- Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “I don’t think you can argue against this game being tops among [Rashard] Lewis‘ performances with the [Orlando] Magic. There ought not be any debate here. The Magic lost this game in overtime–memorably, Courtney Lee’s wide-open lob layup attempt at the end of regulation was well off the mark–but we aren’t necessarily counting wins and losses in these evaluations. Understand that this game is an unmitigated disaster, along the lines of the Game 1 blowout, without Lewis’ white-hot shooting. He tallied 34 points to lead all scorers, which still stands as his highest mark in a Magic uniform. And yet the raw numbers don’t do enough justice to how crucial he was to Orlando in this hard-fought defeat. Thankfully, we have Popcorn Machine, in addition to our own brains, to fill in the traditional box score’s gaps. Lewis scored 18 of the Magic’s 20 second-period points, on 7-of-10 shooting, while his teammates sputtered to a 1-of-13 mark. The Magic trailed the Lakers by a mere five points at intermission, and rallied in the third quarter to make the game more competitive. As in, having a two-point lead with 47 seconds remaining.”
- Miami Heat president Pat Riley: “Riley specifically cited Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith and former NBA star turned analyst Charles Barkley as examples of people who took what the Heat president thought were unwarranted shots at the way the Heat went about business this summer. He also mentioned Magic coach Stan Van Gundy — Riley’s former protege in Miami — as well. On the day after Miami signed James to a six-year contract that lured him away from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Smith said, ‘I thought he was, I guess, more of a competitor.’ Riley responded to that Friday, saying Smith made ‘an absolutely stupid remark. He never made any kind of comment like that when he signed Rashard Lewis and he brought him down from Seattle with a $128 million contract.’ ”
- Told you it was personal between the Orlando Magic and the Heat.
- Matt Moore of CBSSports.com has more on Riley’s comments: “Riley had to expect this, though. Especially from Van Gundy. Asking ‘what happened’ to Van Gundy? Pat Riley did. And Barkley taking strong sides is nothing new. But this is just the beginning. Every loss to a major team will be played as a revelation that this team isn’t ready to really sacrifice and play together. Every win will be dismissed unless it’s in the Finals, and then it will simply be discussed as ‘They should win! They have the talent!’ ”
- Aron Phillips of Dime Magazine: “As Season 3 of Gatorade REPLAY kicks off, two major names in Chicago basketball – the Bloom Township Trojans and the Brother Rice Crusaders – will reunite to replay their 2000 super sectional game that ended with a questionable last-second tip-in at the buzzer. But this time, 10 years later, each squad will have the help Dwyane Wade (Bloom Township) or Dwight Howard (Brother Rice) on the bench as honorary coaches for the two teams.”
- Dwight Howard is a lot like Alonzo Mourning, according to Casey Mack of Dime Magazine: “Dwight Howard is an intimidating defensive force who — despite his oft-criticized offensive game — can still drop 20 points on you at the other end. His strong build and skills as a rebounder and shot-blocker draws a clear comparison to Alonzo Mourning. ‘Zo won two NBA Defensive Player of the Year Awards. Howard has matched that total already, and it’s safe to say a few more are on the way before his career is over.”
- We reminisce when Vince Carter scored 50 points against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Otis was asking for it after what he said a few months ago.