Thursday's Magic Word | Magic Basketball

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Apr 28

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “J-Rich scored just four and eight points in the first two games, and then was suspended for Game 4 and is averaging just 10.8 points per game in the playoffs. Most importantly, they need [Jason] Richardson to prevent Hawks all-star Joe Johnson from getting the shots he wants and dominating the perimeter. This is just as big a moment for Johnson. He took the money in a wild free-agent derby last summer — re-signing with Atlanta for $100 million — instead of perhaps finding a stronger contender. Now the eyes are on Johnson to justify his deal in either Game 6 or 7. Johnson fizzled in Game 5 in Orlando, held to five points after scoring 20 or more in three of the four previous games. The outcome tonight likely will rest on whomever dominates this match-up.”
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy jokes around about receiving the dreaded “vote of confidence.”
  • Josh Smith reacts to an article in the Orlando Sentinel.
  • Gilbert Arenas needs to continue his recent stretch of good play.
  • Grant Hill talks about what went wrong with his ankle when he signed with the Orlando Magic as a free agent in 2000: “I don’t think anybody really knows I started to have ankle problems at the end of the 1999-2000 season, probably mid-March. I was still able to go out and play. I still played well, but I was getting a lot of treatment. It was certainly bothering me. As we got closer to the end of the season, my ankle was really getting worse. I was missing practice. To the point where we had a nationally televised game against Philadelphia and I just pulled myself. My ankle was just killing me. We get back, we get an MRI. They say it’s a bone bruise. It’s still bothering me. I pull myself in the third quarter. They put me on some heavy medication and we had a long break between Game 1 and Game 2. While I was on this medication I felt great. Obviously it was masking the pain. Went out and played in Game 2 and I felt a pop in the second quarter, continued on in the third quarter and couldn’t go on. When we got back, we found out it was broken.”
  • Make sure to check out the remainder of Hill’s explanation. It’s revealing.
  • Trey Kerby of The Basketball Jones chimes in on Hill’s story.
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie: “Nearly every road game of Hill’s final season as a Detroit Piston saw countless writers ask Hill about his plans for the summer of 2000, when Hill himself didn’t know where he was eventually headed, and the whole experience took its toll on a middling Pistons team. So much so that Hill, ever the professional, likely ruined his career in order to avoid of-their-day charges that he was taking it easy in his potential final days as a Piston. Detroit was in the running for a playoff spot deep in the 1999-00 season when Hill came up lame with an ankle injury, and immediately the on-record catcalls wondered aloud as to the severity of the injury, and whether or not it was just the free agent to-be’s way of guarding himself as the big pay day approached in the summertime.”
  • Matt Moore of CBSSports.com previews Game 6 between the Magic and Atlanta Hawks: “The Magic really showed they were a better team when the shots were falling in Game 5. That has to put the fear of God into Atlanta. If the Hawks don’t get a break and have the Magic miss a few early ones, Atlanta could come undone. This is a deciding game in this series, and not just because the Magic remain on the edge of elimination. A loss and the Hawks enter full-on meltdown mode. Just like that, a series that looked to be theirs can wind up firmly in Orlando’s grasp.”
  • Had Hill been healthy with Orlando, history would have changed.
  • What are the odds that Dwight Howard remains with the Magic beyond 2012? Moore thinks Howard should stay: “You want to be an all-time player? You want to win a championship? Be the building block of the franchise. Otis Smith has shown he’s willing to do what it takes to make it happen. Bail and you’re just another attention-seeking bandwagon jumper. It’s his right to leave. Doesn’t mean he should.”
  • Do the Magic need to rebuild? Chris Broussard of ESPN Insider makes his case that they do.
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