Stan Van Gundy Makes Rafer Alston Disappear in Fourth-Quarter Collapse

Frances White@WestEndGirl62Analyst IIJune 12, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 11:  Rafer Alston #1 of the Orlando Magic drives past Derek Fisher #2 of 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)

Game three saw Rafer Alston play like "Skip to my Lou." He knifed his way through the lane with a series of twisting layups around the Laker big men.  He pushed the ball at every opportunity which helped to create the historic shooting percentage of 62 percent. 

The Magic got their first Finals win ever in the franchises history.  Confetti was released on the floor as if they had actually won something; when in fact they were still fighting for their playoff lives.

Game four, Rafer came out and pushed the ball looking more for his shot then running the team.  The Magic's first couple of possessions resulted in turnovers.  But Howard morphed into the Defensive Player of the Year that he is and patrolled the paint like Superman. 

It seemed he had arms like Mr. Fantastic grabbing rebounds through and around his teammates and Laker big men.

The Magic finished the game with 17 turnovers, seven of them from Howard.  In both Magic overtime losses, Howard had the most turnovers. 

The second half saw a totally different Magic team they stopped pushing the ball.  Time and time again Lewis was caught flatfooted on the swing of the ball. he had lost his aggressiveness.  The Lakers didn't do anything different Lewis simply did not have the ability to push his game to another level. 

Van Gundy gave all the fourth quarter minutes to Nelson.  There were no reports of any injury to Rafer Alston. He could be seen sitting at the end of the bench electing not to be in the huddle. Had Alston played the outcome may have been different because Nelson's size slowed down the movement of the ball.

For all his offensive innovation in game ending situations, Stan Van Gundy failed to recognize he needed defense with a three point lead.

Orlando needed size at the guard spot with 4.1 seconds left in regulation.  Courtney Lee should have been on the court instead of Jameer Nelson.  With a three-point lead, if you don't foul, you want length and size on all shooters.

Jameer Nelson does not fit that description and the offensive chemistry suffered with him at the point.

The Lakers are about to draw the curtains on this Magic act and it wasn't because the Lakers made it difficult for them.

Phil will surpass Red Auerbach in rings, but he will never touch Red's legacy.  Kobe will finally get his own ring without Shaq, and you know he is secretly relishing that fact.


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