- Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “You have to wonder if Skip Bayless was persuaded into calling the Orlando Magic’s playoff performance “bologna” on ESPN’s First Take just for the sake of debate Tuesday morning. [...] ”I still don’t trust a team that’s built largely on Dwight Howard and Vince Carter. And I know he came on at the end of the year. I just think it’s going to be different in the next round and the next round. And I’m going to say this for the last time, I still say the Charlotte Bobcats would have been a tough matchup for LeBron James because they have four guys who are his size, 6-foot-8, long and athletic who can guard him and frustrate him which is why the Bobcats beat them the last three times.” After his criticism, Skip Bayless praised the Magic’s impressive three-point shooting and said Orlando turned in one of the most devastating three point performances he’d ever seen.”
- Is Dwight Howard going to Hollywood in the summer?
- Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk chimes in on the possibility that Howard skips the 2010 FIBA World Championships.
- Colin Powers of SLAM ONLINE: “You could probably argue all day about the relative merits of Carter (who really struggled for a good portion of the season) and Turkoglu (who really struggled for the entirety of the season with Toronto). Nonetheless, such a focus obstructs us from giving proper acknowledgment to that which is truly the greatest change to the Magic roster: Jameer Nelson. The 28 year-old guard just finished catalyzing Orlando toward their four game sweep of Charlotte, aggressively taking it to Ray Felton and DJ Augustin and driving the largely Howard-less Magic on in their journey for 16 wins this post-season. Nelson came into this series off of a fairly pedestrian regular season. His shooting numbers and scoring were down, particularly from 3-point range, and he seemed to have once again fallen into that trap of inconsistency that plagued his earlier years in the League. Orlando ran 12 deep all season, with positional versatility and a new sense of toughness that was certainly a progression from their ‘08-09 incarnation. But without Jameer making plays and putting some fear into opposing defenses, they just didn’t seem like a championship team.”
- Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook takes a look at how the Magic were able to sweep the Bobcats.
- Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post on “Playoff Pietrus” — Mickael Pietrus‘ alter-ego: “For whatever reason, Pietrus really dials himself in after the 82nd game. Consider that, in terms of True Shooting, the best evaluation of shooting efficiency, Pietrus’ 63.1% mark in the last two postseasons combined exceeds any other NBA swingman’s regular-season marks in each of the last two seasons. Boston Celtics All-Star Ray Allen came the closest to matching Pietrus, with a 62.4% clip last season. Now, Allen scores more than Pietrus because he’s a bigger part of Boston’s offense. The takeaway is that, in the postseason, Pietrus is slightly more efficient than one of the game’s purest shooters has been, despite his own goofy, fading away release off his back foot, while bringing his hands back to his chest.”
- Howard is frustrated, but happy: “Ya’ll know that that series against Charlotte drove me crazy. I mean it was almost comical at times how I was getting fouls called on me. There was nothing I could do our there and I felt like I couldn’t even move without getting that whistle blown on me. I’m not looking to say anything to get myself in trouble with the league, but I just don’t see other star players getting called for fouls the way I get them. No star player in the league is outta games the way I am. I even talked to Pat Ewing about his career and he said he never had foul trouble like what I’m going through. I gotta say this is the most frustrating stretch of my career. I’ve never been through four games in a row like that. But hey, we won the series and we’re moving on. I’m so so so hoping that things will be different next series against ATL or Milwaukee.”
- Want to see some rare photos of Howard? Click here.
Tuesday’s Magic Word
No Hollywood for Howard this summer...he needs to spend the summer shooting free throws first and then go to Hollywood next summer!
Well, the Bucks have Kurt Thomas but he's no Andrew Bogut so ...
-- As for Hill, yeah, he won 60 games but he had Shaq and Penny in their respective primes. Almost any coach, as long as he doesn't screw up, is going to win a lot of games with those phenomenal talents on their roster.
-- Point taken on his influence on Howard.
I think Hill deserves a little credit for developing Howard. My opinion, though. Next time I get a chance to talk to Dwight, I'll ask him.
MagicfaninT: I liked Brian Hill a lot and he is STILL the only coach to coach the Magic to 60 wins. I think hiring him again was a bit odd. . .but I will always respect the guy. That said: I don't feel he had ANY involvement in Dwight's development since he wasn't really blocking shots, dominating on the boards, and changing his post moves until Van Gundy, and later Ewing, came along.
Heh. SI image 16 of 26 "He also got test the billiard skills of then-Magic coach Brian Hill, who helped develop Howard into the dominant center he is now."
Yeah, riiiiiighht. Helped? Yes. Developed? Not so sure.
I think the Bobcats had the luxury of throwing large bodies at "Foul on You" with no risk of offensive loss since Ratliff (aged 74), Chandler (brain age: 6), and Muhommed (sorry for the mispelling) really don't contribute on the offensive end. The Bucks won't have anyone to throw at him (unless I am completely ignorant of Milwaukee basketball. . .which I probably am) and the Hawks need their big guys for offense and can't afford fouls.
That said, Kevin McHale broke down 'Foul of You"'s habit of overreacting and being his own worst enemy. As annoying as Chandler is, he managed to hide, as much as possible, his latching on to Dwight and annoyed him so much, Dwight would push off. Being the Oscar winning actor Chandler is, Chandler went flying and two or three of Dwight's fouls were offensive.
Hey Eddy: really cool photo gallery of Dwight on SI (don't know if you're allowed to post that link through ESPN or whatever.
And here is a goofy, backward picture of me after our sweep was complete (scroll to the bottom): http://secureimmaturity.com/?p=3813