Magic-Bulls Preview

Orlando Magic Status Check:
Record: 30-16
Division: 5-3
Conference: 20-8
Road Record: 13-10
Last game: Won 111-96 at Indiana
Last 10 Games: 6-4
PPG: 100.5 (11th)
Opponents PPG: 94.6 (6th)
Offensive Rating: 108.7 (11th)
Defensive Rating: 102.3 (5th)
Pace: 92.0 (17th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .528 (2nd)
Turnover Percentage: .142 (23rd)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .774 (1st)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .252 (20th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .226 (15th)
Opp. eFG%: .481 (6th)
Opp. TO%: .133 (18th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .223 (9th)
Leading scorer: Dwight Howard (22.0)

Stats from Basketball-Reference.com.

Magic Injury Report:
Malik Allen: Sprained left ankle (out indefinitely)
Daniel Orton: Left knee surgery (out indefinitely)

Overview:
This is a test.

The Magic are one of the top teams in the league. Record-wise, they trail the Spurs, Celtics, Lakers, Heat, Bulls, and Mavericks. According to John Hollinger’s Power Rankings, they are the league’s third-best team.

However, following a nine-game winning streak, the Magic have gone only 5-4 in their last nine games. And their wins — versus the Timberwolves (10-35), Sixers (20-25), Raptors (13-33), Rockets (22-26) and Pacers (16-26) – weren’t exactly inspiring. During this recent stretch, they’ve lost to all the good teams they’ve faced (Hornets, Thunder, Celtics) and even dropped a home game to the Pistons (17-29).

I’m just sayin’…there are some chinks in the armor.

That said, Orlando has had Chicago’s number this season. The Magic obliterated the Bulls 105-67 in the preseason and then crushed them 107-78 back on December 1. That was Carlos Boozer’s debut. Probably one he’d like to forget.

Or, better yet, redress.

If the Bulls are going to win, and make a move toward “elite team” status, they’ll need to improve their performance around the rim. In their earlier meeting, the Magic won the Battle of the Boards (44-21) and outscored Chicago 46-26 in the paint.

Kurt Thomas versus Dwight Howard. Uh oh.

That’s no dig on Kurt. He played great in the win over Milwaukee. But not many centers can hold their own against Howard. Thomas is going to need all his veteran wiles for this one.

And Boozer will need to play better than he did last time.

I’d be tempted to say that Derrick Rose will play a large role, and I’d be worried about his bad back and those two stomach ulcers, except that I recently discovered he’s not the Bulls’ best player, can’t match Landry Fields in All-Star-level play, and doesn’t have the clutch-time prowess of Jrue Holiday. Hey, the numbers don’t lie, right?

Parting shot: The key to this game, I think, will be defending the three-point line. When the Magic lost to the Pistons, they went 7-for-27 (25.9 percent) from downtown. When they beat the Pacers, they were 16-for-34 (47.1 percent) from beyond the arc, and those 16 makes represented an all-time high for a Pacers opponent.

17 Responses to Magic-Bulls Preview

  1. LRygh12@yahoo.com'
    Luke January 28, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    Love the link matt about stats. The article sucked… no explanation of any of their points, just “hey look at this graph i made with all these numbers”. I get what the stats are supposed to mean, but I would like an in depth explanation of how they are created.

    The conversation in the comments section is hilarious though.

    As for this game… Bulls have to play well tonight and continue to defend the UC. A win tonight would be a huge momentum builder just before Noah starts his return.

  2. TBF January 28, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    Well, advanced metrics are usually, but not always, created by number-heads to justify what they already believe. I don’t think Derrick’s very good, therefore I’ll find some stats that justify that. If I have to create arcane and esoteric ones that no one really understands, like WP48 or whatever, then I shall. But don’t take my word for it, let’s look at some advanced stats and see where they take us.

    The best offensive season ever? Maybe Wilt? MJ? Oh, no, no, no. It’s Tyson Chandler this year, followed by Horace Grant (remember him?) in 91-92. Interestingly, I never hear about that wizard-like season from ol’ Horace, even though it’s the second highest in offensive rating all time. James Donaldson ’86-87 was also a wonderful season too. Much better than any of MJ’s I’m sure.

    And of course, Kiki Vandeweghe and Sidney Moncrief had much better offensive careers than Kareem, or MJ, or Bird. Well, of course they did. But even they paled before Steve Kerr, the king of them all.

    And, how can Gar Heard and Elmore Smith not be in the Hall of Fame yet? Statistically, they were 2 of the best defensive players to ever play the game, don’t ya know? Two of the BEST EVER. Well, at least according to the arcane stat I found, Defensive Rating.

    You see? Stats can be used to prove anything and just because they prove something as expected doesn’t necessarily mean they tell us something accurately. Remember folks, Aristotle told us fire burns upwards because it’s trying to reach its natural place in the heavens, like the sun. That sure looks accurate, but I’ll bet it’s not correct.

  3. LRygh12@yahoo.com'
    Luke January 28, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    Alright, I went back and looked at the methodology of this damn “Automated Wins Produced” all these math guys are on.

    First, the defensive efficiency connected associated to wins produced is based on TEAM statistics. Therefore, players with good defensive teammates benefit- Rajon Rondo, Kobe Bryant, etc. With the trust of their teammates, some players can focus on offense yet in the equation their defensive efficiency tied to wins does not decrease.

    2nd- They created an average Wins Produced(WP) for positions; they were at least smart enough to group together point guards with shooting guards into one group, and Forwards with Centers into one group. By doing this, they are trying to even the field- the “bigs” group rebounds more and turns the ball over less, for example. I disagree with this positional grouping. I think it would be more effective to create a formula that any player is plugged into to show their productivity. So what if a point guard racks up mostly assists and points? Shouldn’t that be countered by the fact that bigs mostly score and rebound?

    They have come up with a sort of ranking system for the importance of different stats; Assist: 22, Block: 19, 2pt FGM: 32, FTM: 17, FG missed: -32, FT missed: -15, ORB: 32, DRB: 33, TO:-32, STL: 33, OppFTmade: -17… obviously, the higher the value the better.

    I have my opinions on these numbers, even though I know they figured them out through tests that figure out relativity; so a Defensive Rebound is mathematically related to WP at a value of 33. But come on, really? A steal is more valuable than a made field goal? And a block is more valuable than a made FT? How does that work? Without any stats on it, I would assume most blocks end up back in the offense’s hands whether they recover it or if its swatted out of bounds. Seems flukey.

    Adding to this, they record a players personal fouls in their defensive efficiency… and this is how they figure it out: they find the percentage of team fouls a player accounts for. Then they simply multiply that by the opponents FT made over an entire season. But many fouls dont result in FT. yes, you can argue that it takes fouls 1-4 to get to the bonus, so they should account for some of the free throws, but a player using up a foul at the end of the first half that the team has to give goes against that player.

    I dont know. I have a lot of time on my hands this morning and thought I would finally look at it. And while there is some solid reasoning behind their theory: incorporating all these stats based on their relationship to wins produced, it is clear they are missing (or simply cannot account for) a lot of the stuff we have been talking about- aspects you can only understand by actually watching the games.

  4. Inception January 28, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    biggest game of season for CHI thus far….a win would be huge….a loss – well, we didn’t have Noah :-P

  5. njcamporese@yahoo.com'
    Nicky C January 28, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    I love me some D-Rose…

    …but what are the chances that his stomach ulcers are truly a result from ‘eating too much spicy food’?

    There HAS to be more to this.

    Stress? I know Rose is very happy the Bullies are winning and playing well together, but he has the whole weight of the team – and, essentially, the whole city of Chicago – resting on his shoulders. This is no small burden to handle. The pressures of Rose’s quick rise to the ranks of NBA elite, the loss of his two best players, dealing with constant MVP and contender talk…all while trying to stay grounded and modest? Who wouldn’t be stressed in Rose’s Adidases?

    Painkillers? I know you can get ulcers from the acids of an excess of painkillers. Could Rose be loading up on too much aspirin too often for his own good? He takes a beating night in and night out, and we know his whole body is banged up. How does he make it through each game? Well…maybe now we know.

  6. gorditadog@aol.com'
    Gorditadog January 28, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    Luke- you do have too much time on your hands. Just accept that Jrue is clutch, and Fields is a better overall guard.

    Nicky C- I think it’s all the calls from Jake Stephens.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2RXfbaLXtc

  7. yomomma@hotmail.com'
    Scottie Pimpin January 28, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    protect the 3 and play physical ball with them.

    smart O and even smarter D, Lets Go Bulls !

  8. Matt January 29, 2011 at 3:33 am #

    Its moments like this that makes me wish the Bulls would have traded Rose for Jrue Holiday.

  9. lukerygh@gmail.com'
    Luke January 29, 2011 at 3:53 am #

    yeah, well i was getting paid for all that free time i had.

    And you, sir, are an idiot if you think that shit is true

  10. gorditadog@aol.com'
    Gorditadog January 29, 2011 at 4:37 am #

    Yeah Luke I am a huge Landry Fields fan. That’s why I am posting on this site.

  11. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath January 29, 2011 at 6:46 am #

    Fields is going to be a Star …ks.

    Meet the new John Starks.

  12. admin@thebasketbulls.com'
    Chicago Bulls rumors January 30, 2011 at 5:39 am #

    Happy BDAY Stacey!! this ones for you!!
    http://www.thebasketbulls.com/brewer-shakes-the-reality-of-pacers-bulls-win-110-89/

  13. bullsbythehorns@gmail.com'
    Matt McHale January 30, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    Just to be clear, I’m not saying advanced stats are useless. They can be valuable tools for identifying trends and noticing things that may not be visible to the naked eye.

    But that doesn’t mean they aren’t fallible. That’s the issue I often have…that this or that advanced stat “proves” something beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    To me, they are just one more item that can be used in the complex tapestry that is basketball analysis.

  14. notsogratfuldead@aol.com'
    Davvvyyyyyyy January 30, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

    I thought that article was a joke..the guys was saying kobe was overrated…

  15. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath January 30, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    Tied for Second with Miami (and Lakers, overall).

    I’ll take it.

  16. gorditadog@aol.com'
    Gorditadog January 31, 2011 at 4:07 am #

    Matt, the problem with most of these advanced stats is they are so complex that they are not intuitive- I don’t know what they mean. Luke gave probably the best explanation I’ve read of Automated Wins Produced but it seems random. And why is Carmelo’s PER so much higher than Luol’s? Is it because Melo is a better rebounder? Or because he shoots more?

    Keep looking for the advanced stat that shows why Bogans has been a starter for seven different NBA coaches over his career. That’s the one I want to see. Until then I will keep focused on the stat that everyone agrees is useful: W/L record. We’re 33-14 now and still waiting for Joakim to come back!

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