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Orlando Magic Are Officially Winners of Dwight Howard Trade

Aaron Gordon sat slouched in front of his locker, immobile as ice packs worked on his body following yet another loss earlier this season. His Orlando Magic teammates showered and dressed, and left.

Gordon’s back had been bothering him, and no wonder: He’s in his fifth year of carrying the Magic franchise. And he is in for the long haul, too. After doing what he described as “due diligence” this past summer, Gordon signed a four-year, $80 million contract, handing over most of his mid-20s to a team that, so far, has failed to put a winning combination around him.

But if the 6-foot-9 multidimensional star is still waiting for a winning supporting cast, his 2018-19 season is the latest, best evidence yet that he is approaching a specific kind of broad-based play that is fast becoming a requirement for surviving in the N.B.A.

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Gordon showed it off days ago in a 103-96 win over the Golden State Warriors.

He did it all, scoring 22 points, pulling cheap nba jerseys
down 15 rebounds and using his defensive athleticism to help limit the Warriors to 9-for-40 shooting from 3-point range. By the end of last week, the surging Magic had found themselves in eighth place in the Eastern Conference and in new territory for Gordon: the playoff race.
It has taken every skill Gordon has, but for his part, the 23-year-old has embraced the way the competition in the N.B.A. has demanded that he do virtually everything on any given night.

“Versatility is going to be a huge part. The league is going in that direction,” Gordon said. “So it’s going to be 6-9, 6-10, 6-11, 7-foot guys able to do everything — handle the ball, pass, shoot, rebound. That’s the way the game is going to be.”

Magic won’t see 76ers’ Joel Embiid, but they’ll be tracking JJ Redick

The Orlando Magic won’t have to face all-star center Joel Embiid tonight when they take on the Philadelphia 76ers.

But don’t think his absence makes beating the 76ers any less challenging.

“Tonight, against this team, we’re going to have to be at our best [defensively] to give ourselves a chance,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said after the team’s shootaround Tuesday morning at Wells Fargo Center.

Embiid, the team’s leading scorer (27.3 ppg) and rebounder (13.5 rpg), has missed Philadelphia’s five games since the all-star break with soreness in his left knee.

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The 76ers have listed him as out for tonight’s game, cheap nba jerseys from china
as of the NBA’s 1:30 p.m. injury report.

In their five games without Embiid since the all-star break, the 76ers’ scoring average is down about four points and they are shooting with slightly less efficiency (45.5 percent down from 47.4 percent).

But they can still generate points from a number of sources.

“They’re 5 [center] out the whole game right now, so there’s a lot of room out there. They are very much on the attack offensively,” Clifford said. “If you get spread out, boy do they make you pay.”

The 76ers have all-stars in point guard Ben Simmons and shooting guard Jimmy Butler, as well as formidable scorers in former Magic players Tobias Harris and JJ Redick.

Butler missed the 76ers’ practice on Monday with lower back tightness but was not listed on the NBA’s 1:30 p.m. injury report.

Without Embiid, the 76ers have kept their post open and utilized their spacing on the floor to create shot opportunities. That plays into Simmons’ strengths as a penetrator who can finish at the basket or a distributor who can find a number of players for spot-up 3-point attempts.

The 76ers average nearly 11 3-pointers a game, with Redick shooting a team-best 38.4 percent from long range.

Tracking him will be a key for the Magic.

The veteran guard knocked down eight 3-pointers and scored 31 points when the 76ers beat the Magic 116-115 in October. Redick hit the go-ahead 3 with 17 seconds to play.

Redick went 4-for-7 from the 3-point line and scored 22 points when the teams met in Orlando in November.

“He’s so clever, [and] they’re so good about the way they give him the ball,” Clifford said. “As much as anything it’s an awareness thing, and it’s his pace of play. There’s not many guys like him, the combination of skill level and the speed with which he can cut and finish plays at.”

Clifford said not allowing Redick any space to shoot remains the goal, but it’s easier said than done. He can shoot off the dribble, spot up in transition, take a quick shot from a dribble hand-off or wait for a kick-out pass.

“He has a lot of different ways that he scores,” Clifford said. “But it’s going to start so much with not allowing separation. You’ve got to try to stay with him, but it’s not easy though.”

Aaron Gordon Is Ready for Stardom. The Magic Remain a Question Mark.

Aaron Gordon sat slouched in front of his locker, immobile as ice packs worked on his body following yet another loss earlier this season. His Orlando Magic teammates showered and dressed, and left.

Gordon’s back had been bothering him, and no wonder: He’s in his fifth year of carrying the Magic franchise. And he is in for the long haul, too. After doing what he described as “due diligence” this past summer, Gordon signed a four-year, $80 million contract, handing over most of his mid-20s to a team that, so far, has failed to put a winning combination around him.

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But if the 6-foot-9 multidimensional star is still waiting for a winning supporting cast, his 2018-19 season is the latest, best evidence yet that he is approaching cheap nba jerseys a specific kind of broad-based play that is fast becoming a requirement for surviving in the N.B.A.

Gordon showed it off days ago in a 103-96 win over the Golden State Warriors.

He did it all, scoring 22 points, pulling down 15 rebounds and using his defensive athleticism to help limit the Warriors to 9-for-40 shooting from 3-point range. By the end of last week, the surging Magic had found themselves in eighth place in the Eastern Conference and in new territory for Gordon: the playoff race.

Magic swingman Terrence Ross to sit against 76ers

Magic swingman Terrence Ross, the team’s fourth-leading scorer, sat against the 76ers with a sore left Achilles.

The team announced his status about an hour before tipoff.

It will be the first game Ross has missed this season.

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Two-way player Troy Caupain was activated for the game.

Ross is the Magic’s fourth-leading scorer Wholesale nba jerseys
and one of the top sixth men in the NBA. He’s averaging 14.4 points a game, but has averaged 17.0 points in his last 15 games. Ross came up big in the fourth quarter of recent wins against the Warriors and Pacers.

The 76ers, meanwhile, played without starting center Joel Embiid and backup center Jonah Bolden.

Vucevic guía a Magic en paliza sobre Bulls

Nikola Vucevic consiguió 22 puntos y 12 rebotes antes de darse el lujo de descansar durante todo el cuarto periodo del encuentro que el Magic de Orlando ganó el miércoles por paliza de 112-84 a los Bulls de Chicago.

Aaron Gordon añadió 18 tantos y logró la mejor cifra de su vida, cheap nba jerseys china
con nueve asistencias. Terrence Ross aportó 15 unidades como reservista, en tanto que Evan Fournier contabilizó 13 puntos y siete asistencias por Orlando, que ha ganado tres de cuatro compromisos.

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El Magic atinó el 58% de sus disparos de campo.

Zach LaVine finalizó con 16 puntos, mientras que Lauri Markkanen y Kris Dunn sumaron 14 tantos cada uno por Chicago, que ha perdido dos duelos en fila luego de ganar tres de cuatro.

Fue el tercer enfrentamiento entre estos equipos desde el 13 de diciembre. El Magic ha ganado dos, incluido uno por 97-91 en la Ciudad de México.

Chicago limitó a Orlando a 80 puntos el 21 de diciembre, para imponerse por 10 unidades de diferencia en el United Center. Fue el segundo menor número de tantos del Magic en la temporada, pero la situación fue muy distinta el miércoles.

Evan Fournier’s clutch 3-pointer helps Magic earn win over Pacers, stay in playoff mix

The Orlando Magic solved the Indiana Pacers’ defense just fine, especially in the fourth quarter behind Terrence Ross, and made their first trip this season to Bankers Life Fieldhouse a memorable one.

Nikola Vucevic finished with a game-high 27 points and Ross had 23 points as the Magic rallied to beat the Indiana Pacers 117-112 on Saturday night in Indianapolis.

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Evan Fournier sealed the Magic’s 13th road victory of the season with a 3-pointer over Bojan Bogdanovic with 8.4 seconds left to play.“Obviously it wasn’t cheap nba jerseys from china our defense that won. We played well offensively,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said. “T-Ross got going with shot-making, and obviously the shot Evan hit was a big-time shot.”

With the victory, the Magic (30-34) moved back into a tie with the Charlotte Hornets (29-33) for eighth in the Eastern Conference. The Magic are 1.5 games behind the seventh-place Detroit Pistons (30-31) and the sixth-place Brooklyn Nets (32-33).

The Pistons rolled past the host Cavaliers 129-93 while the Nets were beaten 117-88 by the host Heat on Saturday.

The Hornets were idle.

Fournier missed Friday’s practice as he dealt with a stomach issue but felt better on Saturday. He was still somewhat of a question mark for the game before going through the team’s morning shootaround without any problems.

And there he was, with the ball in his hands as the Magic held a two-point lead with 29.7 seconds to go.

“When you have a mid pick-and-roll like that, usually it turns into a jump shot,” Fournier said. “Rarely do you get to the rim. I knew it was going to be a jump shot.

“I had a look that I liked.”

He dribbled the clock down to about 12 seconds, then worked his way toward the 3-point line. From there, Fournier brushed Bogdanovic off a screen set by Vucevic. It was enough to throw Bogdanovic slightly off balance. Fournier began to dribble to his right before hesitating to slow Bogdanovic even further, then quickly pulled up to shoot.

The ball kissed the bottom of the net.

The Magic had the cushion they needed.

“It’s just the most enjoyable thing you can have in basketball, hit a clutch shot and then win the game,” Fournier said.

Fournier finished with 19 points, one of five Magic players in double figures, and eight assists.

Jonathan Isaac had 12 points and eight rebounds while Aaron Gordon finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

But it was Ross who once again fueled another fourth-quarter comeback.

The Magic’s “Human Torch,” Ross scored 11 points in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s comeback win against the Golden State Warriors.

He was even better on Saturday.

He scored 16 of his points in the fourth quarter as the Magic outscored the Pacers 34-25 to erase a 10-point deficit they fell into in the third quarter.

“It’s funny because it comes out of nowhere. He has five points and he’s not hitting shots and all of a sudden the Human Torch comes in,” Fournier said. “It’s such a big part of what we do. When T-Ross comes into the game and makes shots, it just changes the whole momentum for us. He was a huge part of the win tonight.”

The Magic shot 50.5 percent overall but 54.5 percent in the fourth quarter, with Ross going 5-for-9. Fournier was 2-for-2, with both shots being 3-pointers.

“It’s not easy, but I thought we had better player movement,” Clifford said. “We had some good drive and kick plays, which led to some spot-ups, which against them is not easy. They’re so well-coached and they’re so good defensively.”

Ross’ three-point play gave the Magic a 100-98 lead they never relinquished, and he later threw down a thunderous one-handed dunk to make it 109-102 with 3:23 to play.

It was a wild flurry from there.

The Magic seemed in control up 111-104 before Wesley Matthews was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all three free throws. Ross did the same on the Magic’s next possession.

After Darren Collison hit a pull-up 3, Thaddeus Young stripped the ball away from Fournier on the ensuing inbounds pass. Young quickly found a cutting Myles Turner for a layup that trimmed the lead to 114-112.

That set up Fournier’s clutch shot.

The Magic are now 2-1 against the Pacers (41-23) this season. Their Jan. 31 victory in Orlando snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Pacers, currently the No. 3 team in the East.

Bogdanovic finished with 25 points and Collison had 23 for the Pacers, who led 72-62 early in the third quarter.

The Pacers worked the Magic over for much of the game with their pick-and-roll game. When it wasn’t Collison working off the screen for jumpers, he was passing to the open screener. The Pacers shot at least 50 percent in each of the first three quarters.

But the Magic began to get stops in the fourth quarter, as they did Thursday against the Warriors.

The Pacers were 9-of-20 from the floor and scored 25 points in the period — their lowest quarter output of the game.

Magic coach Steve Clifford: Still no timetable for Markelle Fultz return

Magic coach Steve Clifford reiterated to reporters on Tuesday that there still is no timetable for when — or if — guard Markelle Fultz will play this season.

Clifford also sought to clear up some comments he made Monday to Jared Greenberg and Brendan Haywood on SiriusXM NBA Radio.

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During the interview, Clifford said it is unlikely that Fultz will play this season as he works his way back from a shoulder injury. During his pregame media session before Tuesday’s game against the 76ers, Clifford walked back on that comment.

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there’s no timetable on that right now,” Clifford said.

“Until he gets his shoulder strengthened, he won’t be with us,” Clifford said.

When asked specifically if there is a timetable for Fultz’s return, Clifford said no.

“We’re just waiting,” he said. “We’re not doing anything until his shoulder gets 100 percent. I mean he will eventually [join us], but we don’t really have a timeline for that.”

Fultz, the No. 1 pick in the pick in the 2017 draft, was acquired in a Feb. 7 trade with the 76ers that sent reserve forward Jonathon Simmons and two draft picks to Philadelphia.

Fultz hasn’t played since Nov. 19 and was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome in his right shoulder in early December. Fultz, who shoots right-handed, went to Los Angeles to begin therapy and rehabilitation on his shoulder in early December and that work continues.

The Magic have maintained contact with Fultz during his rehab work, Clifford said.

Fultz played in just 33 games during two injury-filled seasons in Philadelphia, and never had the chance to show off the skills that made him a top draft pick. Fultz has averaged 20.6 minutes during those two seasons, scoring 7.7 points per game and shooting 41.4 percent.

Fultz has averaged 8.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists in his 19 games this season.

Lonzo Ball, Lakers’ interior defense missing in first half of Florida trip

ORLANDO — It was “Classic Night” in Orlando on Saturday; the Orlando Magic went with old-school video graphics and in-game music, as well as sweet vintage Shaquille O’Neal and Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway uniforms from the 1990s.

As it turns out, the Los Angeles Lakers decided to participate to some degree, throwing back their defense to the start of this season, when they were horrible, as opposed to how they had been playing much improved defense more recently.
Making matters worse for the Lakers was the fact that Lonzo Ball struggled badly offensively and went scoreless with Rajon Rondo out in a 130-117 Magic rout of the Lakers at Amway Center on Saturday night.
On Sunday night, LeBron James returns to Miami, and he certainly hopes the Lakers and Ball will play better against the team of his old friend Dwyane Wade and former boss Pat Riley. It’ll be the first of two straight return games for James, who visits the Cleveland Cavaliers next Wednesday for the first time since signing with the Lakers in free agency.

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“After the first quarter, we were pretty bad defensively,” said James, who had 22 points and seven assists but watched the entire fourth quarter from the bench as the Lakers never cut Orlando’s lead below double digits. “We had a lot of breakdowns, uncharacteristic of us as of late.

“But give Orlando credit. They put us in positions where Wholesale jerseys
they just kind of took advantage of not being in the right spots defensively,” James added.

The Lakers had their four-game winning streak snapped in defenseless fashion. The Lakers (8-7) opened the first quarter looking like a team that had won six of its previous seven games, scoring 31 points in the first quarter. But their defense collapsed after that, looking like the defense that surrendered an average of 120 points per game in the first 10 games of the season.

“There were a lot of things that hurt us tonight,” James said. “It’s not just one thing.”

D.J. Augustin was the latest quick guard to expose the Lakers’ defense, scoring 18 of his 22 points and hitting 7 of 8 shots over the second and third quarters. By the time Augustin was done flying by Lakers guards, the Magic were up 100-81 entering the fourth.

Nikola Vucevic also toasted the Lakers for game highs of 36 points and 13 rebounds, forcing Lakers coach Luke Walton to try to go small when Vucevic was hitting outside shots and the Lakers’ defensive center duo of JaVale McGee and Tyson Chandler was ineffective.

Magic fall 115-112 to Trail Blazers without injured Aaron Gordon

Another lead, another loss for the Orlando Magic.

Sure, it makes no sense, but the Magic have made a habit this season of gaining momentum and rolling up double-digit advantages only to watch the opposition pick them apart like apples off a tree.

The Portland Trail Blazers were the latest foe to turn the tables on the Magic, and Damian Lillard was the culprit this time as Portland rallied to topple the Magic 115-112.

Monday it was Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson rallying cheap nba jerseys china
the Golden State Warriors back from an 18-point hole against Orlando to win the game.

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On Wednesday, Lillard scored 27 of his game-high 41 points in the second half as the Blazers not only rallied from an 11-point third-quarter deficit but went on to take an 11-point lead of their own, and the Magic were playing keep-up the rest of the way.

And just like Monday, when the Magic needed shots to overtake Lillard and the Blazers, they couldn’t hit them.

Orlando tied the game with 2:56 remaining with a pair of Jonathon Simmons free throws 108-108. But they would only score two more field goals the rest of the way while the Blazers rattled of a 10-4 run with the help of some energy from the hometown crowd.

Magic head coach Steve Clifford was not pleased after the game and addressed the media for all of about 40 seconds before walking off.

“We got to get some loose balls. We gotta block out once in a great while. They hammered us on the glass. They beat us to every loose ball, which is a major weakness for our team,” Clifford said. “We got out-efforted on anything tough, so we play hard with the things that come natural to us. We moved the ball. We had good energy. We gotta get tougher. That’s it. That’s it.”

For the second straight game, Orlando got crushed on the boards, outrebounded by a 47-37 margin by the Blazers.

But two of the biggest plays of the game came on simple miscues, and Evan Fournier was quick to own up to how detrimental his two turnovers were inside the final one-and-a-half minutes.

Fournier scored with 1:34 remaining to pull Orlando within 111-110 with 2.33 left in the game, and on three consecutive trips following that bucket the Magic had chances to take the lead. Instead, it was three straight turnovers.

Jonathan Isaac was called for a three-second lane violation and then Fournier made two incredibly uncharacteristic plays in throwing bad passes that Portland would eventually convert on the other end. Lillard hit a 3-pointer after the final turnover by Fournier, and then iced the game with four straight free throws down the stretch.

“We had the opportunity to win and I turned the ball over twice. That’s the kind of plays you gotta make if you’re gonna win in this league,” Fournier said. “I had one drive, I passed it to Vooch too short and the other one, I get a rebound and I pass it to D.J. [Augustin] but too late. When you’re down one with 40 seconds left, you just gotta make plays.

“I feel I’m responsible for that one because we were in a good position to win.”

Fournier said it was much more about what the Magic didn’t do than what Lillard was doing.

“They set some really good screens on the perimeter to get him open and he got hot, very hot,” Fournier said. “We had the opportunity to win. It doesn’t matter if Damian Lilliard has 40 or not … He’s terrific, don’t get me wrong, but the game was still winable.”

The Magic were missing Aaron Gordon, who sat out with lower-back tightness and pain and the absence would be felt for the Magic. WIth Gordon in the game, the Magic could have thrown more bodies at Lillard, but as it were, Lillard had plenty of open space in hitting 10 3-pointers.

Nikola Vucevic scored 20 points and had eight rebounds while the Magic had six players in double figures. Fournier had 17 points and Isaac, who started in place of Gordon, scored 16 and had seven rebounds as the Magic slipped to 10-12.

Orlando now heads to Phoenix where it will complete this five-game western-states road trip looking to at least end on a positive note. So far the Magic are 1-3 on the trip and have fallen two games below .500 with a 10-12 mark.

Knicks Trade Rumors: Frank Ntilikina Targeted by Magic

If the New York Knicks are ever willing to field trade offers for young guard Frank Ntilikina, the Orlando Magic may be among the teams in the bidding.

According to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic, “Teams remain curious about the 2017 lottery pick, who is raw offensively but already a stout, long-limbed, defensive player who has shown advanced skill there. The Magic have shown interest in the 20-year-old, according to a league source, with a scout in Philadelphia last night watching him.”

In New York, head coach David Fizdale is still experimenting Cheap Orlando Magic Jerseys
with the rotations and playing time for both the team’s young guns and more seasoned veterans. In the process, the 20-year-old Ntilikina is averaging just 5.9 points and 2.7 assists in 23.1 minutes per game.

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A number of guards have seen playing time for New York this season, including Damyean Dotson, Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke, Allonzo Trier, Emmanuel Mudiay and Ron Baker. And with Courtney Lee set to return from injury at some point as well, New York’s guard rotation isn’t wanting for options.

So Ntilikina continues to fight for playing time, though it’s hard to imagine the Knicks would give up on him so soon. At the very least, he still projects to be an excellent defensive player on the perimeter.

Ntilikina would fit with the vision of Orlando general manager John Hammond, who has targeted size and length for the Magic in the team’s rebuild. The 6’6″ Ntilikina would certainly check that box on the perimeter, though questions remain if he’ll ever develop a perimeter jumper.

His 30 percent shooting from three to this point in his career remains a concern, as does his 35.7 percent shooting from the field. There may be a role for a defensively solid, playmaking point guard in the league, but Ntilikina’s upside is tied to the consistency of his jumper.