I realized over the course of my trip to and from the Magic's victory over the Wizards that there are two things in this world that I have nothing but scorn for, and both of those things I'd never really considered: Tony Battie and the DC Metrorail.
The enmity for the Metrorail is pretty straight forward. It's inefficient, slow, they never have enough trains running, the maps of the larger individual stations make no goddamn sense, it's loud, it smells, there are no bathrooms anywhere, and they never seem to plan for major events, such as having extra trains running through the Chinatown station(the station directly beneath the Verizon Center) during and after concerts and games at the Verizon Center. This isn't exactly rocket science. But there I was sitting on a platform at L'Enfant Plaza, the biggest station on the Metro, for 27 goddamn minutes waiting for the next Orange line train. I'm convinced there was only one Orange line train running all night.
The other thing is equally obvious, but deserves some explanation. We at TPASTBM clearly love the Magic. We wouldn't update this site, or have even created it, if we didn't. But there will always be exceptions. None of us ever had much love for Brian Cook, for instance. But it's very possible I'm alone amongst our crew in hating Battie. But the truth must be told.
Tony Battie came into the game last night and was, for reasons that mystify me, tasked with guarding Antawn Jamison, who was already heating up offensively. I have several problems with this:
First, Tony Battie isn't quick enough to guard Jamison. He just isn't. It's like asking a penguin to fly. Total physical limitations will always beat out desire, and it's not like Battie ever seems overwhelmed with desire(more on that later).
Second, the story on Jamison has always been "Scores 20, gives up 25". By putting Battie in the game at the 4, and subsequently putting him in the position to be guarded by Jamison, we conceded the first half of that commonality, while completely abandoning the second. Why the hell would we do that?
Third, and most importantly, I can't remember a scenario where I've ever seen someone play so lazy and so irresponsible as a big defending the pick and roll than the way Tony Battie does. I say "does" rather than "did", because during my near half hour break between subway trains at L'Enfant last night, I remembered that I had a conversation 2 years ago about how Darko Milicic should be getting Tony's minutes during the 2007 playoffs, since Hamilton and Billups were killing him on the pick and roll due to his blatant refusal to make a show of any kind on the defense. I kept imagining him having the following conversation with his guards for the entire series:
Guard: "Tony, you have to show on the pick and roll. I can't run straight through a man twice my size,"
Tony: "I have to stay on my man. McDyess can go off for 40 any given night."
Guard: "Antonio McDyess hasn't been a threat to score 40 since the Clinton administration! Do your job!"
Tony: "Hey man, don't talk to me like that. I'm blue collar."
Guard: "No, you are most certainly not blue collar. You get paid over 5 million dollars a year, and you're not even that good at your job. An auto assembly worker is blue collar, and if they were as mediocre and overpaid as you, THEY'D be fired. You're just lacking in real skill."
All that came back into my mind as I watched Tony Battie blow a pretty basic assignment on 3 consecutive possessions. It's not that difficult. If your man sets a pick for the ball-handler, you have to show against the ball-handler, to give your teammate time to recover. And yet, there was Tony, not even LOOKING at Nick Young on 3 consecutive possessions, giving Young a straight shot to the basket, resulting in an assortment of fouls and a dunk that energized the home crowd. But at least Oleksiy Pecherov was never a threat to score.
And that doesn't even speak to his contributions on offense(minimal), his passing(non-existent), his shooting(ugly and inconsistent), or his general lack of interest in putting up meaningful numbers. Unless a rebound bounces into his hand, he won't get it. Unless the ball comes directly to him, he won't get it in the offense(and if it hits his hands, it's 90% positive he's shooting it, his lack of shooting touch be damned). He is more and more rivaling the worst of the worst on the team for sole possession of the "Worst team defender" on the team, which is one of those awards you try to avoid. I know, sometimes I get confused too.
And he's going to make 6.2m next season, which is more than Nelson, Pietrus, and Alston. Or if you prefer: Tony Battie will make more money next season than JJ, Lee, and Johnson combined. I think I need to go lie down.
Question of the day: Why is it that no one slashes into the paint when Dwight is double teamed? Those are gimme assists that we simply avoid.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Dwight Howard has been getting into foul trouble lately. Said Pat Ewing:
"They need to let him play. They let them beat the heck out of him on one end and then he gets ticky-tack fouls on the other end. It's not right, it's unfair."
Let's hope that starts this evening when Orlando will be facing off against the Wizards in DC.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
After last night's playoff clinching blowout, today has been rather slow. That said, here is what John Hollinger over at ESPN has to say concerning the Magic...
Charles (SD, CA): John, Your computer rankings notwithstanding, how would you rank the top 5 teams on a personal level?
John Hollinger: (3:11 PM ET ) 1. Cleveland 2. LA 3. Boston 4. Utah 5. San Antonio. That's how I'd size up the "if everyone's healthy and rarin' to go" rankings, with Orlando penalized for Jameer Nelson's absence.
Nathan (San Antonio): Professor Hollinger- Do you predict that Boston will slip to the 3 seed and Orlando will beat them in the second round with home court advantage?
John Hollinger: (3:21 PM ET ) I think even with homecourt the Magic won't beat Boston, unless Garnett's injury is much worse than we've heard so far.
Andy (vegas): If the Pistons get in as a 5-8 seed, can you see them scaring a team in the first round? You KNOW Orlando wants nothing to do with them....
John Hollinger: (3:25 PM ET ) The Orlando match-up appears to be a good one for them, yes; Atlanta less so, as the Hawks have played Detroit very well this year. I want to see one of them down the stretch before I weigh in on their chances though.
John (Orlando): How about D12's backup, Marcin "Polish Hammer" Gortat? 13 points and 15 boards last night?!?
John Hollinger: (3:30 PM ET ) Gortat is the best big man nobody's ever heard of and may make himself some decent money this summer as a free agent.
Nate (Portland, OR): I hope you're right about Utah and New Orleans grabbing the 3 and 6 seeds respectively if only to add more fire into the Williams vs Paul debate! You see any other juicy first round match-up possibilities? Heat/Hawks comes to mind...
John Hollinger: (3:45 PM ET ) I think Hawks-Heat would be good, but Heat-Magic -- with the Stan vs. Miami undercurrent -- would be so much juicier. Also, Hawks tend to bottle up D-Wade and force the other guys to beat them, which is why they've had a lot of success vs. Miami this year.
The Polish Hammer felt he was the reason the Magic fell in Detroit on Monday night. As Kyle Hightower of the Orlando Sentinel quoted, Marcin was determined to make up for it.
I spent the past two days waiting for another chance... I want to have a big night tonight. Like maybe 20 rebounds.
And Gortat came out to play, posting a career high 15 rebounds along with 13 points in a blowout against the rather horrible looking Bulls. Following the impressive game against Chicago he certainly felt better.
I would trade this game tonight with the Detroit Pistons. I think it would be a more satyisfying win against Detroit, but I'm happy that I came back and I could help the team win tonight.
...I think I just came into the game better. The guys hit me pretty well, [but] after you hit the first score, later everything is real easy.
Is there anyone who doesn't think that resigning the Polish Hammer this offseason shouldn't be a priority?
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Monday, 11/03/2008: Benny and Stuff square off as their respective teams collide inside the Amway Arena. Stuff gets the best of Benny, as the two goliaths destroy half the city of Orlando. Fortunately enough, the NBA Cares program repaired the damage before the game was over and anybody even noticed. Magic win in a tight one 96-93.
Wednesday, 12/31/2008: The two meet again. Benny falls victim once again to Stuff's fury of destruction. He is sent to the hospital after taking a kick right to the horns. The Magic show no mercy either, as they cream the Bulls 113-94 in the United Center. The New Year doesn't start right for the once mighty Bull mascot.
Tuesday, 2/24/2009: Benny defends his turf this time around. Benny defeats Stuff by running over his foot with a tricycle. Stuff can't recover his balance, knocks over a childs snow cone, and admits defeat. As Benny celebrates, Stuff swears the two will meet again (pictured above in the only known photograph salvaged). The Magic aren't lucky either, as they are blown out in embarrassing fashion, 102-120.
Wednesday, 03/11/2009: In what will be the last meeting in the regular season between the two, Benny and the Bulls look to even the score, as they come to the Amway Arena and take on Stuff and his Magic Men. It should be an epic battle, though the Magic may or may not be with one of their key players, F Hedo Turkoglu.
Some notes for the game tonight:
- The Magic are coming off a heartbreaking loss against the Detroit Pistons. Fortunately for the, the Bulls are also coming off a heartbreaking loss, where Dwyane Wade made a running 3pt shot to win in Double OT.
- It's mandatory we mention this picture every time the Bulls play the Magic.
- The Magic can clinch a playoff berth tonight with a win.
- The Bulls made a minor move today, signing free agent forward Linton Johnson. Johnson will be available for tonight's game against the Magic, and looks to fill the depth at the forward spot, with Luol Deng injured.
In case you haven’t heard, the Orlando Magic have been in the NBA for 20 years. TPASTBM has a way to go before we hit 20 years, but none the less we have a little milestone of our own. Ya see, in what was the brainchild of a group of crazy Magic fans with a little bit of time here and there, we have hit our 100th post. Not too bad for only being around a few months, right? Right? Over these previous 99 posts we have cried over Jameer’s injury, reveled in the Rafer trade, lost respect for Shaq, and even given away free tickets to a game. That said, in honor of our 100th post, here are 100 things about our team that we, well, think are magical…
- 1. Never knowing if Tree Rollins' body was going to turn to dust as he ran up the court.
- 2. Calling Pat Garrity "The Assassin", because whenever he shot the ball more than 5 times in a game, he'd murder the Magic's chance of winning.
- 3. Nick Anderson goes off for 50 points in a game and it gets completely overshadowed by this other thing that happened that night.
- 4. The illustrious tradition Greg Kite started of the Magic signing as many aging, white stiffs at the 4 and 5 as was humanly possible.
- 5. Dwight Howard's inability to grow non-hilarious facial hair.
- 6. That goofy clapper thing they passed out during the '95 conference Finals that I still have.
- 7. Anthony Bowie's triple-double*.
- 8. Mike Miller = Rookie of the Year?
- 9. The fact that Rashard Lewis's shot looks worse than Jeryl Sasser's, but actually goes in.
- 10. Hedo Turkoglu's German pornstar facial hair.
- 11. Fearing the Warlock
- 12. 20 years of Puns
- 13. Getting to wear these bad boys as a kid.
- 14. Stachetastic
- 15. The Fat Guy
- 16. Unity of a message board during one of the most significant moments in Magic history.
- 17. Trading Brian Cook
- 18. Good times on the bench
- 19. Dante & Galante
- 20. I like this team
- 21. The newly formed expansion Magic getting their first win against the then World Champion Pistons.
- 22. Nick Anderson's steal against MJ to beat the Bulls and get the Magic to the NBA Finals.
- 23. Pat Williams mastery over the ping pong balls during the NBA draft lottery.
- 24. Hedo's fadeaway shots hitting nothing but net.
- 25. Darrel Armstrong proving he has the biggest heart in one of the smallest bodies on the court.
- 26. Knicks GM Isiah Thomas taking Steve Francis off our hands for Penny's expiring contract and Trevor Ariza.
- 27. The 2004 NBA draft bringing us two All-stars in Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson.
- 28. Scott Skiles NBA record 30 Assists night.
- 29. Bo Outlaw shooting free throws making you want to look away in horror.
- 30. Watching teams frantic to crowd the paint on Dwight and then scramble to cover three point shooters.
- 31. Trevor Ariza making Emeka Okafor his girlfriend.
- 32. A horrendous season bubbling over for Tracy McGrady's Magic as he gets ejected for kicking the ball twice!!
- 33. How easy it is to get people upset about ACC Legend JJ Redick.
- 34. Hedorics
- 35. Dwight's absurd alley-oop dunk against the Celtics.
- 36. Keyon Dooling vs. Ray Allen
- 37. The amazing ability of young Penny Hardaway and of course lil penny.
- 38. Setting the NBA record for 3 pointers as a team.
- 39. Dennis Scott making it rain from beyond the arc.
- 40. Stuff and his hijinks.
- 41. Sitting in front of the TV, begging Ice to shoot it so Skiles could get assist #30.
- 42. Breathing a sigh of relief when Rony Seikaly got off the plane in Orlando.
- 43. Eating my first O-Rena Chicken Tender Basket.
- 44. Making friends with fellow Magic Fans on the Orlando Magic Message Boards.
- 45. Sweeping the Lakers and the Spurs in the same season.
- 46. That wonderful, magical time during June of 1995.
- 47. Dwight Howard signs a contract extension.
- 48. Hearing that the Magic had signed Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill (hey, it was a good memory at the time!).
- 49. The night that Joe Wolf couldn’t miss.
- 50. Shaq takes down the whole basket in Phoenix.
- 51. Nick scores 50 in three quarters and makes Bernard King look OLD.
- 52. McGrady’s off the backboard self alley-oop.
- 53. Shaq and Dennis Scott rapping on the Arsenio Hall show. You can't write comedy that good.
- 54. Mario Kasun’s porn star posse.
- 55. Darrell Armstong fixing Doc Rivers’ tie during the games.
- 56. Two ROYs and three #1 picks
- 57. Patrick Ewing, Dominique Wilkins, Shawn Kemp, Derek Harper, Mark Price, Rod Strickland…right team, wrong time.
- 58. Yinka Dare getting in on the team photo, AFTER he was waived!
- 59. The Skiles to Turner pick and roll.
- 60. Dwight Howard over Tim Duncan…the play that will never get old.
- 61. Greg Kite's flattop
- 62. That there is no photo evidence we could find of Anthony Avent's tenure here
- 63. That Shaq left Orlando before making Steel.
- 64. Penny dunking on Ewing.
- 65. "We want Brooks!" Thompson, that is.
- 66. The night that Anthony Bowie shut down Michael Jordan, holding him to just 64 points in a Magic win.
- 67. Nick Anderson learning how to shoot 3s
- 68. Scott Skiles always looking like he was one cheap shot away from landing in the papers the next day with an article starting with "he always seemed so nice..."
- 69. Dennis Scott making 11 three pointers in a single game
- 70. The night Shaq blocked 15 ******* shots.
- 71. Stay in School Jam
- 72. The free doughnuts that caused me to gain 10 pounds in a season.
- 73. Getting my own season tickets.
- 74. JJ inviting my best friend and I for a siesta.
- 75. Goggles!
- 76. 110 Points = Mac Attack!
- 77. Where else can you find a team mascott that is the result of some heavy drug use. I mean a colorful rainbow dragon for a basketball team? And not the Orlando Dragons, but the Magic. Then name named him Stuff...kinda like Puff The Magic Dragon....you know what I mean.
- 78. Being excited over the release of "Blue Chips". Hey, I was young, shut up!
- 79. Orlando rickshaws
- 80. The leaky, red seated, sticky floor that is the Amway/TD Waterhouse/O'Rena
- 81. Steele and Guokas
- 82. Adonal Foyle
- 83. The Orlando Magic hosting the NBA Summer League
- 84. Billy Donovan, or the lack thereof
- 85. Terry Catledge pump faking
- 86. Watching Rookie Courtney Lee defend a who's who of NBA stars on a nightly basis.
- 87. Brian Hill breaking clipboards
- 88. Bobblehead nights
- 89. Rubber Duckies
- 90. The fact that a hockey scout ran the team and managed to draft Dwight over Okafor.
- 91. Reading draft recaps from 2004
- 92. The black pinstripe uniforms
- 93. The hilarious fact that Chris Jent is employed as Lebron's personal shooting coach.
- 94. The Turko Glue Stick
- 95. Tailgating outside the O-Rena before playoff games
- 96. The Christmas tree that remains atop the O-Rena year round.
- 97. Nick Anderson becoming the first Magic draft pick
- 98. T-Mac scoring 62
- 99. Magic closing the old Boston Gardens by knocking the Celtics out of the playoffs.
- 100. The Best Magic Blog ever: The Puns are Starting to Bore Me
Monday, March 9, 2009
Has Courtney Lee been put in timeout by Coach Van Gundy? In the past 3 games since exploding in the 4th quarter to help the Magic beat the Sixers, he has taken a combined 11 shots, which is 7 less then what he took in that Sixers game alone! Has SVG told Lee to cut back on trying to score and focus more on the defensive end? He is still the current starter at SG, and is averaging the same amount of minutes. We all know that he struggled mightily in the beginning of the Sixers game, but then went on a scoring tear in which could be arguably his best offensive game as a pro, despite his poor shooting percentage. So what gives?
The team does not struggle offensively without Courtney scoring, however, it doesn't hurt when the rookie gets hot. In games when Lee scores 10 or more, the Magic are a whopping 17-1. You can't argue with those results. While Mickael Pietrus has come back from injury...again, his time on the court has still been sporadic and short. Averaging roughly 20 mpg in the last 3, he has taken 21 shots, 10 more the Courtney.
Tonight the Magic play the Pistons, which Courtney will be given the duty to defend one of the leagues best scorers, Richard Hamilton's face mask. He will have his hands full tonight, but he could be called upon to score more with our main core of scorers constantly given fits by the Pistons defense. Let's just hope SVG gives him the OK, and the recent trend of not shooting the ball hasn't hurt the rookies offensive confidence.