They sure fought hard and stood by thier coach, but in the end it was not enough as the Orlando Magic fell to the Indiana Pacers, losing the series 4-1. Jameer Nelson certainly did all he could to avoid the outcome as he poured in a game high 27 points in the final outing of his season. Glen Davis also worked hard once more for his 15 points despite being nearly hoplessly outsized.
The Pacers got offence from Danny Granger who had 25 points but shot only 8-20 from the field, but Darren Collison was the real star with 19 points and six assists off the bench. Also, got to love this last bit from SVG
“They were a good team and I congratulate them. I’ve been through this same thing. They haven’t won a series in seven years. This was great step for them. The next round is going to be very tough. They were huge favorites in this series. They will be underdogs in the next. I have no clue how far they will go and I won’t be watching.”
— Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy
Roy Hibbert finally took full advantage of his size as he put in 18 points to lead the Pacers to a big 23 win in Orlando. Hibbert also ripped down 10 rebounds as Danny Granger had 26 points to make up for the lack of scoring presence from David West, who only had 3 points. The Magic on the other hand had few major contributors, with Hedo Turkoglu still struggling though injury and Jason Richardson and Ryan Anderson simply disappearing.
Glen Davis was one of the few Magic players to win his match up, getting into the body of the taller Hibbert and ramming his way towards 22 points. One time ‘Big Baby’, Davis has stepped up and is seeming to thrive as the central cog for his team.
“That (Game 1) loss really woke us up. It showed us what Orlando is capable of, and we knew we had to really play in this series to win. We have been executing, especially on the defensive end. Our offense comes and goes, but defensively we’ve been there the whole series.”
Despite a brave game one victory, it look very unlikely that the Magic will get another victory in this series, let alone get through it. They simply do not have the quality, let alone the depth of quality. Look for the Magic and Stan Van Gundy to fight to the end, but expect the Pacers to win this one.
Final score: 97-78 Pacers win. (Series tied 1-1)
The Indiana Pacers bounced back in the best possible way as they took down the Orlando Magic by 19 points. David West continued to pound the paint in Dwight Howard’s absence, scoring 18 points and pulling down 11 rebounds, also getting to the line ten times. Roy Hibbert didn’t provide a huge offensive boost but his 5 offensive boards helped keep possessions alive for the Pacers.
“We can’t get too high after this victory. They still have an advantage going there. There’s room for us to improve and we know it’s going to be a tough environment going down there.”
– David West: Pacers forward
The Magic were held to just 35 percent shooting and only 32 percent from down town in a mix of good defence and missed open shots. Glen Davis especially struggled mightily, only hitting 5 of his 16 shots but got to the line 10 times, hitting 8, to score 18 points and lead the Magic. He also pulled down 10 rebounds to help plug the rebounding gap Dwight leaves. Jason Richardson especially went from 17 points in game one to just two in the second. The saying that the Magic “Live by the three, die by the three” could not be anymore relevant in this game.
Final score: 81-77 Magic win (Magic lead 1-0)
Well the Magic achieved what many thought was impossible as the Magic took down the Pacers despite Dwight Howard’s absence. Roy Hibbert dominated the pain defensively in Dwight’s absence as he recorded 13 rebounds and 9 blocks to clog up the paint. But he was not able to have a great enough offensive impact as he only scored 8 points. David West on the other hand took full advantage of the situation as he had 19 points.
The Magic scored the last 12 points of the game to achieve the difficult task. Danny Granger fumbled his way through the final quarter as he struggled down the stretch. Jason Richardson on the other hand knocked down a pair of clutch triples to help seal the game for the Magic.
” Even in games we haven’t played well, I think our guys never quit fighting. Our goal is to hang in there.”
— Orlando head coach Stan Van Gundy.
Glen Davis played big in Howard’s absence, scoring 16 points and pulling down 13 rebounds despite being blocked 6 times throughout the game. Jameer Nelson also had a near double double with 17 points and 9 assists as the Magic got the win they needed to be competitive in the series.
(All times American)
Game 1 – Sat. April 28, Philadelphia at Chicago, 1 p.m., TNT
Game 2 – Tue. May 1, Philadelphia at Chicago, 8 p.m., TNT
Game 3 – Fri. May 4, Chicago at Philadelphia, 8 p.m., ESPN
Game 4 – Sun. May 6, Chicago at Philadelphia, 1 p.m., ABC
Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Philadelphia at Chicago, TBD
Game 6 * Thu. May 10, Chicago at Philadelphia, TBD
Game 7 * Sat. May 12, Philadelphia at Chicago, TBD, TNT
Not to long ago, this playoff series didn’t really seem likely. The Sixers were much higher in the standings then their current 8th seed position and were looking to prove that a team could win without a true superstar in their lineup. This does not look likely to present much of a challenge to the Bulls, as there really is no “No Rose, no Bulls argument”. If Rose does start to prove a factor, as he surely will, Andre Iguodala may play some defence on him, much like LeBron James did at times. Perhaps one of the keys here will be that. Elton Brand against Carlos Boozer will be another key match up, with the two veteran forwards likely to have to score highly for their respective teams. Bulls will get the win here
Game 1 – Sat. April 28, New York at Miami, 3:30 p.m., ABC/R
Game 2 – Mon. April 30, New York at Miami, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 3 – Thu. May 3, Miami at New York, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 4 – Sun. May 6, Miami at New York, 3:30 p.m., ABC/R
Game 5 * Wed. May 9, New York at Miami, TBD
Game 6 * Fri. May 11, Miami at New York, TBD
Game 7 * Sun. May 13, New York at Miami, TBD
Possibly one of the more exciting match ups of the Eastern Conference. Great contests at multiple positions and superstars littered all over the place. The highlight will no doubt be the competition between LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, the two 2003 alumni likely wanting the win over their compatriot. Both teams love to get out on the fast break, but its not secret that a big step towards stopping the Miami Heat is halting the run of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. Amare Stoudemire’s play against Chris Bosh will be interesting to see, with Bosh having to deal with the physicality of Stoudemire, something he has shown in the past to dislike. Tyson Chandler’s shot blocking and ability to fill up the paint will also be essential in stopping the drives of Wade and James. Possible upset, but Miami likely to get the win.
Game 1 – Sat. April 28, Orlando at Indiana, 7 p.m., ESPN
Game 2 – Mon. April 30, Orlando at Indiana, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 3 – Wed. May 2, Indiana at Orlando, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 4 – Sat. May 5, Indiana at Orlando, 2 p.m., ESPN
Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Orlando at Indiana, TBD
Game 6 * Fri. May 11, Indiana at Orlando, TBD
Game 7 * Sun. May 13, Orlando at Indiana, TBD
Injuries will definitely be the determining factor in this series. The Pacers have quietly gone about having a good season as they secured the number three seed and Dwight Howard’s injury will make their playoff run much easier. David West, Danny Granger and co. will have a much easier time scoring in the paint without Dwight’s intimidating presence in the middle. Howard is really the only defensively minded player on the Magic team and they will struggle without him. Hedo will have to turn back to clock and Ryan Anderson will need to play out of his skin to force David West to play defence all the way out of to the three point line if the Magic are able to fit the series win here. Unlikely though.
Game 1 – Sun. April 29, Boston at Atlanta, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 2 – Tue. May 1, Boston at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 3 – Fri. May 4, Atlanta at Boston, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2
Game 4 – Sun May 6, Atlanta at Boston, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Boston at Atlanta, TBD
Game 6 * Thu. May 10, Atlanta at Boston, TBD
Game 7 * Sat. May 12, Boston at Atlanta, TBD, TNT
Boston’s charge at the end of the season has them well place in this years playoffs. They avoid Miami and Chicago in the first round but the Hawks are no small hurdle to overcome in the first round. The Hawk duo of Josh Smith and Joe Johnson have been playing some of the best basketball of their careers, especially Josh Smith. But the suffocating defence and the inability of the Hawks to match up with Rajon Rondo should allow the Celtics to get the win here. Ray Allen could play a key role as he comes back from extended injury, and if he’s playing off the bench will provide a huge spark. Celtics to get the win here
Western Conference previews up before too long!
Carmelo Anthony’s 42 points 9 rebounds and 5 assists were not enough for the Knicks to defeat the Miami Heat in a potential first round preview. While Carmelo was huge, there was little help to be had from the rest of his team, with only J.R Smith reaching double figures. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade carried the Heat, scoring 29 and 28 points respectively. Chris Bosh also finished with 16, but more importantly out rebound Tyson Chandler as he played the center position, pulling down 14 boards.
Three players scored 20 points or more and Pau Gasol knocked down two clutch back to back threes in overtime as the Lakers swept the series between themselves and Dallas. With Kobe Bryant still ancient, the Lakers’ offense hardly struggled without him, albeit it did require big games from unusual sources. Dirk Nowitzki had 24 points but shot just 9-28 from the field. Jason Terry also had 21 points off the bench.
Rajon Rondo had 20 points and handed out 16 assists as the Boston Celtics cruised to a win against the Charlotte Bobcats. With the Big Three staying home for the game, it was left to the younger brigade to take care of business. They did not disappoint, with Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo all scoring 20 points. Greg Stiemsma swatted 6 shots for the Celtics. Gerald Henderson also had 22 for the Cats.
After taking down the Boston Celtics, the Toronto Raptors claimed another top Eastern scalp as they defeated the Atlanta Hawks by 18 points. Demar DeRozan had 23 points but the Hawks shot themselves in the foot, only hitting one three for the entire game. Josh Smith lead all scorers with 26 points on 11-20 scoring.
The Detroit Pistons pushed the Bulls to overtime but could not finish the game off as they lost by six. Rodney Stuckey lead all with 32 point. Derrick Rose continued to struggle in his retun, scoring 24 points on 9-22 shooting. Joakim Noah also had 20 points and 17 rebounds including a phenomenal 13 offensive rebounds. 4 starters played 20 minutes plus for the Bulls.
The Orlando Magic got the win butlost another bigman as Glen Davis went down with a big knee. The injury leaves the Magic with only one slight tall player left in Ryan Anderson. Jameer Nelson had 21 and 9 assists as well as 9 rebounds to lead both teams.
Antawn Jamison had 21 for the Cavs.
Marcus Thornton Knocked down the elbow jumper to win the game with 3.4 seconds left. Thornton had 20 points to go along with the game winner. Wesley Matthews was the highlight for the injury torn Trailblazers, scoring 31 points on 8-10 shooting from downtown.
The New Orleans Hornets had a hige upset as they beat the Memphis. Rudy Gay had 24 points in the loss while Eric Gordon lead the Hornets with 18. Carl Landry had a double double off the bench registering 16 points and 11 boards.
Afflalo and Ty Lawson both dropped twenty points and Andrew Miller hadned out 11 assists off the bench as well as 7 boards as the Denver Nuggets defeated the Houston Rockets by a comfortable 15 points. Chase Budinger had 19 off the bench for the Rockets.
The Toronto Raptors got a giant upset as they beat the Boston Celtics, ending the Celt’s 4 game winning streak. DeMar DeRozan had 22 to lead the way for the Raptors, on 13-13 shooting from the free throw stripe, while Rajon Rondo’s assist streak continued as he handed out 12 of them.
Marshon Brooks had 22 points and Gerald Green had 23 off the bench as they handed a loss to the seriously slumping Sixers. The 76ers were outscored 32-23 in the last quarter as the were overwhelmed by a determined Nets team. Jrue Holiday had 19 for Philadelphia.
Tracy McGrady had 11 points on 5-7 shooting and was a +31 on points differential as TMac and the Hawks went to Orlando and came out with the win. Filling in for the sizable absence of Dwight Howard, Glen Davis had 16 points and 9 rebounds to lead the Magic.
12 of the Pacer’s players came onto the court and all but 2 scored as the Pacers took down the Cleveland Cavaliers by 19 points. Danny Granger had 18 to lead all scorers while Omri Casspi had 14 for the Cavaliers.
The Washington Wizards found a solid brick wall awaiting them in Madison Square Garden as the left New York with their tail between their legs, losing by 38 points. JR Smith had 23 points in the huge Knick’s win, as Steven Novak, Carmel Anthony and Baron Davis all had 18 points apiece. Jordan Crawford had 17 to lead the Wizards, by shot appallingly, as did most of the Knicks team as they shot 28 percent from the field.
Dexter Pittman had 16 points off the bench and 11 players scored for the Heat as they beat the Charlotte Bobcats. LeBron James also had 18 points to lead the Heat. 2nd year forward Derrick Brown had 21 points to lead the Cats.
Brandon Jennings’ 20 points and 10 assists as well as Drew Gooden’s 26 points led the playoff chasing Bucks to a victory over the Detroit Pistons. Rookie point guard Ben Knight had 25points to lead the Pistons.
Paul Millsap had 17 and Al Jefferson had 19 but it wasnt enough as the Jazz lost to the New Orleans Hornets. Eric Gordon had 25 to lead the Hornets.
The Phoenix Suns stayed hot in the race for the playoffs as they took down fellow competitor Houston by7 points. Marcin Gortat had 20 points in a captivating, and at times fiery, duel with fellow international Luis Scola. Scola had 21 for the Rockets while Goran Dragic had 22 points and 7 assists.
Kevin Durant had 29 points and pulled down 9 rebounds while Serge Ibaka blocked 7 shots as the Thunder cruised to a routine victory over the Sacramento Kings.
Andrew Bynum matched his rebounding numbers with scoring as he poured in 20 points and 8 rebounds as the Lakers solidified their place in the playoffs. Still without Kobe, Matt Barnes had 24 and 10 to help fill the void. Andre Miller had 20 to lead the Nuggets.
Delonte West and Dirk Nowitzki had 21 and 24 points respectively as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Portland Trailblazers by 3. Nicolas Batum had 20 points for the Blazers in the loss.
Despite Dwight Howard returning to the lineup, the Magic lost to the New York Knicks by 16 points. The Knicks had 41 points off a 4 man bench while Melo had 19 to lead both teams. Tyson Chandler continued to prove that he is possibly the only big man to truly slow Dwight, holding the all-star centre to just 8 points.
John Wall’s 28 points and 10 assists were not enough for the Wizards to beat the Detroit Pistons as they went down by 99-94. Greg Monroe had 18 points while Rodney Stuckey had 15 points off the bench.
The Celtics were overrun in the second half by a determined Chicago Bulls outfit by 7. The Bulls recovered from their slow start to completely dominate the second half, with Luol Deng’s 26 points leading both teams. Paul Pierce scored 12 in the first term to spark the hot Celtics start but faded to finish with 22.
Chris Paul had 13 points 8 assists and 5 steals as the Clippers survived a hectic final few minutes to beat the Sacramento Kings. Rookie sensation Isiah Thomas had 17 points for the Kings while Randy Foye had 20 for the Clips.
The seemingly endless drama in Magic-land is continuing, with rumours that recently resigned Dwight Howard has demanded that long time coach Stan Van Gundy be fired.
In yet another twist, both parties have denied any knowledge of the rumour. Whether this is a media creation or not, it is really necessary for this to be played out in public?
Many believe this to be a more or less done deal, with Van Gundy expected to be out. However one unnamed player still thinks that Van Gundy will be around next season.
In a franchise defining season next season, with the Magic trying to survive another year of Dwight drama, the last thing the Magic need is another distraction. They need a stable platform to build off, and losing a coach at the start of the season will not help.
Unless this is what Dwight wants. In which case, no other person is more important to this franchise, and management should bend to accommodate him
There isn’t much competition for the top two “true” centers in the NBA- simply because there aren’t many left.
Gone are the days of Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. Now we have an era dominated by guards and forwards but rarely the center. However, up the top of the pile are two absolute gems- two dominant big men- two players who can truly change the face of the game.
There can be no doubt surely that these two players are Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard. Both were All-Stars in their positions this season, both have been putting up phenomenal numbers. But who is better? Who would you rather have protecting the paint?
You will see the Lakers occasionally use Bynum in the pick and roll, but the majority of his offensive touches will come on the low block where he will go to work on the mainly shorter man guarding him.
One on one, he is becoming more and more difficult to stop, yet his passing out of the double team is still something that needs to
be worked on.
Howard on the other hand is a much more athletic center, who uses his speed to get around the many heavy footed big men around the league. He can still back you down, but doesn’t seem to have the same touch or foot skills that Bynum does.
He looks to be much more comfortable facing up to the defender, or taking a couple of dribbles and then going to his highly favored running hook. We have seen glimpses of a developing jump shot close to the ring, but it is not a weapon that is often used by the All-Star center.
The pick and roll is something the Magic and Dwight take great advantage of. Excellent passers such as Hedo Turkoglu and Jameer Nelson able to thread the needle and get the ball to Dwight on the alley-oop or open in the paint.
The threat of Orlando’s three ball also means that the defence is constantly being shifted to chase down shooters.
The development of Ryan Anderson especially, often means that there are holes in the defence and usually one less big guy to deal with.
Dwight’s passing is also something that has greatly improved, meaning that he can find those open shooters who can then knock down the wide open shot, which keeps the team’s shooters a threat.
Defensively there is no competition. Dwight is the three-time winning Defensive Player of the
Year and doesn’t look like giving up the title any time soon.
He blocks more shots, gets more rebounds and is just a defensive monster. Bynum also has a tendency to get a bit hot headed, as shown by the elbows he threw all over the place in the playoffs last year.
Bynum is far from a problem on the defensive end, and certainly makes his presence felt, but Dwight Howard is definitely the main man in the middle.
In the end it really depends on your team. Both are probably perfect big men for their teams. Bynum fills the hole that Shaq leaves, and fits well into the Lakers’ offense. That said though, Dwight Howard still has the advantage in the head to head category, and in my books is far and away the best center in the NBA.
Andrew Bynum may be closing the gap and is no doubt a great player, but is not yet on the same level as Dwight.
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