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Rafer Alston Should Forget Game 5, Since His Coach Forgot About Him

ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 11:  Head coach Stan Van Gundy talks to Rafer Alston #1 of the Orlando Magic during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Four of the 2009 NBA Finals 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)
Lorenzo ReynaCorrespondent IJune 13, 2009

"Skip To My Lou" has better luck skipping out on the rest of the NBA Finals.

After one great performance in Game 3 that propelled the Magic to victory, Rafer Alston became a disappearing act for Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy.

When Alston was on the floor this past Tuesday night, he dazzled the Amway Arena crowd with his shooting and New York streetball-like moves and quickness.

The former Rucker Park baller wasn't the leading scorer that night, but the 36 minutes he played, as well as the 20 points he dropped, prevented Magic fans everywhere from busting out oxygen tanks and gasping for air.

But now Magic fans are panicking after the Game 4 debacle. Even with Stan Van Panic at the helm, it now appears he won't need Rafer Alston's services anymore. 

And as far as "Skip To My Lou" is concerned, he probably should just skip out on Game 5.

Simply because, Van Panic sat down one of his Game 3 heroes, when he could've helped even things out with the Lakers.

Alston went from 36 minutes to sitting out much of the second half in Game 4. Van Gundy decided to put the ball in the hands of Jameer Nelson, who back on Tuesday turned the ball over three times in 11 minutes.

Alston has scored 31 total points in the two games at Orlando. Nelson's combined point total in those games? Four.

Yet Van Panic seems to believe that Nelson will get better production than "Skip To My Lou."

Nelson was terrific during the regular season before his injury, I'll give him that. However, he is clearly not the Magic's best option right now compared to Alston.

When "Skip To My Lou" hits the court, he makes the Lakers work. Laker die-hards probably cringe when Alston takes the hardwood with his oil-slick moves and shooting touch.

But Laker fans should probably thank Stan Van Panic for sitting Alston and going with Nelson. He prevented the streetball star from ballin' up the Lakers in back-to-back games.

Van Gundy stated in his post game press conference that he stuck with Nelson because the Magic had regained the lead late with him in the lineup, and because it reached a point where Alston had sat for too long.

But Van Panic also acknowledged that Nelson didn't give the Magic anything.

Well of course "master of panic", including the monster point totals he has at Orlando, Nelson is averaging 3.5 points per game in these NBA Finals.

Alston's average PPG in the finals: over 10 points per game.

Alston's best scoring night in this series: 20 points in the Game 3 victory.

Nelson's best scoring night: six points in the 100-75 debacle.

Yet you felt that it was Nelson, not Alston, who had the better chance of putting the lake show on their heels?

Before the finals began, I wrote a column about how the city of Fresno should cheer on Rafer Alston.

Even with all the debts he paid and the toes he stepped on, Alston gave Fresno State Bulldog basketball fans their best hope of seeing an NBA champion.

Now, it appears "Skip To My Lou" has become a Magic disappearing act for his head coach.

 

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