. I threatened to do it prior. I didn’t just want to just hit him without letting him know, so I called him out, I said play the music and I was going to tell him to sit down. But he took the microphone and said let me do it, let me go out and sing. So I was very impressed with him

Juan Toribio  is an MBO Contributor.

Penny & Pops Podcast: Drafting the Best Magic Playoff Series Wins

In a podcast special, Penny and I select and detail the greatest Orlando Magic playoff series victories in the franchise’s history. This is done in a draft choice format. Remember, it’s entire series. Not single games.

Obviously, there’s a lot of 1995 and 2009 chatting. Plenty of Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howarddominance. However, there also some series discussed that you probably forgot.

As a bonus, this episode concludes with the selection of our ‘favorite’ playoff series losses. Hint: It involves the team’s two greatest SGs in history.

With Hurricane Hermine coming through and potentially dampening the weekend in the southeast, enjoy the episode. Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend.

Warning: Adult Language

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.