After each defeat by the Boston Celtics the weight on Dwight Howard's back has increased ten-fold. Much like LeBron James, Howard the AAU wunderkin has been lost in the mirage of his own perceived greatness.
He had been told all his life that he just had to show up and flex his chiseled frame and the whimpering masses would wilt.
That was the extent of the Magic’s game plan. Feed the blue giant in the middle and shoot lights out from beyond the arc. Orlando hoisted 30 three point attempts and made eight. The Celtics on the other hand attempted 11 and made six.
When the three point shot was first re-introduced to the NBA, the idea was to give the offense additional weapons when attacking the defense. Somehow in this modern era this tool has been made into the main option for the majority of NBA teams.
As a result the hired guns know only one thing to stand passively in the distance waiting for an opportunity to launch threes. The Celtics have shown that it is necessary to have multiple weapons at your disposal.
Ray Allen is a legitimate three point threat, but he showed that he was much more when he deftly drove by Howard and rocked the rim for an emphatic dunk.
The Orlando Magic's smoke and mirror offensive playbook has often times resembled Wile. E. Coyote's ACME plans to stop the Road Runner. In this case, the role of Road Runner is being played by Rajon Rondo.
All the hapless Magic could see was the Nike-swoosh on the bottom of Rondo's sneakers as he was relentless in his approach to the game.
The more contact the referees allow, the more Glen Davis thrives in his role of the bull in a china shop. His rotundness does not hinder him at all. He is surprisingly light on his feet and has a serviceable jump shot.
The beauty about this green machine is that opposing teams cannot devise a definitive game plan when scouting the Celtics. Take away one option and they present at least six more. Not many teams can say that and I will even go as far as to say that the Lakers do not have that luxury.
The Celtics vaunted veteran core does not need to average 20 points a game for their team to win. Orlando cannot say the same.
Stan Van Gundy is not to blame here; he can only use what management has given him. The Magic front office made the same grave era other teams have been trending toward. They targeted Cleveland as the squad to beat and framed their team around that concept.
The Boston Celtics were just an afterthought in what everyone saw would be a quick second round dismantling by the Cavaliers.
Boston was simply recharging and biding their time for when the real season started. They weren't going to waste their energy trying to prove that they were the best in the regular season.
They were content to concede those efforts to the boy that would be king, LeBron James, and the tattered cape of 2008 dunk champion superman, Dwight Howard.
It is all paying off now as the teams that sparkled with offensive intensity quickly fade in the sight line of this championship driven team.
Look in the eyes of the Celtic players and you will see a strength born of "yes we can" that has emasculated the Magic.
You never want to send a boy to do a grown man's work, and the Celtics are making grown man moves. The Magic on the other hand seem to be stuck in a perpetual bid for adolescence.
The gentle giant approach of Dwight Howard loses its luster because he doesn't have the dark-side to balance his floor game.
Even the real Superman had to battle his own demons to prevent himself from annihilating his opponents because of his brute strength.
Instead he found ways to mentally beat them and still leave doubt in their collective psyche.
Howard has no clue how to exert that kind of pressure and as a result the TD Garden has become Orlando's personal Doomsday device. The timer is set for Monday and after three games the Magic still do not know how to stop it from detonating.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!