After the Orlando Magic's most recent game, a loss to the Miami Heat on Saturday night, I wrote that there was no need for panic. I stand by that statement.
Nonetheless, I am happy to read that coach Stan Van Gundy has publicly called out team captains Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson for their behavior and mediocre play in the last two games. Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel has the details. Here's Stan on Dwight:
Asked if Howard appeared preoccupied, Van Gundy said, "I thought he was preoccupied with a lot. Officials ... and how many times he was getting the ball.
"I thought he had some good blocks late in the game, but again, like everyone else - and I'm not singling him out because it was a team-wide thing - I did not think that he played defensively well at all until the very end of the game."
And on Jameer:
He scored 10 of his 16 points in the final period against Miami, but Van Gundy said, "The bottom line is Jameer has gotten a lot of credit and he has deserved it for how well we've played.
"But he's a big reason in both of the last two games that we've gotten into a big hole going into the fourth quarter."
But Stan isn't placing all the blame squarely on Dwight and Jameer. He personally took responsibility for Thursday night's loss to Boston, and was careful to note in his comments on Howard (quoted above) that he was hardly the only Magic player making defensive mistakes.
Okay, the Magic's last two losses were disappointing and discouraging. At least we know Stan is hard at work to remedy the problem, which apparently starts with Jameer and Dwight at the top of the team's leadership chain. Better those two make those adjustments now than, say, in mid-April.