Washington Wizards 87, Orlando Magic 86: The Morning After

DeShawn 'The Locksmith' Stevenson of the Washington Wizards and Keyon Dooling of the Orlando Magic chat before the Magic/Wizards game on March 19th.
Before last night's game, DeShawn Stevenson talked to Keyon Dooling. After last night's game, Stevenson talked to the media. Read some of his comments below.
Photo by Fernando Medina, NBAE/Getty Images

Not a traditional open thread today, guys. Instead, I thought we could take a look at some postgame comments from the players after last night's Magic/Wizards game. First, from the victorious Washington team:

"I don't know what Dwight was eating, but he had a horrible game," said Wizards guard DeShawn Stevenson, who drew the first foul against Howard with a driving layup. "He usually doesn't do that."

He's been doing that more lately, actually. Dwight's averaging 3.8 fouls in his last five games, up from his season average of 3.4. He's been whistled for five fouls or more four times this month, after just one such game in February. To be frank, it's ridiculous how much Dwight's defenders get away with defensively. The difference between what they're allowed to do and what Dwight's allowed to do is astonishing. One would think that after four years in the league, and two straight years as an All-Star, Dwight would get the benefit of the whistle every now and again.

"This is like a statement to them that we are not going to be pushovers," Haywood said. "After D.C., they probably thought they could do whatever to us."

It's not like your team stomped us, Brendan. We didn't take you lightly or anything; we just had a rough night. Kudos, though, for outplaying Dwight Howard for the second time in three meetings this season. [Insert Kryptonite joke here].

And from our guys:

"When he's in foul trouble like that, it throws off his rhythm, and to some extent it throws the rhythm of the whole team off a little because he's such a big part of what we do," said Jameer Nelson. "We just have to do a better job of playing without him."

Jameer is absolutely right about rhythm. Dwight is easily flustered when he thinks the officials are treating him unfairly. It reflects in his body language and in the way he plays. There's not much the Magic can do when he's not on the floor. I love Adonal Foyle, but he's not going to draw defenders away from our outside shooters, nor is he going to hit 60% of his field goals. I'd like to see Rashard Lewis post-up on the left block when Dwight isn't in the game. Sure, it means one less shooter on the perimeter for us, but Rashard is a crafty scorer down there, and not a bad passer.

"Other than Turkoglu and [Keith] Bogans, it was a miserable, miserable, miserable offensive night," Coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We had trouble getting good shots, and when we got them, we couldn't make them."

It doesn't sound like Coach is worried, nor should he be. We aren't going to miss our open shots every night. I mean, Rashard isn't going to consistently shoot 2-of-13.

"People can beat up on me and nothing happens," said Howard, who failed to crack double figures in scoring for just the third time all season. "But when I touch somebody I get calls. I try (to talk to the referees) but it doesn't seem to do any good. I really can't focus on that."

Richie Adubato, a former Magic coach and current radio analyst, thinks Dwight should stop complaining to the officials after every call. His theory is the officials will tune Dwight out if he does that, and may even get so annoyed with him that they'll call him for a technical foul. There's probably some validity to this line of thinking. Maybe Stan Van Gundy and Otis Smith should take up the fight on Dwight's behalf by sending tapes of questionable calls to the league office, if they haven't already.

For your consideration: a YouTube video of Pau Gasol flopping THREE TIMES in the Magic's loss to the Lakers last month, and getting away with it each time. I wish there were similar videos to document the similarly cowardly, disgraceful, reprehensible "defense" of Joel Pryzbilla and Al Harrington. At least we have a photo of Baby Al doing the deed, courtesy Phelan M. Ebanhack of the Associated Press.

Sources: Nelson and Stevenson quotes from this article in the Orlando Sentinel. Haywood and Van Gundy quotes from this article in the Orlando Sentinel. Howard quote from this article Florida Today.

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