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A few extra days off sounds nice.

May 14, 2009
The happy couple: what will happen tonight? More importantly, what will happen later on? Is it time for SVGundy to go? Or time for Dwight to grow up?

The happy couple: what will happen tonight? More importantly, what will happen later on? Is it time for SVGundy to go? Or time for Dwight to grow up?

I would pay substantial amounts of money (that I don’t have) to find out what was said behind closed doors after the Dwight Howard’s press conference on Tuesday evening. If you missed it, here is a quick rundown:

  • “I don’t think you’re going to win a lot of games when your post player only gets 10 touches.”
  • “You’ve got a dominant player. Let him be dominant.”
  • Dwight called out SVGundy and the rest of the Magical coaching staff on their inability to coach the game and blamed the loss and on-the-court meltdown on them. Dwight wanted more touches and didn’t like the substitutions SVGundy made with about 6 minutes left in the 4th… right about the time that SVGundy brought in his starters to try to stop the Celtics’ run.

Luckily, my boy Hollinger (he doesn’t know he’s my boy yet) over at ESPN just ripped Dwight a new one in his Per Diem article yesterday. In response to the “I don’t think you’re going to win a lot of games when your post player only gets 10 touches,” stat man has this to say:

Actually, the Magic have won a lot of games when Howard has gotten only 10 shots. They were 16-7 during the regular season when Howard attempted 10 field goals or fewer, a .696 winning percentage that comes close to their .720 mark overall. The other thing you might have noticed is that this isn’t a rare event. Howard took 10 shots or fewer in 23 of the 79 games he played and averaged only 12.4 per game on the season… Moreover, on Tuesday night the Magic lost their first postseason game in which Howard took 10 shots or fewer. They had won the previous three, including a 114-89 romp over Philadelphia in Game 6 of the first round when a suspended Howard didn’t take any shots.

Hmmm. All of this just goes to show that Dwight’s mouth is like a buffet full of stupid words with a side of immaturity.

Dwight hasn’t made a career out of playing well when under the spotlight or with lots of pressure. Tonight, in Game 6 in Orlando, he will be in the spotlight and under plenty of pressure. The dude has potentially set himself up for disaster– what if he gets 20 touches, the offense runs strictly through him, and the Magic fail? What’s this going to do to his “development”?

Everyone keeps saying, “Just wait for him to develop… He’s got loads of potential.” That might be true, but he’s got a lot of work before becoming the dominant player he claims he already is. Drop step? Not there. Hook? Not there. Baby hook? Not there. Ability to face up to players? Not there. Ability to handle the ball on the post? Not there. Little jumper from 7 feet out? Not there. Any low post moves period? Not there.

Dwights only offensive move: dunking. With a cape.

Dwight's only offensive move: dunking. With a cape.

I hope SVGundy plans to change it up tonight. Why not? You’re going to lose this series anyway, so you might as well give Not-so-Superman a chance to win the game for the team. There is nothing to lose, but everything to gain: you either win Game 6 or you get him to shut up and start working on his game.

If the Magic have any gusto, any pride, any anything left, they’ll win tonight. If I take my Celtics-fan hat off for the moment, I think the Magic should win this game– they are on the brink of elimination. But, the Magic aren’t in control of this. We’ve seen what the Magic are all about, and what they bring to the table. Unfortunately for them, they are playing at their ceiling: this is the best they can do. They shot well in the Game 1 (43% FG) and shot the lights out in Game 3– 59% from the field and an amazing 50% from 3pt. But the problem is they can’t sustain leads, they don’t have a coach that understands how to change the tempo/pace of the game, and they don’t have a player that can confidently close out a game. You can’t beat a team as good as the Celtics without any of those 3 things. You just can’t.

Rondo and Ray: inconsistent as theyve been, we are looking for a big game tonight from 1 or 2 of em.

Rondo and Ray: inconsistent as they've been, we are looking for a big game tonight from 1 or 2 of 'em.

At some point this series, Ray and/or Rondo will catch on the same night. Pierce and Baby and Perk have been pretty consistent this series… while Ray and Rondo have only shown glimpses of the kinds of players they were in the CHI series. Like baseball, these players are due. They are long overdue.

It almost doesn’t matter how the Magic play. It almost doesn’t matter if Dwight gets 8 touches or 28. It’s not in the cards for the Magic. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the Magic have only been able to stay in this series because the Celtics are giving games away. Either in Game 6 or 7, all 5 starters for the Celts will do what they need to do and take care of business. Ray will get the stroke going and make his shots from outside. Rondo will be aggressive and create offensive rhythm for the team. Pierce, Baby, and Perk will continue to do the things they’ve been doing to help the C’s go up 3-2 on Orlando.

If they pull out the win tonight, we all get a few extra days off. Yes, WE: the players and the fans. This playoff season has been exhausting.

Endnote  •  Thoughts on Lakers/Rockets tonight? Jeff Van Gundy predicted the Rockets would win in 6 or lose in 7 on the Sports Guy podcast the other day. I think this might be the best prediction for the series I heard… but since they can’t win in 6, looks like the Rocks are going to lose in 7. Poor Daryl Morey.

Be sure to check out Boston-Homer’s open letter to Dwight Howard.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 14, 2009 6:25 pm

    Dwight Howard showed a lack of maturity with his comments regarding Coach Van Gundy after game 5’s upsetting loss to Boston on Tuesday night.

    Criticism of your coach is not always inappropriate. What is inappropriate is broadcasting those criticisms to the world before a series clinching game. It is obvious that dissension is growing for Van Gundy among Magic players. We witnessed it with point guard Anthony Johnson earlier in the series. The star player and obvious leader of the team adding his own dissensions only tears apart the cohesion of his team.

    The fact that Van Gundy’s job security is being discussed (bc of Howards comments) the day of a series deciding game proves as a distraction the Magic players cannot afford to have.

    Dwight, you will probably get more touches tonight – Congrats!

  2. May 15, 2009 3:39 pm

    We played great D but it doesn’t matter when you turn the ball over 20 times. Looks like the Celts are back to their regular season ways of handling the ball.

    Hey, it would not be May in Boston without game sevens!

    Can’t wait!!!

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