28. So They Lost: The View from Orlando


"It is Tuesday morning, the 11th of September and you will not forget this date."

I watched something really scary on TV after the Blazer game. The History Channel had a documentary on the 2001 World Trade Center attack — no corny narration, just real-time cut-cut-cut-cut-cut-cut from dozens of cameras on the scene and around the city. Official photographers and citizen cameras on the streets, chopper video and police emergency radio, news camera outtakes and random snippets of sight and sound.

Confusion and panic. Frantic calls to 911. A woman on the street crying in fear.

You survey the scene from a nearby window, home movie looking up at the damage, a tower burning above. Suddenly BOOOMMM!!! — a fireball so sudden and so massive that it makes you jump off the couch and bite your tongue.

Holy shit.


We're with the FDNY soldiers massing to go in. Cops bullying civilians out of the danger zone.

"What's that falling — is that a person? OH MY GOD!!!  No. Way."

People are jumping to their deaths rather than burning alive.

Now we're in an elevator, trying to get away. Everyone is scared with us.

And you the viewer know those buildings are coming down...

It's all in real time. Real sounds. True horror.

The towers are burning, both of them.

Then with an unearthly shriek of metal and the rumble of an earthquake explodes the mushroom cloud of the first collapsed tower.

A voice narrates news footage: "There is panic on the streets — thousands of people running up Church Street, trying to get away."

We see it from a 3rd floor apartment window — a rolling cloud of cement dust and debris. Beautiful from a distance, menacing as it approches, terrifying as it hits. Blackout...

It's Tuesday morning. Welcome to Pompeii.

The rain of rubble as the rolling bank of dirt catches the fleeing crowd and dirt envelops the lens.

"Help me. Help me. Somebody."

Cut. We're a block away in a hallway, trying to escape. We're in the street. There's no air. Trapped in the lobby and scared.

A newsman speaks: "The building, we can say, is not where it was 10 minutes ago."

We're with the firemen in the other building. They're covered with grime. Alarm bells are ringing. They're in shock. They're calling loved ones to let them know they weren't in the building that collapsed. Many of them will soon be in the other tower that collapses, we realize.

Now we're in Hoboken, looking across the Hudson River through a window. Grey and black smoke stream into the wind. There is only one tower standing.

We make the discovery through the viewfinder of a home video camera. "It's gone. It's gone. Linda, do you know how many people work in those buildings? There are 30 or 40,000 people that work in those buildings! And it's gone."

Suddenly we're on the street. Fellow fire fighters trying to catch their breath, washing their mouths out with saline solution from the emergency units. Wheezing and choking, searching desperately for water.

And you know the other tower is coming down next...

The devastation looks like the aftermath of a nuclear attack or a moonscape.

It is really, really bad.

So the Blazers lost to the Magic Saturday night.

It's only a basketball game. They'll play again tomorrow.

Big deal.



Here's an old interview from July 2007 with Steve Blake and Nate McMillan talking about their "special bond" between player and coach. This might  be a bit illuminating as to why Blake continues to get 113 minutes a game regardless of his scoring output or the team's personnel situation.


Now here's some not-quite-so-old video, Jerryd Bayless commenting on Brandon Roy and his status in the NBA after Roy went off for a career high 52 points against the Phoenix Suns on Dec. 18, 2008. The Grasshopper has been learning well...




As part of my Don't Trust And Verify policy towards Nate McMillan's substitution patterns, here's a blow-by-blow of Jerryd Bayless's game in Orlando.

First Quarter.

12:00 — Blazers are wearing their alternate red uniforms. Starting guards are Andre and Roy. Rex sits.

9:30 — Mike Rice with his first "He Can Do That." .............. DRINK!!!

5:42 — First time out. Jerryd joins crowd in watching highly delicious Orlando cheerleaders shake it in Santa-themed miniskirts. Watches Coach Nate install Steve Blake as first Guard off the bench.

4:01 — Blake goes dribble dribble dribble into the key, around the key, through the key a la Steve Nash before finishing with a pretty little reverse layup. Nice. Score 17-11 Blazers.

3:10 — MB announces that Rex is at the scorer's table and will come in on next dead ball.

2:37 — Portland timeout is called by Monty Williams acting as a proxy since Nate is glued to a chair by Doctor's orders. Rex and Juwan are in the game. On the first offensive possession, Rex is stationed at the top of key, with Blake playing the "Portland."

2:10 — Rex carries the ball up floor for the first time. His pass is tipped underneath the hoop. Turnover.

1:30 — Rex and Juwan play a 2-man game on the right side. Rex takes a contested 10 foot bank shot. Too hard and off. 0-for-1.

0:25 — J.J. Redick drains a wide open 3. Not sure who's cover that was, nobody was even in his area code due to overhelping on defense.

0:05 — Sweet pass by Rex to an open Dante Cunningham, who is long with the open 14 foot look. Horn sounds. BLAZERS 21, MAGIC 19.


Second Quarter

11:18 — Rex rebounds, goes coast-to-coast. Gortat caps him at the rim and crushes him going out of bounds. Side out to Portland. Rex is now 0-for-2.

11:00 — Blake carrying the ball, Rex playing SG. Rex with a nice pass from under the bucket, finding an open Marty, for an open 3. Brick.

10:35 — Rex from the top of the key, ball rattles around and out. Nice shot, tough break — life can be like that. Rex now 0-for-3 from the field.

9:40 — Rex with the 18 footer over Anthony Johnson. Rex claps his hands together in celebration. Maybe Portland's cold streak is over. Rex is up to 1-for-4.

6:28 — Bayless drives the lane, getting by Reddick but with Gortat  playing goalie. The shot is altered and missed, but a whistle is blown and Rex to line with foul on Redick. Jerryd calmly hits 2 to bring Portland back to within 1, despite the team shooting 38%.

6:13 — 6-time All Star Vince Carter gets the mismatch with Rex. Rex tries to "pull the chair" on him, but gets called for a reaching foul instead. The Mikes think it's a missed traveling call. I'm not sure about that, but Rex definitely whacked him a little. Vince hits 2.

5:40 — Bayless blocks a Johnson shot and runs, quickly receiving an outlet pass. He drives the floor and tries to get it to the hole. But he's out of position on the shot, too far out for a layup, and the shot misses. Fortunately Rex hustles back under the hoop and grabs his own rebound to keep the play alive for Portland. Bayless goes fast and misses the putback Roy is now there to grab the missed bunny and put it back in the hole. Rex is now 1-for-6, but that was good hustle there. It  won't show in the stats though. Portland thus retakes the lead 33-32 in a low-scoring game deemed "ugly" by Mike Barrett.

5:25 — Rex helping Juwan double-teaming Superman in the paint. Blazers live to tell the tale.

4:10 — Excellent D by Rex, who successfully guards two different guys on the perimeter. Nice. Ends in a Carter clanker. Anthony Carter is now 1-for-10.

3:10 — Howard sets a pick and Bayless slips going around. The result is a wide open bucket for the Magic.

1:35 — Rex carries the ball up the floor. He finds a good pick and pop shot from the top of the key. Money.

1:10 — Rex drives to the hoop. Loses the handle. MB calls a foul, nobody else does. Turnover 2 for him.

0:30 — Rex splits coverage at the perimeter, and drives awkwardly. He is fouled and misses the prayer he chucks up at the rim. His quickness successfully gets the Blazers a 2-for-1 possession opportunity to finish the half. Rex hits them both and now has 8 points for the game.

0:04 — Rex hits a beauty pull-up 18-footer, a money shot over J.J. Redick. Rex finishes the half in double figures, boys and girls. At the half: BLAZERS 44, MAGIC 39.


Third Quarter.

15:00 — Nate back to the starting lineup, with Andre at the 1 and Roy at the 2.

6:10 — Portland color commentator Mike Rice once again confuses December, the 12th month, with Denver, a city in Colorado. Always the professional, The Wild One seamlessly manages to assign blame for this error on the fact that both nouns begin with the letter D.

4:19 — Blake first guard off the bench. He replaces Pryzbilla.(!!!) Nate is running: Andre, Blake, Roy, Marty (shooting 1-for-8), and LMA at "Center" — vs. Dwight Howard.(!!!) Note to self: investigate drug-testing policies for NBA coaches. Possible angle: is Coach gobbling extra pain meds for his blown achilles? Matchup King Stan Van Gundy loads up on 3 point shooters, anticipating non-stop doubleteams of Superman by undersized and overmatched Blazers.

3:31 — Rex enters game during a dead ball created by a LMA floor foul.

3:19 — Rex garners a tipped rebound. Blazers turn over the ball on the other end. Magic comes roaring back down the floor and retake the lead. This is not going to end well, is it?

2:10 — Rex spins and drives the lane against Dwight Howard. Rex misses. Howard smashes Rex in the head with his follow-through like a naughty junior high kid whacking a jack-o-lantern off a cinderblock wall. No call. It must be nice to be a superstar with your own personal referees.

0:55 — Rex does a beautiful job fighting back and forth through repeated picks, staying with J.J. Redick. They finally get the mismatch they want, with the ball in 6'9" Rashard Lewis's hands, but Rex still hangs tough. Lewis shoots a contested bomb over Rex — the ball bounds off the rim and the Blazers recover.

0:01.6 — Redick takes an inbounds pass and swishes a gorgeous trey over Rex, who is a step slow to close. Horn sounds. Gotta get right in his grill with no time on the clock there, buddy... It's the end of the 3rd and we have a tie game. This does not look good. BLAZERS 65, MAGIC 65.


Fourth Quarter.

15:00 — Rex in from the start. Give Nate this much credit: he's playing Bayless a ton tonight.

9:32 — Highly questionable loose ball foul on Przybilla during a scrap for a rebound.. Again: it must be nice to be a superstar with your own personal refs... Redick scores on the extra opportunity to take the lead for Orlando, 72-70.

7:37 — Johnson posts up Rex again. Rex goes for a charge-draw and gets called for the block on a very unconvincing flop. Johnson hits a pair and Orlando leads by 3.

7:25 — High pick and roll. Rex drives the lane and gets capped by Matt Barnes, but LMA is there to gather the rebound and is fouled on the put-back. LMA promptly splits a pair and Orlando still leads by 2.

7:10 — Redick gets picked off by Rex, who runs. Redick catches him from behind and stops the layup by knocking the ball out of bounds.

6:30 — Blazers running, Blake with an oop lob to Rex from just inside midcourt. Rex, not expecting the ball, flubs the high risk pass, which seems a touch off. The insurance adjuster would probably give 70% responsibility for that turnover to Blake for the decision and the throw and 30% to Rex for mucking things up. The Magic capitalize off the miss, utterly predictably, racing to nail a quick open-look 3 on the other end. Ugh. HUGE swing of momentum there.

5:11 — Orlando outhustles Portland (i.e. LMA) on the glass, to push up their tide-turning run to 7-0. Memo to Coach Nate: You might want to try using a Center during crunch time. Just an idea. You're welcome.

5:00 — Rex dribbles upcourt, penetrates, kicks to a wide open Blake from behind the arc. Blake misses, at least the third Rex assist clanked away this evening. Orlando hits for a bucket on the other end. Ugh.

4:25 — Roy to Rex, who misses a contested 3 from the left side. Portland stands 2-for-14 from downtown on the evening. Orlando runs down and scores again against no paint defense to extend their run to 11-0. This game is almost over.

3:31 — Pietrus hits to stretch the lead to 11. Magic are outscoring Portland 22-11 in the 4th Quarter. FAIL.

2:38 — Down 11, Blazers are still running. Roy finds Rex behind the arc. He misses again. Blazers have still scored only 13 points in the final frame.

1:34 — Down 12 points, Nate is still coaching. Blazers are working on a team-record-low 5 assists for the evening... A historic evening, this.

1:31 — Rex drives the lane out of the time out. Howard caps him brutally. Clean block. I don't think Rex going 1-on-1 on Superman is a particularly viable offensive strategy.

0:52 — Blake hits an assisted fadeaway 3, the first field goal for the Blazers in 6:04. MB, appropriately: "You're not going to have a drought like that on the road and live to tell about it."

Final Score: MAGIC 92, BLAZERS 83.


Final Assessment: Rex was unable to get to the rim successfully against Orlando, a team which has 2 true Centers to play goalie nonstop. SVG did not match McMillan in going small, to his advantage. Rex's "take it to the rack" game clearly seems best suited for use against small ball teams. Rex didn't shoot well tonight and he wasn't alone in that department, unfortunately.

Rex's stats:

2 Point Shooting: 3-for-11 (27.3%)

3 Point Shooting: 0-for-2 (0.0%)

Free Throw Shooting: 4-for-4 (100%)

4 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 2 Turnovers.

PPP as I have been calculating it thus far = 0.588 = "stinky."


This loss wasn't all on Rex though. Marty was 1-for-11, scoring 2 points. LMA was 1-for-6, scoring 3 points — pulling down exactly ONE rebound. Those are 40% of the starters there... Yikes.


Well, that's all the recap I feel like writing about this one. Let's pull out our trusty Popcorn Machine GAMEFLOW SUMMARY and see if we can discern past reality in a new context. Go ahead and click that link, if you'd be so kind.

Observation 1: Three quite even quarters and then the better team won. Blazers went on an 11-0 tailspin midway through the 4th Quarter that cooked their goose. Mouseketeers roll call for that collapse: Bayless, Blake, Roy, LMA, and a mix of Marty and Miller.

Observation 2: The 4th Quarter collapse started exactly when Nate pulled his goalie. While that emergency offensive strategy worked fine when the Blazers desperately needed to make up ground against Phoenix, it proved to be a massive coaching fail on this night. Will Nate learn from this mistake? Probably not.

Observation 3: Steve Blake racked up 9 points in the 4th Quarter, leading the Blazers, who had difficulty buying a bucket. They ended up getting beat 27-18 in the final frame.

Forward and onward...


Now please put on a fedora or other appropriate piece of headgear and join me in watching THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD. Since there was no show Saturday or Sunday and since you've already been force-fed the Friday episode, I've decided to delve into the TBJ Archives. Here is their first ever "video podcast," Episode 330 from October 29, 2008. Small NSFBF (Not Suitable For Blazer Fans) Warning: this show took place right after the Blazers got blown out by the Lakers in the season opener, with Greg Oden going down with a foot injury.


Ha ha, prescient... Those Nets were indeed a surprise...

Well, that wasn't particularly retro, was it? I'll make it up to ya, I promise... Here's a little snippet of documentary from 1991 on the first wave LA punk band The Dickies, featuring frontman Leonard Graves Phillips and guitarist Stan Lee. (Mild NSW warning.)

"Nights in White Satin" + "You Drive Me Ape" + "Just Say Yes" + "Fan Mail" + "Poodle Party"

Well, let's get on with it, shall we? It's time to take a sprint around the block to see what the bloggers and journalists of the Magic kingdom and writing about their guys...



Orlando Magic Rally to Beat Portland Trail Blazers: Fourth-quarter rally with 11-0 run allows Orlando to improve to 20-7

by Brian Schmitz, Orlando Sentinel

With Vince Carter misfiring badly on Saturday night, J.J. Redick continued to look like the guy who really did star in a shooting video once upon a time.

Redick made 5-of-9 shots for 12 points to lead a timely bench effort that offset Carter's 1-of-14 nightmare, helping the Orlando Magic beat the Portland Trail Blazers 92-83.

Redick then dished up some post-game analysis that might have been as dead-on as his shot.

"I don't even know what our record means," Redick said. "Yeah, you go, 'We're 20-7!' Part of me then says, 'We're not that good.' I don't know. It shows our inconsistency." * * *



Orlando Magic Guard Vince Carter Now Finds Himself in the Middle of a Shooting Slump

by Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel

Vince Carter's performance against the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday looks disastrous on the stat sheet. He made one of his 14 shot attempts from the field and recorded his worst shooting night as a member of the Orlando Magic. He also finished with just nine points.

But as the clock wound down in the Magic's 92-83 victory over the Trail Blazers, Carter offered a sign that his shooting slump might be a short one.

He displayed a sense of humor. As he stood at the free-throw line with 1:34 remaining in Saturday's game, a fan sitting courtside yelled a line from the movie The Waterboy. "You can do it!" the fan said in a faux Cajun accent.

Carter smiled just before he released the basketball. Then, he made the shot. It's that kind of perspective that could help him rebound from his current slump. * * *



Orlando Magic Happy to Get an Ugly Win

by Tania Gangull, Orlando Sentinel Magic Basketblog

It was ugly, yes it was. Nobody was denying that in the locker room on Saturday night after the Magic beat the Portland Trail Blazers, 92-83.

But that they had to fight through bad shooting and sloppy turnovers to win this game pleased the Orlando Magic.

"These are the games you have to be able to win," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We won one up in Boston earlier in the year, we won one today. You have to be able at times to just win with your defense and your will."  *  *  *



Orlando Magic 92, Portland Trail Blazers 83

by Ben Q Rock, Orlando Pinstripe Post (SBN)

The Orlando Magic's team-wide effort and energy proved to be enough for them to defeat the undermanned Portland Trail Blazers, 92-83, on Saturday night.

The Magic, for the most part, executed their offense and got the looks they wanted, but the shots tended not to drop. Just ask Vince Carter, who missed 13 of his 14 shots en route to a 9-point night. Rashard Lewis led Orlando in scoring with 15 points, while Dwight Howard scored 12, blocked 4 shots, and grabbed 20 rebounds, propelling Orlando to a decisive 54-35 edge on the glass. Brandon Roy scored 33 for Portland, including 15 of the Blazers' 20 in the third quarter as they unsuccessfully tried to maintain their halftime lead. * * *

Curiously, the Blazers finished wth 7 assists on their 29 made field goals, with 7 different players tallying 1 assist each. For a team that, as Magic coach Stan Van Gundy noted earlier today, can play 3 point guards at a time--Steve Blake, Miller, and Roy--that's a jarring stat. * * *



Magic Get Defensive Against Blazers

by Philip Rossman-Reich, Orlando Magic Daily (TrueHoop)

J.J. Redick came off a screen and received a sharp bounce pass from Matt Barnes. He calmly drained the 3-pointer as he had done millions of times at Duke and had earned him a spot in the NBA and the promise to keep him hanging around the league. The three tied the game entering the fourth quarter and seemingly awoke a stagnant offense.

Orlando went on an 11-0 run in the fourth quarter and overcame the team's poor shooting and Vince Carter's poor night to upend Portland 92-83 on Saturday night at Amway Arena. In the process, the Magic held the Trail Blazers to a franchise opponent low seven assists.

This game was not for the faint of heart as both teams struggled mightily offensively and relied on their defenses to provide the spark. Probably exactly the test that Stan Van Gundy would want after a stretch of games where the defensive effort was not always there -- especially at the beginning of games. But tonight, Orlando had the defensive effort early and kept it up throughout the game even with the shots not falling. * * *



Game review: Magic (20-7) 92, TrailBlazers (16-12) 83

by Mike from Illinois, Orlando Magic Blog (Blogspot)

The Magic overcame a sluggish night offensively and a game-high 33 points from Portland's Brandon Roy with an otherwise tremendous defensive effort against Portland as the Magic pulled away in the final quarter. * * *

  • Four players scored in double figures for the Blazers, led by Brandon Roy's 33 points on 13 of 27 FG shooting.
  • The Magic's Vince Carter had his worst shooting game of the season, going 1 for 14, but made 7 of 8 FTs for 9 points.
  • The Blazers' starting backcourt (Roy, Andre Miller) outscored the Magic starting backcourt (Carter, Williams) 49-22.
  • Other than Roy and Miller, the rest of the Blazers shot a combined 11 of 41. * * *



Amazing Fact Revealed by Magic Fan

posted by "dxwwf3" to Magic Madness message board

Huge win tonight. We didn't get a single solitary call tonight and still found a way to win.



Magic Grind Out Victory Over Blazers

by Andrew Melnick, Howard the Dunk (Fansided)

It wasn't easy and it wasn't pretty but the Magic came away with a 92-83 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers Saturday night. This was an ugly game to watch. Poor shooting and turnovers were the story of the game on both sides. Each played well on the defensive end. This was expected from the Blazers as they have been one of the elite defensive team so far this season. For the Magic, it was an excellent sign because they have had many problems on defense this season, especially as of late.

The Magic, much like they did in Thursday's night blowout loss to the Heat, came out very flat. The Magic didn't score until Jason Williams hit a jumper with 8:03 to play in the first quarter. It was much of the same in the second quarter. Portland took a 44-39 lead into the break. The Magic made just 13 field goals and shot 34.2% in the first half. They also turned the ball over 11 times. * * *

Orlando absolutely dominated the fourth quarter. The Blazers decided to play small ball and had three Point Guards in at the same time, Andre Miller, Steve Blake and Jerryd Bayless. The Magic took advantage by driving into the lane and grabbing every rebound in site. Orlando outrebounded Portland 16-5 in the final period. In the quarter, Orlando was 9-of-18 from the field and 8-of-10 from the free throw line while allowing the Blazers to make just five field goals. * * *



Great Gutty Win

posted by "Phoenixmolochia" to Real GM Magic message board

Great gutty win. Excellent defensive effort in the 4th quarter. Another classic 2009-2010 Magic victory. Coast for 3 quarters and lock down in the 4th.

Dwight David Howard was a beast on the boards tonight and JJ Redick was definitely sweater vest recipient. Vince was hot garbage and absolutely needs to pick it up. 10 points per game in the last 3 (although the Magic have won 2 of those 3) isn't going to cut it over the long haul. Too much biting on pump fakes by Pietrus tonight.



Good Win Against a Good Team

posted by "Prorl" to Real GM Magic message board

Good win against a good team despite their injurues.

The Magic showed better overall effort tonight compared to the last 5 games but we still played poorly for long stretches. We had way too many turnovers, specially in the first half and we were still settleling for too many jumpers.

If it wasent for Jason Williams keeping us in the game in the first half the Magic probably would have been down by 15 in the first half. Then JJ put us on his back in the second half.

Dwight did a real good job scaring people from driving into the lane.

I am still waiting for the Magic to show a more consistant effort on both ends. I want to see more ball movement and penentration on offense. I dont mind Carter taking outside shots but he is setteling way too much. He needs to be more aggressive penetrating, its annoying to see him jack up long jumper after long jumper. I want to see us post up Lewis more.

I want to see us box people out in rebounds. Even Dwight let 2 rebs get away from him because he didnt box out. One he just let bounce on the floor and Miller grabed it and easily layed it in. Then he had position on a reb but he somehow let a slower Przybilla get around him for a reb. On another possesion there were 4 Magic players around the basket and one Por player and somehow we let the Por guy get the reb.

We did seem to play more energetic defense but that needs to be more consisntant, not occasional.


The Bottom Line:

1. Nice win for our guys.

2. Kudos to J.J. for knocking down big shots and to Dwight for guarding the paint like a beast.

3. Good teams win 4th Quarters and tonight's game was no contest.


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