Orlando Magic

The Playoffs are Short this Year

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Up first in round one of the playoffs was Orlando. They turned out to be not much of a challenge, at least for my teammates.

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Season Three: The Conclusion

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With the season winding down, we faced the Nets in NJ.

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My Hopes Disappear

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Welcome to game one from Orlando, or as I like to call it, the place where dreams go to die – and not for the reason you probably think, either. This was going to be a bad matchup for me. They have Dwight Howard and Tim Duncan – 14 feet of interior defense. Their shortest non-point guard is 6’6”. Their forwards run 6’11, 6’10, 7’ and 6’11”. There’s nothing coming at the rim this game. We’re a small, perimeter-oriented team that doesn’t rebound well against smaller teams. This is going to be tough.

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Wrapping up the Regular Season Already

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It’s official: they’re hyping me up way too much for what I’ve done in the league. By ‘they’ I mean everyone – my team, the media and my teammates. My ‘mates were apparently talking me up after a recent game – a game I finished with 5 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks on 30% shooting. Yay.

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Going Off on Orlando

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I recently had a string of good games, so here’s the summary form. First up was Milwaukee again, this time at their place. Here’s about all you need to know about that game: me swatting Brandon Jennings’ three attempt to close the third quarter. I was solid, but there was a reason we blew them out.

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We’re On Track Again

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A couple games have passed since we lost to Houston. and they’ve been, for the most part, unexciting. Here’s the quick version rundown.

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The Game Winning Shot

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The Magic came to town next, so it was going to be another tough match. I wanted to win in the worst way, so I was going to go into overdrive and give 110%. I needed every bit of it.

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Slow Start Equals Doom

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I’m back after my less then stellar performance against New Jersey for the second night of a back-to-back. Hopefully this is going to be an easy opponent for me to get back into a groove against. Rhe schedule maker wouldn’t give us a tough game this early, would they?

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Dammit. Just… dammit. I don’t care if they’re 1-4 on the year. They’re the freaking World Champions. And my bane.

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My Decision

It’s time. I’ve got to make my decision as to what to do. I’ve got to make my decision, hopefully without an hour long PR stint. Before that, let’s cover how last season ended.

We got bumped by the Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals by a free throw free for all. The good news, then, is that the Magic did go on to beat the Lakers in the NBA Finals. So we lost to the eventual champions. That’s a little more tolerable I finished the series as the team’s starting point guard and averaged over 20 points a game in the post season to go with four assists and four and a half rebounds. Who would come looking for me? The poll on this site (as well as posted on my topic over at the  NBA Live Series Center) brought a varied response. There was sentiment that I should stay and help LeBron, Bosh and Wade again. The blog’s poll shows that 75% of the voter think I should go to the Cavs if the option arises. Lastly, it would be interesting to see how I handled a team without three all stars. So, who came calling?

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warriors

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The Rockets, the Warriors, the Magic and the Heat. So, the Cavs are out, since they didn’t even make an offer. Now to decide between these three. I could go to the Warriors and play with Steph Curry and Monta Ellis and make for an exciting back court. Do I really want to play for the Warriors, though? I don’t see allot of growth potential there personally, plus they’d be playing three guards all the time with Ellis, Curry and myself. So they’re out. The Rockets are also out since I don’t want to go watch Yao get hurt again and get carried off the court, our title chances in tow.

That leaves the Magic and the Heat. The Heat are my team right now. I just spent 82 games with them, they’ve got two dynamite scorers for me to feed in LeBron and Wade, and we nearly got to the NBA Finals. On the other hand, the Magic beat us in the playoffs and they won the NBA Finals. They’ve got a dominant center, which we lacked last year. On top of that, I’ve had success with them before (see last year).

So, last year’s team or the team that beat us. Theoretically, the team that beat us is better, right? Isn’t that how it works? Can I really pull a LeBron and bolt for greener pastures?

Read after the cut to find out.

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Losing Hope

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Game four rolled around and I thought I was ready. I thought I had been through enough that I couldn’t get upset again. I was wrong. I took off like a shot and scored 10 of our firs 12 points before being benched with 2 turnovers – in the first quarter! Apparently I need to take Keeping Control of the Damn Ball 101 this summer.

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Late in the second it was nappy time again. This time I was shook by Nelson and hit the ground to watch him score from my hindquarters. This never used to happen! What changed?! I was benched mid-way through the 3rd quarter (as were all the starters) and when we got back on the court in the middle of the 4th, we were down by 11. It quickly became 13 before I started a run to get us back into it.

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We were down three with under a minute to go when I picked off this pass and started a fast break.

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We’re within one! Yes!

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After a Magic basket, I came back up court and saw this. Tell me, wouldn’t your first inclination, as a quick guard, to be to attack that massive gap? Mine was, so I did. If I made the shot we would have time to play solid defense and get the ball back. How big of a issue could I run in to?

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Oh, just 6’11′”, 265 pounds worth of Magic muscle. Howard met me and sent me careening to the deck,

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Ok, so I blew the shot. No big deal, we still had a good chance to win. Play good defense, get the ball back and we had a chance to tie the game. We can do this!

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Wait.., no. No no NO!! Not again!!

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Yes, again. It was over. Vince put the dagger in our hearts and we’re now headed back to Miami down 3-1. Can we recover? I’m not sure. Personally I’m stunned that my team just falls apart against the Magic. Over 10 turnovers as a team, which seems to be a constant for us.

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This shot says it all. I’m in shock as Vince celebrates at my expense. I again had a decent game, with 22 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals plus 2 turnovers on 46% shooting. Do you notice a disturbing trend here? I dd. I play really well = team loses. I must be doing something wrong.

My teammates weren’t slacking off at all, and some even had much better games then I did. Wade contributed 21 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals, LeBron had 15 points, 8 boards, 6 dimes and 2 steals, and Bosh chipped in 8, 10 and 2. We had our offense, so what cost us? Our defense. Again. Vince Carter, Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis each hit 3 treys. Contrast that to my team where I had our only three point basket, and that’s a 24 point difference just on ranged shots alone. We need to shape up or we’re done for next game.

(side note: as a RL Cavs fan, this was hauntingly similar to the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals  between Cleveland and Orlando where the Magic could have just hurled the ball backwards over their heads or between their legs and scored, they were so hot. I’m still depressed. Oh, and speaking of RL, go Cavs!)

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