2016-17 NBA Season Week 3 Recap: Orlando Magic
Orlando leads the league in “I know these dudes are NBA players, but goddamn man” games. Every game aside from OKC (which we’ll get to in a second) has been the equivalent of visual gonorrhea. The offense is slop. As of Tuesday, Orlando comes in scoring 96.7 points per 100 possessions; good for 28th in the league (stellar job, guys). The defense is equally putrid, allowing 106.7 points per 100 possessions. To add some context, only the Philadelphia YMCA 76ers boast a worse defensive rating. Good job, Orlando. Cannot even be the best at being bad.
At this point, Vogel seems to have no general understanding of which lineups could actually compete with other NBA teams. Every lineup he has put out gets the dog shit kicked out of them. To Vogel’s credit, he could not have foreseen Ibaka playing so badly out of the gate *looks over at Russ and KD snickering to themselves.* Sure, coaches are paid the big bucks to manage egos, get caught up in a sex scandal or two, and strategically position their players to be successful. But predicting Keri Hilson breaking up with Ibaka for some regular niggas? Not in the job description. I do not care how much money you have or how strong you are, losing a woman like her is going to make you sing a few Carl Thomas tunes well past 3am. God bless you, Serge.
Minnesota T’wolves vs. Orlando Magic:
Man, this shit was over before it began (stop me if you have heard that before). Once again, slow start doomed the magic. Orlando allowed Minny to shoot 52% from the field and 57% (fifty-seven!) from deep. LaVine lit up Orlando for 37, with Wiggins adding 29. Vucevic had 24 points to go along with 14 rebounds, in an effort that was merely a footnote to an ugly, embarrassing loss. Minnesota showed Orlando what a young, hungry team with high expectations is supposed to look like. Minnesota 123, Orlando 107.
Utah Jazz vs. Orlando Magic
Two nights later, the Magic had a chance to bounce back against a Utah squad many see poised to make a run to the postseason as a top 4-5 seed out West. And yours truly was in the building to watch it happen. I’m not even going to pretend to know what happened in the first quarter cause I’m admittedly late to everything but I do know it was Veteran’s Day, with a ton of military members in the building. By the time I arrived, Magic and Jazz were trading… Jabs. DJ Augustine (19 points) came off the bench providing the jolt an otherwise lackluster starting unit needed. Orlando took a 64-60 lead into the fourth quarter. And then it happened. Orlando went nearly NINE whole minutes without scoring a single bucket, being outscored 20-4 during that span. I don’t know much but I DO know our veteran’s did not fight to see 10 point fourth quarters on a Friday night. Needless to say, Jazz 87, Magic 74. Final.
Orlando Magic vs. OKC Thunder.
Now this one was a lot of fun. Ibaka going against his former team in OKC who also now housed a former Magic player in Victor Ola(Home)Dipo, who swapped spots in a draft night trade. Orlando jumped all over OKC from the get-go like a Russ Westbrook fast break, taking a 21-point lead at one point in the 2nd quarter (trust me, I’m not lying). But being it is Orlando, they allowed OKC to come roaring back in the second half. It was an emotional game for obvious reasons and Ibaka played it as such. He put down a career-high 31 points against his former team including a dribble drive I-didn’t-even-know-he-could-do-that-and-neither-did-he pull up game winning baseline jumper with .4 seconds left on the clock. It was a strange, but very entertaining game that even saw Elfrid Payton hit three back-to-back-to-back 3s in the 4th quarter. Orlando 119, OKC 117.
Orlando Magic vs. Indiana Pacers.
As I opened up the pizza that the magic had helped me get for 50% off the night prior, the game against Indiana tipped off. Boy, oh boy, did Orlando look like a team coming off of an emotional win, playing the second game of a back-to-back. This game brought another homecoming of sorts with it. Frank Vogel returned to face the team he coached for 5 1/2 seasons before being let go during the offseason. Orlando committed 16 turnovers, while shooting 32% from the field. This was a low energy game on both sides, only difference being Pacers have some guys that can get buckets even when its not their night. Pacers 88, Magic 69 got damn points.
Orlando is currently 4-7 having scored 74 and 69 points in, respectively, in two of their last three games. Its still awfully early in the season, but something needs to start changing on the offensive end so the Magic do not end up in the lottery at years end. Maybe a lineup change or two should be at least considered in the coming weeks. Y’all be cool.