Sneak Preview: Charlotte Bobcats at Orlando Magic, Game 1 | Magic Basketball



Apr 18

Sneak Preview: Charlotte Bobcats at Orlando Magic, Game 1

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Orlando Magic start the choreographed fun late in warm-ups while the crowd settles in. Players begin with a rhythmic clapping and jumping up and down in a semi-circle. Veteran point guard Anthony Johnson moves into the center as the ringmaster and does a “funky dance” to ignite the pregame ritual. He introduces himself as Tyrone Biggums (a character created by comedian Dave Chappelle) and then introduces Vince Carter, “The DJ,” who pretends to spin records. Johnson will introduce Jameer Nelson as “Baby Yams,”‘ and then Dwight Howard as superhero “Hancock” and Jason Williams as “Bubs.” Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to “The Magic Show.” […] The show tips off today in a first-round playoff series against the Charlotte Bobcats.”
  • Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “Prepare yourself, Orlando. I believe we are about to see a Vince Carter we’ve never, ever seen before. A Vince Carter who won’t admit it but knows his entire basketball biography can be rewritten with 16 victories in the next two months. On Friday, before the first practice of the postseason began, Carter swished a miraculous shot from the free-throw line into the basket at the other end of the court. And then in one of the first plays of practice, when the Magic were doing a routine two-on-two pick-and-roll drill, Carter drove forcefully down the lane and dunked so hard it rattled the rim and made the entire team take notice.”
  • John Denton of “While Howard is undoubtedly the heart of the Magic, I’ve always made the argument that Nelson is this team’s soul. He is the leader in the locker room and the player others respect most on the court to direct the traffic and keep the team under control. And often, Nelson is the barometer for how well the Magic play. Howard, Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis are the first, second and third options, but when Nelson is probing the lane and in attack mode that’s when the Orlando offense is at its best. When he gets into the lane, the threes tend to come in bunches, Howard gets lobs and Nelson certainly has the ability to score on his own. And down the stretch, it’s Nelson who will have the ball in his hands in pick-and-roll sets with Carter. Coach Stan Van Gundy has the confidence and trust in Nelson that he will make the right play – whether it’s a drive-and-kick pass or a clutch 3-pointer.”
  • Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer: “An NBA opponent scout, who wants to remain anonymous, breaks down the Charlotte Bobcats entering the playoffs, in an interview with Observer NBA writer Rick Bonnell: […] ‘They have been trapping constantly of late, almost like a college team. Everybody knows Larry calls his preferred trap a “42” – it’s his version of a run-and-jump trap. It fits right in with their high-energy disposition. It’s especially effective against the other team’s second unit. Your second-team point guard had better be able to handle pressure because this team will absolutely test him that way.’ ”
  • Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer: “An NBA locker room generally has one alpha male – the player that everyone else defers to both on and off the court. Michael Jordan was the ultimate example, but most teams willingly cede this control to the club’s most talented veteran. That veteran clarifies the team’s emotional tone and schedule daily – from who gets picked on the most to how much attention the head coach should be paid to where to go on an off night in Atlanta. The Bobcats, though, have ended up with two alpha males. Jackson and Wallace not only peacefully co-exist but have built a solid friendship. The transition since Charlotte traded for Jackson in November has been mostly seamless because Jackson and Wallace so respect each other’s work on the basketball court.”