Wednesday's Magic Word | Magic Basketball

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May 26

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Orlando Magic power forward Rashard Lewis expects to receive intravenous fluids tonight before Game 5 of the Eastern Conference playoffs against the Boston Celtics as he continues battle a nasty stomach virus that’s plagued him all series. Lewis said after the Magic completed their shootaround today that he’s ‘not 100 percent, not where I want to be,’ but he added that he’s ‘getting better.’ ”
  • Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel: “If you liked Matt Barnes’ fighting spirit before, you’ll love it after hearing Barnes explain what really happened when Kevin Garnett received a technical foul in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Garnett objected to contact with Magic center Dwight Howard and Barnes began to pull Garnett away from Howard in the kind of move that made it look like Barnes was trying to calm the Celtics’ very vocal leader. Not quite, Barnes said. ‘I wasn’t trying to calm Kevin down, I was messing with him,’ Barnes said after practice today. ‘I was messing with him. He likes to talk a lot so i was just messing with him. I wasn’t trying to calm him down at all. If he’s mad it doesn’t matter to me, so I was just messing with him.’ ”
  • Rajon Rondo is hurting, but will play tonight.
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy wants Vince Carter to be aggressive offensively in tonight’s game.
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk: “If the Magic are to send this series back to Boston, they are going to have to keep running the pick-and-roll. A lot. Everybody knows it. The question is, what does Doc Rivers — and really Tom Thibodeau — come up with? Rivers said at shoot around he wants more ball pressure, look for the Celtics to do what they do — be physical on defense. As much as the referees will let them. Rivers said he wanted his defenders to “put their body” into the Magic ball handlers. He’s talking specifically to Rajon Rondo. This is going to come down to how Rondo fighting through the picks and not letting Nelson have is way.”
  • Bradford Doolittle of Basketball Prospectus: “There are two ways to look at Monday’s result. Either this was a springboard for a return to the Magic’s success of the earlier rounds, or this was the best Orlando could do and even then it was just barely enough. Which is the right point of view? I have to lean towards the latter. We saw even during Game 4, when Orlando was playing well, that when the Celtics execute their systems at both ends of the floor, the Magic struggle. I thought the Celtics got away from their strengths on offense towards the end of the game and that, as much as anything Orlando did, played a part in the series lasting another game. However, with the home crowd behind the Magic on Wednesday, there could be one of those momentum-type games in which all those missed threes suddenly start falling. You never know. The Magic may yet find a little wind in its sails.”
  • Trey Kerby of Ball Don’t Lie comments on Lewis’ viral infection.
  • John Schuhmann of NBA.com chimes in on whether or not the Celtics will adjust to the Magic’s pick and roll offense.
  • Boston is treating Game 5 like a Game 7.
  • Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated looks at Orlando’s chances of making a comeback in the series: “The foundation for any extended Magic comeback in this series will be provided by [Jameer] Nelson and Dwight Howard, who had a magnificent 32 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks and could put a huge scare in Boston by maintaining that intimidating level of play. They’ll also continue to rely on sixth man J.J. Redick, who has played in high gear while averaging 11.5 points and shooting 53.8 percent from the arc in these finals.”
  • Matt Moore of ProBasketballTalk thinks that Van Gundy needs to mix it up with his rotations and 5-man units if the Magic want to win three more games against the Celtics.
  • John Hollinger of ESPN Insider: “Should they survive Game 5, 36.7 percent of the home-court-advantage teams facing Game 6 elimination have prevailed. Combine the two probabilities and you get about a 1-in-4 shot for the Magic to become the fourth team in league history to force a seventh game after being down 3-0. And although no team has won after trailing 3-0, the same isn’t true for the Magic’s current 3-1 deficit. Six of the 60 home-court-advantage teams that trailed 3-1 came back to win; when trailing 3-2, which might be Orlando’s deficit after Wednesday night, the odds improve to 14.5 percent. Not anything you would bet on, perhaps, but still a grand improvement on zero. That’s where Orlando can hang its hat entering Game 5. Comebacks from 3-0 have been far less common than one might believe just from modeling the situation mathematically, but apparently the first step is the hardest. At some point, as Van Gundy noted, the law of averages dictates that an NBA team will win a series after trailing 3-0. After shaking off the negative psychology of 3-0 to win a road Game 4, the Magic have at least given themselves a chance — albeit a small one — of making history.”
  • Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference examines which teams remaining in the 2010 NBA Playoffs uses their best lineups the most: “The Magic like to play with a lot of different combinations outside of their Nelson-Carter-Barnes-Lewis-Howard (+10.22) core, but some need to fall by the wayside. Williams-Redick-Pietrus-Lewis-Howard (-17.36) has been horrible even during the Magic’s 8-0 playoff start, as has Nelson-Carter-Redick-Lewis-Howard (-11.96) — although the latter has played better in recent games, and Redick has had Orlando’s best raw +/- mark vs. Boston. Boston has largely played well against the Magic starters and have even neutralized the vaunted Gortat lineups (Gortat had a +13.73 APM during the regular season), so there isn’t much Van Gundy can do beyond what he’s been trying so far, but he might want to swap Redick (positive +/- in every Celtics matchup except game 3) for Barnes, who’s been negative in every game of the Boston series (he was even -8 in Orlando’s win on Monday).”
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