|2009/2010 NBA Preseason|
|October 5th, 2009|
|American Airlines Center|
|Jameer Nelson||PG||Jason Kidd|
|Vince Carter||SG||Matt Carroll|
|Mickael Pietrus||SF||Quinton Ross|
|Rashard Lewis||PF||Dirk Nowitzki|
|Dwight Howard||C||Erick Dampier|
Yeah, so, we're here.
The Orlando Magic kick off their 2009/2010 schedule with tonight's exhibition matchup versus the Dallas Mavericks. And Brian Schmitz might have put it best when he wrote, "Some assembly is required." In this blog posting, Schmitz writes that coach Stan Van Gundy will have to juggle lineups during the preseason to account for the Magic's new players, as well as to account for Rashard Lewis' 10-game suspension to begin the regular season. It sounds a bit harried, what with the plans to bench Lewis for some games and not others, and to shift starting lineups in the first 5 games of the 8-game preseason schedule.
Given the team's championship aspirations, this game would be interesting enough no matter the opponent. That it comes against Dallas is really something, isn't it? Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com helped me suss out the storylines in this post, but these teams are tied together in ways that may not seem readily apparent. There's the Magic's signing Bass away from the Mavericks--they parted on amiable terms, which is nice to know--then matching their offer to backup center Marcin Gortat, thus forcing them to sign former Magic forward Drew Gooden for depth at the power positions. Oh, and Mavs point guard Jason Kidd and Magic shooting guard Vince Carter played together for three-plus seasons with the New Jersey Nets, and they'll likely spend time defending each other tonight, given the cross-matching that the presence of 5'11" shooting guard J.J. Barea in Dallas' lineup will encourage.
Those are fairly obvious points. But it was a collision between Nelson and Erick Dampier that sparked the Magic's whole Season Of Destiny last year, wasn't it? Nelson banged into Dampier trying to chase down an offensive rebound, separated his shoulder, and wound up missing the rest of the regular season. GM Otis Smith, not satisfied with his initial remedy to the lack of point guard depth (trade for Tyronn Lue!), obtained Rafer Alston at the trading deadline. Alston helped the Magic more than tread water in Nelson's absence, they got to the Finals, lost, and now here we are.
Anyway, the game tips at 8:30, but you won't be able to see it on TV, as Schmitz writes in his list of 5 things to listen for tonight. Me? I'm interested to see how Van Gundy uses Lewis and Bass, but--and let's be honest here--this is Carter's night. There's no pressure for him, as it's a preseason game, in the other team's arena, that hardly anyone will see live. The Daytona Beach native won't have to worry about pleasing his hometown crowd, as he might when he first sets foot on the Amway Arena parquet in Magic pinstripes. Yeah, he's a known commodity as an 11-year veteran and a household name, but let's admit that we're most curious as to how the biggest gamble Smith's ever made works out.
Anyway, the game tips at 8:30. It's not televised
anywhere in Orlando, but if you're in Dallas, you can see it on KTXA (thanks, 3QC reader adammi). In Orlando, you can catch the on radio by tuning in to AM 580 WDBO.