Tuesday's Magic Word | Magic Basketball

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Apr 26

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy inadvertently disclosed his master plan for slowing the Atlanta Hawks tonight in Game 5 of the teams’ first-round playoff series. It involves Dwight Howard. ‘I don’t want to give away a big secret here before the game,’ Van Gundy told the media, ‘but he’s not going to get a lot of rest.’ Hey, at least Van Gundy has a sense of humor even with his team trailing three games to one and facing elimination. At the top of the Magic’s to-do list tonight: Shoot the ball better, defend the perimeter better and start much better than they have recently. ‘If we get one win, we’re gonna win the whole thing,’ Howard said. ‘We just need one win, stay confident, keep believing, just play hard for the 48 minutes. Usually when you do that great things happen.’ ”
  • Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “Gilbert Arenas put together his most memorable game as a member of the Orlando Magic Sunday night, scoring 20 points off the bench in the Magic’s 88-85 Game 4 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. He did the majority of his damage running high pick-and-rolls with Dwight Howard, scoring 15 points (7-of-13 shooting) in such situations. And a majority of those points came when attacking the hoop after using the screen. For Magic fans, it was a welcome sight to see someone besides Dwight Howard attacking the rim. He still lacks the explosiveness and jumping ability from early in his career, but at least he’s willing to go strong at the hoop to score or draw a foul. That’s a big reason why many fans are hoping to see more from Arenas tonight, even though they’ve been dogging the guy for the past five months. But things won’t be so easy for Arenas in tonight’s Game 5.”
  • Jason Richardson vows to be smarter on the court.
  • Eight teams in NBA history have recovered from a 3-1 series deficit and won.
  • Zach Lowe of The Point Forward: “A win Tuesday might not change the long-term picture for Howard, and it doesn’t necessarily mean GM Otis Smith was wrong to think the Jason Richardson/[Hedo] Turkgolu/Arenas combination might give the Magic a better chance to win it all this season. Marcin Gortat was always going to be a role player in Orlando, Vince Carter hasn’t exactly killed it in Phoenix, and Rashard Lewis was an injury-prone non-factor in Washington. They might have fit Stan Van Gundy’s system a little better than the guys the Magic received — Vince Carter can still work a pick-and-roll, and a healthy Lewis is probably better all around than his power forward replacements — but Orlando’s current situation might not be much different today had Smith declined the trades.”
  • John Schuhmann of NBA.com: “This isn’t the first time Collins has had success in defending Howard. In 591 career games in which he’s played at least 25 minutes (including postseason), his two lowest scoring games came against Collins and the Nets. Collins held Howard to two points on 1-for-5 shooting on March 13, 2005 and to one point on 0-for-6 shooting on Jan. 20, 2007. The Collins Effect goes beyond Howard’s numbers. By defending Howard one-on-one, Collins allows his teammates to stay at home on the perimeter. The Magic are shooting a league-low 29.1 percent from five feet or beyond in the postseason, and just 26.5 percent when Collins is on the floor. If the Magic are going to extend the series with a win tonight in Game 5 (7:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV), they’ll need to start making some shots. But that’s proven to be difficult with the Hawks’ no-stats MVP on the floor.”
  • Head coach Larry Drew is confident.
  • Austin Link of ESPN Insider: “Based off of their regular season shooting prowess, there was only about a 1-in-300 chance of the Magic shooting that poorly from 3-point land so far. Put another way, if Orlando had simply matched its regular season long ball form so far, it would be 42 points better in a series in which its overall scoring margin is only -11 points across all four games to date. If they can turn the shooting around and Howard continues to exert his influence, the Magic can not only get through the first round, but could even challenge the Chicago Bulls in the second. Right now we give the Magic only about 25 percent odds of a comeback, however, so the chances that they’ll get the opportunity to face the Bulls aren’t good.”
  • Jemele Hill of ESPN.com thinks Doc Rivers should replace Stan Van Gundy as head coach of the Orlando Magic: “As good a tactician as Van Gundy is, the Magic play like a team that can’t go any further under his direction. When Orlando traded for Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas this season, the hope was that the new faces would spark a return run to the NBA Finals, where Orlando lost in five games to the Lakers two years ago. Instead, the Magic have flat-lined. Orlando’s flashes of brilliance have been undermined by even larger stretches of underachievement.”
  • John Hollinger of ESPN Insider: “You’d be excused for thinking Atlanta was the one with the better scoring margin based on the first four games of this series. The Hawks would already be prepping for the second round if not for some bizarre coaching choices in the second quarter of Game 2, thanks to a shockingly good defensive effort against the league’s 10th-best regular-season offense.”
  • Nate Drexler makes an appearance in ESPN.com’s 5-on-5 writer roundup.
  • The Magic and San Antonio Spurs share a lot of similar philosophies on both ends of the floor, which has allowed both franchises to be successful, but they’re close to reaching the end of the road in the 2011 NBA Playoffs much earlier than expected.
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