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Orlando Magic News for January 27th: Getting Ready for the Boston Celtics and Company; Improving the Offense

  • With Celtics and Hawks up next, the Orlando Magic have a beast of an NBA East stretch
    Brian Schmitz previews a tough but important journey the Orlando Magic will embark on heading into the All-Star break.

    When the season began, the question was whether the Orlando Magic could go back to the NBA Finals.

    Forty-five games and 16 losses later, the question has been revised: When are the Magic going to at least return to the Eastern Conference race?

    The next stretch could be telling: Eight of the Magic's next nine games heading into the all-star break are against conference opponents, including dates against Boston (twice), Cleveland and Atlanta.
  • Practice report: Orlando Magic seek better ball movement, better choices on 3s
    Josh Robbins states that head coach Stan Van Gundy would like to see the Magic operate inside-out more, with Dwight Howard as the focus.

    Van Gundy emphasized that ball movement is crucial against the Boston defense.

    "My major concern on the offensive end is just how well we play and move the ball together," Van Gundy said. "The ball has got to move. I know this: If we’re standing still and just dropping it into [Dwight] and everybody’s standing around, it’s going to be very difficult. I don’t think that that’s the way to play Boston.

    "I haven’t seen anybody do that successfully against them. They’re tough to score on not matter what you do. But if the ball’s not going to move and you’re not going to play with energy, you don’t have any chance."

More after the jump. 

  • NBA: Orlando Magic turnovers and bad 3s take their toll
    Turnovers have been hurting Orlando lately in games.

    Turnovers are taking their toll.

    They're giving coach Stan Van Gundy the creeps.

    "The turnovers are creeping up and it's every game it seems," he said after the Magic committed 20 miscues in a 99-94 loss to the Grizzlies in Memphis on Monday night.

    "It's tough because we're putting so much pressure on ourselves at the offensive end and we're not shooting the ball great. Then you have 18, 19, 20 turnovers every night. It's becoming a real problem."
  • Orlando Magic: Giant video screen on new Magic arena gets OK
    Mark Schlueb of the Orlando Sentinel reveals that a giant video screen has been improved to be placed on the side of the Amway Center facing Interstate 4.

    A divided City Council on Monday approved a scaled-back plan to show video clips and images on a huge screen mounted on the side of the new Orlando Magic arena, despite predictions that it could cause a rash of crashes by drivers passing on Interstate 4.

    Mayor Buddy Dyer dismissed safety concerns, saying the LED video screen is needed to make the exterior of the new arena just as impressive as the interior will be.

    "This is going to be the building in North America inside, and you can't neglect the outside," he said. "There are many distractions along the highway, and this isn't going to be more of a distraction than 100 other things you see while you're driving."
  • Yesterday’s Prospects: 2000
    Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference takes a look back at the top high school seniors in 2000, finds out what happened to them in the NBA, and more. Jameer Nelson makes a cameo as a "hidden gem."

    For every season since 1979, the ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia lists recruiting guru Bob Gibbons' top high school seniors, ranked 1-20. Every so often, I'm going to highlight these top prospects from a given year and take a look at what happened to them, as well as throw out the names of some players who may have slipped through the recruiting cracks but emerged as stars anyway. We'll start with the Year 2000, and a group whose best player (by far) wasn't even ranked among the 50 best prospects in the country...
  • Graphic Offense, Part II: ORating and Usage at Midseason
    Matt Moore of Hardwood Paroxysm lists the Offensive Rating and usage rate of every player on every team in the Association, including the Magic. Take a look.