Skip To My Lou Replaced By an “All-Star”

John TylerContributor IJune 12, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 11:  Rafer Alston #1 of the Orlando Magic reacts in the first quarter of Game Four of the 2009 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers on June 11, 2009 at Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida.  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 Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Can anybody explain to me why Rafer Alston did not play for the last 17 minutes of Game 4? 

Going into the fourth quarter, Alston had the second most points for the Orlando Magic behind Turkoglu. Now I am not trying to bash Stan Van Gundy or Jameer Nelson, but not playing Rafer Alston for the last 17 minutes of the game is insane. 

Jameer Nelson has not played in months and he was allowed to play for the entire fourth quarter and overtime. While I was watching the game, Nelson did nothing to improve the Magic’s chances of winning.

He merely dribbled the ball up the court, then would pass it off to Turkoglu, and proceeded to the corner of the court where he would stand for the remainder of the possession.  However, he did have above-average passes to Dwight Howard.    

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that Nelson is a way better point guard than Rafer Alston. But in this series, it is the wrong move to play Nelson more than Alston, especially when the game and more importantly your team’s season is on the line.

Throughout the playoffs, Alston has averaged over 12 points during 33 minutes per game, which is solid play from a point guard. Coming off an exceptional performance in Game 3, I feel that he has earned the right to play during the deciding moments of a game.

During the fourth quarter, I could tell Nelson was beginning to become fatigued because of his lack of offensive production.  The final possession of the game drove a dagger into the Magic’s heart when Derek Fisher hit a three-pointer over Jameer Nelson with 4.6 seconds remaining. I’m sure Alston must have been burning up in side.

After watching the Orlando Magic collapse in the fourth quarter, I am thinking that, surely in overtime, Stan Van Gundy will smarten up and put Alston back in the game. 

However, I overestimated Gundy’s coaching ability and he decided to stick with a player who has not been playing with the team for the entire playoff run over the rested Rafer Alston. 

Overtime is just a mirror image of the fourth quarter, where Jameer Nelson dribbles up the court and nothing more or less. Then, Kobe Bryant took over the game and the rest is history.

I did not listen to any post game press conferences but if Rafter Alston was not injured, then there is no logical reason for not playing him during the most important part of the NBA finals.

Regardless of the outcome, I had my mind made up that this article needed to be written. I know that this is not the only reason that Orlando Magic lost Game 5 and are probably going to lose the NBA finals, but I have no doubt that it was the main reason.