First of all, great Game Two yesterday; glad to see the Magic bounce back and put up a hard fought game.
That being said and before I get into coaching the Magic, I do have to say that I thought the referees in Game Two were atrocious on both ends of the floor.
Pietrus’ sixth foul, Turkoglu’s phantom push off, Howard’s goal tend, and many more, I really thought the refs did not bring their A game and these are the best the NBA has. As Mark Jackson would say, “David Stern you are better than that…” Yes, he is starting to really get on my nerves and upset that I ever used to like the Jackson shimmy shake.
Without further ado, here are my five suggestions to Stan Van Gundy and the Orlando Magic to get them back in the series:
1. When Turkoglu is running the pick and roll with Howard, I would like to see him come off the screen looking to shoot more. I think if he came off hard and pulled the trigger on a couple of jumpers, not only would he probably score, but he would force the bigs of the Lakers (Bynum and Gasol) to come at him more aggressively.
Thus, opening up the roll situation for Howard and getting him easy looks at the basket, or if a Laker rotates to cut off Howard, there would be open jumpers for Lewis and others.
2. Stop having Patrick Ewing as Howard’s offensive mentor, it obviously is not working. I make fun of Ewing and have no clue if it is actually his fault, though he does put himself out there as Howard’s mentor.
But, how many times did Howard put the ball down yesterday and get stripped It was nauseating and we need to get him to keep the ball up high.
3. Overall, I thought the Magic did a fairly good job defensively on the Lakers. I thought Hedo did a pretty good job on Kobe (as good as others) and would consider putting him on Bryant more. I think you keep rotating Lee, Pietrus and Turkoglu on him and try to change things up.
I wouldn’t want to see Turkoglu on him for too long as he is the focal point of the Magic offense, truly running the show and wouldn’t want to see him get tired chasing Bryant around.
4. I am unsure what SVG was doing at the end of the game with Reddick in there. Granted, if Reddick had hit some shots, we would be praising Van Gundy as a genius. But that is the thing, if you are going to keep Reddick playing those minutes, he has to look for his shot.
The Lakers weren’t even guarding him because they knew he wasn’t going to shoot it. He needs to have the confidence and aggressiveness and look to score to put the pressure on the Laker defense and open up things for the other Magic players. If he isn’t going to do that, then go with somebody else (Nelson, Lee, Alston).
5. I am not sure why Nelson didn’t get more minutes than he did. In my opinion, he is playing fine, though a little too cautious, but I understand he isn’t trying to mess with the chemistry that got the Magic to the Finals. Unlike Reddick at the end of the game, the Lakers have to guard Nelson and respect him. The respect alone can help get open shots for Nelson’ s teammates.
I would change up the starting lineup and put Nelson in there along with Pietrus. Even if Nelson continues to play cautious, he has plenty of scoring options around him in the starting lineup that he could be a facilitator. He doesn’t have that coming off the bench with the second unit, and I think the second unit needs somebody a little more aggressive than Nelson has been.
I believe Alston and Lee would be a nice pair of guys to bring off the bench andadd some energy to the second unit.