- Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel: “Stephen Jackson said his left knee was sorer today than yesterday, but expects to start Game 2 of the Charlotte Bobcats’ series against the Orlando Magic. Jackson hyperextended his left knee on Sunday after a collision with Gerald Wallace. An MRI on Monday revealed no structural damage, but a small bone bruise. He is officially listed as day-to-day, but will remain listed as a starter.”
- Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Magic won Game 1 against the Bobcats, but they didn’t play championship basketball. Not even close. Vince Carter drove to the hoop for the Magic’s first bucket but barely ventured into the paint again for the entire game. He needs to be more aggressive and take the ball to the basket if he indeed is going to be “amazing” in these playoffs as [Dwight] Howard predicted. And Howard needs to start playing smarter and stop picking up dumb fouls. Yes, he is reigning Defensive Player of the Year because he aggressively contests shots (eight blocks in the first half Sunday), but the Magic need him to stay on the floor for offensive purposes as well.”
- John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com looks back at some of the biggest moments in the Orlando Magic’s win against the Charlotte Bobcats in Game 1.
- Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace make it perfectly clear that they are going to continue to attack the basket against Dwight Howard, knowing that he can’t block every shot.
- Eric Freeman of The Baseline explains that even though the Bobcats’ franchise is new to the playoffs, the players on the team are familiar with the setting: “Stephen Jackson is an NBA champion and quite memorably makes love to pressure. Boris Diaw played a key role in several playoff runs for the Suns. Larry Hughes, while a mess on the court, at least knows what the playoffs are. Tyson Chandler has won a playoff series. Theo Ratliff is roughly 732 years old. That leaves Gerald Wallace and Raymond Felton as the only members of the core without significant playoff experience. But if the playoffs are about mental toughness and playing hard at every opportunity, Gerald isn’t exactly someone you need to be worried about. Felton had some trouble containing Jameer Nelson early, but even if that’s related to inexperience, it wouldn’t explain the collective screw-up Charlotte evinced to begin the game. Oh, plus their coach is Larry Brown, whose name is essentially synonymous with hard-working veteran playoff basketball.”
- Charlotte won the battle but lost the war. Rob Mahoney of ProBasketballTalk explains: “From the Bobcats’ perspective, this is exactly what they want. Howard wasn’t frustrated into making too much of a negative impact (he often forces shots or commits turnovers when he feels he’s been wronged), but to hold Dwight to five points in the opening bout is certainly impressive. Charlotte not only showed that they’ll be competitive in this series but that they’re capable of neutralizing (or at least hedging the impact of) Orlando’s post game, which seemed like an unknown heading into the series. Now if they could just figure out Jameer Nelson…”
- At Orlando Pinstriped Post, Ben Q. Rock takes a quick look at Ryan Anderson’s playoff debut and in a guest post, John Schuhmann of NBA.com offers some context for Magic fans after Vince Carter struggled yesterday by looking back at his recent postseason history with the New Jersey Nets.
- Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook shows how the Bobcats blew a chance to steal a win against the Magic after they were down five with two minutes remaining in the game.
- Bethlehem Shoals of NBA FanHouse offers some commentary: “Orlando-Charlotte was unexpectedly tight — and fun. When Dwight Howard was blocking a shot every time down the floor, it certainly didn’t seem headed in that direction. But Howard ended up in foul trouble, and it was left to Jameer Nelson to carry the team. Little man who was the issue last year goes for a career-high while the celebrated big man gets upstaged by a 6-foot-7 swingman. I can write that out in symbolic logic if you really want. That swingman in question was Gerald Wallace, who went for 25 points and 17 boards. This one — above the rim, over Howard — deserves a poster. If they even make posters for rebounds.”
Yeah, it's become more than obvious that player's values get inflated if they perform relatively well in the playoffs. There's so many examples that it's a definite trend. That being said, Hedo Turkoglu helped the Magic in many ways last year but most of his skills were replaceable. The only thing that really couldn't be replaced was his ball-handling skills at his size. In any case, yeah, there are a number of players for Orlando that can step up and hit big shots.
Carter may have the second-most game winners but I'm curious to see how efficient he's been in late-game situations. Looking at his numbers this year, Carter hasn't been very efficient in comparison to other players. That's why LeBron James is always touted by statheads as the best player in the clutch because he's efficient.