- George Diaz writes a nice piece about head coach Stan Van Gundy, today.
- Matt Moore of Hardwood Paroxysm talks about SVG and his ability to adjust:
If you want to be effective in the playoffs, you have to be willing to make adjustments and not just stick with what brung you. All the guys are on your team for a reason. Even the scrubs. If something’s working, stick with it. If it’s not working, adjust and go to something else until you find what works. It would be easy for SVG to stick with Rafer Alston and not go to Anthony Johnson. But he’s noticed Johnson provides them a change of pace guy. It would be easy to stick with Redick in the starting spot, since he played Ray Allen well. But he doesn’t have the advantages that Lee has. If Lee starts to struggle, he can re-insert Redick. If Turkoglu is hot, let the Turkish Wonder roll. If he’s struggling, turn to Mikael Pietrus. The key? Don’t be afraid to make adjustments that don’t jive with what your plan has been so far.
News flash - Jameer Nelson will NOT be playing again this season:
General Manager Otis Smith immediately put an end to that far-fetched hope by Nelson, saying, "He's a long ways away from playing basketball. He was done for the season in February.
- Kyle Hightower notes that LeBron James admits the pressure has shifted on the Cleveland Cavaliers to win against the Orlando Magic in Game 2.
- A writer, "jay aych", of The Painted Area suggests the Cleveland Cavaliers should hack-a-Howard tonight, in hopes of neutralizing Dwight a bit:
Not sure they need to employ the classic Hack-a-Shaq method of fouling Dwight Howard off the ball. But Coach Brown does need to consider the strategy of liberally using fouls on Dwight when he's going at the rim. His mentor, Popovich, was not averse to employing this tactic, and had some success with it.
Make Dwight Howard work for his points at the free throw line. He's not quite as woeful as Shaq, but poor enough. When Dwight has good position and looks like he's got a sure basket, drill him. Send him to the line, where he will most likely shoot 1/2. This could also have the added benefit of getting Dwight mentally off his game, and possibly forcing Van Gundy's hand.
The Cavs don't have a big who matches up with Dwight quite as good as Kendrick Perkins. So, rotate big bodies on Dwight, try to single-team as much as possible, and send the edict to take fouls on Dwight often.
.. Hightower confirms that's what Cleveland will attempt to do in Game 2:
Asked after Thursday’s shoot around if it bothered him that they didn’t foul and put Howard on the line more Wednesday night, Cavs’ Coach Mike Brown said simply: "Yes."
PG Mo Williams won’t be the person primarily responsible for sending Howard to the stripe to earn his points tonight, but he said it didn’t mean he wouldn’t be mindful if he gets the opportunities.
"It could be," Williams said. "If I’m in a position where he has the ball and is going to dunk then yes, I will foul him. And that goes for everybody on the team. We felt that he got a lot of easy dunks. Easy buckets. Whereas if he’s playing with his back to the basket and he’s making those shots, we can somewhat live with those.
"Him getting those dunks instills more confidence in him and makes him player better on the defensive end and we want to take that away from him."
- Coach Bruchu of X's & O's of Basketball states he doesn't believe the Magic or the Cavaliers will make a numbers of adjustments in tonight's matchup:
I don't expect too many adjustments by either team -- it appears that both teams are content strategically to leave the other team's superstar (Lebron and Howard) on 1v1 coverage. Which means this series will either be decided by the team that can best close-out and contest shooters, and/or the team that can shoot the best percentage outside of their superstars. The Magic's supporting cast of Turkoglu and Lewis stepped up, will Williams, West, and Ilgauskas follow-up? We shall see...
- Dwight Howard posts on his official blog and states he wants to get greedy (something Rashard Lewis said, also) in Game 2 versus the Cavs:
We have our minds on beating the Cavs again tonight and being greedy. We got one, but we didn’t come up her to get one win. We want ‘em both and that’s all guys have talked about. We know Cleveland will come up hungry tonight and we have to match that intensity.
We got some national love after winning the Boston series and getting Game 1 the other night, but we still have a lot to prove to people. We have to get this series and gain the respect of everyone around the league. I just think that if we play hard for 48 minutes, we should be able to do what nobody thinks we can do.
It still kind of feels like the LeBron Show up here and we’re just the background actors sometimes. When I look at TV all I see is everybody wanting to see LeBron and Kobe in The Finals. It should make us upset. We feel that we have a legitimate chance of winning a NBA championship. We have the right team, right coaching staff and players to do it. It’s not going to be easy and we have to take it. We have to believe that every night.
We’ve been under the radar all year and it’s motivated us. We’ve won one game, but that doesn’t mean anything. We want to gain everybody’s respect, but you do that by winning big games and series like this. We don’t want to take anything for granted after winning one game.
We’ll be ready tonight – believe that. We know what we gotta do.
Personally, I'm pleased to read and hear that the players want to get greedy. I felt the Magic have to play with that mentality in the playoffs when the team has an opportunity to put an opponent in a hole. Orlando had its chance against the Boston Celtics in Game 2 last round, and didn't capitalize. It'll be interesting to see if Dwight, Rashard, and others learned their lesson.
Oh, get the feeling the players are performing with a chip on their shoulders?