- The major news today coming from Orlando, outside of Dwight Howard's suspension, is that Courtney Lee will undergo surgery today at the University of Pennsylvania to repair a fractured sinus cavity. Click here for more information on sinus injuries, if you want to learn a little bit about 'em.
UPDATE 2: It's possible Lee could miss the remainder of the playoffs.
- John Denton writes an article today about Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy. The leading question in the write-up, is SVG's coaching style negatively affecting the team's play in the playoffs? You be the judge.
- Mike Bianchi thinks Orlando fans should thank NBA Commissioner David Stern for suspending Howard, and here's why:
Stu Jackson, the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball operations, said Wednesday that Howard would have been ejected from the game if any of the referees saw him make contact with Philly center Samuel Dalembert just three minutes into the first quarter of Game 5. Jackson said the contact was clear cut on replay.
Think about it: If Dwight is ejected early in Game 5 and isn't in the game to score 24 points and pull down 24 rebounds, there's a strong possibility the Magic lose at home to fall behind 3-2 in the series. Yes, Howard probably would then be playing tonight in Philly (the NBA likely would not have ejected Howard in Game 5 AND suspended him from Game 6), but tonight's game would then be an elimination game on the road.
This scenario has been tossed around and I agree with the assessment that the Magic are lucky that Dwight was not immediately ejected from the game on Tuesday night versus the Sixers. If you're an Orlando fan, be content Howard is suspended for only one game instead of, theoretically, two.
- Kyle Hightower composites a list of quotes emanating from the Philadelphia media in response to the suspension handed down to Dwight.
- David Thorpe of Scouts, Inc. believes the Magic stand a chance to beat the Philadelphia 76ers tonight. Here's his explanation:
Conventional wisdom suggests Philly is the easy pick here. Clearly the Sixers have a good chance to force a Game 7 with Howard suspended. But being such a prohibitive favorite can cause a tight feeling, as the Magic can attest. Philly will feel what that's like for the first time in this series, while Orlando's players will enjoy a game of relative freedom.
Jay Mariotti of NBA Fanhouse thinks there is a double-standard taking place when Dwight Howard got suspended but Rajon Rondo didn't:
[...] the league took care of the little guy and blew off the big dope. Oafism, we'll call it. Or, positionism. This on a day when Orlando's Dwight Howard, the 6-11 physical specimen embraced in the sport as Superman, was correctly suspended for Game 6 after delivering a wicked elbow to the head of Philadelphia's Samuel Dalembert. And this on a day when the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks, a few hours later, traded ugly takedowns in a nasty Game 5 in which Dwyane Wade was called for a flagrant foul on a play that certainly wasn't as obvious as Rondo's facial. Why was Howard suspended and Rondo not even punished? Why the double standard? Shouldn't the Bulls and Magic wonder why Rondo gets to play his Game 6 and Howard doesn't? And if the r oles were reversed -- Miller as the perpetrator, Rondo as the victim -- don't you think Miller would have been flagrantly flagged?
- Dwight Howard shares his thoughts on the suspension on his official blog:
It’s going to kill me tonight to not be able to be out there with my teammates for a big game like this. But I have complete faith in them that they can come out and get the job done without me. [...]
I’ll learn from this incident and be a better player because of it. I know that the Philly big men are trying to get into my head and make me do something stupid. I just have to keep my cool and play through it. I’ll learn from this.
- UPDATE: The All-Rookie teams were announced today and Orlando rookie Courtney Lee just missed earning a spot on the Second Team (by 5 votes). Click the link to see how the rosters and votes turned out. For clarification, the voting occurred before the playoffs began, so just a heads up.