|Are the Magic unraveling?||05.14.09 at 10:32 am ET|
Van Gundy had told his players to switch one-through-four and Dwight Howard did exactly that when Paul Pierce came off the pick and roll. That left Glen Davis open in the corner and after his shot went through it was all over but the apologies. After Van Gundy’s mea culpa Howard absolved the coach of blame saying that the Magic win as a team and lose as a team. “We can’t blame Stan,” Howard said.
Howard was singing a different tune after Game 5 when he questioned the coach’s strategy and substitution pattern. Stuff like this happens all the time in the NBA, but what makes this situation unique is that this is the first time Howard publicly second-guessed his coach as Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi pointed out.
Van Gundy’s attempted to play down the situation yesterday, saying that he and Howard had a long talk and everything was copacetic, but Howard wasn’t the only one who questioned Van Gundy’s decision to try to burn the clock.
“We kind of played stall ball and you can’t really do that with a 24-second shot clock,” J.J. Redick said.
“We just stopped,” said Hedo Turkoglu. “They’re an experienced team. They’ve been here before. They know how to make decisions, especially in that kind of a game.”
Orlando has all kinds of questions heading into Game 6 beyond whether or not the coach and players are still on the same page. Courtney Lee has been more effective than Redick; does he start in his place?
Rafer Alston finally had a decent game, but his production has been spotty at best. If he falters does Van Gundy go with Anthony Johnson who has played well–but who also had a blowup with the coach during Game 3–or use Turkoglu at the point?
Tony Battie gave the Magic good minutes in the fourth quarter and Howard seemed to indicate that he wanted him on the floor instead of Rashard Lewis, who has been Orlando’s most effective player.
If the Magic can get themselves straightened out they have a very good chance of sending this series back to Boston for Game 7 because they do have several matchup advantages, particularly with Lewis. But on the other hand, they haven’t been able to maximize those advantages.
The Celtics know they got away with one Tuesday night, but they also have complete confidence in what they are doing.
“They say a team that has the most luck is the one that works the hardest,” Ray Allen said. “We end up looking lucky because of that.”
On the floor these teams are evenly matched, but the last 48 hours have brought all of the Magic’s internal issues out into the forefront. Whether they can get their act together could have as big an impact as any strategic decisions Van Gundy makes tonight.
|Howard guarantees series win||05.14.09 at 9:03 am ET|
“We can’t give up hope,” Howard told reporters on Wednesday. “We’re in this series to win it. We are going to win this series.”
Howard criticized head coach Stan Van Gundy following the Magic’s Game 5 loss. He questioned why he wasn’t being allowed to ‘dominate,’ as he barely touched the ball down the stretch of their fourth quarter collapse. Howard and Van Gundy seemed to have reached a resolution.
“Getting the ball shouldn’t be a big issue for me,” Howard said. “There’s more ways to dominate the game than scoring. Me and coach, we talked about that. I just can’t let my frustrations get to the point where I’ll say anything.”
Game 6 will be played tonight in Orlando. The Celtics lead the series 3-2.
|LeBron wants to face Celtics?||05.13.09 at 3:13 pm ET|
Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer believes otherwise:
He said he’d seen every one of the Magic’s playoff games and talked about how difficult they are to defend with Dwight Howard and his strong shooters. But there was an edge when James discussed the Celtics.
“We know everything about Boston; we have a history with them,” James said.
James considers last season Game 7 one of the most challenging he has ever played. Then the NBA’s MVP left his desire for a rematch up to interpretation.
“I’m a competitor; I thrive on going against the best,” James said. “I love playing against the best. You make your answer out of that.”
|Go inside Rondo’s home||05.13.09 at 2:05 pm ET|
|Pierce makes second-team All NBA||05.13.09 at 1:32 pm ET|
Paul Pierce was selected to the All-NBA Second Team the league announced today. Pierce had been on three All-NBA Third Teams (2001-02, 2002-03 and 200708), but this this is the first time he has cracked the Second Team barrier.
No other Celtics made First, Second or Third team All-NBA, although Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon R0ndo also received votes. This was not one of the captain’s better seasons statistically, but he earned praise for keeping the team together during an injury-plagued second half and for several clutch performances.
LeBron James was the only unanimous selection.
G: Dwyane Wade
G: Kobe Bryant
F: LeBron James
G: Brandon Roy
G: Chris Paul
F: Paul Pierce
F: Tim Duncan
C: Yao Ming
G: Tony Parker
F: Carmelo Anthony
F: Pau Gasol
|Starbury to the rescue||05.13.09 at 1:05 am ET|
On Tuesday night, Glen Davis felt like he was back in high school, watching one of his NBA idols tear it up on the floor.
Only this time, Davis had a much better view than on TV. Davis was playing next to Stephon Marbury as the reserve guard came off the bench to re-energize his Celtic teammates at the most crucial point of the playoffs so far, helping deliver a stunning 92-88 come-from-behind win over the Orlando Magic in Game 5 at the Garden.
“I grew up watching Stephon Marbury,” Davis said. “And there’s no doubt, I know he can play this game. Everyone’s seen Stephon Marbury play this game. He’s just got to get into the rhythm and the flow of our team. It’s hard to come from a (place) where he dominated the ball when he played as a star in this league and to come to where there’s a system and you’ve got to pass and create.”
Marbury scored 12 points in 14 minutes and helped the Celtics finally find their groove against an Orlando defense that looked solid, if not dominant, for three quarters. Read the rest of this entry »
|Howard sounds off on coach, team||05.13.09 at 12:09 am ET|
On head coach Stan Van Gundy running an inside-out offense:
‘You’ve got a dominant player, let him be dominant.’
On team emphasizing inexperience in loss:
“We can’t say we’re inexperienced. We can’t use excuses. Win or lose, it’s not about experience. It’s about effort. And in the last couple of games, when they’re down, they pick up their intensity and they pick up their effort and it’s not about being experienced. When you want something, you have to go and try to get it and collectively, even at the end of the game, those guys they wanted it more than we did. And that’s when they can come back from big leads. As a team we have to stop hanging our heads and stop getting frustrated when things don’t go our way offensively, defensively, whatever it is. Everybody on our team has fallen into that category when things aren’t going our way, whether it’s we get bad calls, we miss shots, whatever it is. We tend to get frustrated and if we want to win the series, we can’t do that.”
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