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
Coming out of the all-star break, I wasn't sure how the final 26 games of the season would go. Would the Magic show some fight and play hard, creating some hope for next season? Or would they roll over and revert to the horrid basketball they played before Jacque Vaughn's firing?
After tonight's victory, it seems like the former. Orlando defeated a very good New Orleans Pelicans team 95-84, leaning on Victor Oladipo's 22 points and Nik Vucevic's 18 points and 13 boards. It played with energy on both ends of the floor, and even on the bench; players were standing up and cheering after every great play.Read More
With news coming today that the Magic will keep James Borrego at the helm for the rest of the season, the team went and found him some help, bringing on Igor Kokoskov to serve as the lead assistant on Orlando's undermanned staff.
Kokoskov, a 43 year old native of Serbia, has coached in the NBA since 2000, and he most recently served on Mike Brown's staff last season in Cleveland. Kokoskov got his start with the Clippers before moving to the Pistons, where he crossed paths with Magic assistant GM Scott Perry, who was likely influential in Kokoskov's hire. After serving as an assistant in Detroit for five seasons, Kokoskov moved to Phoenix and worked under Mike D'Antoni and Alvin Gentry before becoming the team's lead assistant while Lindsey Hunter was the interim head coach. Kokoskov has also served as the head coach of the Republic of Georgia's national team for the past seven summers.Read More
Management has elected to keep James Borrego at the head coaching helm for the rest of the 2014-15 season, according to OrlandoMagic.com scribe John Denton. Borrego, who served as the lead Magic assistant before the firing of Jacque Vaughn a couple weeks ago, has 26 regular season games to audition for a coaching opening in the summer or retain the Orlando job, as unlikely as that outcome appears to be.Read More
With the NBA trade deadline approaching on Thursday afternoon at 3:00 PM, teams across the league have entered war-room mode in an effort to acquire a missing piece for a playoff run, a draft pick in exchange for a veteran player, or some other asset that will be useful going forward. Knowing Rob Hennigan’s way of playing the game, we can be certain that the Magic are involved in these discussions to a certain degree.Read More
These last few months have been hard on Magic fans. I’m not saying the beginning part of the season was easy, but Magic basketball has not been its best. Since the new year, the Magic have allowed teams to score 100 points in 16 of the twenty games they have played and have only won three times. That being said, Nik Vucevic is playing some of the best basketball of his life.
In the month of January, Vucevic averaged just under 21.9 points per game, 11.5 rebounds per game and has less than 2 turnovers per game. Only one other Magic averaged points in the 20s. (A guy named Victor Oladipo did it. You may have heard of him). He is ranked in the top ten among NBA centers in points, rebounds and assists per game. Yet, the fans and coaches of the NBA decided to leave him out of the All-Star game.Read More
In the midst of the craziness of All-Star Weekend, Victor Oladipo joined the folks over at Complex to serve the role as a judge for an array of dunks, fails, and other funny videos. It's a great watch and Oladipo clearly had a fun time doing it, so enjoy!Read More
Tonight's the night, Magic fans. Check this page throughout the night to watch all of Victor Oladipo's dunks in the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, as we'll upload Vines and videos of all of his slams.Read More
With the news of Victor Oladipo being in this weekend's dunk contest, I've been scouring through the depths of the Internet trying to find Vic's past performances in these contests. Once again, the World Wide Web proved to be a fruitful source of entertainment, as I was able to discover Dipo slams from both college and high school that show that he will be a force to be reckoned with on Saturday night in the Barclays Center. Enjoy!Read More
Third-year power forward Andrew Nicholson has been "made available via trade," according to ESPN's Marc Stein. The St. Bonaventure product has seen his playing time decrease every season in the City Beautiful after being selected 19th overall by the Magic in the 2012 NBA Draft, and has only played in 18 of 56 contests in the 2014-15 campaign. Characterized by his incredible low post game and mid-range shooting touch in a strong rookie season, Nicholson has regressed tremendously on the offensive end of the floor, and Orlando's coaching staff could be the culprit in this situation.Read More
What a heartbreaking loss for the Magic tonight. Up six with only 32 seconds left, it looked like Orlando was going to win its second game in a row under interim head coach James Borrego.
However, it just wasn't meant to be. A clear path foul from Tobias Harris started Orlando's undoing, and the problems were exacerbated when Evan Fournier stepped over the half-court line for a questionable over and back call. Pau Gasol then put Chicago up by one on a put back, and Nik Vucevic and Tobias Harris both missed good attempts for Orlando to hit a game-winner, culminating in a 98-97 win for Chicago.
On this edition of "The Extra Stuff," Jake and Scott break down what happened at the end, touch on Elfrid Payton's fantastic fourth quarter, and discuss how James Borrego has made an impact on this team, among other things. Enjoy!Read More
After ten straight losses, and a coaching change, the Magic finally have ended their losing streak.
It wasn't easy, but Orlando came away with a come from behind 103-97 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in overtime tonight. Led by Tobias Harris' career high 34 points and Nik Vucevic's 25 points and 12 rebounds, the Magic were able to claw out a win for interim head coach James Borrego, who earned his first ever win as an NBA head coach.
Orlando started out slow, looking sloppy on offense and making fairly careless turnovers. It had five in the first six minutes of the game, which turned into eight points for the Lakers. However, a nice end to the quarter propelled Orlando to a 26-23 lead.Read More
Former Nuggets head coach George Karl "would have interest" in the head coaching position with the Magic, according to Basketball Insiders' Alex Kennedy. Following the firing of Jacque Vaughn yesterday afternoon, there have been many named thrown out by reporters as potential replacements, with Scott Skiles, Mark Jackson, Alvin Gentry, and now Karl being the most prominent ones. But out of that quartet, Karl is certainly the most accomplished coach, as his teams almost always made the postseason; the main qualm with Karl stems from his inability to lead deep playoff runs.Read More
The Orlando Magic elected to relieve Jacque Vaughn of his head coaching duties earlier today, as the 39-year-old went 58-158 in his two-and-a-half years in the City Beautiful. Rob Hennigan, Alex Martins, and interim head coach James Borrego addressed the media in the afternoon to discuss the rationale behind the decision, what the organization expects going forward, and much more.Read More
The Orlando Magic announced this afternoon that the team has fired Jacque Vaughn, who compiled a 58-158 record in his 2.5 years at the helm. Currently riding a 10-game losing streak, the Magic have struggled mightily on the defensive end in recent weeks, and the team's lack of an identity on either end of the floor must have provoked management to make this change sooner rather than later.Read More
The Orlando Magic lost their tenth straight game tonight.
However, I'm not angry or disappointed. I'm not going to write about creaky defense or poor coaching. Tonight -- in a 110-103 loss to the defending champion San Antonio Spurs -- the Magic came out with the effort they have been lacking for such a long time. From the opening tip to the final buzzer, they fought for loose balls, took pretty good shots, and played the style that suits them. It's one thing to get embarrassed on your home court; it's completely different to drop a hard fought game in San Antonio.
The ageless Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 26 points and 10 rebounds, while Kawhi Leonard added 18-5-5 to pace Gregg Popovich's squad. San Antonio took advantage of Orlando's shoddy pick and roll defense, forcing the Magic to make a decision: should they help in the pick and roll and leave shooters open, or should they stay with the shooters and leave Nik Vucevic without any help? Orlando tried to help when it could, though the Spurs were deadly from beyond the arc, hitting 14 threes on 44% from downtown.Read More
At least tonight was an improvement from the last two losses. It was nice to see the Magic actually run good offensive sets early in the game. However, a few nice possessions on offense weren't anywhere close to enough for Orlando; Jacque Vaughn's squad -- yes, he is still the coach -- fell to the Thunder 104-97 in another game where the final scores makes the Magic look more competitive than they actually were.
Jake and Scott discuss the loss with Philip Rossman-Reich of Orlando Magic Daily, breaking down some of the good we saw from the Magic before discussing if a coaching change will fix any of the problems Orlando is dealing with.Read More