Check back to this page all day for complete coverage of Orlando's season-ending exit interviews.
Check back to this page all day for complete coverage of Orlando's season-ending exit interviews.
If the games still mattered for the Magic, I might be angry with tonight's loss. This was a game Orlando deserved to win -- they shot better than Toronto, grabbed more rebounds, and scored more points in the paint -- but in the end, the Raptors just out-executed James Borrego's squad. DeMar Derozan was excellent, and Lou Williams hit a shot when his team needed him. It was a win that good, veteran teams are able to pull out, and that's what happened tonight.
But there are a lot of positives to take away with how Orlando played tonight, especially in the fourth quarter. They have struggled mightily in the final quarter against Toronto this year, never once eclipsing 17 points in their three previous meetings. That they were able to hang with the Raptors and have a good chance at tying the game as time expired is a testament to their growth over the past few weeks.Read More
Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher reported earlier this afternoon on "Bucher Buzz" that Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau could be a legitimate candidate in the Magic coaching search this summer if he were to part ways with a somewhat dysfunctional Bulls front office. While the NBA scribe didn't go into much detail in the video, he went as far as reporting that, "League sources say that third parties connected to Thibodeau have been exploring what his potential other options would be, including the Orlando Magic."Read More
Before tonight's game, Magic interim Head Coach James Borrego was asked about the importance of the fans to the team; he then elicited a generic response that most franchise employees would use: "We want them to be proud of this team. We're going to battle every night to make them proud of our group."
Borrego's group backed up his word in the first half -- more so in the second period than in the first -- as Orlando's young, talented backcourt duo of Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo combined for 20 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals in the first two quarters of action. For a team whose effort could be characterized as nonexistent in the last few games at home, they set a nice tone early as they went into halftime. And although some may scratch their heads at that comment after noticing that Chicago scored 59 points in the half, Orlando served as the recipients of a scorching three-point barrage (9-for-18) that could have destroyed any NBA defense.Read More
Would tonight be any different Sunday night's thrashing at the hands of the Pistons? Even if they lost, would the Magic play with pride?
That's what I was wondering when the Magic got set to take on the defending champs at the Amway Center. As I've said before, it's depressing when all you are hoping for is to see the team bring solid effort, but with where Orlando finds itself in the standings, there isn't much else to play for.Read More
Before tonight's game, I thought that maybe, just maybe, this young Magic team would have a trademark performance and draw some memories to the fun-n-gun Shaq days of the mid-90's when times were good in the City Beautiful.
But after the Pistons started to make a run in the second quarter, I knew that I should've had the foresight to see a mediocre offensive performance and disheartening defensive showing out of a Magic group that has failed to impress as a whole in recent weeks. What made matters even worse was the fact that most of Orlando's players were mentally checked out of the game before the ball was even tipped off, with Tobias Harris admitting after the game, "I don't think we had any energy tonight."Read More
Shaquille O'Neal became the third member of the Orlando Magic Hall of Fame today, joining Pat Williams and Nick Anderson in the esteemed group. After his induction, Shaq spoke with the media about his exit from Orlando and what he would have done differently, among other things.Read More
This was never a game you could expect the Magic to win. They were coming off one of the worst losses of the season and now had to face the top team in the East. So for them to control the action for the first three and a half quarters was a moral victory.
You could argue that moral victories don't matter at this point, but I think I would rather have a moral victory than an actual victory. This has been a lost season for a long time, and each loss helps the Magic secure higher lottery odds. (Though they are likely locked into the fifth-best odds, right between the Lakers and Nuggets.) If James Borrego's squad can play well for most of the game and not get blown out, I'll take it.
That's a pretty low bar for the Magic to cross, but that's where we are right now. And besides, there were some real positives to take away from tonight's loss.Read More
Welcome to March: home of upsets, buzzer beaters, and generalized madness. March is a big month for college basketball fans but it is a lot more important to Magic fans than it may appear. The Magic currently have the 5th worst record in the NBA but with that not-so-flattering title comes the 5th best odds at the number one overall pick. The best case scenario would obviously be winning the lottery but I wouldn’t set the worst case scenario any lower than pick number eight. So here are eight prospects who are currently in the March Madness tournament who may be worth a watch, as one of them might be suiting up in pinstripes next season.Read More
The Magic look to rebound from a disheartening loss on Sunday evening against Denver when the Hawks visit the Amway Center tonight as the first place team in the Eastern conference. With just 10 games left in the regular season -- the majority of them (six) coming at the Amway Center -- James Borrego's time to audition for a full-time head coaching is running out, and with the way Orlando has been playing recently, it would probably be a longshot for him to shed the interim label in Orlando by next season. Since the Magic won't be making the playoffs this season (surprise!), it'll be interesting to see how they perform down the home stretch and who will finish off the season on a high note. By starting off this final slate with a matchup against the East-leading Hawks, we should receive a fairly good indication of whether or not the players are just mailing it in or actually care about grabbing some W's to build momentum for a fresh start in 2015-16. Hopefully Sunday night's downer of a performance wasn't a harbinger of things to come.Read More
"Respect the game."
That's something that every basketball player should do -- especially one playing in the NBA -- every time they take the floor. As James Borrego pointed out in his post game press conference, a player owes it to his teammates, coaches, and most importantly him or her self to give 100 percent effort when you're in the game. Tonight, the Magic failed to live up to that task, and in doing so allowed the Nuggets to outhustle and outwork them for the majority of the game.Read More
The 10th pick out of Louisiana-Lafayette in this past June's NBA Draft, Elfrid Payton has taken the Association by storm ever since he first stepped on a professional floor. While he has been quite impressive since Day One, the rookie floor general has taken his game to new heights in the last 10 or so games, a stretch in which he's posted per-game averages of 14. 6 points (48.4 FG%), 8.8 assists, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.1 steals. Those statistics have undoubtedly propelled him to the forefront of the Rookie of the Month conversation in the Eastern conference, and a top two or three finish in the final Rookie of the Year voting is expected by most pundits across the league.
Last night, Payton continued his dazzling play, as he posted his second-straight triple-double (20 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds) in a thrilling win over a Western conference playoff team in the Blazers. What made the feat even more impressive for the former Rajun Cajun was the fact that he had just notched his first career triple-double just one game before in Dallas, where he nearly led the Magic to a victory on ESPN. By accomplishing this feat in consecutive games, Payton became the first Magic player in franchise history to ever notch back-to-back triple-doubles, and he's also the first rookie to achieve the accomplishment since Antoine Walker in 1997.Read More
Philip Rossman-Reich of OrlandoMagicDaily.com joined me on "The Extra Stuff" to discuss what we've seen out of the team in the James Borrego era, Victor Oladipo's stellar play, and other topics as the season starts to draw to a close. How expendable is Kyle O'Quinn with Dewayne Dedmon's emergence? Should Channing Frye be receiving this much criticism? We answered those questions and more in our half-hour chat. Thanks for listening!Read More
They sure didn't make it easy, but Orlando found a way to win tonight, defeating the Kings 119-114 at the Amway Center. The short-handed Magic -- they were without Nik Vucevic, Willie Green, Evan Fournier, and Luke Ridnour -- started out fast and held an 18 point lead in the third quarter, but they saw it dwindle away as Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins scored at will for Sacramento. Despite losing the lead a few times, Orlando was able to hang strong and get baskets when they needed them. Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton each had a few clutch layups, and Tobias Harris hit the game-clinching three pointer off a nice dish from Oladipo.
Orlando's offense was extremely potent in the first half, as they scored a season high 35 points in the first quarter and 68 in the first half. Everything was rolling -- Oladipo was getting to the rim at will, Payton was running the offense well, and even Channing Frye and Andrew Nicholson were knocking down shots.Read More
"Like all these other nights, this is a game we should've won."
Tobias Harris was disappointed, and rightly so; the Magic just dropped their fourth straight game, falling 105-100 to the Phoenix Suns. Unlike in the previous losses, Orlando was able to come out with a sense of urgency in the first quarter, only to fall flat on its face at the start of the second half. This was a Magic squad that knew it should have pulled this game out, but turnovers and shoddy defense proved to be their downfall.Read More
A rejuvenated Magic defense will be in for a tough test tonight against Jeff Horancek's Phoenix Suns, who sport a creative offense that churns out a healthy amount of points on a nightly basis. If the Magic are able to hold tonight's opponent under 100 points, they would reach the 10-game mark for consecutive contests holding an opponent under the century mark; that streak would tie the lead's longest stretch in which a team accomplishes that defensive feat in the 2014-15 season. Although the Suns roster contains much less firepower after the trade deadline -- a day in which they shipped out reliable scorers in Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas -- they now have one of the league's best young point guards in Brandon Knight, who should have been an Eastern conference All-Star as a Milwaukee Bucks representative. Regardless of their downgrade, Phoenix is still a superior team to orlando at this point in time, and you can bet that they'll be hungry for a win after Monday night's 17-point loss in Miami.Read More
Looking to break a disappointing two-game losing skid, the Magic return to the Amway Center tonight to face a Charlotte Hornets team that has failed to live up to expectations this season. Steve Clifford's group has struggled due to a multitude of factors, but most of the blame can be placed on Lance Stephenson's troubles and several unfortunate injuries. Initially thought of as a mid-tier playoff team, Charlotte is on the outside looking in as we kick off the month of March; they're only a half game behind the eighth-seeded Nets, but there's six-team cluster vying for two spots and they're all within 3.5 games of each other. The Hornets have entered must-win mode in order for them to secure a postseason slot and avoid the likes of the Hawks and Cavs, so don't expect for them to treat tonight's game lightly.Read More
"it is what it is."
"It's part of the growing process."
Not exactly what Magic fans want to hear after seeing their team blow an eight point lead with 37 seconds left in the fourth quarter, huh? With NBA commissioner Adam Silver in the Amway Center as witness, the Magic outplayed and out-hustled the Miami Heat for 47 minutes in tonight's game, but we all know that a win isn't complete without a full 48 minute effort. From foul calls, rim-outs, and clutch Henry Walker three-pointers, the Magic had everything going against them down the stretch in a contest that should have given the team its first four-game win streak since December 2012. Time and time again, Orlando has been left searching for answers pertaining to their late-game execution and focus. When will the young excuse not work anymore? Sadly, that explanation will still shield the team's miscues for now and the foreseeable future.
Let's get to the takeaways.Read More
The Magic look the ride the high of their first three game winning streak of the season tonight, as they welcome their in-state rivals, the Miami Heat, to town. At 24-31, the Heat are currently the seven seed in the Eastern Conference, and they are fighting to make the playoffs. With a trade on deadline day to acquire former Suns point guard Goran Dragic, they looked to be heading in the right direction; their projected starting lineup of Dragic, Dwayne Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh, and Hassan Whiteside was as impressive as any of their Eastern conference counterparts. Then, the shocking news that Chris Bosh will miss the rest of the season with blood clots in his lungs was released. The Heat are still probably going to sneak in to the playoffs, but things are a lot murkier than they were last Thursday, when the deal for Dragic went through. We'll see how they look tonight in Orlando.Read More
Elfrid Payton was tested on his 21st birthday.
The Sixers found his achilles heal (free throw shooting) and tried to exploit it late, employing a Hack-A-Elfrid strategy to send Orlando's point guard to the line. Payton didn't pass the test with flying colors -- he went 4-of-8 from the charity stripe -- but he, and the Magic, found a way to prevail, as they came away with a 103-98 victory over Philadelphia.
"It's the best gift so far," Payton said of the win. He ended up flirting with a triple double, finishing with 10 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and only 1 turnover. He's mature beyond his years running the offense, and when he's able to overcome his shooting struggles, teams will be hard pressed to find a way to slow him down.Read More