About Last Night: Magic Lite!

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – There is a very real possibility that we have seen the last of this Orlando Magic team as a true contender in both the Eastern Conference and the league.

And before you dive into your best  Stan Van Gundy impersonation, listen up. The Magic coach agrees with us. His team has taken it on the chin from both the Heat and Celtics in the past four days and it was clear that 2009 Eastern Conference champs don’t belong in the same conversation with those two teams.

“Not even close, not even in the same ballpark as these guys,” Van Gundy told the Orlando Sentinel after Sunday’s loss in Boston, when asked about the gap between his team and the Celtics. “We can be, but we’re not right now. I think that showed today.”

We’re not sure they can handle the Bulls or the Hawks either. All four of those teams sit above the Magic in the standings this morning. The potential of a first-round playoff matchup in Chicago or Atlanta might have sounded good in the preseason, but not so much now.

If we’re being honest about this team right now, we have to look at what they’ve done up to this point. And as my main man David Aldridge pointed out in his Morning Tip, it hasn’t been anything spectacular:

After losing to the Celtics Sunday, Orlando is 2-4 against Miami and Boston this season. Since the nine-game winning streak in late December and early January that included wins over the Spurs, Celtics, Knicks and Mavericks, the Magic is 7-8.

We said we’d wait a while to make any lasting judgments on the trade that brought Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark to town. We were skeptical initially, and we remain such with the Magic running in place the way they are right now.

Like many, we assumed there was another deal or two on the horizon after the blockbuster trade went down. But Magic GM Otis Smith hasn’t done anything else, yet.

Dwight Howard still needs some assistance. And with Brandon Bass injured, that need will be magnified in the coming weeks.

Howard didn’t sound like a happy man after Sunday’s loss to the Celtics, which included him picking up his 14th technical of the season for elbowing Kendrick Perkins in the chest.

Howard blasted his teammates for not getting him the ball enough in the second half.  “You saw the game,” he said after getting just six shots in the second half. “We stopped doing what we do, playing inside-out.”

And then he suggested that his team needs to get,”mentally tougher.”

If only it were that simple Dwight.

You need some serious personnel tweaks to fix what ails you. Just look at the competition. None of the other top teams in the East have as glaring a chemistry mismatch as you do right now. The man formerly known as Agent Zero came up with a big zero in the scoring column against the Celtics. He still doesn’t seem totally comfortable with his role.

There’s no way the deal works with Arenas playing like a shadow of his former self, which is all we’ve seen from his thus far. So maybe it is time we take the Magic off of the contender list in the East, as the Prime Minister suggested earlier this morning.

What say you?

37 Comments

  1. may hut mui says:

    may hut mui…

    [...]About Last Night: Magic Lite! « NBA.com | Hang Time Blog[...]…

  2. Orlando Fan says:

    As a magic fan, idk see them getting any better if all they r doing is shooting 3’s n dont look for D12 in the post or try to attack the basket to get to free throw line. They need to try ti start Arenas and give him minutes and see how it goes, what they have to lose and it is like Nelson is doing something better or trade nelson n Q Richardson n some second draft picks for better PF and a pretty good center and SF just in case there is foul trouble or The hawks will knock them out in the first round. It needs to be fixed fast or we gonna be a joke when come playoff time, totally trade nelson for a good PF n Center had enough of him playing weak and cannot take advantage of Howard in the post.

    • QuestionMark says:

      Hawks knock them out?????????? Did you forget which team owned the Hawks last playoffs in 4 games and winning each game by like 40 points. You guessed it the Magic, the Hawks cant beat them. The only thing the Magic need is a backup C like Haywood or Camby and another star or a scorer that can score atleast 17-20ppg besides Dwight. preferrably in the SG spot like Jamal Crawford or Kevin Martin, J-Rich is good but struggles a bit at times, only reason Im not taking Turk out is because he has great chemistry with Dwight Howard and I think can still go back to when he put up 19ppg in the Finals. I think Turk needs time to get back to scoring like that. either that or trade Arenas away and get CP3 when and if he is a FA.

  3. Yasmir says:

    The Magic will need to get rid of Dwight Howard. They won’t be able to contend for a title with him. Dwight is a gifted player, no doubt, but his just not a fighter. Doc Rivers approached the Celtics during their series against the Magic last year, saying; At some point, one team is going to take the easy way out, one team is going to fold. Doc was right, the Magic folded. Dwight folded – and he will do again and again and again. As I said, he is just not the fighting type of guy, which is needed to win a championship.

  4. jadams012 says:

    lets be honest they have played pretty poor as of late but lets not forget all the so called “elite” have fallen to the magic except(havent’t played yet) so i wouldnt write them off or sleep on them because when they get going they could be the team to represent the east in the finals

  5. dwighthoward123 says:

    first they neeed to get rid of jameer nelson then they need to trade anderson turk draft picks and get melo melo and dwight together are a championship team and who knows if areanes becomes agent zero then the magic will definitly win a tittle

  6. MEL says:

    Nobody is willing to face the fact that in this league, the most valued player is the PG. Nobody is willing to admit that Jameer Nelson’s skills as PG are mediocre at best. He is not championship material and lacks the maturity and ability to propel his team to greatness. He has a big ego and appears to be highly delusional regarding his abilities on the court. I will admit, he does have a Svengali effect on the team but he ISN’T playing his position. His assist average is embarrassing and he DOESN’T deserve to be a starter in this league, on any team, let alone on a team that’s a true contender for the NBA Title.

    Trade Jameer to Cleveland will he will shine like new money…

  7. pintados says:

    that’s the problem when they tried to stir their team after winning ECF 2009….. sending pietrus away… then torkuglo.. and recently gortat and carter…

    they were already solid before… they were deep before in outside shooting (torkuglo, pietrus, lewis) and defensively (dwight, gortat and pietrus)…

    they stirred it..now this the problem… they could have just added Richardson…that’s all…. I think the guy is productive and he can defend well enough…

    but now… its over for them… until they’d be able to get the same kind of talents… they’d have a chance against Heat or Celtics

  8. LB6 says:

    Trade Nelson, Arenas and R. Anderson plus draft picks and money and try to get D.Will or CP3

  9. We need Chris says:

    what they need to due his try and persuade CP3 to come to Orlando. Those 2 would be MAGIC together!

  10. bigboy11 says:

    MIAMI COULD USE DWIGHT AND NELSON THEY ARE BETTER THAN WHAT WE GOT,, DWIGHT WOULD BE OK IF HE HAD ANOTHER STAR PLAYER WHO CAN DRAW DOUBLE TEAMS OFF HIM HE GET A LOT OF POUNDING EVERY GAME AND SOMETIMES THE REFS ARE NOT KIND OT HIM , THATS THEN HE GET S FRUSTRATED AND STOP COMPETING THATS WHAT HE NEEDS TO LEARN CONTROL HIS FEELINGS, ORLANDO NEEDS A FOWARD WHO CAN PLAY OFF DWIGHT LIKE A KEVIN GARNETT/DAVID WEST TYPE PLAYER

  11. Zishi Liu says:

    Magicwill winand i am hungry

  12. anthony says:

    I love orlando, i still think were right behind chicago right now even minus standings. Dwight talks about his team getting mentally tough, but he is such a baby sometimes and in my opinion is a poor leader. He mocks others and then calls his teamates out constantly. He gets techs, sucks at the line, stupid mistakes constantly but rarely owns up to anything and now he has no trouble throwing his teamates under the bus.

  13. magicboi7 says:

    The truth is we need a superstar point guard and a good back up center…All this carmelo chat means nothing cause its up to melo where he goes and signs his extention and the O is not on his list….We need to go after d williams or c paul and go get a solid back up center that can score at least 8 pt a game…the problem is they all on the celts!….lol

  14. Stephen says:

    They need Steve Nash. Cos the PGs there arent getting the team going

  15. MagicRob says:

    We sure have a lot of haters for being a non contender!!! You all know we are better then Het (Fake tough guys) Love it. Durant was on Q with that. We don’t need Melo, we need Bogut. Bogut creates twin tower look, and improves our D.

    • lb6 says:

      are u stupid or something? even stan van gundy the COACH of the Magic told everyone they are not at par with Celtics and the Heat. Your orlando magic sucks. and dwight needs to get away from stupid fans like you. And Durant just cried out because they lost. coz as far as i know everyone in the league can talk trash as long as they want to because it is part of the game. And why add another center and get Bogut??? What they need is a back up center and an allstar scorer. not some role players. turk richardson nelson are great role players but not all stars, arenas is past his prime. Dwight will probably go to LA if nothing will be improved.Hope he does coz magic sucks

  16. aaron says:

    Look, the Magic were 16-9 before the trade; and now are 16-11 after the trade. Clearly, this trade did not make them a better team. Trying to replace the scoring of Vince Carter with Arenas has been a complete failure with arenas playing 21 minutes/game and averaging 8.4 ppg. Additionally, he was been utterly ineffective as a closer (another role he was supposed to fill). Plus, the extra baggage he brings hurts the team. Hedo Turkoglu has looked comfortable in Orlando, but still not producing anywhere near what he should be at 11 ppg (which to me, is a big disappointment), especially shooting 1-10 and scoring 4 pts against Boston. Clearly Turkoglu’s ability is overrated. Add that to the fact that Carter was playing much better this year in ORL, being aggressive and looking much more comfortable in SVG’s system. Trading him after only a year was, in my mind too quick. Trading Rashard Lewis was another huge mistake. Orlando’s offense (especially their 3 pt. shooting has been off since he left). Why would you trade a guy who’s been such an important part of your team, especially when they reached the finals w/ him.
    Aside from J-Rich, this trade has been, to me, a failure, and Boston, Chicago, Atlanta and Miami are all clearly better at this point, and that does not look like it’s going to change this year.

    • magicboi7 says:

      Carter was playing like doo doo before the trade…..his d sucks and he strait shoots you out of games..Id take hedo passing any day of the week and j rich shooting…Where we went wrong is giving up Marcin to make the trade happen..That was DUMB And getting arenas for rashard was a even gamble damned if you do damned if you dont……The only way we even have a shot of making that work is starting him..But his D is looking really weak….Were screwed unless we unload both point guards! But thank goodness Vince is gone!

  17. dDale says:

    They got another superstar… Thats Agent Zero!!! I hope they make some changes in their rotation,

  18. zach says:

    the magic office need to stop worrymg abou 2012 and trading players away ,give your current roster a vote of confidenfe and play like a tem and i guranty they b fine

    • zach says:

      Let them jell ,and when they start playing like u all know how u all watch .nobody can shoot the trey like them and nobody can match up with dwight in the middle come playoff time

  19. Mike says:

    The Magic were never contenders. They overachieved one year because of an injured KG. They’ve proven over and over since then that they are nothing to be scared of.

  20. dwighthoward123 says:

    i agree with bigboy11 now looks like orlando is gonna be the orlando that lost shaq to the lakers in 96

  21. shawn says:

    what they need is help for dwight howard a big man and another star like rudy gay or granger or parker cause thery not gonna get melo.

  22. BIGBOY11 says:

    THE MAGIC BLUNDERED WHEN THEY MADE THAT TRADE,IF THEY HAD WAITED THEY COULD HAVE GOTTEN CARMELO THATS WHO THEY NEED ON THAT TEAM ANOTHER STAR PLAYER,THEY ONLY HAVE ONE STER DWIGHT

  23. dwighthoward123 says:

    i messed up on the top

    the only way the magic can keep dwight in orlando is by first getting melo then make areanes into agent zero and win a championship otherwise there gonna be the next cleveland

  24. dwighthoward123 says:

    dwights gonna leave if the magic dont get melo this year or dont win a championship with in these 2 years the only way theyll be able to

    the only way the magic can keep dwight in orlando is by first getting melo then make areanes into agent zero and win a championship otherwise there gonna be the next cleveland

  25. maldoc says:

    I hate Stan Van’s voice…. he is so damn annoying. D12 needs to keep his elbow in MMA matches and not on the court.

  26. KOBEPAUANDME says:

    Well i guess this settles it. Dwight to La! Kobe Pau and Dwight………Damn!

  27. Gary says:

    The Magic were stupid for breaking up the team they had that made the Finals. Now they continue to mix and match with no luck. The only thing that will save this team is a buddying superstar for Howard or a few seasons of play together. Sorry Orlando but the Magics in South Beach.

  28. jimt says:

    I feel for D12,his ability to absorb hits is losing him a few trips to the line each game which would be significant if he could actually make them.Turkaboo will break down by seasons end and then we can call them agent zeros.Oh what also will be gone by seasons end is stans voice,lol.No Magic here folks keep looking :)