Thursday's Magic Word | Magic Basketball



Apr 22

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy is letting his opinions fly and — another $35,000 later — he’s learning freedom of speech isn’t free. Not in the NBA. We’ll get to another topic — what Van Gundy thinks about Michael Jordan, his Charlotte Bobcats and Jordan’s place in basketball history as the supposed all-time greatest player in a second. You’ll want to stick around for that.But late Thursday, Van Gundy and Magic small forward Matt Barnes — the team’s two most outspoken members — were fined $35,000 each for their public comments regarding the officiating after Wednesday night’s Game 2 against the Bobcats at Amway Arena. Van Gundy and Barnes were talking to the media about how star center Dwight Howard is being treated by the referees in the first-round series. Orlando leads Charlotte, 2-0.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “[Marcin] Gortat, who averaged 13.4 minutes per game this season, has played about 20 minutes in each of the first two games. Howard only has managed around 28 minutes per game — about 10-12 minutes fewer than the Magic expected to play him this postseason. ‘I think it’s always good to have a back-up center. Everybody wants them, but there are not a ton of them,’ said GM Otis Smith, who matched the Mavs’ five-year, $34-million offer sheet for Gortat, a restricted free agent. ‘Marcin comes in and keeps us somewhat whole. He’s not the same guy (as Howard), doesn’t demand the same respect, but he can hold his own at the position when Dwight’s in foul trouble.’ ”
  • Click here to read what Barnes and Van Gundy said to get fined by the NBA. Van Gundy, not surprisingly, stands by his comments in defense of Dwight Howard.
  • John Denton of examines Howard’s foul troubles: “Van Gundy’s theory that Howard is the most foul-prone superstar in the league certainly seems true when analyzing numbers from the regular season. Howard was whistled for 287 fouls this season, most in the NBA. His 3.5 fouls a game were the third-most in the NBA behind Portland’s Greg Oden (4.0), Sacramento’s Jason Thompson (3.7) and Memphis’ Marc Gasol (3.7). Indiana’s Roy Hibbert (3.5), Utah’s Paul Millsap (3.5) and Carlos Boozer (3.5) were tied with Howard. Of the five players expected to be on the first-team All-NBA team this season – Cleveland’s LeBron James (1.56 fouls a game), Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant (2.08), Miami’s Dwyane Wade (2.35), Los Angeles Kobe Bryant (2.56) and Howard (3.50) – the Magic’s big man is far and away the most foul-prone.”
  • Basketball Prospectus proudly reveals the first Internet Basketball Awards. Take a look.
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie chooses his Defensive Player of the Year: “By March, or even February, this was a foregone conclusion. Dwight Howard changes games. He changes a team’s offensive game plan before it even has the chance to hit the floor, and then once the ball goes up, Howard changes shots. He changes plays, he changes the arc on a shot taken within his vicinity, and he changes the chances a team has at a second shot should it escape his grasp and carom off the rim. No other player in the NBA changes things, defensively, as much as Dwight Howard. No guard, no other big man, no roaming wing. Nobody.”
  • Henry Abbott of TrueHoop chimes in on the Jekyll and Hyde act of Vince Carter, with an excerpt from yours truly.
  • Austin Burton of Dime Magazine compares Howard to Shaquille O’Neal in that they are two of the most difficult players to referee: “Last night’s Magic/Bobcats matchup was another case of the refs not knowing how to deal with Dwight. He got his first foul when Theo Ratliff was literally hugging him in full view of the refs, but no whistle blew until Dwight used an elbow to free himself. His third foul was also pretty weak, and then Dwight picked up his fourth when he blocked Gerald Wallace at the rim but the refs called him for body contact. I’ve seen plenty of similar plays where dudes like Joel Anthony would get away with that; you expect a superstar like Dwight to get away with it, too. Just like in Shaq’s prime, the refs can’t figure it out because Dwight is so strong and so physical.”
  • Rob Mahoney of Hardwood Paroxysm: “This series is just ugly. That’s fine, honestly. I’m sure Orlando doesn’t mind facing a pretty tough defensive opponent in the first round, even if it makes things a bit more difficult than they could have been. That’s exactly what’s happened in Games 1 & 2: Orlando has struggled to develop an offensive rhythm, even with Dwight Howard seemingly providing a mismatch against Charlotte’s bigs. Good defense and questionable foul-calling have limited Dwight’s effectiveness in both games, and his 15 points and six turnovers are definitely manageable for the Cats. The rest of Orlando’s starters’ scoring — Jameer Nelson’s 13, Rashard Lewis’ 13, Vince Carter’s 19, Matt Barnes’ 11 — also seems fairly pedestrian, until you realize just how slow this game was. There were 80 possessions. That’s it. 80. That’s a full 10 possessions slower than the slowest team in the league (Portland), and even more impressive given the combined 33 turnovers. That’s 33 possessions ended early, one way or another, and yet the pace just hit 80. Not only is that a bit of a slog, but it’s actually kind of impressive, when you think about it.”
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post provides commentary on the Orlando Magic’s commitment, as an organization, to winning a championship.
  • Eric Freeman of The Baseline doesn’t give the Bobcats a good chance of coming back and winning their series against the Magic.
  • Bethlehem Shoals of NBA FanHouse asks a few interesting questions about Carter and Howard.
  • Ric Bucher and Chris Broussard of ESPN Insider wonder which player currently in the playoffs needs a championship ring the most.
  • John Hollinger of ESPN Insider explains why the matchup between Orlando and Charlotte has been one of the top stories in the playoffs, so far: “Theoretically, Charlotte-Orlando should be a competitive matchup between the league’s top two-ranked defenses, and a compelling chess match between arguably the two best coaches in the East, Larry Brown and Stan Van Gundy. It hasn’t been, however, because only one of these two teams can play offense. While the Magic have been able to shrug off bad games from their two key offensive performers — in Game 1, Dwight Howard had five points and Vince Carter shot 4-for-19, and they still won easily — every possession from the Charlotte side has been excruciating.”

This is off topic but. . .the Cavs lost. And now a young man smiles. . .if only for a few days.