Orlando Magic Blog

Group Blog talking about the NBA 2009 Eastern Conference Champions. Due to the amazing success of the 2009 playoff run comments are now frequently deleted to kill offensive comments, incoherence, or asininity. Comments can no longer be anonymous and require either a Blogger or OpenID account.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Magic survive frantic Hawks comeback in four point win

Things looked pretty good for the Magic when they had a big 93-74 lead with just over ten minutes remaining in the fourth. Atlanta proceeded to make their run then, as the Magic would miss 11 of their final 14 field goal attempts. The Hawks came as close as 101-97 and could have cut their deficit to two points with just under a minute remaining when, inexplicably, Mike Bibby missed a wide-open layup. The Hawks drew within 105-102 in the final seconds, but the Magic hung on for a 106-102 victory.

Six players scored in double figures for the Magic, as they led throughout the game. Atlanta's only lead was 2-0. The Magic had a lead as big as 76-55 midway through the third, and 19 points early in the fourth before the Hawks made their failed comeback.

Magic leading scorers

Dwight Howard: 23 points (8 of 12 field goals), 19 rebounds
Hedo Turkoglu: 20 points (6 of 12 field goals), 8 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 steals
Rashard Lewis: 20 points (5 of 11 field goals), 4 rebounds
Jameer Nelson: 15 points (5 of 14 field goals), 5 rebounds, 5 assists
Courtney Lee: 11 points (5 of 10 field goals)

Atlanta leading scorers

Josh Smith: 21 points, 9 rebounds
Mike Bibby: 17 points, 9 assists

Overall Game Statistics

FG%: ORL 50% (36 of 72) ATL 47.6% (40 of 84)
3 PT FG%: ORL 44.4% (8 of 18) ATL 38.1% (8 of 21)
FT%: ORL 72.2% (26 of 36) ATL 56% (14 of 25)
REB: ORL 43 (8 offensive) ATL 39 (9 offensive)
AST/TO: ATL 27/13 ORL 21/18
BENCH: ATL 26 ORL 17

Other game notes and stats:

-Hawks' star G Joe Johnson scored just 13 points, just two more points than Magic reserve J.J. Redick
-Johnson and Bibby combined to shoot just 11 of 34 for 30 points, but did combine for 18 assists
-The Hawks outscored the Magic 88-80 from the field, but the Magic's 26-14 free throw edge was the difference
-The Magic used a nine-man rotation with Redick leading the reserves with 11 points on 5 of 7 shooting; Keith Bogans sat out again with a sprained ankle
-Anthony Johnson was the only other Magic reserve to score
-The Hawks' reserves combined to shoot 10 of 16 from the field for 26 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals
- The Magic starting frontline outscored the Hawks' starting frontline 63-46 and outrebounded them 30-24
-Lewis and Turkoglu combined for 40 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, and 2 steals
-With his 5 of 14 performance from the field, Nelson is 10 of 31 his last two games

The Magic now trail Boston by just a half game in the East as Houston upset the Celtics in Boston 89-85; and trail the Cavaliers by one game.

The Magic and Hawks play the second of the home-and-home set Friday night in Orlando.

For the complete box score, click here

20 Comments:

  • At 12:15 AM, Blogger Jarhead Scott said…

    They looked ok tonight but I know one thing. I want Lee to stay in the starting lineup, even when Pietrus is ready. What about you guys?

     
  • At 1:10 AM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    At this point, Lee has more than earned his starting spot. He hasn't been given anything, and I'd be surprised to see either Redick or Bogans getting back into the starting rotation anytime soon.

    As for Pietrus, it'll all depend on him. When he returns, I expect him to come off of the bench just as he did when he returned from his first injury. From that point on, it'll depend on his performance, Lee's, and the teams as a whole.

    Something to remember... When Pietrus was healthy at the start of the season, his play was at a level that Bogans, Lee, or Redick have yet to match.

     
  • At 2:31 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    The Magic played great for 3+ quarters before Atlanta, to their credit, came alive to make a game out of it. At one juncture of the third quarter, the Magic were shooting 60% for the game, before cooling off significantly in the fourth, but still managed to shoot 50% for the game. Thank goodness Bibby missed that gimme layup in the final minute that would have cut the Magic lead to two.

    What a great all-around game from Turk, and he did it against a quality team. Seven rebounds and two steals is pretty good for a guy not known for his defense. Eight assists to go along with his 20 points just shows how valuable he is on offense.

    You can say all you want about how the Magic need a "true" power forward or a better defender, but the combined numbers put up by Lewis and Turk offensively most games are very impressive, which very few teams in the league can match. The duo presents a big matchup problem offensively for most teams.

    I've already stated I would reluctantly accept a trade involving Turk for a better defender, who still would be able to handle the ball and shoot the three. What team would give up that kind of a player for Turk, who is in the final year of his contract. I just don't see a trade happening involving him, and I don't mind that.

    I agree that Courtney Lee should be the starter for an indefinite period. When Pietrus comes back sometime next month, it will take him at least a couple weeks to get his game back, but he would make a good "sixth man" coming off the bench with his scoring and athleticism. I do think Pietrus, when healthy, will return to starting at SG.

    An encouraging sign the last several games is that J.J. Redick appears to have found his shooting eye after struggling for much of the season; yet another weapon for the Magic off the bench. Whoever thought Redick would nearly outscore Joe Johnson Wednesday night?

    I don't know what's going to happen to Bogans, as his offense and shooting have completely disappeared the last three weeks or so.

    This was only the third loss for the Hawks at home all season. The Magic continue to prove themselves as probably the best road team in the league. Hopefully, the Magic complete the home-and-home sweep of the Hawks Friday.

     
  • At 11:56 AM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    CL should be the starter as long as MP is out,when MP returns he'll come off the bench for about two or three games to get his feet back and then return to the starting line-up. This is exactly what was going to happen the last time but then he broke his wrist. When he was healthy he was our best perimeter defender and shooter,otis didnt sign him to come off the bench. Like mike said good game for three quarters and the fourth was horrible,but at least they were able to hang on. Mike good try but after having two horrible games hedo has come back with two solid NOT GREAT solid games. My two problems with hedo are (1) when he's bad offensively he's horrible and (2)he doesnt get in to his man defensively. Not sure if you watched the game against the wiz,but butler was just catching the ball and shooting it in hedo's face. A pressure defender wouldnt allow that,hedo kept doing the same thing (which had me yelling at the TV)he would put a hand in his face while trying to close out basically standing straight up. Mike anyone can hit a shot with a hand in their face they get paid millions to do that. Thats not good defense anyway you cut it and to say no one wouldve been able to stop butler just isnt right. Physical players or at least guys that get in to you dont let you do that to them,they get their hands and body on you so that you can feel them,usually getting away with shots that the ref doesnt see and causing the offensive player to get frustrated and out of his game which is the way the bruce bowens and ron artests of the world got their rep for defense. Hedo has none of that,go back and watch film of hedo for yourself (i record the games)hedo never touches his opponent AT ALL. Sometimes he'll stick his arm out and try to stay with guys around a screen but no physical bumping or touching defensive presence that would make some players fold. Caron butler was doing anything he wanted because he saw hedo in front of him,he knows hedo is super soft and not a player that really wants to make any contact. So as long as your jumper is falling hedo will allow you to keep shooting it because of his style of defense (or lack of). But CL on the other hand watch him for a while play defense,he gets his whole mid-section inches from his opponent almost as if he's in the guys front pocket and with his hands and feet he just gives his man no room to breathe or get of a jumpshot. Then instead of standing straight up and trying to challenge a shot with one hand from a distance without really jumping(hedo) CL usually uses his footwork to get himslef in position to make a jumping swat at the ball just as it leave the players hands,no hand in the face bullshit like hedo. I could go on and on about the problems with hedo's approach to defense but getting a few rebounds doesnt change anything because rebounding isnt a complete defensive statistic or guage of someone's defense.

     
  • At 12:11 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Mike you say "combined numbers" as if to say no one else paired with rashard could put up those numbers. Seems like anybody that could shoot the three and handle the ball would give us the same numbers offensively plus better "on the ball defense". Bad teams are always looking for upgrades and a guy like richard jefferson does all the things hedo does with a level of toughness that hedo doesnt have,i bet the bucks would love to get their hands on hedo via trade because he would make other players on their team better (just an example). True PF? I dont know about that,thats matt's thing,and personally i dont think there is a true PF that does all the things SVG would want to fill that spot,JMO. All i know is we have one defensive weak link and thats hedo.

     
  • At 12:25 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Glad to see JJ get things going and i was very surprised to see him actually looking athletic running and jumping around with a level of quickness that had me wanting to see more of JJ. And as much as i love KB (i'm a kentucky fan as well) his time is running out here even if he gets game back going. The young guys look like they can do the job. CL looks to be the best pick we've made since dwight and jameer,he's just so quick and athletic that you've got to play him. And JJ continue's to improve at the level that you cant get rid of him without finding out his potential so KB's looking like the odd man looking into the future.

     
  • At 12:47 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Let me be clear also,if the trade deadline comes and goes and hedo is still part of this team i wont be mad or complain because i like hedo and MOST of his game. Its just at this point you have to start looking under the surface of the regular season,this team will be measured in the play-offs hedo or no hedo so if we're eliminated again in the first two rounds i'll have already stated my opinion of what changes need to be made way back in january! Thats the final comment on hedo's lack of defense from me as a subject because my position has been stated,i'll now just comment on things on an individual game basis.

     
  • At 2:16 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Big figure should have been really irritated by Hedo. I agree with the most parts of what he posted since they are nothing but facts, yet we cannot deny Hedo's offensive potentials. That is why I also agree with Big Figure that I would not be terribly disappointed if he is not traded. The question that comes to mind is how we could reach a scientific conclusion in offsetting offensive output with defensive liability. I admit that it is not an easy prospect.

    What concerns me in quite a few games recently is the fact that Magic's opponents make a run on them towards the end of the game, and I underscore "the end". As I mentioned before, Stan is a very smart coach preparing the team from the get go. In the same token, I think he should be able to prepare them against complacency during the game, and that is why I tend to believe that it may be a conditioning problem. In another word they are not that well conditioned to spend so much energy in the first three quarters without running out of gas in the fourth. What do you all think?

     
  • At 5:08 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    There was some talk about Hedo Turkoglu, so I just started typing, and this is what came out:

    People always seem to undervalue what Hedo Turkoglu brings to this team. The common scenario mentioned is bringing in a “true power forward”. My question for those of you who believe this is, who and why?

    The only valid argument is on the defensive and rebounding side of the game. And while we have struggled at times on the boards, our defense is still one of the top ranked in the NBA. So I’m still not sold, as the addition of a traditional power forward could helps us on the boards, but it would also cause some losses on the court, especially on the offensive end.

    Personally, I like our two 6-10 forwards. And in the case where they’re struggling (which is rare); has not Battie and Gortat both shown that they can come in and contribute in those situations?

    Not only do I think Turk is a key to our offense, but I think the combination of Turk and Lewis are. They really compliment each other. Some are ignorant and say they’re the same, but I think that’s far from the truth. They main thing they have in common is that they can both shoot the ball, but even there it’s in different ways. Turk shoots off balance really well, which comes in great when you need a basket, ala late game situations; while Lewis is more of a spot up shooter. Turk is great with the ball in his hands, breaking down defenses, creating for himself and others. He excels in the pick and roll, going to the basket. That is something Lewis doesn’t have in his arsenal. Lewis has to get his feet set to get up a good shot and he doesn’t create well for himself or others; unless he’s in the post, where he typically gets a high percentage shots for himself.

    The bottom line is, there isn’t a team in the NBA that can defend both Lewis and Turk. We’re a mismatch problem for everyone there. Because they’re both 3-point threats makes the game easier for Howard. So bringing in a traditional power forward would give us one less 3-point shooter on the floor.

    Another problem, Lewis is here to stay. Which means if we brought in a power forward, Turk would be the odd man out. Well, how much of the Magic’s offense runs through Turk? Can Lewis handle the ball, create, or pass anywhere near to the level that Turk does? I don’t think so. The loss of Turk could change our offense a lot, and not for the best.

    BIG presented a different scenario; which kind of sounded like the Magic could easily pair another small forward with Lewis in place of Turk.

    Richard Jefferson. No thanks.

    He’s streaky behind the 3-point line. He doesn’t pass the ball well or create for others. A guy with a game like Jefferson’s would work as our shooting guard, but not replacing Turk. I think our offensive would struggle and our ball movement would suffer. We need Turk to create; for his ball handling, passing, and playmaking ability.

    If Turk goes, he needs to be replaced by a power forward that has a solid jump shot and is a great defender. Who is there? Bosh, Brand, Aldridge? I guess I should have asked, who is available? Nobody… Or we could replace him with a Jefferson (scorer), which I think would be a bad idea. We don’t need a black hole in our offense; might as well trade him for Maggette. So if we stayed small we’d need to replace him with a playmaker, but why would we do that when we already have one of the best in the league without jumping to one of the elite players?

    Here is what I really think. The Magic are 28-8, which means WE ARE one of the elite teams in the NBA. Right now is not the time to change any of our core players. Any change we could possibly make should only be a tweaking here or there. Personally, I’d still like to see another backup point guard brought in, but beyond that, I do not want to see any major moves, which means Hedo Turkoglu is here to stay for now.

    Matt, I really don’t see conditioning as a problem. I think in today’s NBA it’s very difficult to put away a team. It’s a game of runs, highs and lows, and while we’d all love to see our team putting others away early and often, it just doesn’t happen much in this league. Atlanta was 15-2 at home going into lasts nights’ game, so I expected them to make a run. It’s a long NBA season. What really matters is that we continue to find ways to win. I personally think close wins are better than blowouts. It forces a team to learn how to win, and builds character. Plus there is the fact that we play them back to back, so I’d rather the first win to be a little closer. If we would have blown them out of their building, they would have came back Friday really pissed looking to put a hurting on us. As it stands now, I think we’ll be in for a close game Friday, but one I think we can win.

     
  • At 7:38 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    To wrap up the discussion about Hedo Turkoglu...

    OVERWADED stated better than I did the value of Turk to the Magic's offense; Big Figure has gone into great detail about Turk's deficiencies on defense.

    I believe that everything Turk does on offense for the Magic outweighs his liabilities on defense; after all, the Magic are 28-8 as OVERWADED said and one of the top defensive teams in the league.

    We can all agree that if the Magic don't make a trade involving Turk, we can live with that because of all the things Turk does on offense for the Magic.

    With Turk declining his player option for next season and becoming a free agent in the off-season, there remains the possibility the Magic will lose him and get nothing for him if they don't re-sign him, but that's a discussion for another time.

     
  • At 7:48 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    In regard to the conditioning factor that Matt brought up...

    It might look like the Magic are "running out of gas" in some games in the fourth quarter, but I agree with OVERWADED, that it is more so because this is the NBA, where most teams will make a run at some point in the game after trailing throughout, especially a talented, athletic team like the Hawks.

    This will be something to watch for the rest of the season, to see how well the Magic can close out a team in the fourth quarter.

     
  • At 8:23 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Last thoughts...

    We beat the Wizards, but complained about Butler blowing up on us in the 2nd half. Yet really, isn't that what an "all-star" is supposed to do regardless of who is defending him?

    Then we beat the Hawks, but complain about letting them back into the game, even though Joe Johnson was a none factor?

    I guess if there was one I'd be more upset about it’d be letting the game against the Wizards get close. I know they supposedly have 2 "all-stars", and a 3rd on the bench, but I'm not buying it. I was pissed last year when they had 2 guys on the all-star team, but I'm pretty sure I won't have to worry about that this year.

    As for Atlanta, this was a team we've struggled against, one we lost to in the home opener, a dominate home team, and a team that has a player that loves to blow up on Orlando...

    Yet we got a good win on the road, so I can’t complain.

    So while I'd like to see us kick the crap out of a chump team like the Wizards; that just doesn't always happen. Hell, the Wizards came off a win against the Cavs, and they would have beat them on Xmas were not for a meltdown in the final minute.

    My point is, a win is a win. Sure we let the Wizards game get closer than it should've been, but we got the W. And because of what happened in the 2nd half, Van Gundy called out our defense, specifically on the perimeter. Then we bounce back and hold "Magic Killer" Joe Johnson to 5 of 17 from the field.

    Within the game, you're going to win some, and lose some; but in the end, if you winning the game, that's what matters. Great teams find ways to win regardless of how they're playing, how bad they look, injuries, or whatever they're struggling with, and the Magic have been doing that all season long.

    I think it’s time for everyone to start recognizing the Orlando Magic as an elite team in the NBA. If not, that’s fine, I don’t mind going under the radar a little longer.

    Come playoff time, you can bet your ass neither the Celtics or Cavs are going to be thrilled about having to play the Magic, especially if it happens in the 2nd round.

    Whoever is 1st in the East, will have a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals; the 2nd and 3rd seeds are going to have it rough though.

     
  • At 8:27 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Question:

    Are the Celtics "running out of gas"? Do they have conditioning problems? Age issues?

    Dropping 6 of 8 against 3 losing teams, 2 other injury plagued teams, and 1 legit Lakers squad doesn't exactly sound impressive no matter how you spin it. If the Magic had done the same thing, flags would be flying up, people would be in panic mode, and even I'd be pissed about it.

    If any team is going to "run out of gas", it's going to be the aging Celtics.

     
  • At 9:14 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    With the Magic at 28-8 and a top four NBA team record-wise, heck, I sure would consider them to be an elite team right now, but let's face it, most people who aren't Magic fans won't consider the Magic to be an elite NBA team until they can at least advance to the Eastern Conference Finals and beat a team in the playoffs like a Detroit, Cleveland, or Boston. I guess I can understand that.

     
  • At 4:55 AM, Blogger Matt said…

    Guys, let's not push it to the extreme so that nobody could air a concern. I understand that NBA games are all about runs, and talented teams are expected to make runs. But what concerns me is that it mostly happens in the fourth quarter for the Magic. In the game with ATL we shot so poorly in the fourth quarter, or else ATL could not have made a run. I didn't see the game. For those of you who did, were they looking tired?

    As for considering Magic an elite team, as I mentioned before and Mike did also on the same line, we have to show competitiveness against BOS, CLE and even DET to be consdiered an elite team. BOS and DET have beaten us soundly the last times that we played them, and we will see with CLE soon. Our record puts us third in the east, and yet we cannot say with any degree of certainty that we will beat DET in a best of seven series. Is being amongst top 4 in east makes us an elite team? If affirmative then we are an elite team!!!

     
  • At 10:57 AM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    The answer is NO. The magic have to prove their worth in the play-offs bottom line,you can call them what-ever you want but "elite" has to be proven. I cant beleive that regular season games mean so much to some. If the magic lose in the first or second rounds of the play-offs everybody will be saying the same thing,pretender! How can a team be elite when they havent proven they can beat anybody when it counts?

     
  • At 11:12 AM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Fatigue? Not a problem for the magic. Maturity and toughness is though and will continue to be as long as our core guys are younger players,when jameer and dwight are the elder statesmen in the league they'll have learned by experience at how to keep teams down when you have them down. Right now were gonna have to deal with teams making runs on us late in games because were built so well offensively we get big leads on pretty much everybody. Its hard to stay hungry and aggressive when your winning by twenty points or so,the magic are learning how to deal with those situations which have been here since the begining of the season. The celtics running out of gas? I dont think so and IMO they arent that hard to figure out. They are suffering from not having ONE GUY big shot posey! Whether the espn commentators will say it or not its the truth. He hit big shot after big shot that bailed them out of trouble most nights,and because three pointers can build your lead so quick he was vital to their success. Plus he was a bench player,so their bench production has had to go down some also. Posey played alot to finish games,sometimes on nights when Ray Allen didnt want to play any defense and now that Ray has to play all the time teams are exposing him. Basically Posey did so much for that team that it was beyond stupid to let him get away. To start the season teams had'nt recognized their weakness yet and as the season is going along things are starting to come to the forefront,they arent as strong as last year bottom line.

     
  • At 12:43 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Intro i respect your thoughts...Here's what i have to say about them. The top paragraphs talk about a true PF,well thats not my thing so i'll let matt answer to that. The bottom half i'll have to disagree with. Intro you talk of hedo as if he's the only guy in the league that offers his skill set,as if him and rashard will work but rashard and someone else wont. The fact that he's 6ft10 as if he uses his size to his advantage,how many times have you seen hedo post up this year? Almost none! Hedo also takes the most bad shots on the team since offense is what everybody always wants to talk about with hedo. Basically you stated in all that how he's different from rashard (which we here already knew),how he's a match-up problem (again,we here know that) and how he's able to run our offense. All offensive things as if to say he can suck in his on the ball individual defense(and he does suck)all day long as long as he makes plays offensively,to me thats bad and i will never agree with that logic. I'm a defense first kinda guy and i'll give up some of the things he does offensively to get better defensively. Smart defensive coaches understand you wont need as much offense if the other team cant routinely score ala the detroit pistons. Couple more things i didnt agree with. (1)To say our offense would change without hedo is opinion,and somehow putting the responsibilty on rashard to make plays makes no since. We have a PG for that! No where is the mention of jameer,as if to say if hedo left jameer wouldnt step up his game and take on hedo's playmaking responsibilities. How do you know that? I myself am of the opinion that if hedo left jameer would be an all-star without a problem because his assists would automatically go up just by the fact that he'd be the primary ball handler,right now him and hedo split the duties which none of the elite teams are doing that to their point guards. The elite PG's are allowed to handle the ball 40 minutes or so and by that they get double figure assits some nights because of it. Hedo's basically a 6ft10 PG and just as soft as a normal sized one.(2) Richard jefferson was an example of someone that would improve us defensively,not someone i want to aquire but you went right to talking offense with him,shame you didnt/dont see the point. The point is this,when we start losing leads its because we cant stop an opposing player and recently its been the player hedo has been guarding,FACT. And if any player RJ or anyone else came here they wouldnt be allowed to become a black hole,thats not very logical knowing our coach and how he likes to coach. Any player would take a back-seat to dwight and fall right in line with what SVG wants to do on the offensive end of the floor or he wouldnt play. I bet if RJ were to come here and play with dwight he'd be a completely different player than the one we know that has never had a big-man to play with,dwight makes the game easier for players and RJ would benefit from that just like everybody else on our team. To me hedo is replaceable,jameer can do the playmaking full-time and replacing hedo with a SF who defends first and shoots the three would improve our team defense into a championship level. A true PF would have to shoot the three to even be in the equation as a replacement for hedo.

     
  • At 1:02 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    No one can tell me we NEED hedo offensively. The other night we were scoring the ball fine with hedo shooting 1-14 and not much better the next night. But lets look at the match-ups for a second. Labron,paul and tayshaun. Each one will punk hedo in the play-offs,and i'll put money on that. But i bet our other four positions will all hold their own against those same teams,what does that mean to you? To me it says we need to improve defensively at SF,bottom line.

     
  • At 4:36 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Turk’s post game or lack there of isn’t the reason I like his size and ability. History has shown more often than not that “small ball” doesn’t work. However, the Magic run with two 6-10 “small forwards” which helps counter the lack of a traditional power forward.

    It’s no secret that Nelson is not a playmaking point guard. He has the ability to pass the ball, but that’s not when he’s at his best. So the way I see it is he’ll always be a shoot first point guard. Because of that, Turk’s playmaking ability is really valuable. Without Turk, “in my opinion”, we wouldn’t be nearly as good of a team.

    Here is a question. What happens to this team when Nelson goes out of the game? What happens when Nelson gets hurt? Nobody can honestly tell me with a straight face they’re thrilled with Anthony Johnson. Turk is the main reason we stay afloat, and our offense stays fluent when Nelson is out of the game or injured.

    Ever shooter has off nights. Hell, Joe Johnson shot 5-17 and 4-12 back to back against us. But good players find other ways to contribute to the game. That same night Turk shot 1-14 from the field, he grabbed 11 rebounds, had 5 assists, with only 1 turnover.

    Since you’re trying to make a point, by saying that Turk is expendable; please, tell me who we could bring in here to replace him? Take in account the salary cap, Turk’s salary, what he’ll likely command in free agency, and all that jazz. Even Jefferson would be a stretch with a salary ranging from 13-15 million per season. But you make it sound so easy, so I just wanted to hear some realistic options.

    I’ll end it by saying this. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Turk and his situation. I really hope we resign him. But if we don’t, I’m curious to see who will take his place in the starting rotation. All I know is, when it’s all said and done, I will not be one of the guys that undervalued what Turk means to this team; because I just don’t see him as expendable or replaceable as some.



    Well now our record puts us 2nd in the East...

    Boston did beat us this season…in Boston…without Nelson, Pietrus, and Bogans… Mark your calendars for January 22nd…

    Detroit beat us on their home court too, although I still think they have issues. Am I the only one that “is not” surprised that they started winning when Richard Hamilton got injured? Sounds crazy right; not really… The have a problem in the backcourt. Hamilton and Iverson are not compatible. Stuckey needs to be starting. They tried playing small ball with Stuck, AI, Hamilton, Prince, and Sheed, but it didn’t work. Since Hamilton got injured, they’ve been able to play closer to “Piston basketball”. But what happens when Hamilton comes back? Who hits the bench? One of AI or RIP must come off the bench for them to have a chance to be successful. Will one of them put their ego aside and accept that role? Michael Curry isn’t going to help the situation either, as he doesn’t command enough respect yet. Sheed’s technical meltdown this season is proof of that.

    Why should Cleveland be considered anymore “elite” than Orlando? Is it because they took Boston to 7 games? I mean, they lost in the same round we did last season. Or is it because they took a ‘cake walk” to the Finals a few seasons ago…although much of that team is no longer there…so I don’t know how valid that is…especially considering the Spurs beat their ass.

    What does a team have to do to prove they can beat a team when it counts? Win a playoff series, two, three, the Finals? I guess my point is, if we’re going to be picky about who we’re going to call “elite”(despite having a record of 29-8), then the only teams deserving of such title would be the likes of Boston, San Antonio, and maybe LA considering they made the Finals last season. I still question the Lakers interior defense and toughness though.

    With all of that said, at this point in the regular season, in my opinion, Orlando is one of the “elite teams” in the NBA. Yet as mentioned, that doesn’t mean much if we don’t advance further in the playoffs.

     

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