- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Leave it to Stan Van Gundy to compare one of his starting forwards to one of baseball’s best sluggers. A couple of years ago, Van Gundy — a lifelong baseball fan — responded to the calls of doom and gloom when the Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera started a season poorly. Van Gundy remembers telling someone then that Cabrera would hit .300, hit 30 home runs and drive in 100 runs. And that’s what Cabrera did. The same goes, Van Gundy says, for [Rashard] Lewis. The starting forward started the year poorly, but might have some traction now after scoring 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting Saturday night in Indianapolis. ‘Rashard’s going to shoot his percentage,’ Van Gundy said. ‘You’re going to have slumps. When it’s at the first of the year, it looks ugly, because your numbers don’t come down from 47 percent to 42 percent. All you’ve got’s the slump, and it looks ugly. But he’s too good a shooter to continue shooting that way. If he continues to play hard and play with energy, he’s going to shoot the ball well.’ ”
- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Charles Barkley, TNT studio analyst, didn’t mince words when talking about Dwight Howard and the Magic’s title chances. He’s not a fan. ‘He is getting better, but the Magic have no chance of beating the Celtics or the Heat. Dwight Howard has to become more dominant. He is still not dominating. He is not making them double him every time,’ Barkley said. ‘Unless Dwight Howard becomes more dominant, like a young Shaquille O’Neal, the Orlando Magic are just going to be a good-looking regular-season team with a bunch of good players. They are not going to beat the Heat or the Celtics going to Vince Carter with the game on the line. No disrespect to Vince Carter, but he is not going to take them to the next level. It has to be him [Howard] or Rashard [Lewis] and right now I don’t have faith in either one of those guys. It has got to be Dwight Howard.’ ”
- Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News: “When the Spurs played the Bulls in a game televised nationally by ESPN, analysts Marc Jackson, the former All-Star point guard, and Jeff Van Gundy, the former coach of the Knicks and Rockets, weighed in on the abundance of top-tier point guards in the NBA this season. Each was asked to rank the top five in the league. Missing from both lists: the Spurs’ Tony Parker. Van Gundy did the best to hedge, saying he would add Parker to his No. 5 spot, along with Chicago’s Derrick Rose, Denver’s Chauncey Billups and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook. Van Gundy had Utah’s Deron Williams, New Orleans’ Chris Paul and Boston’s Rajon Rondo in his top three spots, as did Jackson. Ironically, Parker matched up over the past five games with three of Van Gundy’s expanded list of the top five point guards and held his own.”
- Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News: “Maybe there are more Texas A&M and Baylor football fans among Spurs fans than I thought. But here’s something that left me scratching my head, considering typical attendance patterns and the Spurs’ quick start . You would have thought that a team playing its best basketball in more than two years playing on a Saturday night would have no trouble packing its arena. But not so for the Spurs, who attracted a season-low 16,982 fans to the game Saturday night. After drawing sellouts for the first two games against Indiana and New Orleans, the Spurs failed to sell out in their next three games before drawing a capacity crowd against Chicago last Wednesday. Saturday night’s attendance was the first time the Spurs failed to attract at least 17,000. But I would expect that to change Monday night when Dwight Howard and the Magic come to town. And if they don’t sell out for that game, there might be something tremendously significant in that trend.”
- Andrew A. McNeill of 48 Minutes of Hell: “The interesting thing is how Splitter is being inserted into the lineup. At this point in Tiago’s NBA career, he’s almost exclusively handcuffed to Matt Bonner in live action. This is both an advantage for the Spurs and a necessary partnership. Tiago Splitter is excellent at running the pick-and-roll, as his performance last night indicates. Pairing Splitter’s talents on the offensive end with Bonner’s floor-stretching ability creates a dangerous offensive second unit. [...] One player who you will almost never see Splitter in the game with is DeJuan Blair. Both have similar skillsets that don’t necessarily complement each other. Offensively both are pick-and-roll players with extremely limited shooting ability. You also have to pick and choose when to throw the ball in the post to them. If Splitter can develop a similar big-man-to-big-man passing chemistry that DeJuan Blair enjoys with Tim Duncan, eventually Splitter can be the game-closing big man that many hope to see.”
I don't like Charles Barkley's comments about the Magic but I think he's right, at the moment our team can't beat the Celtics, Miami... maybe. The team has very good players but I think is lacking of focus and killer instinct... hopefully this will change as the season goes...