Tag Archives: Orlando Magic

The Celtics take on Howard and win

It was a renaissance in Boston last night. Garnett was draining 20 footers, Paul Pierce was driving and kicking and hitting shots, and Jermaine O’Neal was putting the clamps on Dwight Howard. Everybody hustled. The defensive intensity never lapsed all game. To steal a line from NBA TV studio man Brent Barry, the Celtics’ “Jurassic Five” went prehistoric on the Magic and held them to a franchise-low 56 points. It was their first win over a team with a winning record, by 31 points no less.

Recently, I’ve discussed the efficacy of the hack-a-Howard strategy (or as Celtics TV mainstay Tommy Heinsohn puts it, the old “hack the Shaq”). The short answer is that Howard shoots too well from the line (59% almost every year, though lower so far this year) for a pure hack-a-Howard to be effective for most teams. However, hacking Howard only when he has the ball in good position Continue reading

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Hack-a-Howard in practice

A couple weeks ago, I argued that the hack-a-Howard strategy could work on a player who shoots 50% from the line. My post was timely; four days later, Mark Jackson instructed his Warriors to foul Howard repeatedly. Howard attempted 39 free throws (an NBA record) and made 21 (54%). The Warriors lost the game, and commentators hammered Jackson for ruining the flow of the game and being afraid to face up to the opposition. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy didn’t really complain but refused to foul 51% career free throw shooter Andris Biedrins in retaliation. However, the Warriors still had a chance to win with 3 minutes left against a far superior opponent. To me, that looks like a success.

What do the numbers say about Jackson’s decision? Well, Continue reading

Steve Kerr agrees

In last night’s Heat – Lakers game, the Heat had The Bron in the lineup (despite being sick), but The Wade sat out with his ankle injury. Even without The Wade, the Heat dominated the game. Kobe shot a horrible percentage but took more shots than Pau “the Gas Man” Gasol or Andrew “Great Potential” Bynum (as usual).

The Heat led by 21 entering the fourth quarter. Still, Mike Brown left his starters on the floor until the bitter end. When Kobe entered the game around the 10 minute mark, announcer Steve Kerr admonished Brown to take all the starters out. Continue reading

The hack-a-Howard

In my post on Friday about the DiMaggio hit streak, I mentioned the old hack-a-Shaq strategy. With Dwight Howard playing for Shaq’s old team, I’m surprised that teams don’t try the hack-a-Howard (Howard is a 60% career free throw shooter). Friday night’s Bulls-Magic game was a potential opportunity; the Bulls led for the entire fourth quarter. Here are the Bulls possessions inside of 4:30 remaining: Continue reading

Barkley uncut!

And I don’t mean on SNL. Charles Barkley joined Reggie Miller and Kevin Harlan on TNT’s Hawks – Heat broadcast on Thursday. If you get a chance to watch Barkley court side,  don’t miss it. His honesty and intelligence are refreshing.

In fact, he was a little too honest this time around. During a commercial break, some online viewers were treated to Barkley pontificating while he thought he was off camera. Continue reading

The Brooklyn Broken Metatarsals

It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? They could have been the Brooklyn Talents, on their way to the playoffs. Instead, the Nets will be lucky to win 30 games without Brook Lopez. They should have given the Magic whatever they wanted in exchange for Dwight Howard. Who cares about a few more draft picks or a role player? Too late now.

Shopping Rondo

Another story today about Danny Ainge shopping Rajan Rondo like the Greeks shop bonds. His main target has been Chris Paul, but Ainge went after Russell Westbrook over the summer as well.

The Celtics can barely field a team right now. They have three aging stars (Pierce, Allen, Garnett). I can see why Ainge wants to make a trade, and I agree that Paul would be an upgrade. But why would New Orleans make this deal? Continue reading