Wednesday, May 13, 2009

.... when they aren't playing the Raptors

Me: When do we cheer for Dwight Howard?

The Boy: When he isn't playing against the Raptors.

Orlando big man Dwight Howard -- known to The Boy and countless others as Superman -- is too much fun to watch.... except when his team won't give him the ball.

The late Inflatable Elvis and I have been watching this Boston/Orlando series with some interest, as we have been paying attention to Orlando all season long. Inside/outside game, Superman himself, and they seem like guys worth cheering for.

Except the coaches... the body language has been way off. Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy has an intense personaility and it is clear that the players have tuned him out. It got worse after Superman got suspended for a game for an uncharacteristic nasty elbow, and the team won.

Some players even commented anonymously afterwards that they are better WITHOUT Howard. Something about freeing them up for shots. Hey, MR Three Point specialist, Charles Barkley was right last night.

He said, "There are two kind of threes, the ones you shoot wide open and the ones where you have a guy hanging off you." Big Mr Howard getting doubled frees up the open man, because until they adopt different rules, it is five guys a side.

You can see the tension on the bench. I saw 13 year veteran Anthony Johnson holding his head in his hands following a run in with one of the coaches. Looked like he was crying. No one looks at the coach during timeouts. And they don't run the plays they need to.... like give the ball to the future Hall of Famer and get the hell out of the way.

So, last night, the Magic throw away a clear win against the EVIL Boston Celtics (I will never forget that classless alley-oop against the Raptors following a complete drubbing. So bad that Triano -- congrats Jay on the new coaching gig -- called a timeout to draw attention to it).

Back to the Magic collapse. Howard said after the game:

"We moved the ball, we ran, got easy shots, and our coach has to recognize when he was a certain group out there and they are getting the job done and we have to leave those guys on the floor. We are going to make mistakes, but I think you have to go with what works."

To translate, that is equilavent to, in NBA terms, of Ron Artest showing up for Game Six with a table leg in his hand. Howard is a lamb, never heard him say anything bad about anybody, even when Shaq was taking shots at him for using Superman, a Shaq-Fu original.

Dwight.... we would love you in Toronto, with your good friend CB4. You can do all the goofy things you want and we'll love it. Just get your ass under the net and we'll get you the ball. Want to be just like your hero Shaq, LEAVE ORLANDO.

EDITED TO ADD: Seems like the Magic fans agree with Superman, according to the 800 of them who have filled in this poll:

Was it OK for Dwight Howard to criticize his coach Stan Van Gundy?

Yes, it was deserved (501 responses)


No, the game plan was fine (23 responses)


No, Dwight needs to show team unity right now (331 responses)