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What They're Saying Before the Orlando Magic Face Off Against the Washington Wizards

  • The struggling Magic travel to play the sinking Washington Wizards tonight.
    Brian Schmitz takes a look at what's been ailing the Orlando Magic the past couple of games.

    Weight of expectations

    Howard has frequently talked of "expectations" weighing on the Magic; Redick labels them "unrealistic."

    Well, welcome to life as a contender.

    The Magic are coming off a surprise season in which they reached the NBA Finals against the L.A. Lakers.

    With their slow starts and losses to sub .500 teams, you can make a case that they have struggled adjusting to the life-after part. They've often looked uninspired by the regular season and unprepared to be the hunted, caught up in their ascent.
  • Orlando Magic notes: With his team facing a 3-game losing streak, Stan Van Gundy says the key isn't what you say after defeats, it's how you respond on the court
    Josh Robbins wonders whether or not the Magic don't react to losing very well. Head coach Stan Van Gundy offers his opinion on the topic.

    One of the things that made Michael Jordan such a great basketball player was his competitiveness. Perhaps no NBA player, past or present, hated to lose as much as Jordan, and his distaste for losing filtered down to his teammates.

    So, has this year's Orlando Magic team shown by its reaction to losses that it hates to lose enough? That question was put to Stan Van Gundy following his team's loss to the Toronto Raptors. [...]

    "I can't leave here tonight and be joking around," Van Gundy said after the Raptors loss. "The only thing that matters in terms of their reaction is if we gain a resolve to make changes on Friday. That's the only thing that matters."
  • We've got more questions than answers after Orlando Magic drop third straight
    In a post Ben linked to yesterday, Zach McCann of Orlando Magic Daily points out this tidbit as Orlando looks to snap its 3-game losing streak.

    Do you realize that the Lakers didn’t lose three games in a row at all last season? The 2007-08 Celtics lost three in a row, but that was on a West Coast road trip against three teams a combined 38 games above .500. The 2006-07 Spurs lost three consecutive games to open the new year, but again, those were three teams a combined 26 games better than average.

    The point is, championship teams don't lose three consecutive games to bad teams. Does that mean the Magic aren’t a championship team? Right now, they’re not. But there’s no doubt the Magic have the potential to be a championship team. They’re just not playing like it right now.
  • Magic shootaround update: Van Gundy to keep same lineup, says "there’s no reason to panic at this point"
    UPDATE: Van Gundy says there's no reason to panic.

    Van Gundy pointed out that the team hasn’t had its nucleus of Nelson, Carter, Lewis and Howard on the court in regular-season games together for very long. Because of Nelson’s recent knee injury and Lewis’ early season suspension, the foursome has been in the starting lineup together just eight times so far.

    That group has gone 4-4 when they’ve started together this season.

    "Look, we’ve played real poorly the last three games and I don’t think that there’s any sugarcoating that," Van Gundy said.

    "That’s the honest thing, but I still have great confidence in the guys in that locker room, that we’ve got good players and a good team. We’re going through a rough patch right now, and we’ll see how we respond to it. I think that’s what’s key, and we need to play better. And I think when we play better, we’ll get some confidence back. We’ll see what happens, but there’s no reason to panic at this point."