- Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel: “After a long film session and before practice began on Tuesday at the Orlando Sports Complex, Bobcats coach Larry Brown gathered his team in a huddle. “Yesterday, Orlando took the day off,” Brown said. “That’s how seriously they’re taking us.” As the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, Charlotte Bobcats know their places as underdogs against the Orlando Magic. The Bobcats trail the best of seven series 0-1 heading into Wednesday’s game. Heading into Game 2, Charlotte has overcome its pre-playoff nerves and isn’t giving the Magic, or its players, any kind of star treatment.”
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “It shouldn’t surprise anyone that [Stan] Van Gundy has a long list of areas he wants his players to improve on for Game 2 tonight. He wants the Magic to do a better job moving the ball out of its pick-and-roll game. He wants his team to be prepared for the Bobcats to trap more often. Oh, yeah, he also wants to get [Dwight] Howard and [Vince] Carter more involved in the offense. “We certainly need to get the ball to Dwight more, play more effectively out of his double-teams and we need to be able to get the ball to Vince in better spots,” Van Gundy said. “And we need Vince to have a better night, there’s no question about that.” Carter, who made four of 19 shots in Game 1, exuded calmness after Tuesday’s practice, just like he did during his horrid January shooting slump.”
- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Howard recalled that it was after the 2007-08 season when he sat down with [Patrick] Ewing, a Hall of Famer, to evaluate his play. Ewing told him, given his freakish athletic ability, that there was no reason he shouldn’t lead in blocks. “He said he was upset that I didn’t have the award and that I needed to do a better job to get that award,” Howard said. Van Gundy said weeks ago that Howard should have been a shoe-on for the award. “He really doesn’t have a weakness,” he said. Van Gundy said that Howard’s prowess in blocking shots and rebounding is obvious. But he’s just as impressed with some things that often go unnoticed, such as Howard’s innate ability to read defenses, play pick-and-rolls and cover for teammates.”
- Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer: “Tuesday, Howard was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year in a landslide media vote. (Wallace was third, behind Atlanta’s Josh Smith). Howard led the league this season in rebounds, blocks and field-goal percentage. But perhaps the Bobcats were too conscious of Howard in their approach to Game 1. The Bobcats held Howard to five points, more than 13 below his season average. But in doing so, they sold out their perimeter defense, giving up 39 points at the 3-point line. The coaches instructed the centers to hang back with Howard, rather than jump out at the guards as they normally would in pick-and-rolls. That allowed Orlando’s Jameer Nelson to score 32 points.”
- Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer: “Carter had a horrible Game 1 in this series – shooting 4-for-19 and fouling out. Those sorts of numbers would have meant a sure loss for the Toronto and New Jersey teams Carter starred on for his first 11 NBA seasons, but Orlando is so deep that the Magic won anyway. Indeed, Carter struggled for much of the first half of the regular season because he couldn’t figure out where he fit on this loaded Magic team. “He’s always played where he was ‘ the guy,’” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said of Carter. “And with us, he knew there were other people around. It seemed like early in the year he was caught between forcing the issue too much – still trying to be ‘ the guy’ – or saying, ‘Wow, I’m not the guy’ and then becoming passive.” Carter found his place starting in February, Van Gundy said. He averages 16.6 points per game – second to Dwight Howard but a career low for Carter – and developed a good balance between passing and shooting. Carter, 33, regressed against the Bobcats in the series’ first game, however.”
Sneak Preview: Charlotte Bobcats at Orlando Magic, Game 2
Yeah, in the long-term it benefits the Magic more. Playing a very tough and feisty (I hate using that word) Philly team probably benefited the Magic in the end. I was simply thinking of short-term and the entertainment value. I'd rather watch D-Rose play, and I'd rather watch Cleveland lose.
Great thoughts. Put it this way ... the Bobcats shut down Carter and Howard and still lost. That speaks to the strength of the Magic's depth, if anything else. I like Charlotte, too, but their inability to be able to score enough points to beat Orlando is ultimately going to be their undoing.
I think it's good that the Magic are playing the Bobcats, though. At least Charlotte offers resistance and plays a style of basketball that is going to benefit Orlando as the postseason moves forward.
Yeah, it's an unfortunate draw for them. Would've been much more fun to have the Bobcats play Cleveland and for us to play Chicago. D-Rose vs. Jameer, Deng against Barnes, Noah vs. Dwight. And Cleveland was definitely worried about playing Charlotte.
Rick Bonnell's column points out the enigma the Bobcats are going to have to deal with perfectly. I like the Bobcats: I think they are a solid team that got an unlucky draw. But when the only advantage they have is to hope the team shoots worse then before (and seriously, VC shot 4 for 1,093 and they still won!) then the prognosis is a short series.
I was impressed with how the Bobcats basically shut Dwight down in Game 1. I even saw a triple team or two. But really, in the end, they can't do that every game or they'll get killed from the outside. . .BUT they also HAVE to triple team him because no one on the Bobcats has the strength to stop him one on one.
Like I said, no disrespect to the Bobcats, but their only game plan is to watch and wish. They don't control their own destiny.