Quick n’ Dirty on the Orlando winning streak

Quick and Dirty segments are largely stat free posts about situations that deserve substantial statistical exposition.  Right now it might seem like they all have to do with the Orlando Magic, but that’s due to small sample size.

Since the December 18 trade that reshaped the Orlando Magic, the team has been on a roll.  They’ve won seven of nine, and seven in a row.  For a team that was in a tailspin before the trade, that’s impressive stuff.  The streak started out with two stirring victories, breaking long winning streaks by the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs, two of the three best teams in the NBA.

This has led to a barrage of coverage about how the trade has re-energized the Magic.  This is undeniable.  The focus however, is misplaced; it’s been on the new guys.  In fact, the new additions to the Magic’s roster, Hedo Turkoglu, Gilbert Arenas and Jason Richardson haven’t made a dramatic difference.  Instead the difference has been less television friendly.  The trade reshaped the rotation so that all star center Dwight Howard is getting more touches, and two of the Magic’s best unsung players, Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderson are getting more playing time which they are using well.  Another major difference is that the trades rid the Magic’s roster of two of its least productive players.  Rashard Lewis and Mikael Pietrus; between them they took 17 shots a night while combining for a putrid shooting percentage of 38.2.  People like to blame Vince Carter for the Magic’s pre trade woes, but Michael Jordan in his prime would have trouble winning when 40% of the lineup is playing like that. Replacing Lewis and Pietrus with Bass who has been excellent and Hedo who has been average (a substantial upgrade over the man he replaced) while giving Anderson more minutes off the bench have made the Magic into a potent team.

How potent? We’re about to find out.  Although the winning streak began with impressive victories, the rest of the streak is chock full of wins over the likes of the New Jersey Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors.  The Magic’s sked is about to get a lot tougher.  During the next two weeks, they play at Dallas, at New Orleans, at Oklahoma City and at Boston.  By the evening of Martin Luther King Day, we’ll really know what to make of the reconfigured Magic.



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About jmartin437

I've worked in and around the world of high end cheese for 27 years. I've been everything from a department manager who hired and fired and trained staffs to a weekend warrior who shows up ties on an apron the middle of a rush and talks to customers and cleans up the place. I enjoy it all, and I especially like my current situation conducting informal seminars about cheese at area bars and in class at the 92nd St. Y. The current schedule is always up at thejoyofcheese.blogspot.com. In addition I conduct private events that are perfect to lead off birthday parties for foodies and sommeliers and also they make great entertainment for corporate team building events and associates meetings at law firms. In addition, I've been a freelance journalist for 27 years. Currently my profiles of leading musicians and filmmakers appear in the Wall Street Journal and www.theroot.com. I also wrote about sports for the Root, and for five loooong years, which included the entirety of the Isiah Thomas Knicks era, I wrote about the NBA for the New York Sun. I enjoyed writing about basketball so much that I now do it here at rotations for free.
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