Orlando Magic News for March 18th: Championship Hopes, Transition Defense, and More

  • The Orlando Magic are still championship-worthy - Ball Don't Lie

    Kelly Dwyer argues rather extensively that the Orlando Magic are "not some team that lucked into a fourth-round finish last year," but are serious championship contenders. But Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis must be difference-makers for Orlando to succeed.

    Nelson has to come through. Name Andrew Bynum, name Shaquille O'Neal (or any Cavalier beyond LeBron James, really), name Rajon Rondo, name them all. Nelson's more important. If he plays at a high level, the Magic aren't to be beaten. Because you can trust that [Dwight] Howard will do his thing and [Vince] Carter will contribute. Even on a 3-12 night from Rashard Lewis, if Jameer Nelson is on, the Magic are going to beat you.

  • NBA.com: Hawks hit the boards, but suffer getting back in time

    John Schuhmann of NBA.com devises a method to evaluate transition defense and discovers that Orlando tops the league in that category. Clearly, coach Stan Van Gundy's strategy of not crashing the offensive boards is working.

  • Orlando Magic BasketBlog – Matt Barnes continues to get treatment on his sprained left big toe

    Magic forward Matt Barnes is nursing a sprained big toe and had to spend much of last night chasing Spurs guard Manu Ginobili around. Tonight, he's tasked with guarding Miami's Dwyane Wade. Here's how Barnes is feeling, as reported by Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.

    "I’m just a little sore, but I’m fine," Barnes said after the game. "It feels good to be back out there. I was probably a step slow tonight, and Ginobili was hitting tough shots. I felt I was a step slow, but I’m going to continue to get treatment, rest it and got another one tomorrow."

  • Hardwood Paroxysm | NBA HD: Dismantling the Assist

    Tom Haberstroh of Hoopdata, writing for Hardwood Paroxysm, notes that assists become more valuable as the shots they create move closer to the rim. Most assists that Magic point guard Jameer Nelson dishes lead to three-pointers, which suggests his assists aren't as valuable as those of some other point guards.

  • A response to my critics | The Official Dwight Howard Blog

    Dwight Howard fires back at his critics, namely ESPN's Skip Bayless, for getting on his case. Bayless recently said Howard lacks "championship intangibles," to which Howard responds here, "I guess 40 points and 14 rebounds in a close out conference final game is not showing up big in the playoffs?"

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