On The NBA Beat

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Tag: Orlando Magic

Defense Propels 76ers Nine Spots (Power Rankings: Jan. 20, 2017 Edition)

Coach Brett Brown and his Sixers are finally starting to see results, with wins in seven of their last nine games (TastyPoutine/Creative Commons).

With every team at or beyond the midpoint of its regular-season schedule, it could not be a better time to assess how each squad measures up. Some teams will be celebrating All-Star starter selections just named, while many others are confronting serious injuries. Amid this crazy time, the 76ers jumped nine slots, leaving the league’s cellar thanks to a mighty strong start to 2017. Meanwhile, the Charlotte Hornets, Sacramento Kings and Orlando Magic have experienced the league’s steepest declines in recent weeks.

Biggest Jumps: Philadelphia 76ers (+9), Washington Wizards (+4), Detroit Pistons (+4), Denver Nuggets (+4)

Biggest Falls: Sacramento Kings (-8), Charlotte Hornets (-8), Orlando Magic (-7)
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Zach Oliver: The Magic “Just Lock Up” in Close Games Down the Stretch

Zach Oliver (left) helping former Magic player Glen Davis (right) with his tie, earning the nickname "Bowtie Killa."

Zach Oliver (left) helping former Magic player Glen Davis (right) with his tie, earning the nickname “Bowtie Killa.”

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After a promising 19-13 start under new head coach Scott Skiles, the Orlando Magic have fallen on very hard times this calendar year, dropping 11 of 12 contests. A stagnant offense has especially plagued this incredibly young team. Amid such horrible January struggles, Zach Oliver of SB Nation’s Orlando Pinstriped Post drops by to help explain the Magic’s current woes as well as to provide insight on the team’s wealth of young talent.

Sexy sound bites can be found excerpted below:

4:30-4:45: “A lot of people were a little bit lower on the Skiles hiring than I was because, you know, Skiles is going to come in, he’s going to coach them for a couple years, he’s going to whip them into shape, but then he’s going to lose the locker room and they’ll have to make a change. But at the same time, that’s exactly what this team needed.”

5:33-6:23: “The thing that troubles me the most… is that they just lock up. They move the ball exceptionally well in the first two and a half, three quarters, getting quality looks, and then in the fourth quarter, guys just tense up and try to do it all on their own. To be honest, they really don’t have that guy that they can give the ball to in iso and say, ‘Here, we need a bucket go score.’ So that’s the biggest issue with them. Their defense is still an issue, especially late in games. Nik Vucevic, whom I think has done a better job in certain areas, still can’t protect the rim and the Magic guards have been unable to keep anybody in front of them.”

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Midseason Awards Starring Porzingis, Towns, Popovich and McCollum

Kristaps Porzingis is one of the leading candidates for Rookie of the Year so far this season. (Ed/Wikimedia Commons)

Kristaps Porzingis is one of the leading candidates for Rookie of the Year so far this season. (Ed/Wikimedia Commons)

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Midway through the NBA season, Loren and Aaron take the opportunity to handicap the league’s various awards, including Best Hair of course. In the opening segment, they reflect on the state of the Suns and Nuggets – the most recent team interviews – as well as what’s on the horizon for those two.

Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod

Beantown Basketball Banter and the East No Longer the Least

Avery Bradley's development has been a big part of Boston's success this season (Mark Runyon/BasketballSchedule.net)

Avery Bradley’s development has been a huge part of Boston’s success this season (Mark Runyon/BasketballSchedule.net).

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Following Loren’s interview with Red’s Army’s John Karalis earlier in the week, the boys are back together serving up Beantown basketball banter. Among the appetizing topics on the menu are Jared Sullinger’s beastly rebounding, Marcus Smart’s return from injury and the Celtics’ chances of representing the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. Speaking of the East, what is this parity madness? Are Eastern teams really as good as the Western Conference squads all of a sudden? In the final segment of the episode, our co-hosts make sense of this surprising dynamic and discuss its importance to the league. 

Music: “Who Likes to Party?” by Kevin MacLeod

Elfrid Payton, HinkieBall and the Cheating Fan

(Jose Garcia/Creative Commons)

(Jose Garcia/Creative Commons)

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On the debut of OTNB’s three banter segments (the A-A-Ron Block, LLC Incorporated and the J-Spot), the co-hosts react to the Warriors-Clippers media beef and opine on Jamal Crawford’s fit with the Clippers’ retooled roster. Later, the panel praises Elfrid Payton’s dynamic young game, as it includes Orlando as a potential surprise team this season. The Stifle Tower, Rudy Gobert, gets some serious love on the show, and the merits of Sam Hinkie’s radical approach to team-building are debated. Finally, if you were going to cheat on your favorite NBA team, with which squad would it be? Loren and Aaron provide interesting answers.

Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod 
Introduction by Jonathan Santiago

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