Washington Wizards 92, Orlando Magic 91: The Morning After

  • Orlando Magic blow lead, fall to Washington Wizards at home
    Brian Schmitz explains how the Orlando Magic lost to the Washington Wizards after leading by as much as 21 points in the first quarter.

    The official result shows that the Magic fell 92-91 to the Washington Wizards in the last second --- in the final .5 seconds on [Caron] Butler's jump-shot --- at Amway Arena.

    But, to a man, the Magic know they really lost their grip on this one with plenty of time left --- with 24 minutes to play and leading by 15.

    Everything unraveled in the second half, specifically the third quarter. [...]

    The Magic's offensive and defensive woes formed the perfect storm for a Wizards' comeback in the third. They gave up 39 points on 11-of-16 shooting (68.8 percent) and scored just 17 on 4-of-19 shooting (21.1 percent) to trail by seven heading into the fourth.
  • Orlando Magic notebook: Constant questions about Vince Carterís slump have grown tiresome for Stan Van Gundy
    Head coach Stan Van Gundy is tired of talking about Vince Carter's struggles, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

    Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy has grown tired of the constant questions about Vince Carter's ongoing shooting slump, especially after Friday night's painful 92-91 loss to the Washington Wizards.
  • Magic coach Stan Van Gundy says ‘It’s all a bunch of crap’ following loss to Wizards
    Matt Humphrey of the Orlando Sentinel delves how Van Gundy let his frustrations known loud and clear after the Magic lost to the Wizards.

    The worn-down, haggard grouch we’ve all come to know and love finally returned after OrlandoMagic.com writer John Denton asked:

    "Did you think your team, which went to the NBA Finals last year, was beyond immaturity before this game?"

    Van Gundy responded:

    "Nobody’s beyond that. That’s an NBA thing, especially when you start hearing, reading, thinking ‘we’ve turned the corner, we’re back and we’ve turned it around.’ It’s all a bunch of crap."

More after the jump.

  • Jameer Nelson scores 12 points and adds 5 assists as the Magic lose to the Wizards
    Josh Robbins talks about Jameer Nelson's performance last night.

    Jameer Nelson now has played 362 regular-season games in the NBA, but it still seems like he has to prove himself over and over again.

    Especially when he comes back from injuries.

    Friday provided another benchmark moment for the diminutive point guard, who returned to the Orlando Magic lineup after he missed a game with a hyperextended left knee.

    The returns were mixed as the Magic lost to the Washington Wizards 92-91 at Amway Arena.
  • With trade rumors swirling, Butler has best game
    Michael Lee of the Washington Post states that with trade rumors swirling as the deadline looms closer, Caron Butler had one of his best games of the year.

    It's been a while since Butler was in a rhythm like he was in Orlando, where he shot 10 for 16 and scored 29 points in the second half. He was repeatedly blowing by Vince Carter, Matt Barnes and Mickael Pietrus for layups, or pulling up over them for jumpers. "We tried all three of our bigger wing guys on Butler," Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy said. "He killed them all."

    "It was by far his best game overall," said Coach Flip Saunders, who met with Butler for about 15 minutes on Thursday. "We had a little talk in the weight room, just about leadership and taking charge and trying to be more of a vocal leader and not taking a step back, but taking a step forward. He was very receptive. He said he was going to relish the opportunity to step up and do that."
  • Caron Butler returns to Tuff Juice, gives Wizards fans one happy moment in a terrible season
    Mike Prada of Bullets Forever wonders if Butler's performance against the Magic was his encore.

    That said, if this was the parting gift for this core, it was one hell of a parting gift.  It's not easy to sit through rebuilding, but it's even harder to sit through the pre-rebuild.  This has easily been the most difficult basketball-watching experience I've had in my life, and I'm sure that's also true for people much older than me.  That said, we still watch for those times when we can cheer and be happy about the silly hobby we pour too many hours into.  Tonight was one of those nights.  
  • MAGIC: Denton: Magic-Wizards Postgame Analysis
    John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com notes that Orlando is disappointed with its loss against Washington.

    Magic coach Stan Van Gundy huffed that the loss was ``a sign of real immaturity.’’ And star center Dwight Howard, who had 20 points, 18 rebounds and three blocked shots, said for the Magic (33-17) to sleep-walk through a game against the Wizards (17-32) was very unbecoming of a team with championship aspirations.

    ``It is immature of us,’’ Howard said, agreeing with Van Gundy’s assessment. ``As professionals we’ve got to understand that if we’re trying to be a championship team we’ve got to put teams away. Teams that put other teams away are mature teams. I don’t think we’re immature, but we’ve got to close out games better than that.’’ [...]

    ``It would have been great to get a win, but quite honestly we deserved to lose,’’ Van Gundy said. ``The way we came out and played defensively in the third quarter and put nothing into it, it’s a sign of real immaturity and very, very disappointing. It’s exactly what we’ve been talking about: When you think, `Oh, we’ve turned the corner.’ There are no corners to turn and you need to keep playing hard.’’
  • Denton: Magic-Wizards Notes
    No rest for the weary.

    Orlando Magic point guard Jameer Nelson’s latest knee trouble flared up last Sunday during the second game of a back-to-back set of games, but he and coach Stan Van Gundy said there’s no plan to limit his playing time when the Magic play on consecutive nights.

    That is relevant considering that the Magic are entering one of their most grueling stretches of the season with five games in seven nights. Included in that stretch is two back-to-backs: Sunday afternoon in Boston and at home Monday against New Orleans and then road games in Chicago and Cleveland on Wednesday and Thursday.
  • If He Leaves Wizards, Butler Wants to Leave in Style
    Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse has more on Butler.

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