Thursday, April 16, 2009

Moving on up...

Alright, here is that big news everyone has been waiting for!

All of us here at TBASTBM have known each other quite a long time now... Our common bond being the Orlando Magic. We had always talked about starting a blog about our favorite team. Nothing serious, until the beginning of this year. There is a decent chance some alcohol was involved, as well as the desire to show the Internet who's boss. That said, we did some good ole' fashioned brainstorming and came up with The Puns Are Starting to Bore Me. We fiddled with Blogspot for several days, and before you could name all of Sean Kemp's children, we were off and running.

We mourned the loss of Adonal Foyle, and then praised his return. We stressed Orlando's defensive prowess. Cheered the Rafer trade. Marcin Gortat. For our 100th post, we gave you 100 memories. There was some Taoism somewhere. How about the best SVG quotes? We gave away tickets to a game. We offered our solutions, with or without Jack Daniels, for how to rebound from the Jameer Nelson injury. We even discussed the Magic in spanish! And much, much more!

It turns out we enjoyed blogging, and for some reason a decent amount of people enjoyed reading our blog. But, like Shaq and Orlando, TPASTBM outgrew Blogspot. Ya see, we want all the lights, ladies, glory, and attention that the Internet can provide.

In comes the Bloguin Network.

We have decided to join said network in order to reach the next level. (Remember the talk about lights, ladies, glory, etc? Yeah, that's the next level.) The Bloguin Network will allow us to bring our readers even better content, in a much better looking fashion. Honestly, it looks much more official. So, to continue the trend towards professionalism, we have implemented a dress code for all contributors. Jareth Cutestory can no longer blog naked. It really is a win-win for all.

So, please follow us over to the new The Puns Are Starting to Bore Me and get things going!

Also, thanks to "Sebi" for The Puns banner we have been using for the last several months.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Shu ba da du ma ma ma ma

Tonight the Magic take on the New York Knickerbockers and their frontman David Lee Roth. Enjoy the game folks, and we'll see ya on Monday with some big news!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Rookie Assessment: Courtney Lee

With only 4 more games to go before the end of the regular season, I think it's safe to give a fair assessment of our 22nd pick of the draft. Courtney has surprised many of us, and has exceeded almost all expectations we had for him going into the season. Being the 22nd pick doesn't usually guarantee you playing time on a title contending team, much less being a starter.

For a position that had the likes of Keith Bogans and journeyman Maurice Evans starting last year for the Magic, FA acquisition Mickael Pietrus all but had the starting 2 spot locked up. However after getting off to a strong start, Pietrus battled injuries and inconsistent play all throughout the year, eventually succumbing the starting position to the rookie. Lee embraced the starting role, and never let it go.

Courtney has been more then just a fill in, or a "good enough" type of player. Lee has come in and provided defense, scoring, and all around hustle for the Magic. Lee just doesn't quit. Take a bad shot? That's ok, he'll go and alter a shot on the other end. Turn the ball over that lead to a fastbreak? He'll chase down the player with the ball and either strip him or steal the ball right back. Miss a ton of shots? I'll get to that later....

He hasn't been named Rookie of the Month, nor will he be Rookie of the Year, but what do those awards really mean anyhow? They are usually given to the rookie who scores the most points on a bad team, rather then the rookie who significantly made his team better in some or all aspects of the game.

I've compiled a list of highlights, stats, and other miscellaneous information on Courtney that he has accumulated throughout the year. Let's take a look....

Favorite Courtney Lee moment: There are alot of games that come to mind where Courtney really showed me something, but my favorite had to be the game against the 76ers on February 28th. Courtney was missing shot after shot, blowing some defensive assignments, and was just having an all around poor game. The Magic were down, as the team collectively didn't look too sharp that night. Someone had to step up and change the outcome of the game. That someone was Courtney Lee.

Lee, despite his poor effort earlier, continued to fire away, eventually hitting big shot after big shot. The Magic eventually won the game by 6, with Lee being a big part of the reason they won. Lee finished the game with 18 points on 6 of 18 shooting, 4 of 12 from downtown. He also took the most shots out of anyone that night.

I remember losing all hope for that game, as Courtney was being left wide open to continue jacking up those shots. But when he started hitting them, I sprung from my chair, and knew this rookie was making a statement. Leave me alone, and you are going to pay. And pay the Sixers did.

Best statistical game: March 23, 2009 against the Knicks. Lee finished with 22 points with a cool 75% FG, 2 for 3 from downtown, and a perfect 8-8 from the line. He also chipped in 3 boards, 3 steals, and only 1 turnover.

Did you know? The Magic are a whopping 25-5 when Courtney scores 10 points or more.

Favorite "Wow" moment: I'll let the video speak for itself.

09-10 Outlook: Depending on whether or not the Magic resign Hedo Turkoglu, I foresee Courtney holding onto the starting position, and possibly becoming an even bigger part of the offense. Without Turkoglu and with the addition of Jameer Nelson coming back from injury, the Magic will still be lacking a 4th scorer. Lee will immediately be put into that position, especially on a team like the Magic. I'd also like to see more plays ran for Courtney, as he often spends too much time camping out in the corner, and rarely cuts as much as he should up until recently. If Turkoglu isn't resigned, Mickael Pietrus becomes the starting SF by default, unless the Magic pick up a legitimate 4 and slide Rashard back to the 3. This would all but guarantee Lee continues to be the starting SG as well. Despite what his role will end up being, Courtney will only improve if he continues to display a strong work ethic and a desire to win games.
Predicted line: 30 mpg, 44% FG, 38% 3pt, 13ppg, 4 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.5 spg

Courtney still has flaws. He can sometimes disappear on the offensive end, and he isn't exactly a lock down defender just yet. However, GM Otis Smith really picked a winner this year, and Magic fans are thankful to have Courtney on their team for a long time to come.

Credit for the photo

Petty, but Pretty

Ok, I admit up front that this is a rather petty thing to be happy about, but today I am celebrating “Suns Elimination Day” in honor of the Dallas Mavericks clinching the Western Conference’s final playoff spot last night, which simultaneously eliminated the Phoenix Suns from the post season.

I have nothing against the Phoenix Suns. In fact, prior to last season, they were one of my favorite teams in the league to watch. I still like players such as Steve Nash, Leandro Barbosa, and Amare Stoudemire. The problem is, and I’m sure you all know where I’m going here, is that the Suns currently employ the two largest purveyors of Orlando Magic destruction, and fan misery, in the franchise’s short history.

How ironic that Grant Hill left the Magic two seasons ago because he wanted to play for a contender. Well, while we could argue whether the Magic even took an on-court hit from his departure, what can’t be argued is the sweet justice this fan feels by watching the classy, but disloyal, Hill’s fortunes fall when he left us. After all, our fortunes fell from the moment when he came to us.

And what more needs to be said about Shaq? Shaq, in his second to last season in the league (according to him), will be missing the playoffs for the first time since his rookie season with the Magic back in 1992-1993. I guess he forgot that you don’t fake the funk on a nasty dunk.

As if there weren’t enough Shaq-related issues in Magicland, Shaq has turned things up a notch this season with his back-and-forths with Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. Of course, Shaq will never be a player that can just straight up give a compliment to a rival. His back handed “compliments” of Dwight Howard this season actually seemed to bother the younger Superman. It is one thing for Shaq to leave the Magic franchise like he did in 1996. That was bad, for certain. But it is another thing entirely for him to attempt in any way, shape, or warm-up, to mess with the one man capable of making us forget Shaq and even take us to places that Shaq couldn’t and wouldn’t.

So, allow me my moment of being petty. Allow me to get a quick feeling of satisfaction that two players who were so instrumental in the direction our franchise took will now be sitting at home watching us achieve greatness without them, and despite them.

Photo credit: Charlotte Observer.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

You are what's wrong with the world

Going to a Magic game is a fun thing to do. Instead of sharing the thrill of a game winning shot with your cat Fluffy, you get to share the experience with thousands of fellow Magic fans. Also, there is usually plenty of ladies around, which is always a good thing considering the same can't be said for your apartment. Still, it's not all good.

Every game I attend I am sure to run into a handful of people who require me to close my eyes and take a deep breath. They are, undoubtedly, what is wrong with the world.
  • You are sitting in front of me, which isn't that big of a deal. I'll accept you standing up to cheer throughout the game because a) it shows that you are really into the Magic, and b) it gives me an excuse to stand up and cheer too. However, you don't stand up and cheer during a pivotal moment of the game. No, the only time you get up to make noise the entire game is when you want a silly, stupid, meaningless t-shirt. You would think this person is devoid of clothing and shelter and this was really a big deal. No, they just want something because it's free.
  • There is five minutes left in the 4th quarter and the Magic are up 8. You get up and leave. You "want to beat the traffic." Good, go home.
  • We are halfway through the 2nd quarter. You walk up to my row and look down at the row letter, then you gaze back at your ticket, then back at the row letter, then back at the ticket. You are clueless. Now, I don't mind getting up and letting people in and out of the row. My problem here is that you have missed a quarter and a half of basketball.
  • You cheer louder for JJ Redick than you do for any other player.
  • You bring your children to a game. It's a great thing. I remember going to Magic games when I was a youngster and they were amazing. Kudos to you, mom and dad. However, you don't control your children. Those thunder sticks your 7 year old boy is using? Yeah, those. They are constantly hitting the head of the guy in front of you. And at what point does your little girl's screaming like she just saw Justin Timberlake become too much for you to put up with?
  • The MVP chant. Serenity now. Where did this fad start? Dwight Howard is at the line in the 4th quarter of a close game. As I hope you know, he struggles with his free throws. Here, let's throw him another distraction by chanting "MVP," like it will actually change the mind of those who vote for the meaningless award. You watch too much SportsCenter.
  • You drink Bud Light. Yuck.
  • You might be wearing your Dwight Howard jersey to the game, but at home you have a Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Kobe Bryant jersey. Let me guess, you probably have matching shoes for each one too. I'd bet you like Stuart Scott.
  • It's the national anthem. The lady is doing a decent job, even though she thinks she is Christina Aguilera. For some reason, you decide to yell out a rather silly cheer right after she says "O'er the land of the freeeeee." Why not just wait until she finishes?
Alright, I have to go. There are some kids on my lawn.

Left feeling April foolish, worst NBA deals of 08-09

April Fools day may be over but this season has left several NBA franchises feeling foolish due to poor choices made in player acquisitions this past year. We at “The Puns” have put together a list of the five worst player signings/trades that have left their teams wishing someone would yell APRIL FOOLS in hopes that it never happened.

5. Allen Iverson / Detroit Pistons – Denver gladly took Billups and his all-star caliber PG play and leadership off the hand of the Pistons for team chemistry killer AI, whose skills have diminished but ego has not. The only redeeming feature of this deal is Iverson’s expiring contract that will allow Detroit to be a major player in this summer’s free agency market.

4. Corey Maggette / Golden State – While Maggette is a solid player, I question why a team already loaded with SG/SF’s would spend $49 mill. over five years on another while ignoring glaring needs at PG and PF.

3. Jermaine O'Neal /Raptors and Heat – The Raptors were so happy with their trade for O'Neal that they traded him before the trade deadline for Shawn Marion and his expiring contract. Even in Miami where Oneal is filling a huge need at center the Heat are only one game over .500 since the trade. O'Neal is a long way from playing anywhere near his salary which is the 4th highest in the league.

2. Elton Brand / Sixers – The Sixer’s will make the playoffs this year but have little to show for spending their precious cap space on the player they hoped would help them to compete with the Eastern conference elite. Another injury plagued year for the veteran low post scorer that struggled when he was healthy trying to find space in the paint. The Sixers are the worst three point shooting team in the league allowing teams to collapse into the paint. The Sixers need a healthy Brand AND to make moves to improve their outside shooting if this signing is to pay dividends down the road.

1. Baron Davis / LA Clippers – Brand stunned the Clippers by bolting for Philly after believing they had their dream All-Star PG and Center combo ready to sign. Baron kept his word and signed into what turned into the most dysfunctional team in the league. Davis showed little of the leadership and fire he had displayed at Golden State the last few years and as always missed a good number of games from injuries.

Next week we will look at the top five veteran player acquisitions for the season

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dwight Howard: Team Leader

Alot can be said about leadership and where it comes from. Are people just born with natural leadership qualities or if they are blessed enough with great talent in their particular arena can they then learn leadership and guide others.

This question is especially prevelant in basketball because for the most part we hear that the best player on the team needs to be the leader of the team and for the most part it is true. There is no doubt that Kobe leads the Lakers and Lebron leads the Cavs, etc. Heck I remember when Tracy McGrady played here he took a leadership class at Rollins College so he could try and become a better leader. He was not necessarily born with that quality nor has he developed it over time.

The leader of the Magic this season definitely became Jameer Nelson as he not only elevated his game to that of an all-star but you could see he was taking the reigns and making the team his own. When he went down Rafer Alston stepped in with brilliant results but something else has occured to me that I think alot of people are missing which is Dwight Howard has decided to become the leader of this team.

After the Hawks game on Saturday he eluded to the fact that the Magic did not have the energy or effort they needed and that they need to bring that every night to be a championship contender.
After the Raptors loss he called a team only meeting which usually fall on deaf ears but it was a brilliant strategy for him because when he spoke the players listened as evidenced by the boat racing that was handed to the Cavs on Friday night.

I have never been one to question how much money my athletes make or what they do in their free time but I do want to know they care as much about the team winning as I do. It sounds so absurd to think that a NBA player does not care about winning but sometimes all the joking and jovial stuff has led me and others to believe that they may shrug off these losses easier than we do. Dwight is quickly teaching me that this is not the case and when he says he wants this team to win a championship he means it. It has been his message all season.

Actions have always spoken louder than words and trust me Dwight's actions have been so clear I think we might take them for granted. But if the best big in the NBA wants to voice his opinions then I am pretty darn sure his team will continue to listen.

Music Monday... On Tuesday

Yeah, so we forgot to do Music Monday yesterday. Deal with it. So here is a special Tuesday edition of Music Monday, with Mr. William Shatner.

She packed my bags last night pre-flight
Zero hour nine a.m.
And i'm gonna be high as a kite by then
I miss the earth so much i miss my wife
It's lonely out in space
On such a timeless flight

And i think it's gonna be a long long time
Till touch down brings me round again to find
I'm not the man they think i am at home
Oh no no no i'm a rocket man
Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone

Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids
In fact it's cold as hell
And there's no one there to raise them if you did
And all this science i don't understand
It's just my job five days a week
A rocket man, a rocket man

And i think it's gonna be a long long time...

Thanks to lyricsfreak for the, well, lyrics.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Putting all your eggs in one basket

Word on the streets is that Easter is coming up. Apparently when you are going around and collecting eggs for some reason or another this Sunday, you shouldn't put all of them in the same basket. For if you do so, there is a chance something happens to that basket, and you will lose all of your eggs you worked so hard for. Even that one your cool Uncle Bill hid in the gutter.

The reason we are talking about Easter eggs is because this is exactly what professional sports does, especially the NBA. They have chosen to forgo marketing the entire league, and instead decided to, well, put all their eggs in one basket. A vast majority of games on either ESPN, ABC, or TNT include either the Boston Celtics, the Cleveland Cavaliers, or the LA Lakers. Take this last week. Last Sunday Cleveland took on the Mavericks on ABC, then D.C. Tuesday on TNT, then Orlando on Friday on ESPN, then ended the week on Sunday against the Spurs on ABC. That's 4 times in one week.

Now I'm not whining and complaining and saying that the Magic should get that much exposure, etc. Understand that.

The problem is that other than the hardcore basketball fan, no one knows what else the league has to offer. Believe it or not, good basketball is played in Portland, and Atlanta, Philly, and even Orlando. Just not Memphis.

As TV ratings are more important than pretty much anything else these days, when we reach the NBA Finals in a few months there will certainly be a discussion about said ratings. Last year, with their eggs in the same basket, the NBA hit the lotto with a Laker/Celtic matchup. The Finals scored a 9.3 Nielsen rating (does anyone actually know what these numbers mean?), up from a 6.2 the year before.

That said, who's fault will it be if Atlanta takes on San Antonio this year? Or how about Orlando vs. Utah? Obviously the ratings would be down. But wouldn't the league and ABC be better off it they had actually showcased a larger amount of the league during the regular season so if they didn't get the matchup they wanted in the Finals they would still have a product people were at least somewhat used to?

This goes beyond TV ratings. Teams that struggle in attendance often have their best draws of the year when the Lakers or Celtics come to town. Obviously Boston and LA are big towns and have teams that have been around forever but at the same time are the teams that everyone sees on TNT and are first up on SportsCenter. However, these teams don't need the help as they are already popular teams. If more teams received national coverage wouldn't that help drive attendance a bit when Chris Paul and the Hornets come to play the Bobcats?

In summary, it might be nice for the ratings and the pockets of Stern and Co. and ABC right now for only a select few teams to be on display, but for the overall health and longevity of the NBA, they would be better served to display their entire product.

Powers Rankings

Today is one of my favorite sports days of the year. Baseball season is beginning and the culmination of the biggest legal gambling ring in our country concludes this evening with UNC taking on Michigan State.

It is also almost time for the NBA playoffs so with that said lets dust off some power rankings.

Championship Material

1. Cleveland: 62-15- I think it’s okay to be cavalier with your pregame intro when you have only lost 1.5 game at home.

2. Los Angeles: 61-16- I think the Bobcats have overtaken smog for ownership of Los Angeles.

3. Boston: 58-19- I’ve heard of home cooking but the Bobcats had 7 free throws on 102 field goal attempts. Now that is the luck of the irish.

4. Orlando: 57-19- When Marcin Gortat makes a 3 you know you have capped off a Magical night.

If the Lakers somehow all come down with mono

5. Houston: 49-28 -On paper this team should be awful but they continue to soar without Me-Mac.

6. Denver: 52-26- No Rocky Mountain High for the Nuggets as they enjoy their best season in years and all anyone can talk about is Jay Cutler.

7. Spurs: 49-27- They always spur the regular season with about 20 games to go and just get ready for post-season battle and world domination.

Could be frisky but not to much is expected

8. Portland: 48-28-Everything seems to be roses for the Blazers as they prepare for their first playoff series since the JailBlazer days.

9. New Orleans: 47-29- Hornets are feeling the sting of the 2 game losing streak as they are creeping a little closer to the 8 seed.

10. Atlanta: 43-34- The Hawks have already flown into the playoffs and are locked into the 4 seed so now so who really cares.

11. Utah: 47-30- Get on the saxophone the Jazz won a road game against a winning team.

12. Miami: 41-36-Wade is scorching right now but is finding out its not fun being the guy on a mediocre team.

13. Philadelphia: 40-36- Maybe the Sixers will try and declare independence from Elton Brand this summer as they appear to be a much better team without him.

First Round Fodder

14. Chicago: 37-40-No bull here. MJ has given his endorsement for the Olympics in Chicago.

15. Pistons: 37-40: This baby is sputtering to the finish line as Allen Iverson is now complaining about playing time and is “out” for the regular season.

Still in the hunt but no way they qualify

16. Phoenix: 42-35-Time has set on the Suns and it will be the first Floptus team to miss the playoffs since his rookie season in Orlando.

17. Charlotte: 34-43- The Bobcats are still scratching and clawing as they continue to own the Lakers.

18. Bucks: 32-46: No pun here. I just want some cheese curds.

19. Pacers: 33-44- Well Brandon Rush is doing his part picking up his scoring pace considerably.

Please let us get Blake Griffin

20. Toronto: 30-46- A home loss the Knicks on Sunday left their playoff chances extinct.

21. New Jersey: 32-45-I guess Allen Iverson on the bench Nets victories for everyone.

22. New York: 30-47: The flowers in this garden are finally showing signs of blooming.

23. Minnesota: 22-55: The Wolves are letting their pray feast on them as they only won 3 games in the month of March.

24. Oklahoma City: 21-55: Add Blake Griffin to the electric trio of Durant, Green, and Westbrook and this team could be on the fast track to big things.

25. Golden State: 28-49: I know Stephen Jackson makes love to pressure but the warrior instinct of this team left with Baron Davis.

26. Memphis: 22-55: Break out the blue suede shoes as the Grizz have won 4 in a row.

27. Washington: 18-60: Is anyone more of a Wiz at self-promotion than Gilbert Arenas.

28. Kings: 18-60: Royalty was retired on Tuesday as Vlade Divac's Jersey is now hanging in the rafters at Arco.

29. Los Angeles: 18-59: If this team ever wants to move forward they need to cut ties with Mike Dunleavy and hire Isiah Thomas.

Still bitter about Jameer but his suits are very dapper

30. Dallas: 46-31: Jason Kidd sure had the six shooter loaded as he handed out 20 assists in 3 quarters on Sunday to make playoff wishes set on the Suns.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


While watching tonight's broadcast of the Orlando/Atlanta game I came across this interesting stat courtesy of Sun Sports:

Records vs. Other Top 4 Teams:

Orlando Magic: 6-3
  • 2-1 vs CLE
  • 2-0 vs LAL
  • 2-2 vs BOS
Los Angeles Lakers: 4-2
  • 2-0 vs CLE
  • 2-0 vs BOS
  • 0-2 vs ORL
Boston Celtics: 4-5
  • 2-1 vs CLE
  • 0-2 vs LAL
  • 2-2 vs ORL
Cleveland Cavaliers: 2-6
  • 0-2 vs LAL
  • 1-2 vs BOS
  • 1-2 vs ORL
Exactly. Hmmmm....

Friday, April 3, 2009

J.A. Adande Chat

Here are the Orlando related questions and answers from J.A. Adande's chat over at

St. Nick (Fayetteville, NC) [via mobile]: Am I wrong for thinking the Celtics will be more dangerous even without homecourt if they have everbody back healthy. I say that because after Garnett got hurt they gained valuable experience for people like Glen Davis, Leon Powe, House, and Marbury. The bench seemed weak after Posey left town, but now seems just as strong as last year. So that combined with a healthy Garnett I think will get them another ring. What do u think?

J.A. Adande: (3:03 PM ET ) Their thought was they could go into Cleveland and get a game if they had to, so they weren't that pressed. But if they have to go to Orlando, AND Cleveland AND L.A., don't you think that will catch up with them? In addition to the actual travel, it takes a lot of physical and mental energy t win playoff games on the road. Having to do too much of that is taxing (yeah, yeah, 95 Rockets, I know. But that gantlet wasn't as tough as what the Celts could face)

Derek (Lake Mary, FL): Hi J.A!! My vote for MVP goes to Lebron, but why is Dwight not even mention on the MVP talks? He should at least get some recognition from the media.

J.A. Adande: (3:08 PM ET ) He should. Don't forget about CP3 either. And hasn't Chauncey Billups' presence in Denver and absence in Detroit defined "value"? I think if LeBron hadn't distinguished himself so much it would be much more fun to really open up the field. But it's hard to work up a passion for a "should be in the discussion" argument. Even in Mike Bianchi's well-done piece advocating Howard he still had to concede LeBron should get it

Zlatko, Macedonia: Hey J.A. Who is the team to beat right now? I still have the Lakers cause they swept the Cavs and C's plus beat pretty much every great team away, unlike the cavs. Not to mention they are the only team that beat cleveland away. Cavs or L.A?

J.A. Adande: (3:12 PM ET ) Right now it's the Cavs, even after last night's loss

Alright, now that last one was just silly. Someone forgot that Orlando swept L.A. this year. I'm not saying they are the best team, but they should be in the conversation.

DPOY: So obvious, even an idiot can pick it

Most of the debate concerning this years awards have centered around the MVP. Lebron? Kobe? Wade? However, believe it or not there are other awards to be given out. Of those, the one that doesn't even require a debate is Defensive Player of the Year.

Call me bias, or a homer, or whatever, but the DPOY is Dwight Howard. End of discussion.

Unfortunately, everyone doesn't see it as clearly as I do. For example, take this from Ball Don't Lie:

BDL reader "Tony J." on the MVP debacle: "I've been thinking about this whole NBA MVP race, and I see a potential problem around the corner. Let me explain. Okay, the big race is for the NBA Defensive player of the Year. The reason I say that is, because it appears to be an award that D-Wade is the favorite to win. Well, if that happens, and he leads the league in scoring, while leading his horrible team to the playoffs, it really creates a problem in naming anyone else the league MVP. As of today [Monday], he has more points, assists, steals, and blocks than the other leading candidate! It's going to be a really tough decision, and I hope the league doesn't choose to not give him the Defensive player award because they see the potential problem."

Wrong. Dwayne Wade will not be named the DPOY. Again, it's Dwight Howard. It's hard to make the argument that Wade should win considering his team is not only weaker defensively, but is also 16.5 games back in the division.

Howard will finish the year as the league's top shot blocker and rebounder, and is the anchor of what has become a damn good defensive team. This is not news to TPASTBM readers, as we have touched on this before. I'll say it again:

  • Orlando gives up only 5.4 3's a game... 4th in the NBA.
  • Teams only shoot 34% from beyond the arc against Orlando... 2nd in the NBA.
  • Opponents average 43.0% from the field... 3rd in the NBA.
  • Orlando scores the 8th most points in the league (102.1), but at the same time they give up the 8th least amount of points (94.8).
  • Orlando leads the league in the amount of points per shot they give up (1.14).
  • The Magic lead the league in adjusted field goal percentage (explanation here).
  • And to tap into Hollinger's numbers, Orlando is right behind Boston in defensive efficiency... That's the number of points a team scores per 100 possessions.

Hmm... It sure does seem that their defense is what carries these boys. The scary thing about the Magic is that there is really only one defensive star on the team, Mr. Dwight Howard. Jameer Nelson and Rafer Alston were never known for their lockdown defense. Courtney Lee has a ton of potential but is only a rookie. Who knows what Hedo does. Rashard Lewis has met the challenge of playing out of position and has improved his defense but certainly isn't going to make any all-defensive teams any time soon.

That leaves us with Dwight, who is undeniably the best defender in the league. He makes everyone around him better. He changes the way the other teams play offense.

The best example of this was the last time Cleveland came to town. Check out the shot chart. Lebron ended up with 23 points on 10 of 27 shooting. A vast majority of his shots were jumpers. Now there is no way of knowing this for sure, but don't you think the man in the middle might have played a role in keeping Mr. James from taking it to the basket as he does so well? In their other matchup of the season Cleveland won the game and Lebron scored 43 points. Of his 27 shots in that game, 19 were out of the paint. To give it some perspective, in last nights loss to the Wizards, Lebron was 11-18 from the field... And 5 of 6 from inside the paint. So, against the Wizards 33% of his shots were in the paint and against the Magic (let's use the average of both games) only 22% of his shots were taken from the same area.

In conclusion, anyone who tries to argue that any player other than Dwight should win the Defensive Player of the Year award should be publicly humiliated.

Credit the AP for the image of Dwight and Dwayne and ESPN for the shot chart.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Magical Look-alikes

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably either noticed or heard that Stan Van Gundy and Ron Jeremy bare resemblance. What you may not know, is that he isn't the only Magic coach or player that has a look-alike. Let's take a look at some of the other players/coaches for the Magic that have a celebrity counterpart.

Mickael Pietrus & President David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert)

Mickael Pietrus aka Air France aka Peaches aka Mr. Injury has been a solid 6th man for the Magic this year, after losing the starting job to Courtney Lee during his "Let's see what I injure next" tour. The late David Palmer was the president of the United States with a backstabbing wife, a nuclear threat on his hands, and a career in All-State commercials.

What else do the two have in common? Looks, and that's about it.

Hedo Turkoglu & Leon (Jean Reno)

Hedo Turkoglu is the starting SF for the Magic. He is the master of the Turkofade, and will either lose a game for you in the 4th, or win it. Either way, he will drive you crazy. Leon is a professional assasin who befriends a young Natalie Portman and likes plants. He is also pretty badass.
What else do they have in common? Hedo likes to plant crazy shots in defenders faces, while Leon likes to plant...plants.

Brendan Malone & Judah Friedlander

Brendan Malone is the assistant coach of the Orlando Magic, and former head coach of the Toronto Raptors. He enjoys trucker hats with witty phrases on them. Judah Friedlander stars in the hit comedy show 30 Rock, and likes to give hugs.

What else do they have in common? See above, minus the hugs.

Tony Battie & Tony Todd

Tony Battie is the reserve "power" forward for the Orlando Magic. Tony Todd is the rocket man, and has scared children and adults on 3 separate occasions as Candyman.

What else do they have in common? They both scare the crap out of children and adults alike when they show up on your television set, albeit for different reasons. [see Battie's jumpshot and Todd's hook]

Steve Clifford and Superman: The Animated Series version of Mr. Mxyzptlk

Steve Clifford is an assistant coach for the Orlando Magic, and likes to smile in photos and turn red during games. Mr. Mxyzptlk is an arch enemy and sometimes friend of Superman, and has a very annoying name that you have to say backwards to vanish him to his dimension.

What else do they have in common? They both are involved with Magic.

Marcin Gortat & Duane "Gillberg" Gill

Marcin Gortat aka Warlock aka Polish Hammer aka he can be called whatever he wants since I fear him is the backup center to Dwight Howard, and destroyer of worlds. Duane Gill has built a career on jobbing in professional wrestling, and mimicking the "Goldberg" character.

What else do they have in common? They will both destroy you easily with their death stares.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A brief Q&A with Hoops Head North before the festivities.

Just like any other blog on the internet, we at The Puns... read other blogs, and are excited to find out that other bloggers are reading ours. So naturally, we jumped at the opportunity to do a little Q&A exchange with Hoops Head North, a great Raptors blog. While our answers to their questions are already online(located here), we were happy when they agreed to answer a few of our questions regarding their team and about tonight's matchup between
the Magic and Raptors.

1.What happened to Toronto? [Jackie Moon & Paul Ego]

You tell me. Everyone and their grandmother projected this team to be a 40-50W team that would put up a fight in the second round of this year’s playoffs. Bryan Colangelo had hyped this team up to be the best Raptors roster on paper. But this season has become far from that, as it has turned into one big season of disappointment, disarray and confusion. You have the Jermaine O’Neal trade that didn’t work out, you have the coaching change, you have the inconsistent guard play and then you have a team of talented players playing without confidence.

Firstly, the Jermaine O’Neal trade was a dud. Bryan Colangelo has been widely criticized on how that trade panned out, and in an effort to correct his mistakes, Colangelo traded for Shawn Marion but it happened just a little too late. Either way, although Marion hasn’t been as good as expected, he did help fill a void of a good defensive swing man who could score. Guys like Jason Kapono, Jamario Moon, Anthony Parker and Joey Graham have been so inconsistent this season and the inconsistency of the swingmen had caused a lot of issues before Marion's arrival. There was a lot of tinkering with the lineup and the Raps struggled to find the right mix. And it was a domino effect, as the Raps struggled to find the combo that worked (along with injuries), the losses piled up, and as the losses piled up, the Raptors just lost their confidence and it snowballed. The Raps became famous for blowing leads, they would go on streaks, win 2 games but then drop 7 and could never get any momentum going…….until now. Just 70 games too late.

2. Next summer. Bosh is set to leave, he tells them, I want to go to Orlando, but I don't want to leave you guys with nothing in return. Make a sign and trade happen. What does Toronto ask for? Or at the trade deadline.

I’m horrible at these trade scenarios, let’s say Rashard Lewis? Oh......and the Polish Hammer, gotta have the Polish Hammer or no trade. I still wouldn't be a fan of this though as I'd want a franchise player in Toronto. But if we had to, I'd say Rashard and the Polish Hammer. The Polish Hammer would be a hit in Toronto. I don't even really know who the Polish Hammer is but he's got one cool-*** nickname. I'll throw in Patrick O'Bryant as well.

3. Who is your coach next season...My guess is Marc Iavaroni. [Maxwell Effort]

Iavaroni has definitely hanging around the Raptors lately as a “consultant” but I believe you’ll see him on the bench either as the head coach or one of the assistants next season. The rumblings around the Raps nation is that Jay Triano may still be the coach next year with stronger assistant coaches. I like Triano (especially because he's Canadian) but I've got mixed feelings about having him as head coach next season.

4. What do Raptors fans think when they see Dwight Howard coming up on the schedule? [Jareth Cutestory]

For me, I get scared. Big men like Shaq, Yao, Dwight Howard can do serious damage on the Raps. I will never forget that game against the Suns, it was like King Kong going up against a bunch of curly straws. It really exposed how thin we were upfront, Shaq dropped 45 points on the Raps and the Suns scored 90 points in the paint. But I think the Raps know how to play the Magic this time around, they know the Magic like to shoot the ball so the key is stopping Dwight Howard from getting those offensive boards. We've got a little more size now too, we've added Patrick O'Bryant but we've also got an impressive former D-Leaguer in Pops Mensah-Bonsu, who likes to crash the boards, and has been compared to the likings of a Junkyard Dog or Charles Oakley type of player.

5. Is Rashard overpaid? or has he been the guy that put us over the top by learning a new position and being a nightmare on offense against traditional 4's? [El Fantasma]

Rashard Lewis's game is similar to Andrea Bargnani in the sense he’s not one of your traditional big men. He can shoot the three and stretch the defense but can also take it to the hole. Overpaid? Probably. But the Magic are one of the best teams in the L, and Rashard Lewis is a big part of the reason why.

Prediction: Who ya got tonight?

Something's just clicked for the Raptors lately. They're too far from the playoffs and they're too far from that top lottery pick, I say they screw their season even more and beat the Magic. It'll be close, I say like a five point game but they'll win.

Best of thanks to Hoops Head North for giving us their time and answers. We're looking forward to tonight's game, just as we're sure that they are as well.

Credit: for the photo

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Fan Experience

Earlier in the season the Magic held a contest in which the winner won the opportunity to sit next to the Magic radio broadcasters during a game. The winner, Brian, wrote the following about his experience:

Hey guys, cool blog, I enjoy reading it.

Anyways, I was asked to write a little blog about my recent courtside experience with Dennis and Richie. Long story short, I won a courtside seat for the Magic/Nets game on 3/6/2009, and got to sit next to Dennis Neumann and Richie Adubato for the entire radio broadcast.

It was quite an experience... I never realized quite how frantic the radio broadcasts are. Behind the scenes, there are people yelling facts about the game (Magic on a 10-0 run, Turk has scored the last 8 points for the Magic, etc.), through the microphones, which Dennis has to absorb and then spit back whenever he gets a spare second.

During every timeout, someone (presumably from the Magic's front office) runs an updated stat sheet out to the guys.. and they were kind enough to print one out for me each time. So I have a huge stack of papers saved in a file folder, including a media guide for the Nets, and about 20 stat sheets.

Dennis Neumann was probably one of the nicest guys I have ever met. He was sincerely interested in speaking with me, and dropped my name on air several times over the course of the game. Richie was... just as you would expect Richie to be. Funny, but at the same time, extremely knowledgeable. It was quite an honor to get to talk X's and O's with him (as I am quite a basketball buff myself)

At the end of halftime, I got the opportunity to go live on the air to ask Richie a question, which he answered without hesitation (note that they did not ask me what my question was going to be prior to me going live on the air.. I guess they trusted me!!! Haha)

Also, right before the 3rd quarter started, Dwight Howard came over, as Richie wanted to give him a word of advice on guarding Brook Lopez. Dwight noticed me there, and I got to shake his hand. He's an absolute monster.

The game went down to the wire, but thankfully Orlando won... from where we were sitting, Vince Carter's last second 3 looked like it was going to fall straight in after clanging off the back of the rim, but thankfully, it fell harmlessly to the ground.

Afterwards, I shook hands with the guys, and some friends that took my season tickets (since I was courtside!) came down to visit. Dennis and Richie shook their hands, and spoke with them as well.

I got them to sign my press pass, which I now have proudly hanging in my office.

All in all, it was an amazing experience. Dante (who is also on the radio) kindly escorted me to my seat before the game, and everyone really tried to make me feel comfortable.

I'm only 23, but I've literally been a Magic fan since I was 3 years old. This is an experience that I will never forget.

Monday, March 30, 2009

2008 NBA Draft Redux

Sometimes you pick a winner, other times you pick Kwame Brown. I could only imagine how many times NBA teams have kicked themselves for passing on a proven player, for a player they felt may or may not blossom. It's easy to say "Well, we should have picked that guy knowing what we know now", so, that's what we're going to do today. This draft is based on team need or long term potential based off what has been exhibited this season, and does not involve any trades. Rosters are based off current rosters in the NBA. Go ahead and feel free to comment, as I'm sure you won't agree with every pick or reasoning, which is what makes this sort of thing so great.

  1. Chicago Bulls: PG Derrick Rose (Memphis)
    Who was picked: Same
    The Bulls pick up their PG of the present and the future. Rose is still unquestionably the most talented player in this group.
  2. Miami Heat: C Brook Lopez (Stanford)
    Who was picked: F Michael Beasley
    The Heat has struggled at the Center position ever since Shaq was traded to the Suns. To put a player with the scoring, rebounding, and shot blocking ability on a team with Dwayne Wade is scary. With averages of 13ppg/8rpg/2bpg, he can only improve with time. It doesn't hurt having a player of this caliber in the same division as Dwight Howard.
  3. Minnesota Timberwolves: G Russell Westbrook (UCLA)
    Who was picked: G O.J Mayo
    The Timberwolves have been desperate for a PG since Randy Foye has proven to be better suited for the 2 spot. The Wolves pick easily the 2nd best guard in the draft, with the defensive talents to go along with his superb athleticism. A backcourt of Westbrook/Foye could have been dynamite for a young Wolves team.
  4. Oklahoma City Thunder: C/F Kevin Love (UCLA)
    Who was picked: G Russell Westbrook
    Speculation says that the Thunder will draft Blake Griffin if awarded the no.1 pick in the 09 draft. Why wait until then? The Thunder get a legit double/double guy in Love to place alongside Kevin Durant while still keeping Jeff Green at the 4. They miss out on a PG, but with the 09 draft stocked with guards, they can afford to pass on one this year.
  5. Memphis Grizzlies: G O.J Mayo (USC)
    Who was picked: C/F Kevin Love
    The Grizz get their man without trading away Mike Miller with the 5th pick. Mayo has been dynamite for the Grizz this year, leading all rookies in scoring. He still helps move Rudy Gay to small forward, and doesn't allow Greg Buckner to become the starting shooting guard, which is scary.
  6. New York Knicks: G Eric Gordon (Indiana)
    Who was picked: F Danilo Gallinari
    Gallinari, D
    The Knicks currently have Larry Hughes and Quentin Richardson at the 2. That alone could be enough to justify this pick, however, Gordon justifies this pick with his scoring ability and knack for being a tough defender. He is currently averaging nearly 16 points for a bad Clippers team. Add about 10 points to that playing for D'Antonio and you have a dynamite pick.
  7. Los Angeles Clippers: PG DJ Augustin (Texas)
    Who was picked: G Eric Gordon
    The Clippers have a good for around 50-60 games Baron Davis and then.....Fred Jones? With this pick, they get a speedy Augustin to groom behind Davs, and eventually take our the teams starting guard spot.
  8. Milwaukee Bucks: F Michael Beasley (Kansas State)
    Who was picked: F Joe Alexander
    I have a hard time watching Beasley slide this far based off his potential, however, having watching him this year he still looks to be a work in progress. Many experts believed him to be the frontrunner for rookie of the year, though his lack of defense has kept him from getting big minutes for the Heat. The Bucks pick him up, and while Skiles is all about defense, he needs someone else to score besides Richard Jefferson and Charlie V. After those 2, there isn't much depth. Beasley also brings some hype to a Bucks team that is often overlooked in the NBA, unless a player of theirs tweets.
  9. Charlotte Bobcats: F Jason Thompson (Rider)
    Who was picked: PG DJ Augustin

    With Emeka Okafor moving back to the center position since acquiring Boris Diaw, the Bobcats have little depth at the 4 spot. Despite Vladimir Radmanovic being 6-10, he is more suited at SF. The Bobcats pick up a legit 4 in Jason Thompson, who has shown to be one of the steals of the draft, averaging 10/7 in under 30 minutes a game.
  10. New Jersey Nets: F/C Marreese Speights (Florida)
    Who was picked: C Brook Lopez

    The Nets miss out on Lopez, however, they get a promising big in Speights. Questioned about his work ethic coming out of Florida, Speights has quickly shown he is for real, averaging the highest PER out of his class at 19.08. Speights also fills a team with little quality depth at the 4 and 5, with Sean Williams not panning out the way the Nets envisioned.
  11. Indiana Pacers: F Anthony Randolph (LSU)
    Who was picked: PG Jerryd Bayless
    Randolph has been inducted into the HoF by Lamar Odom already, but in reality, the forward has shown moments of brilliance in his young career. At the tender age of 20, his lack of maturity is one of the only things holding him back from prospering. He joins a Pacers team that already has Danny Granger at the 3, but an oft-injured Mike Dunleavy and good but not great Marquis Daniels as depth.
  12. Sacramento Kings: PG Mario Chalmers (Kansas)
    Who was picked: F Jason Thompson

    Probably one of my easiest picks, the Kings have been desperate for a PG to either replace Beno Udrih, or back him up. Chalmers was originally picked in the 2nd round, but has proven to be a 1st round talent, leading all rookies with 1.9 spg, and is 3rd in assists with 4.8 a game.
  13. Portland Trail Blazers: F Danilo Gallinari (Olimpia Milano)
    Who was picked: G Brandon Rush
    Many experts wonder what this team would be like with Kevin Durant at the 3 to go along with Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge. The Blazers pick up a legit prospect at small forward, all while keeping everyones golden boy Greg Oden. Gallinari has battled back issues, but has shown flashes of why he was picked so high in the real draft. With the young Blazers having Travis Outlaw and Rudy Fernandez capable of playing the 3, they can bring Gallinari along slowly to be ready for the future.
  14. Golden State Warriors: F J.J. Hickson (North Carolina State)
    Who was picked: F Anthony Randolph
    Despite rarely playing them, it appears the Warriors love to stockpile young bigs on their bench. Hickson is an athletic rebounder who could help a team that isn't known for having guys like this. The Warriors are currently starting Stephen Jackson at the 4. Enough said.
  15. Phoenix Suns: C/F JaVale McGee (Nevada)
    Who was picked: C/F Robin Lopez
    McGee is a legit 7 footer who could run the floor and block shots with the best of them. Sitting behind a Shaq couldn't hurt the big man either, as he wouldn't have to be rushed into playing time so quickly.
  16. Philadelphia 76ers: G/F Courtney Lee (Western Kentucky)
    Who was picked: F/C Marreese Speights
    It pains me to watch the Sixers pick up one of my favorite players, but with Willie Green and Kareem Rush as your 2 guards, it's an absolute no brainer. I was tempted to put Courtney higher, but felt this would be a great fit for a Sixers team with one of the worst SG rotations in the league. The do it all rookie has proven to be one of the biggest steals in the draft, originally falling all the way to the 22nd pick.
  17. Toronto Raptors: C DeAndre Jordan (Texas A&M)
    Who was picked: C Roy Hibbert
    No knock on Hibbert, who could easily be picked here again, but Jordan fell all the way to the 2nd round after being compared to Dwight Howard in many mock drafts. Jordan stepped in well when Marcus Camby was injured, grabbing 20 boards in a game against the Warriors. Jordan is still very raw, but shows enough potential to be chosen by a team that has a lack of quality big men besides Bosh and Bargnani.
  18. Washington Wizards: PG George Hill (IUPUI)
    Who was picked: C/F JaVale McGee
    With Gilbert Arenas battling injuries, and only having journeyman Mike James and young but raw Javaris Crittenton as your PG's, the Wizards pick up George Hill. Like Courtney Lee, Hill comes from a small school, but immediately has stepped up and contributed siginificantly to a title contending team.
  19. Cleveland Cavaliers: G/F Brandon Rush (Kansas)
    Who was picked: F J.J. Hickson
    Missing out on depth at the 4, the Cavs pick up depth at the 2 spot. Sasha Pavlovic has regressed, and the Cavs lack much beyond Delonte West. Rush has been somewhat of a disappointment, but this slot is much better suited for him. Playing for LeBron James may benefit him as well.
  20. Charlotte Bobcats: PG Jerryd Bayless (Arizona)
    Who was picked: C Alexis Anjinca
    This was one of my toughest picks. Bayless falls way harder then I really believe he would, but I just couldn't put him on any other team. Sure, the Warriors might have picked him up, but they don't need him with all their guards already. He also could have went to the Raptors, with Calderon being their only quality PG. Bayless immediately backs up Raymond Felton, and plays a similar role that DJ Augustin is this year.
  21. New Jersey Nets: C Roy Hibbert (Georgetown)
    Who was picked: F Ryan Anderson
    The Nets get more big man depth with Hibbert. Playing in an Eastern Conference with Dwight Howard, it doesn't hurt to have a banger down low to pick up some fouls and rebounds.
  22. Orlando Magic: F Ryan Anderson (California)
    Who was picked: G/F Courtney Lee
    The Magic get a better version of Brian Cook to fill some depth at the 4. I also had Luc Richard Mbah a Moute or Robin Lopez going here, but neither of them can shoot the 3 like Anderson, who is hitting a cool 36% as a rookie. We all know the Magic need to space the floor for Dwight, so this is the obvious pick over the other two.
  23. Utah Jazz: F Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (UCLA)
    Who was picked: C Kosta Koufos
    I almost had the Jazz making the exact same pick, however, they recently sent Koufos to the D-League. This probably means they view him more as a project then an instant contributor. Instead, the Jazz get more defense, and pick up Mbah A Moute. He can can fill the depth needed as Matt Harpring gets older, and the Jazz battle injuries. Originally picked in the 2nd round, he has passed numerous players production wise picked before him already.
  24. Oklahoma City Thunder: F Joe Alexander (West Virginia)
    Who was picked: F Serge Ibaka
    Alexander falls hard, but still has loads of potential. The Thunder continue the youth movement and pick him up to backup Kevin Durant at the 3.
  25. Houston Rockets: F Nicolas Batum (Le Mans)
    Who was picked: Same
    The Rockets pick Batum again, but this time, keep him. With McGrady being injured 80% of the time, Batum fills a depth need at the 3, and continue the trend of the Rockets having great wing defenders.
  26. San Antonio Spurs: PF Serge Ibaka (L'Hospitalet)
    Who was picked: PG George Hill
    The Spurs pick up a promising young big who has been compared to Shawn Kemp to store away overseas. The Spurs are good at this (See: Luis Scola)
  27. New Orleans Hornets: F Darrell Arthur (Kansas)
    Who was picked: Same
    The Hornets pick Arthur again,but keep him this time. This team needs depth badly, and Arthur has proven to be able to play in the NBA, albeit still being raw. Putting up 6 ppg and 5 rpg, he is still way better then Ryan Bowen and Melvin Ely.
  28. Memphis Grizzlies: C Robin Lopez (Stanford)
    Who was picked: F Donte Green
    The Grizz get a quality big with loads of potential to be a banger, but I feel was picked way too high in the draft. With the young Grizz, he can come along slowly, as opposed to being on a potential playoff team like the Suns.
  29. Detroit Pistons: C Kosta Koufas (Ohio State)
    Who was picked: F D.J. White
    This may be too low for Koufas, but he is still very raw, and can learn from bigs such as Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess. His game also reminds me of Mehmet Okur, who the Pistons let get away from them. He turned out pretty good.
  30. Boston Celtics: F Donte Greene (Syracuse)
    Who was picked: F J.R. Giddens
    The Celtics have lost Tony Allen to injury and James Posey to free agency. They pick Greene who has the potential to be a great scorer with tons of length. This is a no brainer, considering who is left.

    Credit:, The Memphis Commercial Appeal, and the Washington Times for the photos.
*I have gotten emails and comments (see below) about Bust a Bucket doing a similar post the night before. I would like to take the time to direct viewers of this blog over there to see how their draft redux turned out, and publicly let everyone know that it was merely a coincidence that my post title was the same as theirs.
Trust me, we come in peace.

Music Monday

So, tonight the Magic are down in Miami to take on the rival Heat. It's a big game for the Magic who hope to jump past Boston and back into the 2nd spot in the East. In other words, the heat is on. Right, Glenn Frey?

The heat is on, on the street
Inside your head, on every beat
And the beat's so loud, deep inside
The pressure's high, just to stay alive
'Cause the heat is on

Oh-wo-ho, oh-wo-ho
Caught up in the action I've been looking out for you
Oh-wo-ho, oh-wo-ho
Tell me can you feel it
Tell me can you feel it
Tell me can you feel it
The heat is on, the heat is on, the heat is on
The heat is on, oh it's on the street, the heat is...on

The shadows are on the darker side
Behind those doors, it's a wilder ride
You can make a break, you can win or lose
That's a chance you take, when the heat's on you
When the heat is on


It's on the street
The heat is on, the heat is on, the heat is on
Yeah, it's on the street
The heat is on

Credit Lyrics Download for the lyrics.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Now the royal flames of Pompeii bless all our senses

There are 4 minutes to go between the Magic and the Celtics. The Magic have the ball and, if we're being honest, we can admit we all know what's about to happen. The Magic will stand around the three point line while Dwight sets picks for every member of the Magic, 4 members of the Celtics, both head coaches, 6 ushers and a beer vendor. In the end, either we'll jack up a contested three, or Hedo will drive into 4 defenders and throw the ball up without ever looking at the basket. And I know this, and you know this. We know it because we've just watched it happen.

On 6 consecutive possessions.

And I shouldn't need to tell you that it happened again and again that night. The Magic scored 14 points in the 4th and only made 3 FGs the entire quarter. As in, one more FG than 2. That's embarrassing.

It got so bad that with under a minute to go, I got a text message from a friend of mine in Connecticut that simply read: "The Magic's offense blows," and I couldn't really disagree with it.

The Magic offense is a conundrum: an offense full of quality scorers who can't create a shot for themselves or anyone else. Rashard Lewis can play the post but seems afraid to be a go to post player in the 4th. Dwight Howard seems ready to be a go to scorer in the 4th from the post, but no one will give him the ball in the last 18 minutes of games. Hedo thinks he can take people off the dribble, but anyone who has watched him play this year could attest to that being untrue. Rafer Alston can't finish at the rim. Courtney Lee is a rookie.

In the end, the Magic don't have anyone who can, when defenses tighten, can take their man off the dribble and create instant offense, be it for himself or his teammates.

Except one.

This is where Jameer Nelson is missed the most.

Nelson had proven time and time again throughout his career that, when motivated to, he can penetrate on any point guard in the league. That ability to penetrate, combined with his incredibly high FG% on jumpshots made him an absolutely awesome force in the 4th quarter on ISO plays. Play off him, he'll hit 20 footers all day. Crowd him, and he'll walk up, down over and all into the paint like you weren't even there. And if he gets to the paint and help comes, the Magic have a small army of shooters eagerly waiting for the ball.

And there was also this guy in the middle named Howard waiting for rebounds/alley-oops.

That's all I could think about watching those last few minutes against Boston:

Watching as Derek Fisher repeatedly backed off Nelson, only for Jameer to bury jumper after jumper in his face.

Remembering how Nelson spent so much time going into the paint against the Raptors in last year's playoffs, you'd have thought he was investing in real estate there.

I thought about his clutch shots earlier in the season, his constant creating during the 4th quarters when the Magic's offense would bog down. How he'd create wide open looks for Lewis and Turkoglu. How he'd find Courtney Lee slashing for midrange jumpers. How when it got too bad, he'd just take it to the hole himself.

And then I thought: "Oh sweet God, we just turned the ball over again."

Get well soon, Jameer.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Vote for Stan Van Gundy!

As you can tell, we here at TPASTBM kinda like the coach of the Orlando Magic. The guys over at BDL are having a tournament of sorts, consisting of 32 things that we the fans may or may not love about the NBA. A matchup of No. 4 seed Stan Van Gundy is taking on No. 5 seed Jeff Van Gundy in the 1st round.

We ask you to go and show your support for our beloved coach, and keep the frontrunning alive.

Shaq Proves he is still a big tool

Remember all the talk from Shaquille a few weeks ago? Remember all the stupid name calling and put downs? The guy is getting old fast, and his ego won't admit it. He can't just let go.

Here's a few quotes from the big Shaqtus himself after last night's loss to the Blazers.

You don't like the floppers do you, asked one reporter.

"No. It just shows you are giving in. The referees are probably going to go for that every time. You've got to now (flop). It's the only way you can stop a person. It's kind of crazy the refs go for that."

No Shaq. You don't have to flop to stop a person. You are just getting old, and heavier, and you can't move around as you used to. Plain and simple. You are like the old polar bear that is too old to hunt and have to rely on scavaging for food. I'll give you this, this season you have played pretty good. I mean for an old dinosaur you aren't bad. But just admit it man. You have to flop to be competitive these days. Its ok. Seriously. No one will hate you for it. Stop being so proud and just say it. It would make it much better, and will make you look much better if you play that angle. Come on and say, hey man, I'm old, fat and slow. I'll do whatever I have to do to still compete and win. I think we would all respect you for that. Instead you keep sounding like a little kid in the playground that just won't let any other kid play with his brand new ball.

At least he did say this right after.

So what did Shaq think of Oden?

"I don't. I'm a Shogun. You can't ask me about a low level ninja. I still have to worry about Yao Ming, Dwight Howard."

He finally gave Dwight Howard some love. Well some weird twisted respect and love. I guess Dwight Howard is a high level Ninja in the league. Baby steps Shaq. Baby Steps.

Dwight in a Foul Mood!

Wednesday's Boston game had all the makings of playoff basketball, including the refs swallowing their whistles and letting the teams get very physical. When seeing his young star center again not get a call when the defender was INTENTIONALLY trying to foul to prevent an easy basket Stan Van Gundy did what good coaches do and blasted the officials until they gave him a technical foul. Part of me also felt Stan did it to ensure he got the tech and not Dwight who this season has joined a club he has never been a part of.

Looking at the NBA stat leaders in this category makes it one that is very easy to identify. Rasheed Wallace, Carmelo Anthony and Stephan Jackson present and accounted for, but where is Mr. Iverson and why is his seat filled by this 6-11 physical phenom who always seems to be smiling? Yes, oddly enough our own comical, smiling, media friendly Dwight Howard has suddenly joined the usual foul tempered league leaders in getting technical fouls. His total of 13 for the season ties him with Carmelo Anthony for third and is only 3 away from a one game mandatory suspension. In fact Dwight's sudden rise in this category has nearly matched his entire previous four year career total of 16.

Why the sudden rise you say? Dwight has become such a handful in the paint that teams have resorted to flopping (that includes you Shaq), clubbing, and grabbing along with the double and triple teams he receives on a nightly basis. Teams have decided that the best defense against Dwight is to put him on the line (Dwight leads the league in free throw attempts per game) to test his career 60% free throw percentage or try to get him in foul trouble by drawing offensive fouls. This treatment unfortunately leads to a lot of missed calls because the sheer volume of the fouls but quite often calls are blown. The refs need to be made aware that although Dwight looks like a man of steel he can still be injured when teams send 2,3 and sometimes 4 people after you during a game with the full intent of using their full allotment of six fouls.

Quite honestly, I believe other star big men like current Magic coach Patrick Ewing have told him that sometimes he has to put aside his bubbly personality and let the officials know they still have a job to do in protecting him... Even if it means getting technical fouls! Unfortunately in the NBA it is a well known fact the "squeaky wheel gets the grease" which is why you see the "who's, who" of NBA stars and coaches spending a good deal of game time complaining to officials.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"They live and die by the 3!"

Yep, if you are a Magic fan I'm sure you have heard that one about 100 times this season."All they do is shoot 3's and when they are not falling in the playoffs, and when the game slows down, they will lose." Sure, the Magic shoot a lot from behind the arc (they currently lead the league with 10.3 made per game on 26.6 attempts) and there certainly will be games when it is not falling. However, as so many people fail to notice, it really isn't the 3 that is leading to all these wins.

It's the freaking defense!

Just ask Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard which is more important. So many talking heads fail to see that Orlando ranks towards the top in almost every important defensive category:
  • Orlando gives up only 5.4 3's a game... 4th in the NBA.
  • Teams only shoot 34% from beyond the arc against Orlando... 2nd in the NBA.
  • Opponents average 43.0% from the field... 3rd in the NBA.
  • Orlando scores the 8th most points in the league (102.1), but at the same time they give up the 8th least amount of points (94.8).
  • Orlando leads the league in the amount of points per shot they give up (1.14).
  • The Magic lead the league in adjusted field goal percentage (explanation here).
  • And to tap into Hollinger's numbers, Orlando is right behind Boston in defensive efficiency... That's the number of points a team scores per 100 possessions.
Hmm... It sure does seem that their defense is what carries these boys. The scary thing about this team is that there is really only one defensive star on the team, Mr. Dwight Howard. Jameer Nelson and Rafer Alston were never known for their lockdown defense. Courtney Lee has a ton of potential but is only a rookie. Who knows what Hedo does. Rashard Lewis has met the challenge of playing out of position and has improved his defense but certainly isn't going to make any all-defensive teams any time soon.

That leaves us with Dwight, who is undenyably the best defender in the league. Anyone who tries to argue that anyone other than Dwight should win the Defensive Player of the Year award should be publically humiliated.

ESPN's Daily Dime... Swing and a miss

The Magic are getting all sorts of ESPN love this morning... Too bad they don't check their facts. According to ESPN, "Dwight Howard had 24 points and 21 rebounds -- his eighth 20-20 game of his young career."


Last night was his eighth 20-20 game of the season, not his career.

Credit the Orlando Sentinel for the photo.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thorpedo Chat Wrap

Our favorite ESPN chatterbox David Thorpe had a chat today over at Here are some Magic related highlights.

David (Italy) [via mobile]: Does SVG have a point about Ewing?

David Thorpe: (12:03 PM ET ) No.

Daniel (Broadalbin, NY): Orlando Playoffs, I feel depend on Courtney Lee. He has been incredible for a late round draft pick.

David Thorpe: (12:21 PM ET ) Yes he has, and he'll only get much, much better.

Alex (Orlando, FL): Who do you foresee be the upcoming drafts "Courtney Lee". Also, is Brandon Roy-lite shooting too high for Courtney's ceiling?

David Thorpe: (12:28 PM ET ) Actually, B Roy is who I had C Lee study last spring and summer. I think Wayne Ellington can play like Lee, Henderson too.

Zack (Akron, OH): David, I want to apologize. Last week I asked you for predictions for the Cavs-Magic game and you said "big fun." You were right.

David Thorpe: (12:34 PM ET ) See, I'm not so dumb.

And another reason why we like Thorpe.

Chris (Boston): Dave, if you enjoyed Forgetting Sarah Marshall, give I Love You Man a shot. Good story about how you don't have to lose your life once you get engaged/married. Really a story all men should see.

David Thorpe: (12:41 PM ET ) Can't wait to see it.

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Credit "Sebi" from the Orlando Magic Message board for the title graphic.

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