Magic, Lakers Need Subs to Step Up in Wake of Suspensions

Patrick CorbetContributor IMay 7, 2009

BOSTON - MAY 06:  Rafer Alston #1 of the Orlando Magic and Eddie House #50 of the Boston Celtics exchange words after House scored a three-point shot in the second half in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on May 6, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Celtics defeated the Orlando Magic 112-94. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Lakers G Derek Fisher and Magic G Rafer Alston were each suspended for their teams' respective Game Threes on Friday.

Both teams will need their subs to step up in order for each to take a 2-1 series lead.

First, a look at the Magic. Anthony Johnson will need to step up at the point, and while he is a serviceable back up, Alston's absence will be felt.

Expect Hedo Turkoglu to be the primary ball handler for the Magic. Meanwhile, Johnson should be able to space the floor with his three-point shooting.

Johnson shot 39 pecent from behind the arc, compared to Alston's 32 percent. While the Magic may not lose much on offense, the defensive side of the ball is where things get murky. Johnson is not quick enough to stay with Rajon Rondo over four quarters.

There is hope that rookie G Courtney Lee will be able to suit up for the Magic. This creates an interesting solution to the defensive dilemma.

The Magic can play without a point guard. Turkoglu's ball-handling can cover the lack of a true point guard on the floor, and allow the Magic to play with a back court of Lee and J.J. Reddick/Mickael Pietrus.

Lee can do a better job guarding Rondo than anyone left on the roster, and the Reddick-Pietrus combo has played outstandingly during the first two games. It will be interesting to see how Stan Van Gundy copes without his starting point guard.

The Lakers face a similar problem. While Fisher brings leadership, Aaron Brooks is too quick for him—and his shot has not been falling. The Lakers' two young guards, Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar could team up to handle the point-guard duties. Phil Jackson could also look to Sasha Vujacic with Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom taking care of the ball handling.

Look for Shannon Brown to start, though, as he is the only one of the bench guards who has contributed at all this postseason. He is quicker than Fisher and should have a better chance at slowing down Brooks.

Regardless of their possible solutions, both the Magic and Lakers face a difficult task in winning Game Three without their starting point guards.