The Magic played four games this last week, with three of them being on the road. The depleted squad still managed to go 3-1 in those games, with the only loss coming last night to the Milwaukee Bucks after playing the night before in Detroit. The Magic beat their former rivals, the Detroit Pistons twice and the Chicago Bulls in the other victory. Prior to the loss to the Bucks, the Magic had won 6 consecutive games. Game results are as follows:
11/30 Orlando 90–Detroit 79: In T-Mac’s Piston debut against Orlando he scores…3 points.
12/01 Orlando 107-Chicago 78: Most complete Magic victory of the season.
12/03 Orlando 104-Detroit 91: Despite no Dwight, Jameer, J.J. or Pietrus, Magic pull out the win.
12/04 Milwaukee 96-Orlando 85: Dressing only 8 players, on a back-to-back, spelled doom against the Bucks.
My vote for Magic Player of the Week would have to go to Brandon Bass. Brandon scored 16.3 PPG and pulled down 5.8 RPG over the last week, all while shooting 61% from the field. Bench play like that, is what will continue to propel the Magic towards victories. The Magic are currently 15-5 on the season and are on pace for a 60+ win season.
The Magic are literally sick. This last week has been nothing short of a roller coaster for the Magic as the team has had to battle a nasty stomach bug that has been running rampant through the locker room and slashed the Magic depth chart. Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson both had to sit out the last two games and J.J. Redick has been out the last three. Mickael Pietrus had the bug hit him at the worst time however, as he was forced to leave the bench Wednesday in Chicago and was throwing up backstage at the United Center. Howard, Nelson, Pietrus and Redick were not even in the building for the loss against Milwaukee and were all sent home to Orlando to recuperate.
The Magic depth also took another blow in Detroit when Ryan Anderson sprained his right foot after only playing in one minute of action. Rashard Lewis tweaked his left knee in the 3rd quarter against Chicago and did not return, but did start and played extended minutes in the last two games. Daniel Orton was assigned to the D-League earlier in the week (more information on Orton below).
Click “continue reading” below to read more on Dwight Howard’s recognition, the Daniel Orton experiment and a look at the road ahead:
Eastern Conference Player of the Month
Dwight Howard was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month presented by Kia Motors for games played during October/November. It marks the fifth time of his career that Howard has earned the league’s top monthly honor (April 2006, November 2006, November 2007, December 2007).
Howard was fifth in the Eastern Conference in scoring, averaging 21.8 points on 59.4% shooting, which ranked second in the conference and third in the league. To go along with his offensive production, Howard ranked fourth in the league in rebounds, averaging 12.1. Howard’s month was highlighted by his defensive performance on Nov. 3 versus Minnesota, where he had eight blocks, representing an NBA season high, while also setting a new Magic franchise record for blocks in a quarter with six. Howard hit the game-winning shot on Nov. 27 at Washington, and in addition, he was named player of the week twice, for weeks ending Nov. 7 and Nov. 28.
The Daniel Orton Experiment
On December 1st, the Magic assigned rookie Center Daniel Orton to the New Mexico Thunderbirds of the NBA Developmental League. The move was designed to get Orton some valuable playing time, which he critically needs following many months of rehab and conditioning to his oft-injured knee. In his first game action for New Mexico, Orton didn’t shoot the ball well (4-of-11 from the field) but went 4-of-4 from the free throw line and finished with 12 points. He also added 13 rebounds, 4 assists and a block while turning it over 3 times and picking up just 3 fouls in over 30 minutes of play. Managing his fouls will be an important challenge for Daniel and was something he struggled with mightily in the Orlando Pro Summer League. Foul trouble = limited playing time.
With that being said, Orton’s stay in the D-League might be limited this time around. It has been rumored that his stay in Albuquerque may have already ended due to the team’s decimation from the almighty stomach bug. Orton only played 12 minutes in his game last night and did not return for the second half. In his limited minutes, he scored 8 points. If it is true that Orton has been recalled to provide depth, it would be a shame. He is finally gaining the minutes he needs to improve and even if the Magic have only eight active players, his chance at playing time is slim.
The Look Ahead
The Magic face off at home against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night, before hitting the road for a tough Left Coast road trip. The Hawks will be without their leading scorer Joe Johnson who is sidelined for 4-6 weeks after needing elbow surgery. Good tickets for Monday night’s game are still available and can be purchased **here** for as low as $10 per seat.
The Magic are in Portland Thursday night to face off against Brandon Roy and the Trail Blazers. That game will be telecasted nationwide on TNT.
Friday night the Magic have a very tough road game against the Utah Jazz and will look to revenge the early season loss to the Jazz where they blew an 18 point lead at home. The remainder of the road trip includes a game against the Clippers on 12/12 and the Nuggets on 12/14. By the time the Magic return home for a game against the 76ers on 12/18 they will have played 7 of their last 8 games on the road.
Brian Serra is the Grand Poobah of Howard the Dunk and founder of MagicBasketballOnline.com. You can follow/add him on Twitter and on Facebook. Compare pricing of Orlando Magic tickets for all future games using TiqIQ to find the best deals!