Every morning, we’ll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.
1: Oh Orlando….
I really do feel bad for Orlando fans. You’re getting pulled in a million different directions. The dizzying Dwight Howard saga covered the typical roller coaster ride of a season that has come to define this team. They are the third seed, and they’ll probably stay there. But some nights, they don’t look like a third seed. Last night, they barely looked like a 13th seed.
Dwight Howard, pardon the pun, pulled a disappearing act… shooting the ball only SEVEN times on his way to a 12 point, 5 rebound night. That is inexcusable on every possible level. It’s Dwight’s fault for not being aggressive enough to demand the ball or polished enough to get good shots even when he’s guarded well. It’s his teammates’ fault for jacking 3 after 3 after 3 instead of working it inside to Dwight more often. It’s Stan Van Gundy’s fault for running an offense that encourages a bombs away approach. And it’s Otis Smith’s fault for giving Stan a group of players that give him few other options.
Say what you want, but the Magic have squandered too many opportunities to be great, and it’s everyone’s fault. Last night wasn’t just one of those bad losses that even the great teams can have and can brush off. Last night was part of Orlando’s pattern, and why a first-round exit wouldn’t surprise anyone.
2: Congrats, Nellie
Don Nelson tells ESPN that he got the call to the Hall:
Nelson, a three-time coach of the year and the NBA’s all-time winningest coach, said he got the call Wednesday morning after being snubbed for several years. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will officially announce the 2012 class on Monday at the NCAA Final Four in New Orleans.
I’ll always love Don Nelson for giving us “Nellie-ball.” It may not have achieved the ultimate goal of winning a title, but damn is it fun to watch. Hell, the name is even fun to say.
Congrats on getting in Nellie. I’m betting that’s going to be one hell of a speech.
Rajon Rondo with the trickery (watch Paul Millsap)
Omri Casspi totally meant to do that
Gordon Hayward’s first rejection on this play was nice… the second was better
4: Line of the Night: Kevin Love – 40 points, 19 rebounds, 4 assists.
I’m going to rename this the “Kevin Love Line of the Night” because he keeps on doing crazy things like this. NBA TV put up a graphic if his last four games last night. I had to take a picture of it to save it for posterity.
On Friday he faces the worst rebounding team in the league in the Boston Celtics. I shudder to think at the carnage that may result. He could have a 50/50 night the way he’s going… and I’m only half kidding here.
Kevin Love is the league’s 4th leading scored and 2nd leading rebounder… yet you don’t hear him mentioned in any of the MVP buzz. I think it’s time that changed.
5: You can quote me on that
“I’m motivated, you know? I hear y’all calling me old. I hear y’all calling me older, weathered. It don’t take really much to motivate me, man. I’m older in basketball years, but in life I’m 30-something. I’m looking at your gray hair, no hair, half hair, beautiful hair, wet hair. I’m just motivated. I like to use that word.”
–Kevin Garnett, on being written off as ‘too old’ earlier in the season
“You just don’t see anybody in this league who can score the way he scores and rebound the way he rebounds. You have to keep an eye on him all of the time. When the ball goes up you have to find him.”
-Charlotte head coach Paul Silas, on Kevin Love
“They’re playing small and we got crushed on the boards. That to me is the one that tells me that the effort wasn’t there. When you give up 16 offensive rebounds to a team that’s playing small, that that’s an effort problem,”
-Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy, after a 22 point loss to the Knicks