Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Magical Evening

Post-Game Thoughts after Knicks/Magic

1) Q Richardson wants a job on this team. The guy hustles and embraces defending the other team's best with a zeal not associated with catch-and-shooters and most starting players in the Association. His tough play on Lewis kept Balkman out of the game at points. And while Q can still heave with the best of them, he's not the player that we saw with Phoenix a few years ago. He's tougher than that. He was able to have an impact last night when the team was decidedly out of their game. And, therein lies the problem: I know he is an asset and an above average NBA talent but I don't know where he fits on the nights when our regulars are clicking. He would seemingly be the fifth option in the starting-five. And even if he is selfless enough to take that role it just doesn't make sense to me. We've got Lee and Balkman who would bring a more specifically defensive skillset to the floor. And, each of them has enough O to be the fifth option.

2) Marbury's on-the-ball defending is bad. His defensive rotations are slow. He seems to be making an effort to get his hands into passing lanes and is trying to pick a pocket now and then when part of a double-team but on the whole, he can't stop opposing point guards from getting by him. He just can't. This is a problem with no easy solution. Does Marbury defend shooting guards and Crawford take the point? Unfortunately, Crawford is about as impregnable as a doggy-door.

3) Dwight Howard is a tremendous physical specimen. Jeez. He is strong and long and has change-for-a-dollar hops. BUT, he still couldn't guard Curry consistently. He could frustrate him every couple of possessions by fronting him and keeping the entry passes from finding him, but Curry was just as often getting the ball too low to be stopped and was able to get Howard on his high-hip a few times so that he was able to just catch and pivot (baseline) right to the hoop for an easy bucket. It was Foyle that stopped Curry. Foyle was not afraid of just leaning on him with all his weight. And, that's the thing about Howard, he seems like he is still a bit afraid. Afraid of his own strength. Afraid of his teammates. Afraid of his opponents. Afraid of Balkman's dreadlocks. There was a point in the first half when Howard accidentally dropped an elbow hard into Balkman's face during a scrum in the paint. Balkman crumpled to the floor and dragged Howard down with him. Howard had been fouled on the play by a different Knick but Balkman barked and jumped at Howard (who didn't seem to realize what he had done). The young center was clearly taken aback and could even be heard on television to be repeating the words "I'm sorry." What? I know that Howard is very religious, that he wants to see a cross incorporated into the NBA logo and that he has recorded every Adrian Peterson game during the last four seasons, but c'mon. You can apologize after the game. To your opponent and your savior. But during the game? In the paint? You've got to tell Balkman that you've got seventeen more years of those elbows waiting for him and that you were up all night drinking coffee and watching old Karl Malone games.

4) The Magic are TALL. And they can shoot. All members of their front court (Turkoglu, Lewis and Howard) are listed at 6'10" and up. Two of them (guess which two?) shoot the three better than anyone we've got.

5) Rashard Lewis is very, very good but he can be pushed around. He isn't bulky (yet) and is more comfortable outside than in with the bangers.

6) The offensive execution down the stretch was grade-school. It seemed that each player felt individually responsible for winning the game and therefore each contributed in their own way to the loss.

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