A few observations from the Orlando Magic's 112-83 win over the Washington Wizards last night...
Wizards rookie John Wall didn't have an exceptional game--he shot 6-of-19 from the floor in his NBA debut--but he made quite an impression on Orlando's Jameer Nelson and Chris Duhon. Nelson said Wall is "the fastest point guard in the world. In the world." He added that Wall "sees the court well." Duhon said Wall "has all the tools there. He has the speed, he can pass the ball really well."
Wizards coach Flip Saunders was less impressed with Wall, it seemed. Asked how Wall performed, Saunders replied, "We got beat by 29 so he didn't do very good."
Public address announcer Paul Porter referred to Quentin Richardson by tht name throughout the preseason, but abbreviated it to Q. Richardson last night. After Richardson drained a three-pointer in the first quarter, Porter boomed simply, "THREE! Q!"
Every Magic player changed into a pair of compression pants following the game. Nelson said they're meant to relieve "soreness," and said the training staff had asked each player to wear a pair. "I feel like a supehero," Nelson quipped while trying to pull the tights on. As he left the locker room, wearing jeans over the compression pants, he commented on how difficult it was to walk.
Ryan Anderson and Mickael Pietrus were two of the last guys off the Magic's bench. Coach Stan Van Gundy didn't make much of it, though. "I don't really know what there is to explain," he said. "We went to the bench, we put Brandon [Bass] in against Andray Blatche, [and] that's a pretty good matchup. That's a matchup we wanted him to play against."
Whoever was responsible for handling the whiteboard in the Wizards' locker room--be it Saunders or one of his assistants--spelled Anderson's name "Andersen."
The Magic's pregame introduction video is astounding. I won't insult you by saying it alone is worth the cost of admission, but it's indeed powerful. It features great moments in Magic history--Nick Anderson stealing the ball from Michael Jordan and the Magic drafting Dwight Howard, for example--as projected on downtown Orlando landmarks. I admit I'm more prone to sentimentality than most folks, but I got a bit choked up watching it. My description isn't doing the video justice.
As a result of the lengthy pregame introductions, the game did not tip until 8:23 PM. Curiously, after the introductions, the players had an additional three-minute warmup period, which I found unusual.
The media meal last night did not mess around. I wasn't wild about the fried chicken--I'm not much for chicken, truth be told--but the collard greens and macaroni-and-cheese were delicious. Because I don't have much self-control with regard to food, I also ate two brownies, a biscuit, and a bowl of ice cream.
The gray curtains covering the whiteboards in the Magic's locker room have a small trailing basketball logo on them, which I hadn't noticed before.
Dwight Howard was loose, even by his standards, before the game: he did the "Single Ladies" dance on his way to the court for pre-game warmups.
"I'm not big on human-interest stories," Van Gundy said, in response to a question about why Howard was spotted on the sidelines doing pushups in the fourth quarter.
Just after midnight in the media workroom, one writer turned to the other and said, "Are you ready to Exit Legend?"