Eastern Conference First Round: Magic vs. Raptors, Game Three

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Eastern Conference Playoffs, Round One
Orlando Magic main logo
@
Toronto Raptors main logo
Magic Lead First-Round Series, 2-0
Air Canada Centre
7:30 PM
NBA TV, Sun Sports
Probable starters:
Jameer Nelson PG T.J. Ford
Maurice Evans SG Anthony Parker
Hedo Turkoglu SF Jason Kapono
Rashard Lewis PF Chris Bosh
Dwight Howard C Andrea Bargnani
Series Central

Sam Mitchell promised changes to the Raptors' lineup. Tonight, we'll see if the 2006/2007 Coach of the Year can outsmart Stan Van Gundy and win a game in this best-of-seven series.

[Note by Ben Q Rock, 04/24/08 11:38 AM EDT ]
: Apparently, Mitchell will keep T.J. Ford in the starting lineup rather than replace him with Jose Calderon, despite the fact that Calderon has outplayed Ford by every possible measure in this series. Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star (via TrueHoop's First Cup) elaborates:

But perhaps the change that would make the most sense - inserting Jose Calderon as the starting point guard in place of the struggling T.J. Ford - can't and won't be made.

Ford, with his chemistry-killing refusal to be Calderon's backup this spring, has established he won't respond well to it.

Never mind that Ford's poor play at the outset of games has been a big reason why the Magic have carved out 20 and 18-point first-quarter leads in Games 1 and 2, respectively. Never mind that Ford's half-hearted perimeter defence has helped lead to a parade of penetration, that his 12-per-cent field-goal shooting and four Game-2 turnovers have helped dig those big deficits.

Speaking as a general NBA fan, this news troubles me. Calderon is a fantastic player who should have made the All-Star team this year, and I hate that he has to defer to an inferior, prima-donna player with a horrible attitude. But Calderon's loss is the Magic's gain, as they're much better off when Calderon's on the bench and Ford's starting. So, uh, thank you, T.J. Your inflated sense of self-worth may just help us win our first playoff series since 1996.

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