After a year full of drama, the Orlando Magic were stunned by Dwight Howard suddenly accepting his players' option for the 2012-13 season. Which buys them more time for this season, but repeats the drama for the following year.
Meanwhile they face a weird Nuggets team that is coming off a victory. Good times folks.
Denver: 28-24 (13-12 on the road)
Streak: Won 1
Orlando: 32-20 (18-9 at home)
Streak: Lost 2
Denver: Danilo Gallinari (fractured left thumb) is out. Andre Miller (separated right shoulder) is playing with some sort of superman padding.
Orlando: No injuries listed, although Dwight Howard sat out Saturday's practice with a sore back
Season Series: 0-0
Opposition's Take: Orlando Pinstriped Post
At one point this season you just had to feel sympathy for the Orlando Magic as a Nuggets fan. You star wants out, demanded a trade (allegedly) and the season becomes enveloped in drama. That sound familiar? However, things changed dramatically and ... well ... a bit oddly when Dwight suddenly opted in to the final year of his contract and placed a weird halt to the proceedings for this season.
This is where the sympathy for the Orlando Magic ends, as far as I'm concerned. While playing admirably well while the potential for Dwight to be traded hung in the air, the team (while not "great") played with some determination and urgency. Since he's opted in, however, the Magic have been weird and sub par. Including an epic beat down by the New York Knicks where the Magic only had 49 points at the end of three quarters. Are you kidding me?
So strange that a team gets a reprieve for a month and just loses it's focus. Part of the problem is the ever emotional Stan Van Gundy. His rants have increased this season, and it seems like he has lost Dwight Howard completely. Jameer Nelson (Denver Nuggets erstwhile draft pick) looks to have regressed. Hedo Turkoglu is another year older, and another year not as good as he was in 2008. Ryan Andersen shoots alot of three pointers, which means that he will most likely go off on the Nuggets.
With all the Magic's issues, the fact remains that they are still a good team ... and one that the Nuggets will struggle mightily with. Particularly on the road. The Nuggets have struggled winning in Orlando, including last season when Jameer Nelson's desperation three point shot went in at the buzzer, beating the Nuggets towards the end of the year. This is a team that is capable of "turning it on" particularly with a player the likes of Dwight Howard.
Nuggets of Wisdom
Not sure I can adequately explain this team anymore. We, apparently, have a coach in George Karl who is as confused about how to field a lineup as we fans are ... THAT is disappointing. Yet, this is a team that is capable of beating a team like, oh I dunno ... the Chicago Bulls on the road. Then lose to the Toronto Raptors. Explain that one to me! Anyway, this team is young and confusing.
JaVale McGee troubles me. The Nuggets offense seems quite out of sync when he's out there, and he tends to mix the bad plays in with the good. It will be interesting to see him match up with Dwight. I've never seen their matchups in Washington so this may be a treat. Dwight is a much more heady player than JaVale but our McGee seems to have the length to match up with Orlando. Speaking of big men, nice to see Kosta Koufos get off the bench. There's some bad warning signs with Timofey Mozgov and he needs to not see the court till he figures out where he needs to be.
Aside from that, there's not much to say. Ty Lawson needs to stay aggressive. Arron Afflalo needs to keep making shots, and Wilson Chandler needs to start contributing in a meaningful way. Seriously. Chandler will make a couple baskets in a row, and you're thinking "hey, he may break out tonight" then he chucks up a few contested long two pointers and then is a complete non factor the rest of the way. I do like his defense however.
Early game today. GO NUGGETS!!
Song of the game
This will be a new feature with my previews. We are starting with Make 'em say Uhh by Master P. Now, people complain about my musical selections so I'm going to start mixing in some hip hop into the previews along with my own taste in music. That being said - this video is absolutely ridiculous. What the F**k is with that tank? I'd have a hard time dancing and waving my hand around while there's a platinum tank shooting crap around me. Man, apparently they weren't playing any defense, and they had gorillas dunking. GORILLAS! Yes, it's the Suns mascot. That's not the point. This video is asinine! If someone came in with a tank I'd get the hell out of there, and at the very least I'd have a hard time appreciating the music.
Master P "Make'em Say UGH" (via BVMUndergroundHipHop)