Tag:Jameer Nelson
Posted on: March 29, 2011 12:41 am
Edited on: March 29, 2011 12:51 am
 

Magic defense wilts against Melo assault

The Magic fail to bring the defense agains the Knicks and wind up 18-19 against playoff teams this season. 
Posted by Matt Moore




The Orlando Magic are now 18-19 this season against (current) playoff teams this season after their 113-106 loss to the Knicks Monday night. Granted, the Magic were without Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick from the start and lost Chris Duhon to a jammed thumb during, but the result is the same. The Magic already won the season series with the Knicks, but now, just when they're trying to get momentum headed into the playoffs, they surrender this loss. 

There will be talk of Dwight Howard's phantom sixth foul, of Carmelo Anthony initiating a trip of Jason Richardson that was responded with a trip on Melo by J-Rich that was the only one called. There will be talk of the injuries and a lot of random buckets that fell, but in the end, it was the Magic's usually stout defense that failed to get the job done. 

Knicks edge Magic
The biggest red flag is Carmelo Anthony's superb performance. It's one thing to allow Carmelo Anthony 39 points. It's another to allow it on 26 shots and giving 17 free throws. Some shots, like the late-game pull-up buzzer beater in which Hedo Turkoglu was doing everything but throwing a steel net Melo, you just have to live with. But too often the Magic did a poor job of denying the entry pass, brought the double too late and at bad angles. Throw in the result of having to bring pre-emptive doubles and at times, triples, at Anthony, which were open floaters and threes for Toney Douglas, and you've got an overtime loss. 

The Knicks' defensive effort really focused around turnovers. They turned over the Magic on 21% of their possessions, and held them to 43% shooting. For the Knicks, that's a Celtics-like performance. In particular, the Knicks' perimeter defense stepped up, a big reason why Chauncey Billups was +4 for the game. Keeping the perimeter attack in check, with good rotations, communications, and contests? Basically the Knicks did everything they haven't done in their woeful recent performances. Whether it was just an off night for the Magic, or as Jason Richardson said post-game, the Knicks were "starved" for a win, it's a game to build on for New York. 

This was a must-win for the Knicks, and a game where the Magic just wanted to get through as they try and get healthy. But with the Magic taking 32 3-pointers, hitting just 11, it's a sign that this team isn't close to the roster make-up, nor the momentum of the '09 team. There's a five game gap between Orlando and Atlanta.

The difference feels much closer. 
Posted on: March 2, 2011 12:42 am
Edited on: March 2, 2011 12:45 am
 

Magic 4th quarter shows Knicks a work in progress

Orlando zooms past the Knicks in evidence New York has a long way to go, just days after a huge win over the Heat
Posted by Matt Moore

So much good, and so much bad. That's the story so far of the Knicks four games into the Melo era. Meanwhile the Magic showed just enough good to be able to slip past the Knicks 116-110. 

Orlando was having one of those nights until the fourth quarter. They burst open the lid of three-pointers, went on a tear of a run, made big plays, grabbed big rebounds and won the game. That we'll focus on New York here should not serve to discredit what is a tremendous win for the Magic. Dwight Howard got going early and often to give them a first quarter lead and keep them within striking distance, and once their three-point shooting worked itself out and Chauncey Billups ran out of steam to cover Jameer Nelson, it was over. The Magic lagged behind all night, then blazed past like a complete team, leaving the Knicks in the dust. 

It's early, still. Very early. We're four games into the new Knicks era, and they're now 2-2. But they're not 2-2 the way we thought they might be.  They're the offensive team we thought they might be, but not the way we thought they might be. And they're the poor defensive team we thought they might be, but not the way we thought they might be. 

Offensively, they're both further along than we thought and still very rudimentary. The dynamic between Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire is much better than anticipated. We assumed that would be the big issue in the beginning, but instead, they're working well together. In particular, they're running a lot of pinch-post work deep on the wing, forcing teams to either double Stoudemire on the face-up jumper or drive, or double Melo on the give-go-and-get wing jumper. It creates significant issues, and illustrates how good they can be together, and are, already. At the same time, surprisingly, the big problems are with the stars in ISO. Carmelo Anthony is a terrific ISO player, and he's been just terrible. The shots aren't falling and he's got way too quick of a trigger considering the players he's playing with (and I don't mean Anthony Carter or Shawne Williams). The Knicks have a great ability to create open looks and opportunities in Mike D'Antoni's system, and Melo seems bent on still getting his. Pretty easy evidence of that with 25 points on 24 field goal attempts.

Stoudemire was in great form tonight. There's going to be an avalanche of discussion about his two rebounds.This against the second best rebounder in the league, an MVP candidate and likely the Defensive Player of the Year, again. This trying to guard perimeter fours, recover to help inside, then close back out on the stretch fours. Stoudemire's not a great rebounder, never has been. But this game wasn't evidence of it, it was evidence of Howard's dominance, the Magic's system, and the woeful Knicks frontcourt.

And it was woeful. Shawne Williams, Bill Walker, Ronny Turiaf. That's just not a big-man rotation you can bring into a game with a beast in the middle and expect to win. But they were. Despite Howard ripping them up down low, the Knicks played their game, got out in transition, and most importantly, ran off the threes. Then, they simply ran out of gas. Versus the game against the Heat, where they played tougher, smarter, slicker, the Knicks wore down against the Magic and watched them roll right past. 

The Knicks have now beaten the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat, and lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic. That's pretty substantial proof that we don't know anything about this team yet. But what we do know can be summarized.

  • Anthony and Stoudemire do mesh, but they actualy need to interact more versus getting out of one another's way. 
  • Their defense can be surprisingly good for stretches, but when it comes apart, it comes apart like it got ripped in half.
  • Thank God for Jared Jeffries and Derrick Brown, because the back end of this bench is a nightmare. 
  • Anthony doesn't have to reverse his trends regarding advanced metrics, but offensively, if he doesn't become more efficient, the Knicks are simply leaving too much on the table on each possession. 
  • The Knicks can likely match up with several teams they might run into in the playoffs. It's just unlikely they'll win the series.
  • It's still early.

For more on this game, check out Royce Young's GameChanger, featuring more on Dwight Howard and the Spurs struggling without Tony Parker.
Posted on: February 7, 2011 12:24 pm
 

Dwight Howard is already setting up an escape

Dwight Howard has started making a list of cities to bolt to even as he says he wants to win a championship in Orlando. But doesn't some of that burden fall on him?
Posted by Matt Moore

The worst part of all this is that Dwight Howard won't come out and say it. He's pulling the whole routine. From saying how much he loves the fans, to saying he "just" wants to win a championship, to leaking to the press through people close to him that he wants to go to a big market, he's following the plan, the blueprint, the design.

The LeBron James "Set Up Your Escape" plan. Copyright 2010. 

From Ken Berger, CBSSports.com: 

Howard evidently is willing to be patient. A free agent in 2012 along with the Hornets' Chris Paul, Howard has yet to form a strong opinion one way or the other, according to a person with knowledge of his thinking. Stay or go? To paraphrase LeBron, what should he do? If he does leave, Howard has his eyes on two teams -- the Lakers and Knicks -- as the big-market destinations where he'll chase down his championships and marketing opportunities if things don't work out in the Sunshine State. The Nets, who are supposed to be in Brooklyn by then, also are in the mix, the person said.
via Magic's troubling questions surround futures of Howard, Arenas - NBA - CBSSports.com Basketball.


You've seen this before, right? With Shaquille O'Neal, obviously, in the same city, leaving for one of those cities on Howard's list, then winning championships while yet another small market team is made out to be the farm system. (But really, revenue sharing and parity isn't a problem in this league!) You've seen this before with LeBron James, never saying he was going to leave, saying he loved the fans, and that he just wants to win a championship. 

And that's the big one, right there. Because somewhere along the way, that's become our excuse. It predates even Kevin Garnett, but he's the most recent example. Any sort of franchise-crippling behavior and hostage-holding endeavors are excused in the pursuit of "winning a championship." The problem? This talk of winning a title always seems to come without any responsibility for the player. It's always about the GM, the coach, the organization doing more for the free-agent-to-be. 

Dwight Howard's not saying, "I want to win a championship, so I'm going to stop leaving 4.8 points per game on the floor with my free-throw shooting." He's not saying, "I want to win a championship, so I'm going to work on my footwork beyond a three-day session with Hakeem Olajuwon and become a truly dominant offensive center." He's not saying, "I want a championship, so I'm going to lead my guys to one." Instead he's laughing, making commercials, ratcheting up technical fouls as he spirals towards a suspension, and setting up the blame to be elsewhere. 

We're supposed to believe that if the Magic fail to win a title, it's due to a lack of endeavor or ingenuity on Otis Smith's part. But what has Smith done in Orlando? He's provided Howard with a crack stretch four with perimeter range and a versatile combo-forward who could run the pick and roll. When those options overstayed their usefulness, he jettisoned them, with no regard for their contribution to the franchise, because he was doing everything in his power to secure a championship-caliber team for Howard. He brought in Vince Carter, former All-Star. He helped develop Jameer Nelson as a sub-All-Star caliber point guard. He brought in Brandon Bass for a true power forward. He found a steal in young Ryan Anderson. He flipped Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis for a range of talent, including the player Howard had found the most success in the pick and roll with, Hedo Turkoglu, and a top perimeter player in Jason Richardson. Gilbert Arenas was icing on the cake, for crying out loud. 

And we're supposed to believe that Orlando hasn't done enough? Sure Howard had a dominant first half. But then he vanished against the Celtics. The Magic keep trying to find different perimeter concoctions to overtake the Celtics, but in reality? The best way to beat the Celtics is to bash their head in with the most powerful center in the game.  The same center who still, even in an MVP-worthy season, has trouble establishing position, and often follows the same footwork time and time again, leading to blocks, turnovers, and frustration. Howard never adapts to how the Celtics defend him, instead he wonders why the rest of the Magic can't hit a shot. 

This isn't to say Howard isn't an elite player. He is, by any possible measure. He's having an MVP-type season. But he's already starting to formulate an escape plan to get him out of Orlando without sacrificing his public image. He's making the failures out to be everyone's but his own. He'll wind up in a big market that can lure top free agents or trade prospects and he'll simply overwhelm others with talent, as we've seen the Lakers and Celtics do over the past four seasons.  And then he'll be lauded as the greatest, even if he doesn't improve a bit. 

If Howard wants to play in a bigger market to expand his commercial potential, fine. He's a businessman, he's got to take care of his own. If he wants to play somewhere he'll amazingly get more attention than he already does, have bigger parties, or more celebrity opportunities, that's his right. As a free agent, you get to decide where you work. But don't pretend that everything is done in the pursuit of a championship. A championship is more than just an overwhelming amount of talent. It's about sacrifice, devotion, and a commitment to being the absolute best part of your team you can be. 

If Dwight Howard really wants to win a championship, if he truly wants to be great, he needs to take responsibility for that endeavor, and not hold a franchise hostage, forced into panic over the prospect of losing him. 

But then, that's no longer the model.
Posted on: January 26, 2011 1:46 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2011 6:58 pm
 

Magic release Jason Williams after he no-shows

Orlando Magic point guard Jason Williams deserted his team and has been released. Posted by Ben Golliver. jason-williams

Update (6:56 PM): So much for taking the patient approach. The Orlando Magic announced Wednesday afternoon that they had released Williams.

------------------------
There are many ways that the NBA is unlike your job, but there is one crucial similarity: showing up matters.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Magic point guard Jason Williams has apparently not clocked in and not informed his bosses why he hasn't clocked in, and that's a big no-no even in the world of professional basketball. The Magic are currently on a road trip and Williams is not in attendance, leaving president Otis Smith a bit peeved.
"Well, he's not with the team. We'll deal with him when we get back to Orlando."
Asked if Williams has asked for his release, Smith said, "Not so much in those terms. You say his 'release,' we're not into giving guys their release. He signed a contract to play basketball for the Orlando Magic, and we're expecting him to uphold his end of that deal."

Asked if Williams is balking at his limited playing time or is facing a personal issue, Smith said, "From what I gather, he's facing more of a personal issue. I don't know if he wants more playing time. That was talked to him about before we signed him. When we signed him, we signed him as a third point guard. That didn't necessarily change."
Williams has barely played this season, and was further squeezed out of any chance at truly cracking the rotation when Smith traded for Gilbert Arenas. Barring another franchise-altering trade, Williams doesn't figure to see the court any time soon, given that he's behind starter Jameer Nelson, solid backup Chris Duhon and Arenas, unless there's a major injury (really, a series of injuries).

While his disappearing act is disappointing, his unhappiness is no great surprise as Williams mentioned earlier this season that he was considering leaving the game due to ongoing foot problems. 

So far, Smith has played a sticky situation spot on: Defuse the initial news, express his unhappiness with Williams' lack of professionalism and realize that he holds all the cards. Releasing Williams would be detrimental to Orlando's depth chart and a contender can't make a habit of doing professional favors for its scrubs in the thick of a hotly-contested playoff chase. 

The most important thing to result from the situation is to establish a clear conduct standard for the rest of the players. Williams has always been a bit of a loose cannon; he's not worth compromising your culture in any way from a basketball or locker room standpoint. Barring a remarkable explanation regarding the health/well-being of a close family member, a fine and possible short-term suspension without pay is in order. 

If Williams is truly ready to give up on his career, then there's not much Smith can do to prevent that. He will almost certainly regret a decision to leave the game come playoff time, and hopefully someone close to him is whispering that in Williams' ear right now, wherever he might be.
Posted on: January 14, 2011 9:19 am
 

Shootaround 1.14.11: Worries abound

The Bulls miss Noah on offense, beards abound, J.O. may need surgery, and the Hornets need a big uptick in fans, still. All this and more in today's Shootaround. 
Posted by Matt Moore


You know why the Bulls miss Joakim Noah? Because their offense is struggling. Noah goes out and their offense falls off. How weird is that?

The best beards from NBA D-League's Showcase

Darko Milicic won the opening tip last night. A bit too much. He ended up scoring on his own goal with it. Whoops. The Wolves won and Darko was big down the stretch. But can you imagine if the Wolves had lost by two points?

George Karl thinks the Carmelo Anthony trade could fall through. If Ujiri's previous actions have been any indication, though, Karl will be the last to know. 

In case you missed it, Ben Golliver broke down the most efficient scorers in the NBA. It's well worth a read. 

Jermaine O'Neal may not be able to avoid having surgery on an ailing knee. 

Speaking of injured Celtics bigs, Danny Ainge is surprised Boston's bigs started missing games with injuries this soon. And he should be. After all, they're only 7,000 years old. 

Orlando Pinstriped Post asks what more Magic fans want from Jameer Nelson.

One of what will be many looks at Rondo versus Rose for the next three years.

The Hornets still need to average 14, 915 fans in attendance over the next five games to avoid the elimination of the buyout penalty for their arena. Their attendance on Wednesday? 13, 688. 
Posted on: December 28, 2010 7:37 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:52 pm
 

Video: Jamison bumps knees, writhes in pain

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Antawn Jamison bumped knees with Orlando Magic point guard Jameer Nelson, and it caused him to writhe in pain. Posted by Ben Golliver Scary scene in Cleveland on Tuesday night, and for once it didn't involve Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert over-using Comic Sans. During the first quarter of Tuesday night's game between the Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic, Cleveland forward Antawn Jamison showed on a high screen and roll against Orlando Magic point guard Jameer Nelson. Nelson drove through Jamison's body, and the two players bumped their respective right knees pretty hard.  While Nelson hopped right up, Jamison's reaction was horrific, as he appeared to be auditioning for membership in the Vince Carter / Tracy McGrady family tree, writhing around in pain for nearly a minute before Cavaliers trainers were able to attend to him.  We can joke about this incident because the Cavaliers said shortly after the incident that Jamison simply suffered a "knee contusion" and he returned to the game later in the first quarter.
Posted on: December 25, 2010 6:52 pm
Edited on: December 25, 2010 8:00 pm
 

Hedo and Bass help Magic rally over Celtics

Brandon Bass and Hedo Turkoglu help Magic come from behind to beat Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and the Celtics.
Posted by Matt Moore


The Celtics are probably sitting in their locker room with a stunned look on their faces, asking "What just happened ?" 

The answer? Brandon Bass, believe it or not. 

The Magic offense stalled the entire day, looking out of sync and generally being run over by Boston's physical toughness, Brandon Bass delivered in a huge way. He provided a stretch 4 that could also work to get shots in the paint, something missing from previous Orlando-Boston matchups and finished with 21 points on 8-15 shooting and nine rebounds. His mid-range jumper with 2:02 remaining tied the game. Then the wackiness started. 

Paul Pierce airballed a turnaround jumper after being automatic the entire game. Jameer Nelson, who had been terrible the entire game and finished 3-9, nailed a three, J.J. Redick popped a mid-range jumper and the Magic wouldn't look back. In the midst of this, Kevin Garnett would miss a key free throw. Because that happens a lot. 

The Magic prevailed despite Dwight Howard being in foul trouble, and Gilbert Arenas and Jason Richardson combining for 4-17 from the field. It was a dreadful game for both players, Arenas seemingly bothered by knee trouble and having issues with his handle, and Richardson unable to land his spot-up threes weren't just non-contributors, they were liabilities. But the newly acquired Magic did have one guy who showed up to play, and he brings just one word. 

"Ball." 

Hedo Turkoglu's stats weren't out of this world, until you consider his role. Turkoglu finished with 16 points, four rebounds, four assists, one block, and no turnovers. Turkoglu threaded passes to Dwight Howard (the only guy who seemed committed to getting the big guy involved), hit  big threes, and most importantly, played terrific defense, as he helped on doubles to keep Pierce off the elbow jumper, and closing off passing lanes. Turkoglu may have been the best overall player on the floor for the Magic today behind Bass. If you expected that coming in, you get a cookie. 

The Celtics have to wonder how they let this one get away, with Dwight Howard, Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, and Jameer Nelson having bad games and Kevin Garnett playing at an MVP level today. Rajon Rondo being gone is a huge caveat, and it's December, not May. But this is a loss that may bother the Celtics until the two teams meet again.
Posted on: December 18, 2010 6:04 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2010 1:05 am
 

What do the new Magic rotations look like?

A look at the Orlando Magic after their trade for Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson. Posted by Matt Moore

Well.

That got out of hand, fast.

The Orlando Magic completely turned around their rotation today with the addition of Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas (sorry Earl Clark). But on a team with this many options, how are these rotations going to work out? Let's take a look. First, where are they at with each position? There's no way of knowing how SVG will formulate his starting lineup, so they're considered liquid.

Point guard

Starter: Jameer Nelson
Reserves: Gilbert Arenas (combo-guard), Chris Duhon, J.J. Redick (in a pinch, combo-guard), Jason Williams

Nelson has played at a near All-Star level the past three seasons. With Carter off the grid, Nelson could benefit. Arenas can play shooting guard, but in reality, he plays with the ball in his hands. He deferred to John Wall in Washington, but it didn't work well. As a back-up point guard, he's going to dramatically improve the Magic's scoring potential in the bench unit.

Shooting guard

Starter: Jason Richardson/Gilbert Arenas/Quentin Richardson
Reserves: Jason Richardson/Gilbert Arenas/Quentin Richardson, J.J. Redick

Redick may be a trade asset now. J-Rich can play the three, but he's really a shooting guard. Arenas can play the two, but is really a point guard. Quentin Richardson is just a wing. Redick provides great insurance for the two-spot, but that's a pricy policy.

Small forward

Starter: Jason Richardson/Hedo Turkoglu/Quentin Richardson
Reserves: Jason Richardson, Quentin Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu

Hedo can play the four, but he'll likely spend some time at small forward. Quentin Richardson may actually wind up the starter here with J-Rich at the shooting guard and Brandon Bass or Turkoglu at the four. The Magic are pretty short at the three after this move, with Pietrus gone.

Power forward

Starter: Brandon Bass/Hedo Turkoglu
Reserves: Brandon Bass/Hedo Turkoglu, Ryan Anderson, Malik Allen

Anderson hasn't been as good as he needed to be this season to make a leap, while Bass has been better than expected. It's hard to see Turkoglu taking Bass' place, but given his familarity with the offense, it's conceivable. Meanwhile, Malik Allen has another duty....

Center

Starter: Dwight Howard
Reserves: Malik Allen, Daniel Orton

That's it. That's all they've got to back up Howard. Which means when Howard sits or gets in foul trouble, the Magic will have to go small. This could wind up as a good thing in the end.

Lineups

Nelson - Richardson - Richardson - Bass - Howard

If we're talking the actual best players available, this has to be it. Quentin Richardson is no star, but he doesn't have to be with the firepower the Magic now pack. It's a more traditional lineup with Bass at power forward, but with Nelson as the primary creator and Richardson geared as the finishing point, it could work.

A reserve unit could look like this:

Arenas - Redick - Turkoglu - Anderson - Bass

It's a strange big-small combo with Turkoglu at the three, but it could work with Arenas as the primary creator and shooters stocking the floor. Unfortunately, they'll get rebounded into oblivion.

Another starting unit option for SVG:

Nelson - Arenas - J. Richardson - Turkoglu - Howard

Arenas as a shooting guard is problematic, but it may be a dual combo-guard set up with Nelson and Arenas both working with the ball. I've never been sold on Turkoglu as a power forward, but he did play minutes in Orlando before. This lineup likely has the best scoring potential, and has Turkoglu as the fourth scoring option. Which is probably for the best.

The lesson here is that SVG has the same depth he had before, but now his frontcourt gets considerably smaller and more shallow. To put it simply: Howard has to stay out of foul trouble.

If Arenas can create and score to his potential and if Turkoglu regains his magic (sorry for the pun) under Van Gundy, Orlando could take a step forward -- that is, back to elite status in the East. Does that make the Magic better than Boston or Miami?

That's a whole other question.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com