Orlando Magic

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Missed phone call reason Shaquille O’Neal left Magic for Lakers?

Shaquille O''Neal

This title probably made you laugh. You probably contemplated whether or not this article was even worth clicking, right? Because, surely, that headline alone is enough to make me sound crazy for even writing this. Believe me when I say that even I believe that it sounds nuts, but former Magic forward, Horace Grant feels as if it’s God’s honest truth.

Grant was recently on The B.S. Report with Bill Simmons, and told Bill that back when he was member of the Orlando Magic, Shaq called him (just before signing with the Lakers), and Grant didn’t answer. Grant believes that something as simple as a missed call may have changed the landscape surrounding the Magic’s future.

“He called me, and I didn’t return his call, before he signed with the Lakers.” Grant said. “And to this day, I wish I had just answered that call, and maybe he still would have been in Orlando. I heard about it and saw it on the news, and it was like Mike Tyson hit me. You cannot recover from a guy that size, in his prime, that dominant to think you are going to win a championship. Absolutely not.”

If you don’t believe me, then you can listen for yourself.

So, is there any possible way that something that sounds so insane could actually be true? I honestly don’t have the answer to that question. As a Magic’ fan, I recall (even though I was only 12) the moment Shaq ditched the Sunshine State for the red carpets in Hollywood. Shaq made what had to have been a tough decision, based on the Magic’s excellent roster. A decision that eventually panned out, as Shaq and Kobe Bryant won three championships in a row in LA.

Horace also blames egos for the hostility between Shaq and Penny Hardaway. It’s a shame that two young, talented superstars like Shaq and Penny couldn’t work it out in Orlando. The possibilities were almost endless for that bunch.

27 And Counting, LeBron James’ Mega Dunks (Video)

lbj1As expected, another W for the Miami Heat as they march their way to consecutive win number 27 against the Orlando Magic, 108-94.  The Magic players are just trying to finish the season on a good note but it didn’t happen tonight.  The Magic fans, didn’t get opportunity to see Dwyane Wade, who missed his second straight game to rest a sore knee.  However, they did get to witness another spectacular performance from LeBron James as he was one rebound shy of another triple-double.

 

Here are two of LeBron’s dunks to that impressed the crowd Monday night in Orlando.

 

 

The second dunk was an ally-oop from Norris Cole; the video shows LBJ gently slamming on Beno Udrih.  It could have been worse, LeBron could have had a Jason Terry flashback!  Beno consider yourself blessed!

LeBron James 24 Pts, 9 Reb, 11 Ast, 1 Stl

 

The 7 John Doe’s of the NBA

How many times have you sat in front of the TV during the NBA draft and wondered who in the HELL did my team just draft.  What country is he from again?  Why did they draft him?  I’ve never heard of this guy, can he play?  Instead you always hear about international players being drafted and stashed for years to come.  What is our reaction?  “There goes another wasted pick”!   We could have had this player, who is ready to play right now.  Believe it or not, international players have proven very well in the states in recent years. Let’s take the San Antonio Spurs for example.  Tony Parker (Belgium) and Manu Ginobili (Argentina) have both been part of three NBA championships playing with the likes of the Virgin Island’s own Tim Duncan.  There are other superstars such as Dirk Nowitzki (the greatest international player of all-time), the Gasol brothers, Andrei Kirilenko and Andrea Bargnani who have all played at an all-star level after arriving in the NBA from a foreign country.  But there is a new crop of international players making their wave in the NBA today, a lot of whom NBA fans might not know.  The 7 “John Doe’s” of the NBA are:

7.  Omer Asik, Houston Rockets, Center, #3

Houston Rockets tried all summer to lure the likes of Dwight Howard to their organization at all costs.  Instead, Howard took his talents out west to LA LA land.  As a consolation prize they picked up a backup center named Omer Asik from the Chicago Bulls.  Who is second year OMER ASIK?  Hmmmm from Turkey?  He was an afterthought, especially when they made the blockbuster trade to acquire James Harden.  Have you seen his numbers?  No afterthought anymore. Mr. Asik, in his first game as a Rocket grabbed an astounding 19 rebounds against the Atlanta Hawks.  He did go scoreless, missing all seven of his attempts from the floor.  Since then, he has managed 4 double doubles in his last 7 games.  His early season average is 10.5 ppg, 12.9 rbs, and 1.3 blks a game.  James Harden maybe a sexier trade pickup but OMER ASIK is starting to turn some heads himself.

6. Kosta Koufos, Denver Nuggets , Center, #41

First off this Kosta Koufos is from America, go figure; but he is of Greek descent, and also plays for the Greek national team.  The 7 foot Koufos  played his college ball at The Ohio State University.  He could easily be part of the trivia question “Who was the guy to replace Greg Oden at OSU (then again, who is Greg Oden)”?  Kosta is in his fourth year in the NBA and has finally found a home in Denver after bouncing around from Utah, to the D-league, and then to Minnesota.  In his first six games of the season he is averaging 7.4 ppg, 6 rbs, and 1.9blks.  He has already posted his first double double of the year with 15 points and 10 rebounds in a game against the Utah Jazz.

5.  Nikola Pekovic, Minnesota Timberwolves, Center, #14

The Yugoslavian center started off playing in the Euroleague before making his way over to the Minnesota Timberwolves.  He enters his third season with the Timberwolves and has taken on a more active role since all-star Kevin Love has been out with an injury. Pekovic has shown that he can muscle with anyone in the low post as he is averaging 15.3ppg, 6 rbs, 1 blk in the first 7 games. Nikola also has two 20-point games so far.  The Timberwolves front court of Andrei Kirilenko and Nikola Pekovic will be even tougher when Kevin Love returns from an injury.

4.  Alexey Shved, Minnesota Timberwolves,  Point Guard, #1

Alexey Shved is a Russian born player who got his start in  professional basketball 2006… at the age of 16!  He is a member of the Russian national team and played majority of his professional ball in Moscow before joining the Minnesota Timberwolves.   Like his teammate Nikola Pekovic, Shved benefited  from an injury to Ricky Rubio, who is currently sidelined with a knee injury.  Shved is a 6’6″ versatile player that can play the 1 or the 2 guard.  He has range and a quick release.  He is currently averaging 9 ppg, 3.9 apg and 3.1 rb in 7 games.  His season highs so far are 16 points and 7 assists.  He is getting valuable experience in his first year as he is seeing around 22 minutes a game.

3.  Tiago Splitter, San Antonio Spurs, Power Forward, #22

This Brazilian basketball player is probably the most recognizable player out of the group.  Not for his play, but because the  ESPN’s personality Stephen A. Smith’s screams his name out in embarrassing fashion.  TTTIIIAAAGGGOOO SSSPPPLLLIIITTTEEERRR!!!!  I don’t know any team that recruits international players better than the San Antonio Spurs organization.  Splitter is in his second year with the Spurs and has earned the trust of coach Greg Popovich.  Tiago is averaging 6 ppg, 4 rbg and 0.9 blks while getting an average of 15 tough minutes a game.  In a game against the Lakers earlier this year he produced 9 points, 9 boards, 2 assists, 2 steals and 1 block shot.  He is getting valuable minutes in crunch time, and if Popovich endorses him then you know he can play.  Oh and one thing, Tiago…… Stephen A. Smith has given you enough motivation to take care of business!

2.  Greivis Vasquez, New Orleans Hornets,  Point Guard, #21This Venezuelan basketball star played college ball at Maryland University.   Greivis Vasquez was the top point guard in the country his senior year, receivi
ng the Bob Cousy Award.  The 6’6″ point guard was traded from Memphis in 2010 to run the point down there in New Orleans.  Vasquez is averaging 12.8 ppg, 8.8 apg and 4.2 rbg in 8 games. His signature game so far was 24 points, 9 assists and 5 rebounds against the Houston Rockets.   He is comfortable at the point guard position and should be able to put up consistent numbers from that position.

1. Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic, Center, #9

Nikola Vucevic played three years of college ball at USC.  The Switzerland native is in his second season in the NBA and was part of the Andrew Bynum/Dwight Howard trade this past summer.  The Orlando Magic franchise is benefiting from Vucevic’s strong early play.  After 8 games he is averaging 11.1ppg, 8.4rbg and 0.9 blks so far this season.  He has recorded 4 double doubles with his best game coming against the Phoenix Suns, when he managed to put up 18 points, 13 rebounds and 3 assists.

These players maybe average Joes right now; but each of them deserve some mentioning.  Which player do you think has a chance to be the next Dirk Nowitzki, Pau or Marc Gasol, Manu Ginobili or Anderson Varejao?

Carlos Boozer posterizes Glen Davis

You can tell that it just isn’t your night when Carlos Boozer, a big fella who generally settles for mid-range jumpers, lays down the law on your face. That is exactly happened to Glen “Big Baby” Davis on this play from Tuesday night’s Bulls/Magic game in Chicago.

This HUGE jam brought the Bulls within two points of the Magic, 42-40, with about 2 minutes to go in the first half. Aaron Afflalo fueled the Magic with 28 points, but the Magic couldn’t keep the Bulls on the porch as they rallied late to steal the victory on their home floor.

Luol Deng scored 23 points and Joakim Noah had 20 points to lead the Bulls to a 99-93 victory on Tuesday night and hand the Magic their first loss of the season. Carlos Boozer’s big dunk was just two of his 12 points, and he also grabbed 8 rebounds to help Chicago move to 3-1 on the season without star point guard, Derrick Rose.

“Big Baby” had a pretty solid game, despite this big yack. Davis finished with 16 points and 10 boards, but had his shot blocked 5 times.

Houston Rockets Twitter Follows Dwight Howard and Other Orlando Trade Pieces?

The trade speculation around Dwight Howard may be at an all time high. The latest development to this story? Check this out, Dwight Howard and other Magic teammates Jason Richardson, Glen Davis, and Chris Duhon were all followed by the official Houston Rockets twitter account last night. Consecutively.

Since he demanded a trade from the Orlando Magic, there have been countless rumors flying around regarding possible destinations for the league’s best center. The Nets, Lakers, Rockets, and Hawks have all been potential destinations.

After the Brooklyn Nets practically dropped out of the sweepstakes, the Houston Rockets still seem to be furiously looking for a way to bring Dwight Howard to Houston. They have the young talent and draft picks that could possibly make this work.

So what does this mean?

Maybe the Rockets have something in place. Maybe they’re just being optimistic. Or maybe it means nothing.

After the Nets pulled out of the running, Dwight Howard denied management’s request to give the new coaching staff in Orlando a shot for a year. He still wants to be dealt.

 

By: Mark Evans- Senior NBA Writer

 

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