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Orlando Magic News & Notes: Not Playing Championship Basketball


Magic Head Coach Stan an Gundy said the Magic are not playing championship basketball after Wednesday’s loss to the Utah Jazz. Jameer Nelson agreed.

"“If we’re serious about doing the things we’re talking about doing here like winning a championship, we can’t play like this,’’ Nelson said. “We have to learn from this.’’The Magic were forced to deal with a painful lesson on Wednesday night when they squandered an 18-point lead following one turnover after another and having no answer defensively for Williams and Al Jefferson. The result – a 104-94 loss to the surging Jazz – was one that Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy dubbed as “disturbing.’’"

You can read John Denton’s postgame analysis here.

The Magic had no answer when Utah went to a zone defense.

"The Jazz were out of ideas after trailing by as much as 18, and toward the end of the third quarter they mixed things up defensively by going away from man-to-man.“We weren’t able to match up with Dwight Howard inside,” Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. “So we tried to zone him some. Fortunately they missed some shots.”The Jazz ended the third quarter on an 9-0 run, cutting a hefty Magic lead to nine. Utah remained in zone defense in the fourth quarter, and the results were negative for Orlando: Howard scored just one point and the Magic made 26.3 percent of their shots in the quarter."

Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel has that story here.

Dwight Howard says the Magic have to stick with what works.

Utah got the ball inside in the second half, which was one of the big reasons for their rally.

"Van Gundy didn’t say his guys lacked effort tonight, preferring instead to say they “relax” whenever they have a lead. Against any NBA team, that’s a dangerous habit. But Utah is particularly troublesome due to its complex, cut-oriented offense. In the first half, with the Magic engaged and mostly sound on D, the Jazz had to settle for long two-point jumper after long two-point jumper. Though they converted those jumpers at an impressive rate–58.9 percent for the game, according to HoopData–every defense in the NBA would rather concede aa jumper to Bell than a hook to Al Jefferson. In the second? They got the ball inside, helping the starting frontline of Millsap and Jefferson erupt. A quick turn of the head from a defender off the ball can result in a Utah dunk if Williams reads the defense right, and the floor is spaced correctly."

Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post has that story here.

Jazz coach Jerry Sloan doesn’t think the Miami-Orlando back-to-back is as bad as it seems.

"They faced the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night in Orlando just 24 hours after they played the Miami Heat in Miami.But, according to Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, the Miami-to-Orlando swing wasn’t that onerous.“You’ve got a 20-minute flight,” he said shortly before tipoff. “I don’t think that’s too bad. It’s an excuse, because you have to play back-to-back a lot of times. Most generally, over the years, having played a little bit myself, I always thought you shoot the ball better on the second night than you do the first night.”"

Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel has that story here (Props to Josh for referencing PER in this same story).

Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk explains how the Jazz came back.

"Part of why the Jazz can do this is they make smart adjustments — Jerry Sloan started posting up Deron Williams in this one and it was something the Magic never really adjusted to. (Against the Heat it was sort of the opposite, the comeback came when Williams started getting run off picks more off the ball.)Once the Jazz started having success inside guys like Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson just took off. Then the game had shifted, there was a 9-0 Jazz run followed closely by a 13-0 run and suddenly Stan Van Gundy was envying his brother’s job.Coasting a little when you’re ahead is an issue for a lot of contending teams (the Lakers barely beat Minnesota last night, the Heat blew a big lead to the Jazz). The Magic are not immune, there will be games or times in games when they don’t feel challenged and they relax. Something dangerous to do in the NBA because even Minnesota has Kevin Love a roster full of guys who can score if left alone. There’s too much talent in this league to ever really relax."

You can read that story here.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, co-host of CB Sports Radio from 5-7 pm week days ( and ESPN 1080’s Magic Insider ( Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).