Magic embrace rare practice in preparing for Heat
Perhaps Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy’s biggest frustration
this season has nothing to do with what his team hasn’t
accomplished at times during games.
It is centered on what the abbreviated NBA schedule hasn’t
allowed his team to do much so far – and that’s practice.
”I hate it, I’ll be honest,” Van Gundy said. ”Because you’re
job as a coach is to prepare your team. Even when we were going
good I’d see so many things on the floor where I’m rolling my
eyes…The only way that I know to get better is you come in here
and your work on it and you work on it and drill it and drill
The Magic held their first true contact practice since Jan. 14
on Tuesday as they prepare to host Southeast Division-leader Miami
for the first time this season Wednesday night.
It was much-needed prep time for a team that is in the middle of
stretch that will see it play 20 games over 32 days before the
It’s a blistering jaunt that has included both the Magic’s
recent season-high four-game losing streak and a reviving
three-game win streak that was snapped Monday in overtime by the
visiting Los Angeles Clippers.
”I was forgetting in the NBA that you actually practice, it’s
not just all back-to-back games and days off,” forward Ryan
Anderson said. ”We got to walkthrough some stuff and really
tighten up on some offensive plays and went over some new stuff we
want to run against Miami.
”It’s just good to come together as a team after you make a
mistake and correct it rather than in a game where you have to play
Anderson is continuing to adapt well to his starting role this
season averaging career bests in points (16.3) and 3-point shooting
He said the biggest change for him has been more focused prep
time dissecting his nightly matchup.
Wednesday that will be Chris Bosh, who has also started strong
and become more involved in the Heat’s offense. His average is up
to 19.7 points per game and he’s also shooting 50 percent from the
field for just the third time in his nine-year career.
Van Gundy said a lot of that credit, though, belongs to Miami
coach Erik Spoelstra, who apparently devoted a lot of the Heat’s
limited preseason prep time to integrating Bosh more into an
offense that already features scorers Dwyane Wade and LeBron
”Erik never gets enough credit because he’s coaching three
great players,” Van Gundy said. ”What he’s done changing the
system has gotten Bosh much more involved. He totally changed what
they’re doing and where they’re playing Bosh.
”It’s gotten him involved to where he’s averaging 20 (points) a
night without taking anything away from James or Wade. So that’s
been a key adjustment for them and it’s why I think they’re a much
better team this year than they were before.”
Even with three more meetings against the Heat after Wednesday,
Anderson said there’s no question that this first matchup will be
measuring stick game for Orlando.
”They’re a great team and a team we always like to compete hard
against and we want to beat,” he said. ”And they’re one of those
teams that we’re gonna have to get through if we’re gonna be
successful. We definitely want to come in and get a big win and