Orlando Magic Practice Report: May 17th


After a disappointing Game 1 loss to the Boston Celtics, the Orlando Magic got back to work on Monday afternoon.

The news of the day was that starting Small Forward Matt Barnes, who has been bothered by back spasms, participated in and completed practice on Monday. Tania Ganguli caught up with Barnes after practice and you can read that story here.

The Magic had a lengthy film session in order to figure out just what went wrong Sunday afternoon.

“We watched a lot of film, a little bit of X’s and O’s,” Rashard Lewis told reporters after practice. “We came out on the court to watch some plays defensively and offensively to see what we can do better.”

The film was very revealing.

“We didn’t run back on defense, turned the ball over 18 times, they had 20 something fast break points,” Lewis said. “We were a step slow on defensive rotations and we didn’t get into guys on pick-and-rolls. So we most definitely made a lot of mistakes.”

The key word for the Magic Monday was “effort.” On Sunday night, Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy said that he was surprised with Orlando’s poor effort and the Magic know they must make a change in that department to win Game 2. And it must start as soon as the game tips off.

“The first quarter is always important,” Lewis said. “You want to set the tone early, hit them before they hit you.”

When asked about how the Magic can give a better effort, the players came to one simple consensus: play harder.

“They played harder than us,” Dwight Howard admitted.

“We can’t allow that to happen again. They acted like they wanted to win more than we did,” he added.

Losing a game because of a lack of effort is something the Magic are very upset about, but they’re trying to stay positive.

“It’s not something that can’t be fixed,” Vince Carter said.

The first step is learning what you did wrong and the Magic have now done that by watching film. Now the issue becomes correcting those issues, which is something they have already worked on.

“I got to knock open 3-pointers down to bring the defense out, make Kevin Garnett come out to the perimeter and maybe that will open it up for me to drive to the basket or get somebody else an open shot,” Lewis said.

The Magic were very upset with their lack of ball movement. Howard said the Magic made only about 70 total passes in the entire first half.

“I think we didn’t make the extra pass and move the ball from side to side to play in a better rhythm on the offensive end,” Lewis said. “It seemed like everybody was taking tough shots.”

“We’ve got to do a better job of moving the ball and making their defense work,” Howard said.

“We just want to get back to it, sharing the ball, just making sure the open man gets the best shot,” Carter added. “Boston’s defense is very stingy and they don’t leave you open space or many opportunities. “

One thing the Magic did do right on the offensive end was the way they drove into the paint. Unfortunately, the Magic were often unable to finish and turned the ball over too many times.

Carter explained just how important it is to consistently get the ball into the paint against a team that defends like the Celtics.

“Very important, that’s obvious,” Carter said. “If you can’t shoot the ball, you’ve got to go into the paint. It’s up to all of us, not just myself. I just tried to take the iniative and you know you’re going to get punished when you go in there but hey, there’s a lot on the line.”

When I asked Carter if he was happy about the way he attacked the rim, he hesitated before answering.

“…somewhat,” Carter answered. “I can make a couple more. I felt like I missed a couple of them that regardless of their size, if I can get the ball to the rim, I expect to put it in.”

Practice Notes:

  • Carter will remain on Paul Pierce and offered some thoughts on how difficult it is to defend him. Carter said you have avoid frustration because on possessions that you usually consider good defensively, he can still get a basket. “You have to just let it go and prepare for the next one,” Carter explained.
  • Carter said he does not like the media circus that comes with the postseason.
  • Dwight Howard was singing the “I wear no pants” song and said he considered doing his interviews without pants on.
  • Howard thought Orlando’s turnovers were the biggest problem the Magic had Sunday.
  • Michael Vega of the Boston Globe asked Howard if he thought he needed to be more like a boxer than a wrestler in the low post. It made some sense because Howard needs to use his quickness and agility against a a big, strong, good defensive team like the Celtics. Howard thought the question was a little strange and said he needs to make better decisions on when he should post up and when he should run the pick-and-roll to throw the defense off. Vega responded by saying boxers use combinations to throw their opponents off-balance before going for the knockout. This caused Howard to come around, saying he needs to “turn into Floyd Mayweather.”
  • Overall, the players were upbeat and didn’t seem too down over the loss.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, a contributor on the Fansided Front Page and on Sir Charles In Charge. Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).