Archive for the ‘ Orlando Magic Blog ’ Category

It’s clear the Orlando Magic are playing for next year, and Friday night was the first of what they hope will be some good signs during the season’s final weeks.

Orlando was up and down against the Washington Wizards, but when it came time to decide things, defense and some clutch offense from second-year forward Tobias Harris produced a 97-92 win for the Magic.

Harris scored a career-high 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to help the Magic break an eight-game losing streak. Harris stopped Washington runs on at least four occasions during the game with timely shots. That included a 15-foot floater with 1:22 left in the game to put Orlando ahead 93-88 and three of four from the free throw line in the final 14 seconds that sealed the victory.

”Tonight was a good step for me,” said Harris, who came to Orlando from Milwaukee at the trade deadline. ”There have been times since being in a Magic uniform that I’ve struggled to close out games, but you’ve got to be ready when the opportunity comes and I took advantage of it.”

The Magic started Harris, three rookies - Maurice Harkless, Kyle O’Quinn and DeQuan Jones - and eight-year veteran Jameer Nelson, who left the game in the first quarter with a sprained ankle and did not return.

Harkless scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while second-year man E’Twaun Moore had 15 and rookie Andrew Nicholson scored 14…

The Wizards, by contrast, didn’t get much of anything from anyone other than John Wall and Martell Webster. Wall led Washington with 35 points, nine rebounds and two assists. Webster was the only other Wizard in double figures, scoring 19.

– Reported by the Associated Press

nikola vucevic

Nik Vucevic sat out as the Orlando Magic attempted to end the Miami Heat’s winning streak at 26 games on Monday night.

“I sure am going to miss him tonight,” Magic coach Jacque Vaughn predicted about 90 minutes before tipoff.

Vucevic suffered a mild concussion on March 19, and he can’t play again until he passes the NBA’s concussion protocol. Even after he’s cleared medically, Vaughn will face a decision whether or not to put Vucevic back on the floor.

Vucevic’s absence meant the Magic were missing four players who started in the season-opener: shooting guard Arron Afflalo, small forward Hedo Turkoglu, power forward Glen Davis and Vucevic.

– Reported by Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel

Magic guard Arron Afflalo injures hamstring

Orlando Magic officials wanted to use the final weeks of the regular season to accelerate the development of youngsters such as Maurice Harkless, Tobias Harris and DeQuan Jones.

But this isn’t how the team wanted it to happen.

Arron Afflalo, the team’s starting shooting guard and its leading scorer, will miss the final 12 games of the season after he strained his right hamstring during Friday night’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Although team officials wouldn’t specify how severe the strain is, they said Afflalo’s injury will be treated with rest and physical therapy.

“He’s a leader out there on the floor,” Harkless said. “He brings a lot of energy, a lot of intensity. But we’ve played without him before. We’ve just got to do it again and stick together. We’re all we got.”

Afflalo’s absence will force the team’s least experienced players into more prominent roles, most notably Harkless.

– Reported by Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel

Dwight Howard leaves business manager after 9 years

Dwight Howard is growing all on his own, single-mindedly focused on who he wants to be, and he has taken another major step forward in his career by leaving the business manager who has been Howard’s primary advisor his entire career, Kevin Samples.

“We had nine great years together,” Howard told me late Monday night. “Just time to go separate ways.”

For all the intangible growth Howard has discovered recently, breaking away from Samples is a concrete gesture that the past is the past – and Howard is confident in calling his own shots in the future.

“I know what I want to accomplish,” Howard said. “I’ve always written down my goals and everything I want, and I want to make sure I get ‘em. Everything I’ve lost, everything that’s gone away, I’m going to get it back.”

Samples came to Los Angeles with Howard after the trade to the Lakers, and it was hard to envision him not being around considering they’re actually first cousins – and Howard’s parents dispatched Samples to live with Howard in Orlando right after the 2004 NBA draft as a big brother/guidance counselor/business manager.

– Reported by Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register

Lakers center Dwight Howard scores 39 in Orlando

Dwight Howard scored a season-high 39 points, had 16 rebounds and was sent to the free throw line 39 times by his former team as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Orlando Magic, 106-97 on Tuesday night.

The victory came in Howard’s first return to Orlando since his drama-filled offseason trade to the Lakers. He endured a chorus of boos throughout, and tied his own NBA record for free throw attempts.

The majority of them came as the Magic tried to employ an intentional foul strategy. It backfired, though, as the All-Star center hit on 16 of 20 attempts in the second half.

The victory was the Lakers’ fourth straight.

Jameer Nelson led Orlando with 21 points. The Magic have lost three of their last four and haven’t won back-to-back games since December.

After a week of back-and-forth in the media following some perceived negative comments made about his former team during a television interview, Howard and Nelson spoke briefly just after the final buzzer and shook hands.

It was a light moment in what was mostly a hostile atmosphere.

Homemade signs jeering Howard with sentiments that said everything from ”Coward” to ”Kobe’s Kid” were sprinkled throughout the Amway Center stands.

Boos rained down on the All-Star center almost every time he touched the basketball. They were followed by louder cheers when he missed a free throw.

– Reported by Kyle Hightower of the Associated Press

Dwight Howard

The number 12 is no longer sacred in Orlando.

The man who used to wear it, Los Angeles Lakers’ center Dwight Howard, also once shouldered the Magic’s hopes of attaining an elusive first NBA championship.

But after eight years of chasing it, and taking Orlando through one of the most turbulent seasons in its history last year, the man who called himself Superman is now the city’s biggest villain.

He returns for the first time Tuesday since his offseason trade to the Lakers to face the jilted fans, front office members and handful of teammates that he left behind.

”I’m not sure,” Magic point guard Jameer Nelson said when asked about his expectations for Tuesday. ”Obviously the atmosphere is gonna be probably a little turned up, a littler crazier than we’ve had so far this year.”

Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu and Glen Davis are the only players on the Magic’s roster that have previously played with Howard. With Davis out with a broken foot and Turkoglu serving a suspension for violating the NBA’s drug policy, only Nelson will play in the rematch.

– Reported by Kyle Hightower of the Associated Press

Jameer Nelson

Injuries left Orlando Magic point guard Jameer Nelson as a spectator in each of his team’s first two matchups this season with the Philadelphia 76ers.

In Round 3 the Pennsylvania native reminded the Sixers what his presence can bring to a game.

Nelson had 24 points and 10 assists, and Nik Vucevic added 14 points and 17 rebounds as the Magic held off the Sixers in the fourth quarter to secure a 99-91 victory on Sunday night.

The win ended the Magic’s seven-game home losing streak, their longest skid in Orlando since 2003-04. It also gives the Magic some momentum in advance of the Los Angeles Lakers’ visit Tuesday, which will be Dwight Howard’s first return to Orlando since he was traded this past summer…

Arron Afflalo and Tobias Harris added 17 and 15 points, respectively. The double-double was the 35th of the season for Vucevic, who was dealt to the Magic by Philadelphia as part of the multi-team Howard deal.

Thaddeus Young had 26 points and 12 rebounds for the Sixers, followed by Damien Wilkins with 16 points in his first start of the season…

The Magic improved to 13-10 when leading after three quarters. … Young recorded his 16th double-double of the season. … The unit that opened the game for Philadelphia was its 13th starting lineup of the season. … Collins said the biggest change that he’s seen in Vucevic’s game since the Sixers dealt him to the Magic is as simple as him getting more playing time.

– Reported by Kyle Hightower of the Associated Press

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard scored 16 points and grabbed 21 rebounds, Kobe Bryant chipped in with 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Chicago Bulls 90-81 Sunday.

The Lakers improved to 33-31, the first time this season they have been two games over .500. They also moved one-half game of the Utah Jazz and into sole possession of the No. 8 and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Lakers led almost throughout, only briefly falling behind by two points in the second quarter, and led by as many as 18 in the third period.

Steve Nash had 16 points for the Lakers.

Nate Robinson led the Bulls with 19 points, and Joakim Noah had 18 points and 17 rebounds…

After a sluggish first half by both teams, the Lakers came out hot to start the third quarter. Led by 10 points from Nash, Los Angeles went on a 21-7 run to begin the quarter, capped by a 3-pointer by Jodie Meeks that gave the Lakers a 65-47 lead. But the Bulls responded with an 8-0 spurt to narrow their deficit to 65-55…

Bryant took only three shots in the first quarter, going scoreless in the opening 12 minutes. Metta World Peace was cold as well, missing four open 3-pointers, but the Lakers held an early lead thanks to Howard’s efforts down low. Though he missed all three free throws he took in the quarter, Howard was 3 of 3 from the field for six points and grabbed seven rebounds.

– Reported by Joe Haakenson of the Associated Press

Dwight Howard

In the war of words between Dwight Howard and his former Orlando Magic teammates, one significant voice weighed in on the side of the Los Angeles Lakers center.

Howard said that his former Magic coach, Stan Van Gundy, reached out to him Thursday to offer support.

“He knows I would never disrespect my teammates,” said Howard after Lakers’ shootaround Friday in advance of their game against the Toronto Raptors. “He understood exactly what I was saying and that’s what he expressed.”

Howard expanded on the topic after the Lakers’ 118-116 overtime victory over the Raptors, saying, “Both of us, we know how great we were together. I’ve always told him, if we had a second run together, that would be great.

“I would always tell him what my goal was, I want to be one of the greatest to play and he would always push me to get there. So, I respect him.”

Van Gundy believes Howard wasn’t trying to bad-mouth any of his former teammates.

– Reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles

Game on the line, LeBron James knew he was going to get to the rim.

And he delivered.

James scored 26 points, including a go-ahead layup after getting past DeQuan Jones with 3.2 seconds left, and the Heat scrambled late to beat the Orlando Magic 97-96 on Wednesday night and extend their franchise-record winning streak to 16 games.

”I had no intention of shooting another jumper,” James said.

He missed a pair of 3-pointers about 90 seconds earlier, so he went for the 3-footer instead. From the right wing, James drove diagonally through the lane, then used his left hand - after all, he is left-handed - for the basket that won it for Miami. It was the first time he came up with what became a game-winning basket in the final five seconds of a game since a 3-pointer beat the Magic in the 2009 playoffs, according to STATS LLC…

Dwyane Wade scored 24 points on 10-for-16 shooting - he’s now shooting 62 percent in his last seven games - and Chris Bosh added 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat, who blew a 20-point, second-half lead and then rallied from a five-point deficit in the final minutes.

Nik Vucevic had 25 points and 21 rebounds for the Magic, who got 16 points apiece from Jameer Nelson and Tobias Harris, 13 from Arron Afflalo and 12 from Maurice Harkless…

The foul discrepancy in the game - 30 for the Magic, 17 by Miami - was a hot topic in the Orlando locker room afterward. The Magic went 10 for 12 from the foul line, Miami 27 of 31.

– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

Arron Afflalo bolted through a crowd of Hornets defenders as he angled toward the hoop, switching the ball from his left hand to his right to hit a layup Orlando needed to keep another game from slipping away.

Minutes later, he sank an 11-foot turnaround fade in the lane with Eric Gordon’s hand in his face - yet another clutch play that led the Magic to an unlikely comeback on the road.

Afflalo finished with a game-high 26 points, scoring five in the final 38 seconds, and Orlando snapped a three-game skid by erasing a 17-point, second-half deficit en route to a 105-102 victory over New Orleans on Monday night.

”It was great to see the guys feel it and get rewarded for their effort,” Magic coach Jacques Vaughn said. ”We get down 17 and still plug away and play each possession.”

Jameer Nelson, returning from a left knee injury that sidelined him six games, scored 15 points and Tobias Harris also scored 15 for Orlando, which erased a nine-point deficit during the final 3:15.

Afflalo scored 11 of his points in the fourth quarter. His late turnaround over Gordon gave Orlando the lead for good at 101-100 with 38 seconds left.

– Reported by Brett Martel of the Associated Press

ryan anderson

Ryan Anderson, whose New Orleans Hornets will host the Orlando Magic on Monday night, has added a new hobby since he joined his new team.

He’s an app tycoon.

Anderson helped fund an app available on the Apple and Android platforms called “Hide It! Head to Head Hidden Object Game,” which was created and developed by Straton Wilhelm, one of Anderson’s best friends.

The game launched in mid-December.

“I’m just really proud of my buddy, that he really put this thing together,” Anderson said. “This all came from one idea on a piece of paper.”

– Reported by Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel

Players were high-fiving and telling jokes in the giddy postgame locker room.

It was a rare and pleasant atmosphere for the Orlando Magic, especially on the road.

Arron Afflalo and Tobias Harris scored 16 points apiece and the Magic snapped a 10-game road losing streak with a 98-84 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.

”It feels great,” said forward Maurice Harkless. ”Guys feel good about themselves and it shows what hard work can do. There are a lot of smiles around here for a change on the road.”

Andrew Nicholson contributed 13 and Nikola Vucevic had 12 points and 19 rebounds for the Magic (16-41), who hadn’t won on the road since Jan. 12 against the Los Angeles Clippers.

E’Twaun Moore had 12 points and a career-high 10 assists, while Harkless had 10 points for the Magic…

Damien Wilkins scored a season-high 14 points and Jeremy Pargo also had 14 for the 76ers. Dorell Wright had 11 and Evan Turner 10 for Philadelphia, which fell a season-worst 11 games under .500 at 22-33…

Orlando is also dealing with its share of injuries, but it was hardly evident on this night. It played without guard Jameer Nelson (left knee) and forwards Glen Davis (fractured left foot) and Hedo Turkoglu (NBA suspension).

– Reported by Andy Jasner of the Associated Press

beno udrih

In Orlando, Udrih already has a comfort level with coach Jacque Vaughn, who was his teammate in 2006-07 with the San Antonio Spurs.

“I’ve been here three days, and I’ve already felt more at home than I did in Milwaukee for a year and a half,” Udrih said Monday.

“It was just a bad situation there. I’m a professional and I’m a man, so I like to be told straight-up what they expect from me. So, in Milwaukee, that never happened. They were saying, ‘Yeah, yeah, we know. We’ve got to play you a little bit more.’ But it never happened. So when I did get into the game I didn’t know what they actually wanted to do, so I was just trying to find it myself, and I never did.”

“I wanted a change. I wanted a new start, so I’m really happy to be here. I know Jacque and J.B. [James Borrego], the assistant coach. It’s just a really exciting moment for me and my wife.”

– Reported by Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel

The trade of J.J. Redick, Gustavo Ayón and Ish Smith has had a cascade effect on the entire Orlando Magic roster, but perhaps it has impacted Maurice Harkless most of all.

Redick’s absence means Arron Afflalo will spend more time at shooting guard instead of shifting out of position to small forward.

And with Afflalo playing at small forward less often, that almost certainly will result in more minutes for Harkless, especially down the stretches of games.

“J.J. played a major role, and a lot of his minutes will probably come my way now,” Harkless said. “I just have to just take advantage of that and step up.”

From the beginning of this season, even when the team started with a 12-13 record, the Magic have tried to accelerate the development of the team’s youngest players — players such as Harkless and his fellow rookies, power forward Andrew Nicholson, center/power forward Kyle O’Quinn and wing DeQuan Jones.

– Reported by Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel

J.J. Redick speaks on move to Bucks

J.J. Redick speaks on move to Bucks

The 28-year-old Redick said Friday he is looking forward to his opportunity in Milwaukee after being acquired from Orlando in a trade-deadline deal Thursday.

“I have a great deal of respect for Brandon and Monta as players, two really dynamic guards,” Redick said during a news conference at the Cousins Center.

“And I actually think I fit well because I’m a guy who doesn’t need to have the basketball in his hands a lot. I don’t need a lot of touches necessarily; I don’t need a lot of dribbles. That’s not my game.

“I’ll continue to be who I am as a player and that’s just a quick decision-maker. Drive, pass, shoot, whatever it may be. But get off the ball and let those guys play to their strengths.”

Redick was acquired along with forward Gustavo Ayon and guard Ish Smith in exchange for Beno Udrih, Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb.

The Bucks had targeted Redick as a player who could help their perimeter shooting and provide a needed boost as they seek to secure an Eastern Conference playoff spot.

– Reported by Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

magic trade JJ Redick to Bucks

The Orlando Magic have acquired forward Tobias Harris, guard Doron Lamb and guard Beno Udrih from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for guard J.J. Redick, forward-center Gustavo Ayón and guard Ish Smith, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today.

In addition, the Magic acquired forward Hakim Warrick and cash considerations from the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for forward Josh McRoberts.  The Magic intend to waive Warrick.

“Tobias (Harris) and Doron (Lamb) are two young players who complement our current roster and have tremendous potential to grow with us,” Hennigan said.  “Tobias is a versatile forward that can play both forward positions, while Doron is a combo guard who helps fortify our backcourt with his shooting and ball-handling ability.  Beno (Udrih) is a proven point guard who adds veteran leadership and experience to our team.”

“J.J. (Redick) was a great contributor to the Orlando Magic during his time with our organization, both on the court and in the community.  We wish him, Gustavo (Ayón), Ish (Smith) and Josh (McRoberts) the best of luck in the future.”

Harris (6’8”, 226, 7/15/92) has played in 28 games this season with Milwaukee (14 starts), averaging 4.9 ppg. and 2.0 rpg. in 11.6 minpg.  He has scored in double figures six times this season, including a season-high 18 points on Nov. 2 @ Boston.

Originally selected in the first round (19th overall) by Charlotte in the 2011 NBA Draft, Harris has appeared in 70 career NBA regular season games (23 starts), all with Milwaukee, averaging 4.9 ppg. and 2.3 rpg. in 11.5 minpg.  Before turning pro, he played 34 games (33 starts) during his only season at the University of Tennessee (2010-11), averaging 15.3 ppg., 7.3 rpg. and 1.3 apg. in 29.2 minpg.  Harris was named Second Team All-SEC and to the All-SEC Freshman Team.

Lamb (6’4”, 210, 11/6/91) has played in 23 games this season with Milwaukee, averaging 3.4 ppg. in 12.2 minpg.  He has also appeared in six games (one start) with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League, averaging 10.3 ppg., 3.3 rpg. and 2.5 apg. in 25.5 minpg.

Originally selected in the second round (42nd overall) by Milwaukee in the 2012 NBA Draft, Lamb played 78 career games (49 starts) in two seasons at the University of Kentucky (2010-12), averaging 13.1 ppg., 2.3 rpg. and 1.6 apg. in 29.8 minpg., while shooting .475 (144-303) from three-point range.  He was named Second Team All-SEC in 2011-12 and helped the Wildcats capture the 2012 NCAA National Championship.

Udrih (6’3”, 203, 7/5/82) has played in 39 games this season with Milwaukee, averaging 6.7 ppg., 3.5 apg. and 2.0 rpg. in 18.4 minpg.  He has scored in double figures 11 times this season, including a season-high 18 points on Nov. 28 vs. New York.  Udrih has also dished out 10+ assists twice, including a season-high 11 assists on Jan. 29 @ Detroit.  He has led (or tied) the Bucks in scoring twice and in assists seven times.

Originally selected in the first round (28th overall) by San Antonio in the 2004 NBA Draft, Udrih has appeared in 601 career NBA regular season games (234 starts) with San Antonio, Sacramento and Milwaukee, averaging 9.1 ppg., 3.5 apg. and 2.2 rpg. in 23.4 minpg.  He has also played in 36 career playoff outings, averaging 2.9 ppg. in 8.6 minpg.  Udrih was a part of two NBA Championship teams with San Antonio in 2005 and 2007.

Redick has played in 50 games this season with Orlando (11 starts), averaging 15.1 ppg., 4.4 apg. and 2.4 rpg. in 31.5 minpg.  Originally selected in the first round (11th overall) by Orlando in the 2006 NBA Draft, he has appeared in 396 career NBA regular season games, all with Orlando, averaging 9.2 ppg., 1.9 apg. and 1.8 rpg. in 21.9 minpg., while shooting .398 (549-1,381) from three-point range and .878 (723-823) from the free throw line.

Ayón has played in 43 games this season with Orlando (three starts), averaging 3.6 ppg., 3.3 rpg. and 1.4 apg. in 13.3 minpg.  McRoberts has played in 41 games this season with the Magic (three starts), averaging 3.9 ppg., 3.3 rpg. and 1.7 apg. in 16.7 minpg.  Smith has appeared in 36 games this season with Orlando (three starts), averaging 2.4 ppg., 1.6 apg. and 1.3 rpg. in 10.5 minpg.

Magic trade Josh McRoberts to Bobcats for Hakim Warrick

Charlotte Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins announced today that the team has acquired forward Josh McRoberts from the Orlando Magic in exchange for forward Hakim Warrick. McRoberts will wear No. 11. The Bobcats roster remains at 14 players.

“Josh McRoberts is a quality young big man who can play either post position for us,” Higgins said. “We look forward to adding his size and energy to our rotation.”

Currently in his sixth NBA season, the 6-10 McRoberts has career averages of 4.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists, along with a career field goal percentage of .496 (444-896), in 246 games played for the Trail Blazers, Pacers, Lakers and Magic. In 41 games for Orlando this season, he averaged 3.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 16.7 minutes. Earlier this season he posted career highs of 14 rebounds on Nov. 25 against Boston and eight assists on Jan. 7 at Portland.

McRoberts was originally selected with the 37th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Trail Blazers after two years at Duke University, where he was a teammate of Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson during the 2006-07 season. He had his best overall season in 2010-11, when he averaged career highs of 7.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 22.2 minutes in 72 games played for the Pacers, including 51 starts.

Warrick was acquired by the Bobcats from New Orleans on November 13, 2012, in exchange for Matt Carroll. He appeared in 27 games for the Bobcats, including 14 starts, and averaged 7.0 points and 3.3 rebounds in 17.9 minutes.

Magic guard Jameer Nelson has knee strain

Jameer Nelson has been diagnosed as having a strained patellar tendon in his left knee, Orlando Magic officials announced today.

The team would not specify the severity of the strain, whether the tendon was stretched or torn. But officials said Nelson’s injury will be evaluated further when he accompanies the team back to Central Florida following its road game Friday night against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Nelson hurt his knee late in the Magic’s 111-96 loss Wednesday night to the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center.

Nelson suffered the injury as he drove against Darren Collison and attempted to stop quickly. Nelson crumpled to the floor, and Collison forced a jump ball.

– Reported by Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel (Blog)

dwight howard

If Dwight Howard knew then what he knows now, he would probably still be with the Orlando Magic.

Or so says ESPN and ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy, who says Howard’s struggles with the dysfunctional Los Angles Lakers probably makes him pine for his glory days in Orlando.

“I think he thought he wanted a big market, but I think what he’s realizing is that he needs a smaller environment where the fans and media overlook whatever weaknesses he has,” Jeff said on our Open Mike radio show. “He had it great in Orlando, and I think only after you leave do you realize just how good you had it. Unfortunately, you can’t go back home again.

“Those years in Orlando, you could have made the case that no one was more valuable to a team than Dwight Howard was to the Magic. That guy could have been the MVP a couple of times and should have gotten stronger consideration for what he accomplished. For whatever reason, I think he’s lost his way.”

– By Mike Bianchi, columnist for the Orlando Sentinel

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