Another game, another win.
With a victory against the Chicago Bulls, a depleted team that lost All-Star point guard Derrick Rose to injury near the end of the first quarter, the Orlando Magic extended its winning streak to a season-high seven games. Like its game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, the Magic took care of business in the first half and coasted to a blowout win. There’s not much else to say, other than Orlando is beating teams it should beat and doing it in impressive fashion.
I was able to speak with Stan Van Gundy amongst the media, as well as Vince Carter, Jameer Nelson one-on-one, Brandon Bass, and Dwight Howard.
Here's what they had to say:
Stan Van Gundy:
Could you talk about the bench, in terms of what they were able to bring to the table?
I thought they brought good energy I thought, particularly in the second quarter … and then I thought in the third quarter, we were really stumbling and not playing very good basketball and I thought Jason [Williams] got us going again so yeah, I was happy. I’m just happy. I think our guys – all of them – are coming in the game with a solid approach, really trying to play consistently from night-to-night and so I’m happy with that.
More after the jump.Vince Carter:
Could you talk about the screen and roll with you and Jameer and what it makes it so effective on the court?
I mean, his ability to score as well. You have to respect it and we’re just trying to make teams try to have to make a quick decision on the fly. We try to switch it up and give it a different look every time so it doesn’t look like the same play. I mean, they know it’s coming and that’s fine, it’s just us executing.
Do you try to force the switch or what do you do?
It’s up to them. We just talk about it leading up [to the play] and just reading what’s there. Next time we run it, we kind of have an idea of how we want to attack it the next time and we just try to take what the defense is giving us.
I just got done talking to Vince about the screen and roll with you and him. Could you talk about what makes that play so effective?
Well, you have two guys that can score the ball so they have to make a decision whether or not to guard myself. A lot of teams switch so as a smaller guard, I just want to try to draw the double-team or vice-versa so you just try to play off of it and play your game.
Do you try to force the switch?
No, you don’t try to force the switch. I mean, my pick and roll is live so if they don’t help, I just turn the corner but nine times out of ten, teams are switching it so even if the guy doesn’t switch, [Vince] has the advantage.
Vince’s post-up game is an underrated aspect of his offense. Could you talk about that and his passing ability?
Well, normally you’re going to have an advantage in the post. He’s so good down there. He’s a great passer and he scores down there so teams are going to need to double or just let him go one-on-one and he makes great plays.
You got a lot of minutes tonight. Are there any differences when you play the 4 or the 5, with regards to your responsibilities on the court and such?
Nah, you just … you got to rebound more, you have to be a defensive presence so like blocking shots, not let people into the paint, so you just got to play like a bigger man. That’s what I got to do when I’m out there and inside but it’s the same with anything … just defense and rebound.
Given the time of year, do you guys start to think about seeding and all that for the playoffs?
Nah, we’re just trying to play the best basketball going into the playoffs. We ain’t really looking into the seeding. We got to play somebody. We’ll be ready.
When you first came here from Dallas, is this the type of role you envisioned having with Orlando?
Yeah, I thought that early on this would be my role here but I’m cool with this role here, just bringing a lot of energy and playing defense, rebounding, and just bringing a lot of intensity out there because I think we can use that. The same way with Matt Barnes out there … Matt Barnes out there with the first group, I could be the one in the second group that just brings a tremendous amount of energy.
You’re like that glue guy. I know it sounds cliché but that seems to be what you can bring to the table.
Right, because we got a lot of shooters. We have so many shooters that I just want to be able to help us in any way I can.
Could you talk about Jameer and Vince and how they have been playing very, very well lately?
They’re playing great. They’re playing great. Hopefully they can continue to keep that up. Hopefully they can continue to get better with Jameer and Vince and be more consistent, especially on the defensive end and also Jameer and Vince on the offensive end. When they hit shots, they’re attacking, they’re passing, [those are] all the things that we need to do for us to win.
You talk about them attacking. How much more dangerous does that make your team on offense?
When those guys attack, the guys have to make decisions whether they will stay with me and leave both of them or coming to them and leaving me open. It’s tough because you got the shooters all around and they’re attacking, you don’t want to leave them but also you got to take away something … if you take away something, then you try to exploit the next option.
Stan says that you should definitely be the Defensive Player of the Year. Does that mean a lot to you, to have the chance to win the award for a second consecutive year?
It does. I really pride myself in trying to be the eraser for our team and I think I have done a pretty good job all year of blocking shots and protecting the basket.
Do you think there’s some aspects, defensively, that some people don’t really appreciate?
Yeah, people don’t really understand. As a big, especially for me, my job is to help the guards on the pick and rolls, be the help when somebody rolls to the basket, be there to protect so guys don’t get easy layups. Just the small things and a lot of people just see the overall picture, the blocked shots, but it’s the little things that go into it.