Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy takes questions at the press conference following his team's elimination from the playoffs at the hands of the Detroit Pistons last night.
Photo by Allen Einstein, NBAE/Getty Images
The last The Morning After post of the 2007/2008 season is here. Let's go around the tubes:
- Henry Abbott, TrueHoop:
Anyone besides me disappointed in Orlando's offense down the stretch last night? (Highlights.)No one created a shot for anybody else. Almost nobody could get to the rim down the stretch. We had, essentially, Keith Bogans or Rashard Lewis hitting threes, or the occasional Hedo Turkoglu drive. And when the ball went to Dwight Howard, the Pistons just took it away. It was hard to watch. Most of the credit surely goes to the Pistons' defense, especially that majestic Tayshaun Prince shot, but I'm thinking that team needs a ball-handler who can create opportunities under duress.
Yeah, the offense indeed stagnated last night. It almost looked like -- gulp -- Brian Hill was coaching that team. Incidentally, I think Nelson can be that ball-handler, in time.
- Kelly Dwyer, Ball Don't Lie:
And so we say goodbye to the Orlando Magic, mindful of and unsurprised by the limitations that are sending the team home in the second round, but hopeful that the learning process and improvin' season has just begun.
Dwyer includes his take on what the Magic need to do this offseason to become true contenders in 08/09. I'll refer back to it later this summer.
- Matt Watson, FanHouse:
It's difficult to convey context in a sound bite, but after listening and watching Nelson address the media before and after three of the five games in this series, it's obvious the man is more competitive and confident than arrogant. His prediction didn't come true, but that's not to say his team didn't gain the respect of every person in Detroit's locker room. As Flip Saunders said during his post-game press conference, "They're a team that's going to be here a long time."
I wasn't too pleased with Jameer after he stunk-up the offense in Game Four, but he's undoubtedly the leader of this team and he's earned my respect. I liked that he guaranteed a win. He has a great attitude and I'm happy he's a part of this team's future... although five years and $35 million is a bit more than I would have offered him...
- Bethlehem Shoals, The Sporting Blog:
Wide: I probably said this before the last Pistons/Magic game, and ended up being wrong. Now it's come true. Rodney Stuckey will be darn good -- judging by tonight, he is already -- and will have many more playoff performances like this before his days are through. Plus his emergence is eerily similar to that of Tayshaun in the championship year.
Trading the pick that yielded Stuckey may go down as the worst move in the Otis Smith/Dave Twardzik era. In Otis' defense, the trade looked pretty good at the time, and we got some solid production out of Carlos Arroyo until he fell off the face of the earth. Seriously. Matt from Hardwood Paroxysm asked me the other day, "What happened to Arroyo?" and I had to think for a second about to whom he might be referring.
I forgot he was on the team.
Orlando managed to miss 12 freethrows and commit 21 turnovers...which led to 34 points for the Pistons. So basically -- MATH ALERT!! -- the Magic gave Detroit 46 free points, which is a lot to give away in a 5-point loss.
As you can imagine, there's much more where that came from. Basketbawful never runs out of things to say about bad teams.
The Blowtorch (channelling Hedo Turkoglu in the Magic's timeout before their last meaningful possession):
Duh-white, do not have worry. Hedo will make basketball dunk shot for to win game. Only 2 points is dunk shot, so Hedo make two dunk shot. 4 point!
Read the whole post in all its irreverent glory. I laughed a lot, and maybe I cried a little.
- Natalie, Need4Sheed:
Surprisingly Dwight Howard walked off court as Rasheed Wallace was waling over to shake his hand after the game. Turkoglu bolted too.
I'm a bit disappointed that the Magic didn't show good sportsmanship at the end, but then again, I'm not the one whose season the Pistons ended.
- Pradamaster, Bullets Forever:
Capped-out Magic: Orlando's departure means the Southeast Division won't be represented in the Eastern Conference finals for the second straight season. It also gives me hope, because unless Otis Smith pulls a rabbit out of his hat, this might be the best Orlando has to offer in the future. About the only person from which we can expect internal development is Dwight Howard.
I have a feeling PM might be onto something here. We'll look at the cap situation in a future post. Several posts, in all likelihood.
- Steve Weinman, CelticsBlog:
This was an Orlando team that spent an entire season talking about how it wasn't getting enough love from the media, about how it belonged right up there with the rest of the Eastern elite.
This Magic team simply isn't there yet.
I agree with Steve on that last point: the Magic aren't there yet. But I still don't think the Magic got enough credit for what they were able to accomplish in a single season. They're still better than the Cavaliers, and might have been able to beat the Celtics in a seven-game series if they had the opportunity. However, the road to Eastern Conference respectability runs through Auburn Hills. We'll be fine next year.
- Doug Smith, the Toronto Star:
Okay, so some of us are out last night celebrating the Media Relations Staff Of The Year Banquet and Buntoss (replete with food, fun, frivolity and a cocktail or two) and I swear I looked up at the television and saw Marcin Gortat and Walter Herrmann on the court at the same time in the Orlando-Detroit game.
I'm thinking if I could have seen Alex Radojevic guarding Mengke Bateer in a playoff game that might be the only better matchup. Maybe.
The NBA: Where You Never Know Happens.
I included this post because it mentioned Marcin Gortat. That's it.
Okay, so a ton of links later, where do we stand? On shaky ground. Any respect we earned in the regular season -- and there wasn't much of it -- is gone now. But we have all offseason to worry about that. 3QC isn't going anywhere. Stay tuned for posts recapping the season, evaluating players' performance, discussing the draft and free-agency period, and so on.