Orlando Magic News & Notes: Struggles Continue


The Orlando Magic are still struggling, especially on the offensive end. They were blown out by the Brandon Roy-less Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night. You can find a recap and analysis here.

Brain Schmitz thinks that the Magic have lacked heart.

"“It’s like we are going through the motions,” he (Magic Forward Matt Barnes) said. “Just because you went to the Finals last year, you can’t go out on the floor and expect teams to lay down. We got no heart. You can only make so many excuses. Everybody has to come and play hard, not just one or two guys.“I’ve played on teams that used to love to punk the good teams in the league. We loved to do that.”"

Click here to read the full story.

Dwight Howard says that the Magic simply did not play hard enough.

"“The team that played harder won the game tonight and we’ve just got to find a way to play harder,’’ said Dwight Howard, who had 11 points and 11 rebounds while playing through constant double teams. “We should be upset right now with what’s going on, but we can’t start pointing fingers at one another. It hasn’t been a pretty year so far, but I’m not giving up on my teammates.’’"

You can read this and more in John Denton’s postgame analysis here.

Josh Robbins notes that Dwight Howard’s offense is still being criticized and it’s mounting with his recent struggles.

"“It’s not like I haven’t developed some areas of my game,” Howard said. “I just have to play off the defense — play off of what the defense gives me. During the course of the season, I’ve seen a lot of different defenses. . . I’ve just got to be patient. I watch a lot of film and I’m just trying to get better at it. Everything I work on in practice? It’s tough to show it in a game because of the way the defense plays.”"

You can find that story here.

Rashard Lewis has been struggling as much as any member of the Magic and Head Coach Stan Van Gundy had a one-one with him.

"Lewis said after Wednesday night’s game loss to the Denver Nuggets that he wasn’t getting quite enough shots.Does he have a point?“Yes and no. We need to find more shots for our keys guys, but part of it is the defense is keying on those guys, especially on Rashard,” Van Gundy said. “Part of it his energy and aggressiveness. I talked to him quite a while (Thursday).“I think he’s frustrated. That’s a bit of the problem. There’s sort of a frustration running through our team. Rashard had made a comment that sometimes it feels like we’re a last-place team. That sort of sums up a little bit of where our guys are right now.”Van Gundy said that given the injuries, new players and road-heavy schedule, that their 26-13 record heading into the Portland game says “they’re doing a pretty good job. But the external and external expectations are real high.“We have the fourth-best record in the league and we’re frustrated. In some ways, that’s good. It shows standard we’re holding ourselves too.”"

You can read that and other news and notes here.

Blazers Edge was in attendance on Friday night and got a great quote from Matt Barnes.

"Magic forward Matt Barnes could not have been more disgusted with his team’s lack of effort and intensity, spewing profanities without care in the locker room post-game and repeating that it was on every individual Magic player to bring his best effort every night. “We’re loaded,” Barnes quipped, “We should be undefeated on paper.” And then later, “Talk is cheap. We gotta knock people down like they’re knocking Dwight down.”"

Read their Media Row Report here.

Rip City Project provided their thoughts on Portland’s win.

"Orlando did have some good stretches looking for Dwight and creating open looks, notably at the beginning of the second half, but they could not sustain their own interest in playing good basketball. Didn’t help that even when they did get those open looks they were just off — they are better than a 7-for-30 team from deep no matter how stagnant their offense is — but five of their threes were assisted and only 17 buckets assisted overall. When your best isolation player is as effective as a compost pile sitting in a pool of salt water, that amount of ball movement — granted, they made good initial reads but had few three-pass plays — will sink you every time."

You can read that here.

Jason Quick of the Oregonian took a look at the game as well.

"Orlando, meanwhile, looked nothing close to an upper-echelon team, as they hoisted three-pointer after three-pointer and played with no cohesion.After the game, an exasperated Magic coach Stan Van Gundy sounded as if he wished half of his team were injured like the Blazers.“I’m frustrated with the lack of energy and our guys are frustrated with other things,” Van Gundy said. “Mostly their inability to make shots.”"

You can find that here.

Soaring Down South discusses the Hawks big win on Friday and notes that the Magic are now in second place.

"With Orlando now scuffling losing last night in Portland (who were without Brandon Roy among others) and losers of 6 out of 8, the Hawks find themselves in first place in the Southeast Division. This was game of the year so far in my book which is backed up by my running around my living room screaming like a mad man after Crawford hit the shot. Great win by the Hawks."

You can find that here.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)