The week ahead for the Magic, and speculation about Vince Carter becoming a reserve
The Orlando Magic begin the week in first place in the SE division at 25-12 (14-4 home, 11-8 road), 1 1/2 games ahead of second place Atlanta. The Magic are currently the third seed in the East, 2 games behind second seed Boston and 3 games behind top seed Cleveland. Last season after 37 games, the Magic were 29-8.
The Magic play 6 of their next 8 games on the road, and begin a 4 game game road trip this week with 3 games:
Tuesday, Jan. 12th: at Sacramento (15-21, 12-8 home, 4th Pacific) Last season, the Magic set the NBA record for most three pointers in a game here; Kings are 3-7 in their last 10 games.
Wednesday, Jan. 13th: at Denver (23-14, 15-3 home, 1st Northwest) Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups have missed games recently; Nuggets are 4-6 in their last 10 games.
Friday, Jan. 15th: at Portland (23-16, 14-7 home, 2nd Northwest) Blazers are besieged by injuries, missing Greg Oden, Rudy Fernandez, Joel Przybilla, and Travis Outlaw, but are 6-4 in their last 10 games.
The Magic are coming off one of their best games of the year with a resounding win against Atlanta to break their 4 game losing streak. Hopefully, it carries over to this challenging road trip. The Magic would do well to win 2 of 3 this week.
Former Orlando Sentinel writer Tim Povtak, now a columnist and writer for NBA Fanhouse, wrote a column this weekend suggesting the Magic may be better off having Vince Carter come off the bench when he returns from his shoulder injury and leave J.J. Redick as the starting shooting guard.
Here are some excerpts from Povtak's column:
Van Gundy was lamenting the inability of his four best players – All-Stars Carter, Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson – to play well together this season.
"We have been quite a bit better this season when we've had at least one of those four guys out, '' Van Gundy said. "We just have not been very good with them – not nearly as good as we've played the rest of the games. I don't know if that's something where we need to get some more complementary players in there with them.''
"It (a lineup switch) is something you may have to look at, what some of the other guys bring a little bit better in terms of balance, guys who don't need plays called for them,'' Van Gundy said. "Part of it is guys in their roles and how they play. Instead of four guys who see themselves as scorers, you would get three and a couple guys who do other things.''
Carter becomes the most likely choice for a role change among the four. Howard is the best center in the league. Nelson is the co-captain and floor leader. Lewis is in the midst of a $118 million contract, and still in his prime. Carter is no longer among the best at his position and moving into the twilight of his career.
Here is the complete column from Tim Povtak.