2016-17 NBA Season Weekly Recap: Orlando Magic
Few things in this world that leave me questioning myself late nights:
Is Tiger Woods black?
Why is Gus Bradley still coaching?
Is Michael Jordan the most famous nigga with jaundice of all time?
How in the hell Jeff Fisher finagle his way to an extension?
Are the Orlando Magic…good?
Only the last one I can attempt to answer. I come up with an “ehhhhh…might could be.” Orlando is on a three game win streak, finishing 4-1 on their five game road trip (should have been 5-0 but blew a late lead vs. Memphis last week). Orlando is now fifth in the league in defensive rating allowing a very solid 101.2 points per 100 possessions. Orlando’s versatility up front has been paying huge dividends as expected coming into the season. Serge Ibaka is back to being Serge Iblocka after going through a lull after Keri Hilson left him out in the cold, ashy and lonesome. Orlando’s athletic bigs allow them to either switch every screen or jump the ball handler since they are athletic and mobile enough to help and recover. Over the last 11 games, Orlando has led the league in defensive rating by 2.2 points per 100, going 6-5 during that span. Five losses are an indictment on the offense which is still a dumpster fire because the roster is a damn dumpster fire too. Thanks to an easy early season schedule, they have stayed afloat while an adjusting defense found its footing and the offense…well, the offense does whatever the fuck the offense does.
Orlando visited Memphis in a game that went exactly how one would think it would go. Both teams failed to reach 100 points. Jeff Green had one of those games that continue to trick fan bases into thinking he’s dependable but he’s not. I promise you; Magic fans, do not bite the bait. Jeff Green scored 12 of his 14 points early in the 4th quarter, helping Orlando build a 14-point lead with just over six minutes to play. Then the most Orlando of Orlando things happened, and they blew the lead. Grizz went on a 13-0 down the stretch, as Marc Gasol was the catalyst scoring 25 points, including the game winning free throws with just seconds remaining. Frankly put, this was a terrible loss.
Orlando was given a quick opportunity to bounce back as they visited Philly for a back to back. Orlando jumped all over Philly in the 3rd quarter en route to a 29-point lead on one point. Aaron Gordon (remember him?) decided to join the party scoring a season-high 20 points. Balanced scoring was the name of this game as Green, Fournier, and Ibaka all poured in 16 points. As always, the only reason to tune into Sixers games is to watch Embiid, who put on a clinic against Orlando to the tune of 25 points and 10 rebounds; this game was boring as hell but hey, a win is a win. Orlando 105, Philly 88.
The story coming into the game against Detroit was the return of Bobby Schmurda to the Pistons lineup. Orlando, who is always one for disappointment, ruined that homecoming as they beat the Pistons on their home floor, 98 to 92. Detroit was averaging 118 points in their last three games but ran into a buzz saw that was the Magic’s defense. Incorporating Reggie Jackson back into the lineup gets some of the blame but mostly, Orlando baffled the Detroit O. Ibaka patrolled the paint blocking four shots and dropping 21 points. Orlando saw a late 3rd quarter lead trimmed down to five but they weathered the storm and took control of the game once again in the final period. Orlando snapped Detroit’s three game win streak.
In what was Orlando’s best offensive game of the season, Orlando toppled the Washington Wizards 124-116. John Wall, who is having a career year, absolutely scorched the magic to the tune of 52 (FIFTY-TWO) points. Those 52 were null and void since the Wiz couldn’t stop Orlando on the other end. I knew the world was fucked up when Elfrid Payton scored 22 points in the first half, while the Magic scored 65. I thought I was watching Klay Thompson out there. The offensive explosion is rare for the club, having only done so six times (lmao) the entire season. The key to the win boiled down to the Orlando bench, which scored 73 points. Jodie Meeks, playing in only his third game of the season after some enduring foot injuries, scored a season-high 18 points. Payton and Green are still coming off the bench along with Vucevic. Combined, the four tops shot an impressive 24-37 (67%) from the field. The Magic are looking to push the win streak to four tomorrow night against the Celtics. A win could convince me that they are a tad better than “ehhhhhh.”
Till next time.