During resounding Magic victory over Hawks, even Betsy DeVos had Orlando playoff fever | Commentary

Ohmygawd, so this is what playoff fever feels like?

It’s been so long — so losingly and laboriously long — that we almost forgot how much fun the Orlando Magic can be.

The lifeblood of any franchise — fan passion — was pumping and thumping throughout Amway Center on a frenzied Friday night during the Magic’s resounding, playoff-expounding 149-113 victory over the Atlanta Hawks in the regular season home finale.


Notice I said “regular season” home finale? Why? Because it’s looking more and more like the Magic could finally make the playoffs and we could actually see some tangible results from the endless rebuild. Orlando’s win, coupled with Detroit’s loss on Friday, means the Magic have moved all the way up to the sixth playoff spot — a half-game ahead of the Pistons and Brooklyn Nets with two games left. All they have to do now is win one more game — or have the Heat and the Hornets lose one more game — and the Magic are playoff-bound, baby!

Are you kidding me? How does that happen in one season? How does Amway Center go from being as quiet and antiseptic as a doctor’s office to as loud and raucous as a Machine Head concert? Even Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Secretary of Education and the daughter-in-law of late Magic owner Rich DeVos, was in the house yelling for the home team and handing out vouchers to all of the public-school kids in attendance.

OK, so Betsy wasn’t really handing out the vouchers, but she was cheering loudly and proudly for the Magic. When I asked her after the game if it feels good to have the Magic back in the playoff hunt, she responded with an emphatic thumbs-up.

“It sure does!” she said. “It sure does!”

The team’s other most famous fan — retired local attorney Dennis Salvagio, a k a “The Fat Guy” — was front and center Friday night just like the old days, sitting courtside and wearing one of his vintage sequined suits while revving up the crowd throughout the game.

“I haven’t felt this kind of excitement and electricity for years,” Salvagio said. “You can really tell the crowds are into the game and into the team. I don’t have people coming up to me anymore and saying, ‘How are YOUR Magic doing?’ Now they’re OUR Magic again.”

wholesale nba jerseys 3x adidas

This is exactly what first-year Magic coach Steve Clifford wants to hear. When he was on the coaching staff in Orlando before as an assistant during the team’s heyday under former coach Stan Van Gundy, Clifford remembers how much fans cared and how much they affected the game back then.

Clifford must have had that old-time feeling in the cheap nba jerseys china
first half Friday night when the Magic, with the crowd roaring, scored more points than they ever had in a first half while storming out to an 81-48 lead at intermission. By the time the game was over, the Magic had three players with 25 points each (Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross) and had scored the third-most points in team history

“Tonight is how it used to be,” Clifford said of the atmosphere at the Amway Center. “… I hope [this playoff push] has been great for the fans. From my experience of being here with Stan, I know how much the fans helped us before. Not just in playoff games, but regular-season games. We were so hard to beat and they were a big part of it. I know if we can have a good team and a team the fans can be proud of, they’ll come back and this will be a tough place to play.”

Magically, it’s already happening right before our very eyes. The Magic now have won nine straight home games, 13 of their last 14. Winning breeds winning — not just among the players but among the fans, too. There was a noticeable buzz before Friday night’s game; playoff chatter; anticipation; anxiousness; and something much more basic that we haven’t sensed in this building for six years and four head coaches:

Draft Profile: Brandon Clarke Looking To Make Immediate Impact In The NBA

The Hawks hold the rights to the #8, #10, #35, #41 and #44 picks in the upcoming June 20 NBA Draft. At Hawks.com, we’ll be talking to some of the writers and bloggers who watched some of this year’s key prospects most closely.

Today we speak to Keith Ybanez (@slipperyk), Editor, SB Nation affliate of The Slipper Still Fits, about forward Brandon Clarke.

What does Brandon Clarke do well?

Clarke is an elite athlete, and he uses that athleticism most effectively when protecting the rim on the defensive end. The numbers he posted at the NBA Combine in terms of his vertical jump and agility drills were not surprising to anyone who watched him play in college, and that explosiveness allows him to cover a lot of ground around the paint to contest shots and challenge any player at the rim despite not having great length. He’s also one of the best I’ve seen at making second and third jumps in quick sequence. What makes him an elite rim protector, however, is that he’s able to pair his prodigious physical talents with excellent timing and an uncanny feel for blocking shots. When you put those traits in a single player, you get someone who led Division I in blocks last season while setting a new single season blocks record at Gonzaga. Here’s a fun stat: he had as many blocks (117) as he did missed field goals during his entire junior campaign.

How does his game translate to the NBA?

wholesale nba jersey youth

Clarke will be able to make an immediate impact at the defensive end for all the reasons stated above. Not only is he an elite shot blocker, but he’s very good at defending the pick and roll and taking away angles when hedging or helping. He also proved on multiple occasions that he has the chops to cheap nba jerseys from china
defend smaller players on the perimeter in isolation. His next coaching staff will appreciate the versatility in defensive coverages that he affords, and they’ll be able to keep him on the floor because he consistently makes smart basketball plays within the team structure while playing with maximum effort. He’s a very capable scorer in and around the paint, featuring good touch on floaters, jump hooks, and up-and-unders. He’s also an absolute menace in the pick and roll on the offensive end, and will provide a lot of highlights finishing lobs.

What can he do to improve?

His shooting has come a long way from where it was prior to transferring to Gonzaga, but it remains the area in his game that requires more development. He successfully overhauled his shooting mechanics during his redshirt year after transferring from San Jose State, and now has a much better foundation moving forward. He was comfortable taking open jumpers last season, but he simply needs more reps with his new mechanics in order for his shot to become more reliable. He’s not going to be invited to the three-point competition during All-Star weekend, but he’s capable of becoming a shooter that opposing defenses at least have to respect.

Former Maryland star Kevin Huerter selected to NBA’s All-Rookie second team

Former Maryland standout Kevin Huerter was named Tuesday among the top 10 rookies in the NBA this season.

Huerter was voted to the All-Rookie second team after receiving one first-team vote and 43 second-team votes among the panel made of up 100 broadcasters and sportswriters.

cheap nba jersey lin

Huerter, who was drafted No. 19 overall by the Atlanta Hawks last June, was the first former Terp to be chosen to the league’s top rookie teams since Steve Francis was on the first team in 1999-2000.

Huerter’s teammate, point guard Trae Young,cheap nba jerseys
was one of two rookies to be unanimous first-team selections, along with Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks. Young and…

Awestruck former Maryland basketball star Kevin Huerter swaps jerseys with Dwyane Wade

You have to wonder if former Maryland basketball player and Atlanta Hawks rookie Kevin Huerter was more awestruck by switching jerseys with his idol Dwyane Wade after the Hawks played the Heat — or the high praise he then got from Miami’s future Hall of Famer.

After the Heat defeated the Hawks 114-113 on Monday night, Wade approached Huerter to swap jerseys with him. They, of course, both wear No. 3.

wholesale atlanta hawks jersey boys

Afterward, Wade said in an interview with Yahoo Sports, “A friend of mine told me about him when he was younger that he used to wear my shoes, he wore No. 3 because of me Wholesale nba jerseys
and he looked up to me. So I knew I was going to surprise him.”

But that wasn’t all. He went on to praise the guard, who left Maryland early and was taken No. 19 in last year’s draft: “I really like his game. … He’s gotten so much better. From one No. 3 to another, I thought I’d switch jerseys with him.”

Huerter said in an interview, according to the Associated Press, “For as long as I can remember, me and my brother would wear his shoes when we were younger. We’d watch his game. He was really one of the first NBA guys I looked up to.”

Huerter has started 43 games for the Hawks , averaging 9.4 points and 2.7 assists in 27.2 minutes a game.

He posted a photo of the two players holding the jerseys with the caption: “Surreal Moment.”

Nets Defeat Hawks to Move Up in Playoff Race

Spencer Dinwiddie scored 23 points, Jarrett Allen added 20 points and 12 rebounds, and the Nets held off the host Atlanta Hawks, 114-112, on Saturday night for their third straight win.

The Nets moved into a tie with the Detroit Pistons for sixth place in the Eastern Conference despite missing 21 free throws to give the Hawks a chance at the end. After Joe Harris hit one of two foul shots with 16.3 seconds remaining, Trae Young dribbled down the clock and passed to 42-year-old Vince Carter, who missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

“Honestly, we just got enough stops, just barely enough stops,” Dinwiddie said. “We gave up a lot and we missed a lot of free throws that made it harder on ourselves than it really needed to be.”

John Collins finished with 33 points and a career-high 20 rebounds for Atlanta, and Young had 23 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.

cheap atlanta hawks jersey shirt

Young and Collins combined to score 27 points in the fourth to keep Atlanta close. Young hit two free throws with 5 minutes 11 seconds left gave Atlanta its first lead since the first quarter,Wholesale nba jerseys
but the Nets never trailed again after D’Angelo Russell’s 3-pointer made it 111-109 with 1:41 remaining.

The Nets improved to 17-5 since Dec. 7 in games in which the margin has been 5 points or fewer in the final five minutes.

Atlanta, still rebuilding under the first-year coach Lloyd Pierce, has lost three straight.

The Nets took their first lead, 13-12, on Russell’s 3-pointer, and their second when Dinwiddie’s bank shot made it 22-21. With the score tied at 41-41 in the second quarter, the Nets closed the period on a 15-6 run.

They aggressively went to the rim in the first half, resulting in 23 free throws, but the Nets missed eight times from the foul line to set the tone for an even worse second half.

KINGS 102, KNICKS 94 De’Aaron Fox had 30 points and 8 assists, carrying Sacramento down the stretch against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

NBA official explains why Trae Young got a technical foul for staring down

Atlanta Hawks rookie Trae Young was ejected early in the third quarter of the team’s 123-118 win against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday. The 20-year-old rookie received his second technical of the game after staring down Kris Dunn of the Bulls. Young had just made a long 3-pointer.

After the game, the league officials released a statement on Twitter, explaining why Trae Young had been ejected.
Young already received a technical early in the first quarter after an altercation with Dunn.

He finished the game with 18 points, five assists, and two rebounds in 18 minutes of action.

buy cheap nba jerseys mens nike

Fans are not buying this reasoning by the league officials, with one even calling it despicable.
This decision by referees has been added to a long list of questionable calls that have drawn heavy criticism this season. There have already been instances when players went directly to the league office to raise concerns about officiating, but nothing has been addressed so far.

Still, Young’s ejection raises a new set of questions, especially since the playoffs are just a few weeks away. The Hawks might not be in the playoffs, but tolerance for certain gestures has certainly become a point of focus. Many people think it shouldn’t warrant a technical (especially not a second one), but it is hard for players to know exactly what crosses the line. In a playoff game, the consequences of not knowing where that line exists could be enormous.

It has yet to be determined if the commissioner’s office will release its own statement about the matter, but one thing’s for sure: The referees need to allow the players to show emotion on the floor, within reasonable (non-verbal) limits. Limiting their actions through petty calls like the Trae Young ejection on Sunday takes away the excitement of the game.

Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks Set NBA Records in 4-Overtime Marathon

The Chicago Bulls beat the the Atlanta Hawks, 168-161, in four overtimes Friday night in Atlanta in one of the longest and highest-scoring games in NBA history.

Here are a few of the mind-boggling stats from the scoreboard-breaking epic:

buy cheap nba jerseys mens nike

— It was the third highest-scoring game in NBA history (329 points) — the record is 370, set in a 186-184 Detroit Pistons-Denver Nuggets cheap nba jerseys
three-overtime game in 1983. Bulls-Hawks was the highest-scoring game since 1982.

— It was the 15th game of four overtimes in NBA history.

— The Bulls and Hawks set the record for combined 3-point attempts in a game (108, including 60 by the Hawks) and tied the record for combined 3-point field goals (43).

— Hawks rookie point guard Trae Young scored a career-high 49 points in almost 56 minutes. It was his third straight game of setting or matching his career high after back-to-back games with 36 points. He also finished with 16 assists, eight rebounds and nine turnovers.

— Zach LaVine scored a career-high 47 points for the Bulls. LaVine narrowly missed a triple-double, finishing with nine rebounds and nine assists.

— Hawks veteran Vince Carter played 44:53 at 42 years old.

With AP

Bulls Beat Hawks, 168-161, in Third-Highest-Scoring N.B.A. Game Ever

Lauri Markkanen made three free throws to give Chicago the lead for good, Zach LaVine scored a career-high 47 points, and the Bulls overcame Trae Young’s career-high 49 points to beat the host Atlanta Hawks, 168-161, in four overtimes on Friday night.

It was the third-highest combined point total for two teams in N.B.A. history, trailing only a pair of three-overtime games. On Dec. 13, 1983, Detroit won at Denver, 186-184, Wholesale nba jerseys
and on March 6, 1982, San Antonio won at home against Milwaukee, 171-166.

Markkanen finished with 31 points and 17 rebounds. He snapped a 159-159 tie by making the three free throws after he was fouled by Alex Len.

buy cheap nba jerseys mens

Young, a rookie who played almost 56 minutes, had his third straight game of setting or matching his career scoring high after back-to-back games with 36 points. He had 16 assists, 8 rebounds and 0 turnovers.
Young and DeAndre Bembry had turnovers in the final 30 seconds of the third overtime, denying the Hawks an opportunity to snap a 155-155 tie.

Ryan Arcidiacono’s 3-pointer forced the third overtime.

LaVine’s 3-pointer gave Chicago a 139-138 lead with 1 minute 31 seconds remaining in the first overtime. After Young turned the ball over on an errant pass, Wayne Selden made one of two free throws to increase the lead to 2 points.

Young’s tiebreaking, step-back 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds remaining in regulation forced the first overtime. His last-second layup tied it at 140-140 to force the second overtime.

Chicago led by 99-88 early in the fourth period before Atlanta rallied. Young’s steal and basket sparked a string of 11 straight points for a 121-116 lead.

FRYE TO RETIRE Cleveland Cavaliers forward Channing Frye said he planned to retire at the end of the season.
Frye, the eighth overall draft pick by the Knicks in 2005, made the announcement on Twitter, saying, “I’m gonna miss it but I’m super excited to see the other side of the fence!”

The 35-year-old Frye, who played on Cleveland’s championship team in 2016, is averaging 3.3 points and 9.5 minutes in 29 games in his second stint with the Cavaliers. He has a career average of 8.8 points.

Five takeaways from the Toronto Raptors’ close win over the Atlanta Hawks

It wasn’t pretty, but the Toronto Raptors (31-12) took care of business on Tuesday by defeating the Atlanta Hawks (12-28) by a final score of 104-101.

From Kawhi Leonard’s two-way masterpiece to what could be the last time Vince Carter plays in Toronto, here are five takeaways from the game.

Kawhi Leonard flexing his Defensive Player of the Year muscle
Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors in Wholesale nba jerseys
scoring in this one with a game-high 31 points, doing so on an efficient 11-for-18 shooting from the field, 3-for-6 from the 3-point line and 6-for-7 from the free throw line.

wholesale atlanta hawks jersey

The Hawks simply didn’t have an answer for him.

And yet, as dominant as he was on offense, it was on defense where Leonard came up big down the stretch. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year set a new season-high with six steals, four of which came in the fourth quarter.

Leonard’s biggest steal came with 24.4 seconds remaining in regulation. He stripped DeAndre’ Bembry and pushed the ball the length of the court, eventually leading to a dunk from Serge Ibaka that gave the Raptors a 102-101 lead.

Hawks fall in tight road contest in Toronto, 104-101

The Atlanta Hawks were not expected to challenge, much less defeat, the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday evening. The good folks in Las Vegas installed the Hawks as massive underdogs and, in general, the team had a “nobody believes in us” feel before tip-off. For 48 minutes, however, the Hawks were wildly competitive and the Raptors needed every bit of regulation to escape with a 104-101 victory over Atlanta.

The early going was sloppy on both ends but, in stark contrast to Atlanta’s last face-off with a top-tier opponent, the Hawks were able to hang around. In fact, there were some nice moments, including an eye-popping dunk from John Collins.
One of the headline stories of the evening cheap nba jerseys china was the potential that Vince Carter could be making his final trip to Toronto and, in appropriate fashion, the home crowd welcomed the future Hall of Famer with a big-time ovation.
On the court, Carter also contributed, knocking down a three to cap what was a 10-2 run from the Hawks.
That spurt gave Atlanta the early lead and, despite immediate resistance from the Raptors, the Hawks were able to close strong and take a three-point lead into the second period. Jeremy Lin was a significant bright spot in the opening frame, scoring 10 points on perfect shooting, and the Raptors failed to convert a single three-point field goal to aid in the visiting team’s advantage.

wholesale atlanta hawks jersey
The second quarter was an exercise in back-and-forth basketball, with the two teams exchanging runs. Atlanta briefly pushed the lead to seven early in the period before Toronto slashed it back to one in short order. On cue, the Hawks then used a 10-3 run to take their largest lead at 47-39 and… the Raptors soon followed suit with a 9-0 spurt of their own to reclaim the lead.

In the end, the Hawks took a one-point lead into halftime and that was both surprising and impressive. The Raptors made 6 of 9 three-point attempts in the second quarter but the Hawks were able to withstand that push by forcing turnovers and generally operating in an effective offensive manner.

Coming out of the break, the Hawks had a sluggish start, prompting a timeout from Lloyd Pierce just 72 seconds into the third quarter. Fortunately, the damage was minimal, though, and Atlanta scored six straight points after the stoppage, punctuated by a steal from DeAndre’ Bembry and a lay-up from Lin in transition.