The Orlando Magic defeated the L.A. Clippers last night to improve to a franchise best 17-4. It was the Magic’s eighth straight road win, also a franchise record. You can see my recap and analysis here.
John Denton shares his postgame thoughts here.
The Magic got 14 3-pointers and solid contributions from Rashard Lewis (17 points) and Jason Williams (16 points) to improve to 17-4. Orlando has been 17-4 just twice before – in 1994-95 and 95-96. And they have another shot at more history on Thursday in Utah when they will attempt to go to 18-4 for the first time in franchise history.
“We feel like we have enough talent to go into any arena and get a win,’’ said veteran point guard Anthony Johnson, who helped defend Clippers standout guard Baron Davis in the second half. “We have a team that’s built to win on the road. We did it last year and we’re doing it again. We have a dominant low-post player and so many steady players around him. We feel like if we just come with a defensive focus every night, we’re going to do OK.’’
Click here to read the rest of Denton’s analysis.
Brian Schmitz discusses Dwight Howard’s dominating performance last night.
Dwight Howard didn’t blow out any candles on his 24th birthday at Staples Center, but he blew away the Los Angeles Clippers — again.
Howard scored 25 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, dished five assists and blocked seven shots to lead the Magic to a 97-86 victory against the Clippers on Tuesday night.
“I heard somed of the fans say, ‘Happy Birthday,”‘ Howard said, then laughed. “The ref said ‘Happy Birthday.’ I asked him if I could get one call.”
You can read that here.
Dwight Howard has updated his official blog and said that he had a great birthday.
I can’t believe I’ve already been in the NBA for six years. I have to remind myself sometimes that I’m just 24 years old, and I have to remind my coaches of that too.
I’m still working on my game and I really think as long as I put the work in that I’m going to keep getting better and better. And I’m not stopping until I get that ‘ship. Everybody has been asking me what I want for my birthday and I gotta say the only thing I want in my life right now is that gold ball!!!
Tuesday was the first time I’ve been back to Staples for a game since last June’s NBA Finals. I was actually in L.A. over the summer to see a WNBA game and it really hit me then that this was the place where we lost the Finals. But being there this week to face the Clippers, it was just all about going to work.
Read Dwight’s blog here.
Kelly Dwyer once again goes behind the box score.
The Magic kept doubling Baron Davis(notes), which led to a close game for the first three quarters. Not sure if this was Stan Van Gundy’s intention, or some bad floating defense from Dwight Howard(notes). Either way, it was bad, floating defense. Howard made up for it in the fourth quarter, and he finished with seven blocks, while totaling 25 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists overall.
You can see that here.
Brandon Ribak of NBA Primetime says that Magic are being put to the ultimate test.
On top of missing part of their core for close to half of the games played thus far, Orlando’s starting point guard Jameer Nelson went down with a knee injury on Nov. 16 which has sidelined him for the past 10 games where the Magic have compiled a fantastic 9-1 record.
For a team (that obtained five new athletes in the offseason) to hold such a tremendous record so early on into the season while having major setbacks (missing Shard and now Nelson for 4-6 weeks) in the process and still working on developing team chemistry, the Orlando Magic have undoubtedly been through it all in the matter of 21 games.
You can read the full story here.
J.A. Adande of the Daily Dime on ESPN.com says the Magic are having fun while winning.
Howard gave a five-minute tribute to Van Gundy that was at first overly tearful, like Terrell Owens’ “That’s my quarterback” speech, then went over-the-top to pour on the praise (I caught the second part on my cell phone camera). Later, a little more seriously, he said Van Gundy has been “a lot better. We want him to push us to get better. If he doesn’t push us, who will?”
The burden is still more on Howard to lead them, to live up to his superstar billing. To strike the balance between goofball and Finals Most Valuable Player that Shaquille O’Neal straddled perfectly in his Laker days. One piece of advice in case the Magic get back to the Finals: If the other team’s best player is making a reputation for faces like this, it might not be the best time to break out an ad campaign that has you looking like this.
For now, Howard is as funny as ever, especially with new comedy partner Brandon Bass. He is carefree enough to grab some popcorn from a courtside fan’s bucket before the second half, or to smile in the middle of a play.
Read the Daily Dime here.
Slam Magazine also took a long look at Tuesday’s Magic win. Check that out here.
Rashard Lewis talked about returning to Staples Center on his blog. You can read that here.
Brian Schmitz has a very interesting article about the man who is in charge of Orlando’s road trips, Team Operations Manager Rodney Powell.
Powell is a behind-the-scenes working guy who has the responsibility of taking “this Barnum & Bailey circus” as he calls it, on the road. Packing it up and unpacking it several times in one day. Moving it across the country, from city to city, through 41 road games, not counting the postseason.
Powell said the Magic left Orlando on Friday for this four-game, eight-day road trip with 1,500-2,000 pounds of equipment on the team plane, including 90 pieces of luggage.
Read that here.
Orlando’s start has been very impressive. Here are some numbers on the start courtesy of the Orlando Magic.
1. At 17-4, Orlando has equalled its best start in franchise history (1994-95, 1995-96). The Magic have never been 18-4.
2. Orlando has won eight straight on the road, the longest road winning streak for a single season. Overall, the record is nine (last two in April ’07 and first sevent in November ’07). Under Stan Van Gundy (two-plus years), the Magic are 64-30 on the road. At 10-2 on the road this year, the Magic will look to eclipse its seasonal franchise record for road wins (27 each of the last two years).
3. Orlando has won 23 straight games in which it has scored 100 points. The streak dates back to Feb. 24, 2009.
4. Orlando has had five or more players score in double-figures in 12 games this year (11-1 record when it happens).
5. Orlando has made 10 or more three-pointers 13 times this year and is 11-2 when it does so.
6. Orlando has had 20-plus assists nine times this year and is 9-0 when it does so.
7. When Orlando outrebounds its opponent the Magic are 13-0.
8. Over Stan Van Gundy’s two-plus seasons Orlando is 91-20 (10-2 this year) when holding opponents under 100 points.
9. Over Stan Van Gundy’s two-plus seasons Orlando is 114-34 (12-3 this year) when holding opponents to less than 50 percent shooting.
10. Dwight Howard now has 25 career 20+ point/20+ rebound games (two already this year). The Magic are 6-2 when Vince Carter scored 20-plus points this year. Rashard Lewis is averaging 18.3 ppg. over the last six games, while shooting over 50 percent from the field overall and three-point range, compared to 12.6 ppg. and a 33 percent field goal mark the first five games he played this season.
The Magic are once again reaching out to the community.
MAGIC HOST A ‘BE HAPPY HOUR’ FOR YOUNG PROFESSIONALS MONDAY, DECEMBER 14
WHO: Orlando-area young professionals
WHAT: The Orlando Magic will host a BE HAPPY Hour for young professionals on Monday, December 14 for their game against the Indiana Pacers. All young professionals can purchase a $69 package that includes: One lower bowl ticket (reg. $80), two drinks, appetizers and admission to an exclusive pregame happy hour from 5:30 – 7:00 in the M&I Vaults near the Magic locker room, which will include music, trivia, prizes and an appearance by the Magic Dancers. This night will provide a great opportunity for young professionals to experience an after-work social hour in a premium setting.
WHEN: Monday, December 14 vs. the Indiana Pacers
Exclusive pregame happy hour for young professionals: 5:30 – 7 p.m.
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
WHERE: Amway Arena – Exclusive pregame happy hour is in the M&I Vaults near the Magic locker room