Tag:Stan Van Gundy
Posted on: February 1, 2011 10:51 am
Edited on: February 1, 2011 10:51 am

Game Changer 2.1.11: Sweet Emotion

Blake Griffin has help low to topple the Bucks, Jerryd Bayless hates the rim, and the Grizzlies out-work the Magic in today's Game Changer. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.  


Lost in the fact that Blake Griffin is a horrifyingly talented individual who's dunks are like emotional artillery pounding the opponent into oblivion is a very quiet development that has contributed mightily to the Clippers' recent surge, and it was in full display in the Clips' win over the Bucks. Against a tough, physical, defensive team with a wealth of size down low, the Clippers over-ran the Bucks with a frontcourt that poured in 48 points, 18 rebounds, and 5 blocked shots. Griffin of course carried the load with 32-11, but the progression of DeAndre Jordan is significant on multiple levels. 

Jordan has developed from a raw, athletic, skinny rail of a kid in his rookie season to a hulking beast of a man at 6-11, 265 lbs. But more importantly, he's improved in the areas so many of those high-upside athletic big men never do, in basketball IQ. His positioning is better. He screens better. He runs the pick and roll better. He's more fluid, and he plays off his teammates and his effort is there. Those kinds of improvements can't be measured in the boxscore, but we're starting to see it from him night in and night out. Put that beside Blake Griffin and you have a combination that just overwhelms an opponent with size and explosiveness. Like Jon Brockman found out last night. 

Welcome to the jungle, Brockman, we've got DeAndre. 

Jordan was 7-8 from the line, his only miss coming on a tip that rolled in and out. The very model of efficiency, helping hold Andrew Bogut to 14 points. With Randy Foye stepping up, Eric Bledsoe contributing, and Blake Griffin being Blake Griffin, the Clippers look more like a complete team than they have since the 2006 playoff season.  And this without Eric Gordon!  After a terrible start to the year, Vinny Del Negro is figuring some things out in Clipperland. The Clippers have now won nine straight at home. 


Blake Griffin: 32 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists


Dwyane Wade: 34 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists


The Orlando Magic hit their first 12 of 14 shots against the Memphis Grizzlies. After that dazzling display, they apparently thought it would be that easy the whole game. Just hoist up shots from wherever, whenever, get buckets, go home. Unfortunately, their shooting returned to Earth orbit while their defense headed for the bar.  The Grizzlies, on the other hand, continuously worked for a quality shot.  The Grizz have not been a team with coherent, smooth ball movement this season, but they were rotating the ball expertly against the Magic, and wound up with open looks and inside layups off blown Magic coverage. Mike Conley was brilliant with a 26 point, 11 assist performance, and clinched the game with a strip of Ryan Anderson off an offensive rebound, just minutes after missing a free throw to open the door to a Magic tying three. 

The Magic simply did not want to work past the first quarter.  What's stunning from this one is that the Magic had every advantage for most of the game, even in the 2nd and 3rd quarters when they were outscored by nearly 20 points. Zach Randolph was flustered by the Magic's swarming help defense, most notably from Dwight Howard, and shot just 4-11. When Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay combine for just 23 points on 9-26 shooting, and O.J. Mayo is suspended? You have to win that game. Instead, the Magic surrendered wide open mid-range shots to Darrel Arthur, having not gotten the book that says Arthur has developed an increasingly reliable mid-range game, and when he's hot, he's 5-8 hot.  The Magic did not want to effort to exploit advantages. 

An example: Dwight Howard was guarded by Hasheem Thabeet for much of the game. Hasheem Thabeet! And yet instead the Magic chose to make perimeter swing pass after perimeter swing pass to try and bust the Grizzlies' zone. It was like turning down a sledgehammer to instead try and bust a rock with a scalpel. 

Stan Van Gundy was apoplectic after the game, both about his team's defense, and a late game technical for Dwight Howard that helped extend the Grizzlies' lead to 3. Howard may not have done much to earn that tech, but he had been furious with the officials since Thabeet drew a charge on him late on an obvious call.  Once again, Howard lost his cool, the system lost its way, and Orlando lost another game.  Big win for the Grizzlies, who are now one game over .500 and within striking distance of the 8th seed in the West. 



Josh McRoberts: "Whoa, bro."

Final Thoughts:

  • The Jazz needing a late surge to hold off the Bobcats who shot 35% from the field is almost as good as a loss. Even in a win the Jazz are still completely in shambles. 
  • The Cavaliers actually competed really well against the Heat, putting some pressure on them at times and continually coming at them. It would have been very easy to lay down and die, but the Cavs at least competed as professionals. I mean, it didn't matter, since it's the Cavaliers versus the Heat, but still. 
  • John Wall is starting to regain some of his preseason form. 17 and 10 last night for Wall in a loss to the Mavericks, because they were on the road and they couldn't beat a drum on the road. 
  • If I'm Bryan Colangelo, I'm looking for anyone to take Andrea Bargnani off my hands. It's not just his non-existent interior play, it's that he's the kind of player that fans have an easy time blaming in seasons like the Raps are having. Better to make him the scape goat and cash in on whatever you can for him. Easier said than done with big years and big money left on his contract. 
Posted on: January 14, 2011 1:28 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2011 1:31 pm

The Game Changer: Heat bomb without LeBron James

LeBron James and the Miami Heat finally lose, Elvis Night in Detroit, Blake Griffin throws down a double-pump dunk past Dwyane Wade, and the San Antonio Spurs run a gorgeous play for a big basket. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer. 


LeBron James was out with a sprained ankle. It was the second night of a back-to-back. The team plane landed in the wee hours of the morning. The game was played at high altitude. 

There are a litany of excuses, and reasons, that the Miami Heat got clobbered by the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night on national television, 130-102, but, in the aftermath, James' absence will serve as the lightning rod.  

Without their leading scorer and best play-maker, the Heat looked listless, settled for bad shots, couldn't really guard anybody, played deeper into their bench than they usually do, and generally didn't get up for the moment. What's more, the other two parts of the Big 3, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, were -25 and -26 respectively, combining for just 40 points when 75 or so was needed. 

James' absence and the promise of his return makes this loss a lot easier to take for the Heat and their fans, although it's got to be a touch disconcerting for James, who came to Miami with the idea he was seeking out teammates who could meaningfully help him shoulder the load. But it's not panic time, by any means, as James surely understands that a Big 3 makes for a contender and any Big 2, no matter how big, is only good enough to be a pretender in the top-heavy NBA.

As for Heat coach Eric Spoelstra? Well, he doesn't appear to be taking the loss very well.



Russell Westbrook: 32 points, 10 rebounds, 13 assists, one steal and two blocks in 42 minutes in an Oklahoma City Thunder home win over the Orlando Magic.

Kevin Love: 35 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists in 41 minutes in a Minnesota Timberwolves home win over the Washington Wizards.

Dwight Howard: 39 points, 18 rebounds, two blocks in 43 minutes in an Orlando Magic road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.



This is a pretty breathtaking ensemble from LeBron James: winter coat, dress pants, dress shoe and Nike flip flop, necessitated by his sprained ankle, of course. It's likely this is the first time in the history of the universe that someone has ever worn this outfit.


I'm not sure if Minnesota Timberwolves center Darko Milicic is a future All-Star, but he did manage to tip a jump ball into the wrong hoop, scoring two points for the opposition. Insane and so unlucky. Unfortunately, in typical Darko fashion, this weird news becomes the headline on a night when he put up 14 points and 11 rebounds. 


A great quote from Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy, on Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant after he went off for 36 points on 17 shots last night. "What haunts me are guys like Kevin Durant,” Van Gundy said. “So, I would say this building is haunted because of guys like him, as are most of the buildings in the NBA. I haven’t run into a haunted hotel, just haunted arenas.” Via DailyThunder.com.
Posted on: January 6, 2011 7:43 pm

SVG thinks Hakeem gets too much credit for Howard

Dwight Howard has an improved jumper which Stan Van Gundy says is more due to Patrick Ewing than Hakeem Olajuwon.
Posted by Matt Moore

When Dwight Howard revealed he was training with Hakeem Olajuwon this summer, the general reaction from NBA media types was "Finally!" Finally Howard would get the offensive training he has so sorely missed in his career. There was even video of The Dream teaching Howard moves like the spin-to-the-middle fadeaway jumper. And when Howard displayed an actual real-life jumper this season, great celebration was given for Howard being willing to work with the great Hakeem Olajuwon and get the instruction he needed. 

Well, Stan Van Gundy isn't so cool with that perception. 

Van Gundy Wednesday made the following comments to NBA FanHouse: 

Van Gundy was asked after the game about the improvement in the offensive game of center Dwight Howard, and his expanded shot selection this season. The question just referenced Howard's workout session this summer in Houston with Olajuwon, the former basketball great.

"This isn't a knock on anybody, but Hakeem has gotten more credit for two hours than anyone I've ever seen,'' Van Gundy said with very little prompting. "I mean, they were in a gym for two hours, three hours, and all of a sudden every shot Dwight makes is because of Hakeem.''

Stan Van Gundy Howard has given some of the credit to Olajuwon for giving him the confidence to expand his game. He also has worked closely for the past four years with Magic assistant coach Patrick Ewing, another Hall of Fame center. Van Gundy believes that Ewing's role in Howard's development is overlooked sometimes.

"There is not anybody alive who's turning somebody's game around in three hours,'' Van Gundy said. "Dwight has done a lot of work, and I'm sure Hakeem gave him some advice, but that's just starting to annoy me.''

via Stan Van Gundy Dishes Out Digs on Heat, Hakeem Olajuwon -- NBA FanHouse.

Ewing has been under fire for the lack of Howard's development for years, and people were quick to attribute his improvement to Olajuwon.  That's probably in part because of the historic perspective of Olajuwon versus Ewing when they played, particularly the '94 Finals when the Dream worked Ewing over on his way to a championship.  But of course that has nothing to do with either's ability as a coach or trainer, and as Ewing is a head coach candidate on a Finals-contending team (kind of), it's probably right to be reasonable about how much Hakeem really contributed to Howard's improvement. 

And then there are the numbers themselves.  Howard has improved inside ten feet, from 44% to 50%, thanks to that improved jumper. And that's what's important. But it should be noted that his numbers at the rim, from 10-15 feet and from 16-23 feet are all worse than last season. Worse still, Howard is shooting a career low from the free throw line. Something in his mechanics which Ewing works with has to impact that.

The answer to all of this is that Howard seems like he's made significant improvements, scoring a career high (although only .7 points better per 40 minutes better than his previous career mark of 23.1 in 2009. But digging deeper, we're still left wanting, which begs the question of what exactly we're throwing around credit for in the first place. 
Posted on: January 6, 2011 12:32 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 12:33 pm

Magic coach Stan Van Gundy clowns 'Heatles'

Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy takes some digs at the Miami Heat's new "Heatles" nickname. Posted by Ben Golliver. 

Last week, LeBron James let the world know that his Miami Heat team is so awesome and popular that they belong in the same sentence as the biggest band of all time. That's right, James took to calling his team the "Heatles," a play off the hysteria-inducing popularity of the Beatles, because they are able to sell out every venue, even in small-markets that aren't particularly keen on paying to attend professional basketball games.

Informed of the new moniker by the Orlando Sentinel, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy took a few digs at the nickname.
"They're pretty impressed with themselves," Van Gundy said Wednesday. "Maybe some places that's what turns out. I know here it's not. We're selling out no matter who we play, so we don't need to bring them in to get people in our arena. But other places that may the case."
Van Gundy later added: "I'm not disputing that there are some places in the league where they don't draw well and they only come out to see the [ Los Angeles] Lakers and the Heat and things like that. That may be true in some places, but it's not true here. They're not raising our attendance."
Van Gundy hasn't always handled himself perfectly in the media this year, as his outburst over some comments Phil Jackson made him sound whiny and petulant. Here, though, Van Gundy plays beautifully on the Heatles' big flaw: the Heat haven't always sold out their home games, and their fans don't always show up. 

In the process of making his point that the Magic take care of their business in that regard, Van Gundy is elevating Magic fans above the average, indirectly drawing a divide between "real basketball fans" and "casual fans who show up for the scene." Any time a head coach can clown the Miami Heat and pay tribute to the loyalty and consistency of his own fans in one sentence, that's an opportunity that can't be missed.
Posted on: January 3, 2011 10:27 pm

Brandon Bass will not have surgery

Magic forward Brandon Bass will not undergo surgery... yet. 
Posted by Matt Moore

The Magic got some good news, or rather, didn't get bad news Monday as doctors have been unable to conclude that Brandon Bass has a torn meniscus and have not recommended surgery. They're going to go with rest and Bass played 25 minutes Monday night. From the Orlando Sentinel

Coach Stan Van Gundy said team physician Craig Mintzer and another doctor have reviewed the scans of Bass’ knee, and the doctors aren’t convinced that the burly power forward has a torn meniscus. So, for the time being, the team will attempt to treat the discomfort in Bass’ knee without surgery.
via Brandon Bass participates in Monday’s shootaround – Orlando Magic BasketBlog – Orlando Sentinel.

Bass has been enjoying a career year in points, rebounds, and shooting this season, and having a traditional post-oriented four who can hit the midrange has been very successful next to Dwight Howard. Having a player who can also produce some points down low when Howard takes a seat with his usual foul trouble is nothing to sneeze at, either. 

The issue is that Bass obviously does have an issue and has been dealing with it for a while. That he's trying to tough through it is commendable, but it's also problematic that the doctors don't know for sure what's wrong with it and that he's still playing on it. 

But in the short term, it's definitely good news for the Magic. 
Posted on: January 1, 2011 5:43 pm
Edited on: January 1, 2011 5:48 pm

Lakers' Phil Jackson hints this is last season

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson says this will be his last season on the bench. Posted by Ben Golliver. phil-jackson

Judging by his public stances so far this season, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson has his foot out the door, heading for retirement after the season's conclusion.

Already this season, Jackson has questioned Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra's future, speculated about why Pat Riley stepped in for former Heat coach Stan Van Gundy, didn't get behind Rudy Tomjanovich's Hall of Fame candidacy, argued that the NBA shouldn't play on Christmas and said the NBA shouldn't have taken over ownership control of the New Orleans Hornets. What a list!

The Los Angeles Times reports that all those shots at the league and his colleagues come as Jackson eyes the end of his coaching career.
Jackson was asked again if he could see himself taking some time off and coming back to coach. "No," Jackson responded quickly.
Why not? he was asked. "I think I've put in my service time," Jackson, 65, said. "I think I've done my due diligence that I set out to do, especially with this organization."

Jackson said he has "coached about as long as I want to coach."
Jackson previously left the bench for the 2004-2005 season, but returned to coach the Lakers to back-to-back titles the last two seasons. With 11 rings as a coach, and a surly attitude throughout this season, Jackson has every reason to call it a career and exit stage left.

The Times notes that long-time Lakers assistant Brian Shaw is expected to take over as head coach should Jackson depart after this season.
Posted on: December 27, 2010 8:27 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:52 pm

Gilbert Arenas hits buzzer beater off shot clock

Orlando Magic guard Gilbert Arenas hit a three-quarter court buzzer beater off the rim, off the shot clock and in to beat the halftime buzzer, but it didn't count. Posted by Ben Golliver

Roughly one week after joining the Orlando Magic via trade from the Washington Wizards, guard Gilbert Arenas likely just hit the team's shot of the year. Given the fluky circumstances and the degree of difficulty, Arenas's halftime buzzer beater against the New Jersey Nets on Monday night could be the NBA's shot of the year, but unfortunately it didn't count. The Magic inbounded the ball to Arenas with roughly one second left on the clock, and Arenas, standing roughly 80 feet from the hoop, flipped a shot with both hands from his waist.  The halftime buzzer sounded as the ball was in the air, and his attempt clanked off the front rim and bounced high in the air, its momentum carrying it towards the shot clock. The ball then bounced once cleanly off the shot clock, and dropped through the basket, causing the net to swish perfectly. The crowd reacted in awe, and Arenas and his Magic team celebrated, but it was all for naught. The game officials correctly ruled that the ball was out of bounds as soon as it hit the shot clock. This nullified the three-point basket and, since the buzzer had already sounded, ended the half. Arenas and teammate Hedo Turkoglu protested the call briefly, but Magic coach Stan Van Gundy intervened, shooing his players into the visitor's locker room. Here's the video of the remarkable shot.

Arenas' heave was straight out of the famous McDonalds commercial from the 1990s starring Larry Bird and Michael Jordan.  
Posted on: November 24, 2010 1:59 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:04 pm

Spoelstra tries to laugh off Jackson's comments

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra tries to laugh off comments made by Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson about Spoelstra's job security. Posted by Ben Golliver  erik-spoelstra  There's no easy way to respond when Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson, aka the Zenmaster, gets his hooks into you publicly.  On Wednesday, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelsta did his best to laugh off Jackson's comments, made Tuesday, which questioned Spoelstra future in Miami and brought up the possibility of Miami Heat president Pat Riley taking over for him, as Riley did during the 2006 season, replacing then-Heat coach and current Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. The Palm Beach Post reports that Spoelstra said his assistant coaches kidded him about the comments and that they "got a good chuckle out of it." Spoelstra told the paper he understands that he is the subject of talk from a lot of people, including Jackson, but that he isn't one of the NBA coaches who closely monitors what is said about him.
“I don’t have time,” Spoelstra said, laughing. “I mean, if I had time, I would do that. No, I mean, there’s so much stuff that’s out there, I don’t know how anyone can keep up with anything. And ultimately, that would be a distraction to me. I’m able to focus on my job, this group, and our process of getting better. That takes up a large part of my day. The rest of my day I want to spend not even thinking about our team.”
As for whether he would step out of the way to make room for Pat Riley, as former Miami Heat coach and current Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy did in 2006, Spoelstra had a one-liner ready.
“First of all, I’m single, OK, so I don’t think I’ll be taking a leave from my team to spend time with my family.”
Funny stuff, very self-aware and self-deprecating.  You gotta love it, given the circumstances. Of course, the joke will be on Spoelstra if he can't turn this thing around, as Miami continues to struggle to open the year. The Heat have a record of 8-6 and a date with the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.  Earlier Wednesday, Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy called Jackson's comments "inappropriate" and "ignorant."
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