Stan Van Gundy weighs in on Rashard Lewis' recent shooting slump and reveals Lewis might have a knee ailment. From Brian Schmitz:
"He's had some problems with his knees, some tendonitis [sic] ...he's great in terms of playing through all that. But I think it's bothered him a little bit," Van Gundy said. "He's had a little but of a tough time. Again, I'm not worried he had (Thursday) off and today off to get him some rest.
"I don't think there's any doubt over the next four weeks he'll pull out of it and start shooting the ball well again."
If Stan's confident, I'm confident. But if Rashard ever shoots 3-of-15 again, it'll be too soon. With that in mind, it might be time to think about cutting Lewis' minutes a bit. Lew hasn't missed a single game this year, and only missed one last year. Just sayin'.
Orlando Magic Daily points out that the Magic's brilliant defense lately has put them in a tie with the Boston Celtics for the league lead in defensive efficiency, yielding 102 points per 100 possessions so far this season. This is a team which features Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu playing heavy minutes. Thank you, Stan, and thank you, Dwight Howard.
In a separate post, Schmitz argues the Magic should embrace the opportunity to play the Detroit Pistons in the first round of this year's playoffs:
Time to start facing up to the fact that they likely will get the Pistons again in round 1. Time to start preparing for it now, toughening up, chasing down loose balls, executing in games down the stretch better, eating raw eggs like Rocky in the morning.
Time to face your fear and, finally, get the best of the bully.
I can't say that I agree with Brian here. Detroit has Orlando's number and is the worst possible playoff matchup of any team in either conference. Consider this: Counting the playoffs, Orlando is 147-99 (.598) since the start of the 2006/2007 season; they're 3-17 (.150) against Detroit in that same timeframe. Put another way, Detroit is responsible for 17% of Orlando's losses since 2006. One team, out of 29 others in the league, has accounted for a little more than one-sixth of its defeats. I can't even wrap my mind around that. Has one team ever dealt so much damage to another team before? I highly doubt it.
Beating the Pistons in a playoff series would be great for the Magic and their fans, yes. But there's almost no chance Orlando would be able to get past Detroit, so in essence, saying "bring on Detroit!" is like saying "bring on an early vacation!"
Yes, the Pistons are in my head. But, based on the data I just presented, am I really that insane?
Finally, former Magic center (and 3QC all-time favorite) Rony Seikaly is apparently a D.J. now. No, really, it's all true. FreeDarko has a scan of the promotional material.