The Other Side: Orlando Magic


You rang? (Photo by Allen Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images)


What did the schedule maker have against the Washington Wizards? No team started out the calendar year with a more imposing schedule than the Wizards, who opened 2009 with back-to-back-to-back games against the teams with the Eastern Conference's best record (Boston), second-best record (Cleveland) and third-best record (Orlando). The Wizards were blasted in Boston, got a walk-off victory against Cleveland and now get Orlando, which has beaten them in two games by an average of 20 points this season.

The last time the Wizards were in Orlando, the Magic won by 25 points, which is tied for the second-most lopsided loss of the season for Washington. Both losses this season have had the same theme: The Wizards have no one who can contend with Dwight Howard. Howard, the top vote-getter in NBA all-star balloting (thank goodness there are no other centers in the East, huh?), has scored a combined 57 points with 30 rebounds against the Wizards this season.

The Magic (26-8) has the fourth-best record in the NBA and is coming off a 108-102 loss in Toronto, despite Howard matching his career high with 39 points. Orlando is riding a nine-game winning streak at Amway Arena. It is its longest home winning streak since 2006, when the Magic won 12 consecutive home games.

Here is what you should know about the Magic heading into the tonight's game:

1. The Magic Loves Being Under the Radar
With the impressive starts of Cleveland and Boston, it has been easy to overlook the Magic, who have won 13 of their past 16 games, including impressive wins against the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio, New Orleans and Portland. Orlando has yet to get out of the second round since Shaquille O'Neal left town but The Sporting News' Sean Deveney said people need to start taking Orlando seriously.

2. Jameer Nelson, All-Star?
Howard is a lock to get selected to the All Star Game in Phoenix, but Nelson is the only Magic player to be named Eastern Conference player of the week this season -- and it was partly because of Howard (rather, his absence). Howard missed the only two games of his NBA career last month, and Nelson picked up the slack, leading Orlando to road wins at Utah and Golden State. He tied a career-high in that win against the Warriors with 32 points. This is season, Nelson is averaging 16.4 points, 5.1 assists, 1.2 steals and shooting 52.2 percent from the floor. But an all-star? Howard thinks so.

3. Teams Are Getting Physical With "Superman"
Howard has seen his scoring average dip almost four points in the past three weeks -- from 23.9 down to 20.1 -- because of double-teams, a left knee injury and hard fouls. Teams haven't figured out how to completely stop the 6-foot-11, 270-pound Howard, so if you can't beat him, beat him -- with a club, a paddle, a chair, whatever. Howard has been getting roughed up this season. The Los Angeles Clippers' Zach Randolph, Chicago's Andres Nocioni and Miami's Jamaal Magloire have hacked him forcefully in recent weeks, and Howard admitted that he has thought about retaliating but cannot.

By Michael Lee |  January 6, 2009; 9:16 AM ET
Previous: Another Term for 'Travel' | Next: Wizards (7-25) at Magic (26-8), Lineup Change

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Story in the making:
I heard about this problem when the first round of All-star votes was released, well now Yi Jianlian has pulled even closer to overtaking Kevin Garnett for starting forward. If he beats Garnett out, the NBA is going to have to figure something out unless it wants to more awkward all-star nods for mediocre Chinese players buoyed by the fact that their fanbase is a country with well over a billion people.

LeBron James (Clev) 1,521,272
Kevin Garnett (Bos) 1,101,541
Yi Jianlian (NJ) 959,324

Posted by: emmet1 | January 6, 2009 9:38 AM

Don't tell anybody, but Blatche has the highest rating of any Wiz this year.
See http://www.82games.com/0809/0809WAS.HTM

Also, contrary to management opinion, the more the youngsters play, the more games the Wizards win.

Posted by: Izman | January 6, 2009 10:32 AM

Blatche has been the shining star for the wiz this year.

However, they need to play Thomas a lot tonight. Blatche/McGee/Song can't handle a biggie. They'll get pushed aside like rag dolls. Thomas can't handle him either, but he's the best they've got.

Posted by: stevie2 | January 6, 2009 10:36 AM

they need to play Thomas a lot tonight.

Posted by: stevie2 | January 6, 2009 10:36 AM

lmao that guy SUCKS

Posted by: prescrunk | January 6, 2009 10:38 AM

they will need to throw several players at Howard to slow him down. Darius, Javale, and Andray need to attack like rabid dogs and keep him unbalanced.

http://www.wizardsextreme.com

Posted by: WizardsExtreme | January 6, 2009 10:42 AM

I agree that we will need to give Etan a little run tonight. Even if we give him about 10-15 minutes, we can have him go hard at Dwight Howard and even foul him a few different times.

Posted by: LooseCannon1 | January 6, 2009 10:58 AM

forgot to mention Etan as well, I would throw everyone at him and just foul as necessary to limit him as best as possible

Posted by: WizardsExtreme | January 6, 2009 11:36 AM

I'd agree, throw a lot of different guys at Howard and when he draws to foul, which he does a lot because he jumps into guys all the time. Foul him hard...

The big Turk kills the Wizards all of the time. The guy always seems to light it up against Washington.

I'd find it intersting to see how Crittenton could do in a little run against this team.

Posted by: flohrtv | January 6, 2009 12:04 PM

the "HACK-a-SHAQ" strategy returns. ETAN can give six. DARIUS can give six. JaVALE can give six. Use twelve of those eighteen fouls to keep JAMISON in the game, then pray for a miricle in the second half.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 6, 2009 12:19 PM

STEVIE2 You need to change that to Stevie Wonder if you think Blatche has been the shining star recently, what was he against Cleveland? if memory serves me he was 8&4 hardly a statement effort versus one of the NBA's elite team's however i've been browbeating the youngin enough and he has been putting forth a wee bit more effort however shining star status not just yet.

Posted by: dargregmag | January 6, 2009 12:26 PM

Hey Mike,

Don't you love it when all people talk about is the WIZARDS on this blog when you post something about another team?????

I love how you try and tie everything to Washington. You might be better off trying tie other teams to the Pres Elect on here, lol!

Maybe one day. :)

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | January 6, 2009 1:23 PM

Kalorama--

Any news from practice today?

Posted by: prescrunk | January 6, 2009 2:32 PM

Gonna be a close one tonight, guarantee it


TEAM!!

Posted by: BurgwithaU | January 6, 2009 3:17 PM

might be time to let j.critter start. it will push the tempo IMO he compliments CB better at the 2. CB is not beating anyone of the dribble he just turns it over. he should post up or just pop from mid range to threes critter can feed him of the transition or penetration. MJ will get the same minutes as before. Once Gil returns the minutes will be around him

Posted by: Rvf0509 | January 6, 2009 3:23 PM

All Hands on Deck; Thats what the Wizards will need to have a chance tonite Blatche,Songalia,Etan,and Javale all need to show up or else it could be another Celtic style blowout. Twan and Caron(hey it rhymes)need to do their part forty and twenty will do, and the backcourt needs to at least match the Magic backcourt and maybe they can get a rare road win.

Posted by: dargregmag | January 6, 2009 3:40 PM

Kalorama--

Any news from practice today?

Posted by: prescrunk | January 6, 2009 2:32 PM

Man, get off this guys shorts. Seriously, I know I joke around sometimes on here, but stop thinking this “kalo_rama” individual is in any way, shape, or form associated with the Wizards. I said it once, I’ll say it again, he is a fan like the rest of us. He is simply an internet blogger, who thinks he has all the answers (how unusual…). If he were related to the Wiz (or the Post for that matter), he would not hide his true identity, and name not himself after a rich DC neighborhood (classy move, I must ad). Tarik El-Bashir replies to Caps fans on their blog, and does not hide his identity. But on the same token, Tarik does not offer up his half-a$$ed opinions and hasty generalizations, like “Kalo_rama” does on here. Hell, I know by me replying, I am simply giving him attention and adding fuel to the speculation, but there comes to a time to be realistic.

Posted by: cj658 | January 6, 2009 4:08 PM

Someone who's so fundamentally clueless about how the NBA works that he thought team GMs got to custom make the schedule for which opponents his team plays should, perhaps, be a little more circumspect when throwing around words like "half-a$$ed opinions" and "hasty generalizations."

(And do yourself a favor, don't embarrass yourself further by trying to play it off like you were joking, because no one's buying it.)

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 6, 2009 4:15 PM

So kalorama, if GM’s don’t make the schedules, then who does? If you’re so smart, how about you answer that!!

Posted by: cj658 | January 6, 2009 4:21 PM

Also, since you were the one who first brought up the silly idea that I somehow worked for the Wizards:

"Seriously guys, all I want to know is if Kalo_rama is Ivan Carter. I am being quite serious. I know Tarik replies on the Caps insider, so it really isn't all that far fetched.

And nobody has answered my question as to why Ernie keeps on scheduling the Wiz in tough games. My point is, since he knew Gil was going to be out an extended period, why didn't he give us a softer schedule. It doesn't make any sense.

Posted by: cj658 | January 5, 2009 4:01 PM

...your current attempts to try and shout down anyone else who takes up the suggestion ring rather hollow and make you look like a tool for talking so much crap that you can't even keep track of it yourself (esp. since I'm fairly certain that prescrunk only asked because he was making fun of you for bringing it up in the first place; but you were too clueless to even pick up on it, which just makes it even funnier).

And, again, the attempts to play it off as a joke after the fact just make you look like an even bigger load.

Stick to talking about the games and the players. It's clear you don't know anything about them either, but at least everyone else is in the same boat there, so your ignorance won't stand out nearly so much.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 6, 2009 4:29 PM

But all jokes aside, you can believe whatever you want about me. If you honestly think I thought that GM’s made the schedule, than so be it. I could care less. Obviously you have absolutely no sense of humor. Why don’t you loosen your suspenders a tad bit? So I decided to yank everyone’s feathers, and of all people, you actually believed me. I don’t really care though. I bet when you read that comment by me, you probably wet your pants. It is actually sad that you bought into the entire sharade. Sorry if a ruffled your feathers, but you should try lightening up.

Serioulsy though, I do not know who you are, or what you do for living, but I truly am curios if you are affiliated with the Post, or any other media outlet for that matter. It is a simple question, but you seem to enjoy dodging the topic. Serioulsy, it’s a simple question, and I would love an answer.

Posted by: cj658 | January 6, 2009 4:31 PM

My bad:

I meant to say "The silly idea that I worked for the Post ..."

You come up with such a preponderance of silly ideas it's hard to keep them straight (but, of course, you know this because you can;'t keep them straight yourself).

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 6, 2009 4:33 PM

Sad. Just sad.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 6, 2009 4:34 PM

Since you want to dig up old comments, I have a few for you and your buddy prescrunk:

"Say what you will about his game, there's no denying Jamison has embraced the leadership role on this team, something that is every bit as important to the team's success as his points and rebounds."

Posted by: kalorama | September 26, 2008 2:47 PM

"LOL hes the captain dum8ass"

Posted by: prescrunk | September 26, 2008 3:01 PM

"AND an all-star. lmao go back to bed now fag"

Posted by: prescrunk | September 26, 2008 3:08 PM

So back in September he was calling you a dumba$$ and a f@g, now he rises to your defense?? Man, smells fishy to me.

Posted by: cj658 | January 6, 2009 4:35 PM

It's clear you don't know anything about them either, but at least everyone else is in the same boat there, so your ignorance won't stand out nearly so much.
Posted by: kalo_rama | January 6, 2009 4:29 PM


FTW!!!

Posted by: prescrunk | January 6, 2009 4:35 PM

So back in September he was calling you a dumba$$ and a f@g, now he rises to your defense?? Man, smells fishy to me.
Posted by: cj658 | January 6, 2009 4:35 PM


i retracted those statements.

Posted by: prescrunk | January 6, 2009 4:38 PM

"FTW"

prescrunk, seriously man, how does it feel to ride another mans coat-tail like that?

Posted by: cj658 | January 6, 2009 4:39 PM

So back in September he was calling you a dumba$$ and a f@g, now he rises to your defense?? Man, smells fishy to me.
Posted by: cj658 | January 6, 2009 4:35 PM


i retracted those statements.

Posted by: prescrunk | January 6, 2009 4:38 PM

So what you are really saying is you "apoligized" to kalorama. How cute!! I guess he made you sleep on the couch until you "retracted" those statements??

Posted by: cj658 | January 6, 2009 4:43 PM

I think we can expect the Nuggets to use the trade exception to go hard after one of the young restricted FAs on the market. I could see them targeting Okafor to fill the hole in the middle.

Posted by: kalorama | July 16, 2008 10:10 AM

If the Nuggets don't land a big name FA with that exception, their next best move would be to blow the whole thing up.
Posted by: kalorama | July 16, 2008 11:06 AM

Well Kalorama, how did this hypothesis work out for you?? Just another example……..

Posted by: cj658 | January 6, 2009 4:45 PM

"Since you want to dig up old comments ... "


"Dig up old comments?" You said it yesterday!

Hilarious.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 6, 2009 4:45 PM

Howard is probably the one big guy in the League that most teams really can't handle without special 'rules', a la Michael Jordan.

It's like the young Shaq -- there are faster players, and there are bigger players, but that big and that fast -- nope.

But he can't be everywhere. I like the suggestion that Etan take a shot at him -- Thomas is a lot stronger than the other Wiz big men. But in short bursts, possibly alternating with Songaila, the sort of player who can frustrate a superior athlete just by artful cheating.

And on offense, go right at him. He's young enough that you might sucker him into swatting at a few shots and picking up stupid fouls.

Other than that, I'm just glad I don't have to coach against that guy.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 6, 2009 4:46 PM

Well folks, almost time to head out the door for the day, it's been a pleasure. Prescrunk, opefully we can chat some more tomorrow, if kalorama lets you use the computer.

Posted by: cj658 | January 6, 2009 4:49 PM

"Howard is probably the one big guy in the League that most teams really can't handle without special 'rules', a la Michael Jordan.

It's like the young Shaq -- there are faster players, and there are bigger players, but that big and that fast -- nope."

And the scary part is how young he still is. Big men like that are once every decade (and that's being generous). the guy has improved every year. It is seriously scary to think about how good he could be 5 years from now. Sucks for the Wiz if he stays in the SE, hopefully he jumps ship and heads west, but I wouldn't bank on it.

Posted by: cj658 | January 6, 2009 4:55 PM

Guys, knock it off. No one is entertained by this stuff. Please.

I'll never get why people have to 'win' on anonymous blogs...

Posted by: jones-y | January 6, 2009 4:58 PM

LOL!

So, rather than come up with an actual direct response to my comments (or, barring that, simply manning up and admitting that you didn't know what the hell you were talking about) you go digging through the archives trying to find some "damning evidence" to use against me. And that's the best you could come up with? How many keyword searches did you do on my name before coming up with that? Nothing better to do with your time?

So, please explain to us how my making an off-target trade prediction (which every sports fan does daily) has anything to do with you not knowing so basic a fact that the league schedules all NBA games or being so stupid that you castigate people for agreeing with a suggestion that you yourself made barely 24 hours earlier?


Posted by: kalo_rama | January 6, 2009 5:01 PM

I agree jones-y, which is why I've made a concerted effort to ignore this buttload over the past couple of weeks and not respond to anything he writes. But there's only so much cheek turning one can do and when he starts in with the unprovoked attacks ("unprovoked" being the key word) I figure I'm within my rights to shoot back.

The funny thing is, he's accusing prescrunk of having a "thing" for me, but a cursory scan of the past couple weeks reveals that he's made many more unsolicited references to my name (including calling out to me directly on multiple occasions and imploring me to respond) than anyone else.

Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 6, 2009 5:06 PM

"Stick to talking about the games and the players. It's clear you don't know anything about them either, but at least everyone else is in the same boat there, so your ignorance won't stand out nearly so much."

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 6, 2009 4:29 PM


This is a prime of example of why I screw around with a$$ wholes like you. Not only do you insult my inteliigence, but everyone else who posts here also, with that comment. Why do you choose to attack other people's knowledge when I'm the one you are "supposedly" firing back against? I make one joke, just to lighten the atmosphere, and YOU are the only one who takes me literally, and the only one who uses it against me. Hilarious, if I may say so myself. If you honestly believe I think the GM’s make the schedule, so be it. I’ve suffered through years of Chris Whitney, Tyrone Nesby, Courtney Alexander, Jahidi, White, etc, and I remain a loyal fan. Now I see the Wiz heading right back in that direction. Don’t question my knowledge of the game, or the team for that matter. Honestly, just reading to your responses pisses me off and warrants the attacks. Your half-a$$ed, negative, sarcasm-laced post get quite old. Honestly it cracks me up. So it makes it all the more funny when I say something, and you take it so literally. If that’s the best you got (to reference the joke I made yesterday), than go back the lab. And as for prescrunk, yeah, I do find it effeminate how he jumps to your aide (before you can respond), and how he rides the hell out of your coat-tails. You see it just as well as I do, and you do not stop it

Posted by: cj658 | January 6, 2009 5:19 PM

tempest in a teapot

Posted by: prescrunk | January 6, 2009 5:20 PM

Gone!!!!!!!!!!!!! Be easy fellas!!!!!

I'm not gonna catch the game tonight, but I'm sure Kalorama and his trusty sidekick will be here to fill me in tomorrow. See Ya Later Alligator!!!!!!!1

Posted by: cj658 | January 6, 2009 5:24 PM

"I make one joke, just to lighten the atmosphere, and YOU are the only one who takes me literally"

Wrong again.

Man, what I don’t understand is, with the Wiz struggling the way they are, why does Ernie Grunfeld keep on scheduling us to play strong teams. I don’t get it. We have a bad record, yet Ernie keeps on scheduling us to play Boston, Cleveland, etc. Right now, Ernie should be contacting teams like OKC and Sacramento to play games against us next month. I don’t know what Ernie was thinking when he made this schedule. LISTEN ERNIE: Scheduling tough teams is not a wise move. I am sure that GM's around the league are have been contacting the Wiz about playing since Gil is out for the year. I see that Boston tried to take advantage of this already and I cannot figure out WHY Ernie would agree to play the good teams so much, knowing that the Wizards will be at less than full strength . . . .


Posted by: cj658 | January 5, 2009 3:22 PM

You're joking right???

Posted by: jones-y | January 5, 2009 3:43 PM

cj658 I am going to be nice about this, but expect to get seriously flamed for you question about scheduling.

the league does the scheduling. EG has absolutely no bearing on what teams we play. you play every team in the NBA at least once. And then I believe every team i your conference twice. And then every team in your division four times. I think that is the break down.

Posted by: jonnyflo14 | January 5, 2009 4:32 PM


Posted by: kalo_rama | January 6, 2009 5:34 PM

That's not even touching on the fact that (A) you repeated the question 3 times, practically begging someone to answer and (B) it wasn't even remotely funny.

But keep spinning. Maybe if you work up enough speed you'll knock yourself unconscious and the rest of us won't have to listen to your crap.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 6, 2009 5:36 PM

"Honestly, just reading to your responses pisses me off and warrants the attacks. "

Except prior to today I haven directly responded to anything you've posted in weeks, yet you still call out my name on an almost daily basis, despite the fact that I never answer you.

I bet you were one of those guys in junior high who called all the girls who wouldn't talk to you in school on the phone in the middle of the night, then hung up when they answered.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 6, 2009 5:55 PM

Or, more likely, you still are one of those guys in junior H.S.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 6, 2009 5:58 PM

funny.

Gotta agree with cj658 about prescrunk and they way he's biting pretty hard on Kal. It's only once in a blue moon when he actually comes up with something even semi-constructive. Most of the time he just types 'owned' after Kal says something to someone.

As far as all of the personal negativity and the attacks on each other are concerned...if 88 and I can get along, anyone can. Let's talk basketball.

Posted by: original_mark | January 6, 2009 6:04 PM

To change the subject, let me suggest that among the many reasons why Gil (if healthy) and J. Crittenton need to see significant time this year is to see if it makes sense to draft Ricky Rubio if available. Rubio is something special and we better be damn sure the point is well covered before passing on him and getting the interior nastiness we need so badly.

Posted by: mugsybol | January 6, 2009 6:04 PM

MugsyBol !!???

What a name. Now THAT brings back memories of the sideshow that was the Bullets back in the day.

You know, I watched Rubio in the games and thought he was solid but I saw nothing special. Everyone seems to rave about him as if he's John Stockton but I don't get it. I would actually take Crittenton before Rubio based on what I've seen from both.

I think anyone expecting a 18 year old pg to step in and make a difference probably has expectations that are too high for him. Even if we were to get him, he'd probably not make a difference on this team. I personally think that pg is the LAST place where we need help as long as Gil and Javaris are here but it might just be me.

Even Blake gives us something that we already have...scoring and rebounding at the 4 but little in the way of defense.

Posted by: original_mark | January 6, 2009 6:17 PM

Is Rubio even better than Curry? I'd say no at this point and I prefer pass-first guards.

My belief is that we should gonna sink or swim with the guys already on this roster. I'm one of the few who thinks that this is the correct strategy. Continuity is our friend. Just add a few pieces (from our roster... just give them more pt) to the puzzle and we'll win as long as we're healthy.

Posted by: original_mark | January 6, 2009 6:24 PM

Here's what Chad Ford said about Rubio in August...


"While there is very little doubt that he'll be a phenomenal European player, he lacks the elite athleticism and explosiveness that is essential in the NBA. Rubio isn't a bad athlete, but he doesn't have the spectacular speed of many of the NBA's elite point guards."

Rubio is also still figuring out his jump shot. He can be solid from midrange but doesn't shoot with much accuracy from distance. Rubio is improving in this area, but he still has a long way to go.

Posted by: original_mark | January 6, 2009 6:26 PM

o_mark wrote: Rubio is also still figuring out his jump shot. He can be solid from midrange but doesn't shoot with much accuracy from distance."

That's the way it looked to me in the two games I watched. Funny thing is, he seems to enjoy playing perimeter defense, not something you associate with young European kids. And he's got really fast hands.

But he's awfully skinny. And I didn't see the Maravich comparison, other than the floppy hair.

A nice player. I could be wrong, but I don't see the next Ginobili.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 6, 2009 7:11 PM

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