- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “When he thinks about what might go wrong this afternoon in Charlotte, N.C., Stan Van Gundy worries about his players’ collective psyche. Van Gundy envisions 19,077 people inside Time Warner Cable Arena cheering wildly, and he visualizes an already desperate Charlotte Bobcats team feeding off of that energy. And, in his nightmare scenario, Van Gundy imagines his Orlando Magic failing to match that intensity. The Magic will face that danger today in Game 3 against the Bobcats. Orlando leads the best-of-seven series two games to zero, and Van Gundy knows that his players could succumb to human nature and let up just a bit. Instead, Van Gundy wants his players to unleash their inner killer instinct.”
- Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel: “If you watch Games 3 and 4 between the Orlando Magic and Charlotte Bobcats, you’ll probably see Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin sitting courtside right next to the Magic bench. With rain and other severe weather forecast for Saturday, Hamlin hopes to escape Talladega Superspeedway for a few hours and be in Charlotte for the 2 p.m. tip. He’s a Bobcats fan and season-ticket holder, but has a soft spot for the Magic.”
- John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “This storyline is like a broken record, but it continues to dominate talk around the Magic because of [Dwight] Howard’s persistent foul trouble so far. He played just 27 minutes in Game 1 and 28 minutes in Game 2 because he had five fouls both nights. That time on the bench has limited Howard to rather ordinary numbers so far (10 ppg., 8 rpg.). The Magic must find a way to keep Howard on the floor more because he changes how Charlotte plays. When he’s in the game, Charlotte is a perimeter shooting team, and that’s a good thing for the Magic because the Bobcats severely lack shooting from long range. But when Howard is out, the Bobcats mantra is to attack the rim relentlessly with Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace and Raymond Felton.”
- David Scott of the Charlotte Observer: “Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown eagerly reeled off a list of players he has rescued from what could be called the NBA’s scrap heap during his 25 years in the league. “I got Eric Snow when he was a fourth stringer in Seattle,” Brown said. “Theo Ratliff wasn’t even starting (anymore) in Detroit. I got Raja Bell out of the YMCA in Miami. George Lynch came from an expansion team in Vancouver. Tyrone Hill had been traded many times.” Brown, though, wasn’t randomly plucking those names from the air. Call them afterthoughts, castoffs, second-chance players, whatever: They were the core of his 2001 Philadelphia 76ers team – led by star guard Allen Iverson – that played in the NBA Finals. Brown seems to be doing it again in Charlotte. Albeit without a player like Iverson, Brown has molded a roster sprinkled with players who have found new life playing for him, qualifying for the NBA playoffs for the first time in franchise history.”
- Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer: “Everything else about the Charlotte Bobcats has run to form between the regular season and the playoffs: They still have slow starts on the road, still turn the ball over too often, still need plenty of trips to the foul line to win. So they can only hope, entering Saturday’s first-ever playoff game at Time Warner Cable Arena, that this trend holds up, too: They’re one heck of a home team. No team in the NBA has more of a split personality: The Bobcats won 18 more games at home this season than on the road, the widest such differential in the league. They shoot better, score more and block a ton more shots (282 at home, 164 on the road).”
Sneak Preview: Orlando Magic at Charlotte Bobcats, Game 3
In regards to John Denton: TWO TOWERS! Gortat and Howard or Bass and Howard.
In regards to the 'scrap heap' article: that's why I can't hate the Bobcats like I usually do playoff opponents. They're just scrappy and fun and sometimes great for bar trivia. On that topic: Eric Snow. Worst PG ever to be the starting PG on two Finals teams????? Nice guy though. I love his dry nature on NBA TV.
And in general: I think the Magic will win tonight. I think the Magic know the power of the number '3'. if they learned ANYTHING last year it's that winning that third game and having a cushion is nice. I'm sure they would have LOVED to be up 3-1 instead of 2-2 to the Celtics after Game 4. I'm sure they would have LOVED to be up 3-0 instead of down 1-2 to the Sixers last year.