AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Orlando Magic News & Notes: Three Straight Losses

The Orlando lost their third straight game on Wednesday night, this time falling to the Toronto Raptors.

Dwight Howard says that the team is still sticking together.

We talk to each other and we’re a close team. We understand there are different ways to approach different situations. Instead of being in the locker room after a loss yelling and going off on people, that’s not going to change anything. But talking to the guys, texting one another or calling and getting on guys personally, that’s the best way for our guys. It’s not about trying to be in the locker room being all rah-rah and standing up there screaming. We don’t play like that. That’s not us.

Read Dwight’s blog here.

Brian Schmitz thinks that the Magic finally woke up yesterday but it happened to late.

The Magic’s offense has been undermined by turnovers and disoriented for a while, leading to blanket frustration and unnecessary rants at the refs (Carter and Howard picked up technical fouls). Orlando shot a frigid-as-Florida 29 percent (9-of-31) from the 3-point line.

But it was the defense that was non-existent until the Magic became desperate against the 18-18 Raptors, who had lost the previous three meetings this season to Orlando.

Toronto has plenty of firepower and shot 54.9 percent, even going 9-of-20 from the 3-point line.

“We will figure out that we’re the ones that have to change it,” Van Gundy said. “This is not happening to us…it’s happening because of us and we’ll get it changed. I think right now we’re feeling sorry for ourselves.”

Read that story here.

John Denton provided his postgame analysis.

That shell-shocked Magic team in disbelief of the funk its now in finally showed some life in the fourth quarter Wednesday night, slicing an 18-point down to two points twice. But in the end, all the Magic were left with was a frustrating 108-103 loss to Toronto and a stunning third straight defeat.

Van Gundy was both critical and constructive after the losses, looking for ways to jar the Magic (24-11) out of their first real three-game skid in two calendar years. Orlando dropped three straight late last season but that was while it was resting players for the playoffs. The only other three-game losing streak in the Van Gundy era in Orlando came at the beginning of the 2008 calendar year.

Read that here.

Tania Ganguli wonders if the Magic need a vocal leader to step up.

They have the talent. They have the pieces. They have the Xs and Os coaching.

What they don’t have is a rah-rah, noisy, vocal leader who will get after guys on the team.

“Whether we need that or not, I don’t know but I know that’s something that you can’t contrive,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “You can’t make that up. People are who they are. It’s never been a real vocal group of people. That’s pretty much been me.”

Read that story here.

Tim Povtak thinks that the Magic just don’t have chemistry.

Dwight Howard still misses best friend Courtney Lee, who was traded to New Jersey. And his body language suggests it. They all miss Hedo Turkoglu, who took his goofiness as a free agent to Toronto. The addition of veterans Vince Carter, Jason Williams and Matt Barnes gave them experience, but it also changed the locker room.

“This is a different team. This is a totally different team, and we’re just going through a tough stretch right now,” Howard said. “But we’re still close, real close.”

He explains his thinking here.

Alex Kennedy wonders if there is a rift between Head Coach Stan Van Gundy and the Magic players.

When asked about the team’s lack of a vocal leader, J.J. Redick joked, “We do [have a vocal leader], we have Stan.” He then added, “We have guys who talk. There’s stuff that is said between players that does and should stay between players and I think we have that.”

Dwight Howard seemed the most offended by Stan’s comments because he feels he has been the team’s vocal leader this season. He mentioned that he addressed the team after the Indiana loss and on Wednesday night. “It’s not that we don’t have a vocal leader. We do. Just because we don’t sit and talk in the locker room around the coaching staff, we talk to each other,” Howard said. He also added the team prefers to talk away from the coaches on team flights, through texting, or one on one.

Read that story here.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)

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