The Master Of Panic No More?


Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — When Shaquille O’Neal dubbed Stan Van Gundy the “Master of Panic” there weren’t many people rushing to the defense of the former Heat and current Magic head coach.

You’ve seen his high-pitched sideline tirades, the postgame sessions with the media that require therapeutic translation and the weary expressions of his players after being on the receiving end of one of Van Gundy’s verbal jabs.

The nickname, however harsh, didn’t seem too far-fetched.

But ol’ Shaq could be on the verge of eating some of his own words, or at least he’ll have to dig into his bag of moniker tricks for something new. Because Van Gundy has driven the Magic back into the Eastern Conference finals and has them poised to do something that’s never been done before — to storm back from a 3-0 series deficit to win it.

The “Master of Panic” suddenly seems like he’s masted the pressure that came with his team’s stunning stumble to start this series. Pull this Magic trick off and Van Gundy will render Shaq’s coaching opinions worthless.

It’s still a bit premature to compare Van Gundy to the legends of his profession. They still have to find a way to win Game 6 in Boston to keep this story (and their season) going.

And by no means are we excusing Van Gundy’s thin-skinned reactions to any sort of criticism, constructive or otherwise. His spat with the fellas from ESPN’s Pardon The Interruption is proof that he’s still not cured of his penchant for picking fights where there shouldn’t be any.

As far as the coaching goes, however, Van Gundy’s doing a bang-up job.

The fact that we’re still talking about the Magic, though, is an indication of the sort of resolve that Van Gundy’s team has shown. Those talking points (hard work, determination, etc.) echoed by their entire roster in the wake of that Game 5 triumph came from somewhere.

I’m guessing the “Master of Panic” had something to do with it.



  1. RONDO says:

    Micheal Finley is better than howard too..finley is gonna win the game for the Cs tonite.

    Why is it yr after yr howard still cant hit free throws?? what does he do in the off season? practice swinging his elbows?
    W need to see more rondo saving balls going out by whipping them in Nelsons

  2. kim says:

    i mean team

  3. kim says:

    magic#1 dont get mad the lakers wax your time last year an celebrate on your home court i guess thats why u want the suns but guess what u wont make it to the finals to get the suns.

  4. Dude says:

    lol.. in my opinion.. magic was the better team coming into this series.. but the celtics showed they could play with anyone in beating the cavs.. and also, taking a 3 – 0 series lead against Orlando. I’m not really a Celtics or Orlando fan, but with all thats happened.. and how the magic has responded to their backs against the wall.. I believe they have the momentum on their side.. therefore Orlando in 7 !!

  5. izzii tria says:

    breaks of the game but the defining moment will be game 6…in the end the celtics will be the eastern conference champs and ultimately the 2010 NBA CHAMPIONS.

  6. Jab says:

    The Celtics is just making the series thrilling to would be 4-3 with Celtics shaking the wine

  7. cavsfan says:

    Lets go Magic. Show the Celtics how to play real basketball. Cuz it’s really easy to win if the other teams best player just completely gives up….

  8. Karl says:

    i hope magic can come back and win this series.. i saw the game yesterday and by the looks of it? it was non intentional when howard dropped the elbow on davis, davis was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  9. JLS says:

    The people in this discussion are ridiculous. Dwight Howard is an overrated center – at his size he should be able to overpower anyone, but when isn’t within a foot of the basket he misses. All he has is blocking and rebounding abilities. As for the Magic as a team, they had all the calls last game. If Howard made the same two fouls Perk made in the first half, maybe one of them would have been called, and certainly not for a technical. In game 6, the C’s are going to shut down the Magic’s three point game…and considering thats all they have, they wont win. The Celtics know they are the better team. Its gonna be a smokeshow don’t even bother watching.

    P.S. Garnett is better than Howard any day of the week.

  10. Thatsright says:

    aww man cletics fan pulling the blame card thats what ppl do when they collapse blame everyone they can a few days ago everything was their way now that they are soon to be on the wrong end of history setting a record no team wants they just cant accept it….sounds like a bunch of bandwagoners to me

  11. lonelyshadow says:

    Okay, all the Magic fans out there need to take a deep breath and calm down. Yeah, I believe that the Magic can win this series, and if they remain as focused as they have been over the last two games, then, yes, they will win. But, just remember that while the Celtics may be “old” and “dirty” and whatever else, they beat Cleveland. Sure, Cleveland minus Lebron is a very mediocre team, and that’s really why they lost last year to the Magic. But to blow them out IN CLEVELAND, TWICE, shows a hell of a lot of talent and grit. And while it was stupid of everyone to believe that the Celtics had no chance, that they came back from 2-1 to beat them in six shows just how determined they are to win. The difference here is that the Magic are back, they’re focused, they’re also ready to win. So, yes, the Magic can (and hopefully, will) win this series, but to disregard the strength of the Celtics? It’s ridiculous to assume anything at this point. Game 6, and even Game 7 should it happen, both games could go either way just because of how good both teams are and how determined they are to win.

    And yes, I’m rooting for the Magic. 😀

  12. ota201 says:

    Not gonna lie, used to love celtics, i still like em now i guess. Celtics have better overall team OFF+DEf, but u should take 10% off due to age. Orlando on the other hand, active and live. I mean really, they put Nate Robinson in for like 5minutes.. and u got Rondo, who is 6″1 PG rebounding cause Rasheed Pothead Wallace is circling 3 point line to get open shot. The Big 3 isnt BIG no more, only give props to Ray. Orlando is my favorite team(No im not bandwagon, loved them since 07) and i really got faith in them. The series would of been over if Rashard Lewis didnt have his virus. but anyways, i would like to see my boi Howard vs Stoudamire. P.S. people who dont know NBA and only know about Celtics should please stop being their butt buddies. Honestly, refs were pretty fair besides maybe that Rondo foul.

  13. jameer says:


  14. jameer says:

    Yo guys are talking..blah..blah..blah..sleeping, giant, wasting the energy….BOSTON

  15. Ernesto says:

    Its funny how when celtics were up 3-0 no magic fans were talkin their mouths!! But the Celtics are still gna win the series next game, cause they gna want revenge they gna win it next game

  16. Alexiaa says:

    Im qoinn’ for the M A G I C ` in 7 ..
    (( Lakers vs Maqic ))
    ❤ Lakers.

  17. Laks says:

    Magic will win this easily. Boston seems to have lost the energy they showed in Games 1-3. Advantage Magic…

  18. Mambamvp24 says:

    Absolutely right AI.. but no matter who wins, the lakers will still win it all the way!

  19. MAGIC#1 says:




  20. don says:

    Mark Luche, i think it is SUNS – CeLTICS. go sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed!

  21. Sherkhan says:

    If Magic wins this series, In my opinion, it couldn’t have worked out better for us after losing 3 games in a row. I also think, that the hardest game for us was game 4, which we won in overtime. It was the breakout game for us which brought back our confidence, hope, momentum, and swagger . If we keep playing like that, others don’t stand a chance, as long as we stay healthy……

    We should never put ourselves in these situations, but it seems like (looking back at last post season), Magic play their best as an underdog with their backs against the wall, so if that’s what it takes to win, then why not….plus, If we were tied or dominated this series against the Celts, I would be worried that Magic would not play as hard as they should in the finals, where it counts the most, whether it’s the Lakers or the Suns. I think, finally they got it through their heads that in order to win a championship you can’t take anything for granted and fight till the final bell rings. Lets hope they keep this mentality throughout. Plus, don’t forget, they have a chance to make history and the team realizes that…….

  22. murray says:

    I live in the U.K and I subscribe to ESPN just so I can watch NBA. LOVE watching Orlando Magic, I really hope they can do what has never been done before, I mean by coming back from 3-0 down, they are doing well to make 3-2 cant wait to watch the next game. LETS GO MAGIC

  23. JC44PORTLIFE says:

    sorry to say this, but if you really know basketball and when a team gets embarrased they tend to come back and win the next game (if they are a team thats capable of the win). my predictions for the conference finals Lakers in game 7 (4 -3) and Celtics in game 6 (4 – 2) and BOSTON and LA fans expect for the rival to continue Celts vs. Lakers

  24. cris says:

    if you’ll look into this series, the C has loss their D. D meaning defense. in the first three game of the series, the celtics played a great defense which allow them to have the 3-0 lead. but in the last two games, the celtics suddenly loss their defense. if you’ll look at game 5, you’ll notice that the first 100 point game was scored in this series. no team in the eastern conference finals in this series that score more than 95 points in the first 4 games, but at game 5 the first 100 plus point was scored.
    another D that the celtics lack was the Desire. they haven’t showed the desire to win in the last two games. if this would continue, a history in the making will be realized. remember that no team has come from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series. well with the magic showing intensity and desire to win this could happen.
    will see until tomorrow’s game if the magic could comeback and be the first team in the history of basketball to win when down by 3-0 deficit.
    as for now, your guess will be as good as mine.

  25. Jude Higgins says:

    Accidental or not though, Howard knocked out Davis, and there was no call. Perkins got his second technical while walking away from the ref. You can get a T for walking away??? Dont get me wrong, the magic played great, but where were the 5 to 6 fould that Dwight Howard usually has? The magic proly would’ve won anyways but the refs had a lot to do with it.

  26. omyomnia says:

    Celtics fans Game 5 referees’ calls?? Come on guys, dont compare Howard to anyone of your frontliners. Perkins, Davis, Garnett???
    Thats why Howard is Howard he is the Superman of NBA!

  27. GeorgeLopez says:

    Celtic Fans Shut-Up. You are so bitter just because your team is old and can’t take it when it matters. Paul Pierce is now eating his words. Go home Boston, get on your ventilators and watch the Magic tear up the finals.

  28. A.I. says:

    I can’t believe celtics fans would complain about the refs given how many phantom calls pierce gets

    • Agree says:

      Yeah boston probably gets more calls from the refs then then magic do.

    • trigs says:

      yeah pierce get’s those calls like nobody else in the league (well, he’s probably in the top five).

    • Giraldo says:

      very true! as a matter of fact almost the entire Celtics team likes to complain. pierce acts like a big cry baby if he gets touched when he has the ball but when hes on D he acts like a handcheck is acceptable. theres nobody i dislike more in the NBA then pierce. KG gets all emotional for anything, if he gets a block he jumps in excitement and when he gets manhandled by dwight he throws a tantrum. perkins is exactly the same only hes too heavy to jump so he just claps. sheed is a smack talker. everyone knows it. the reason nobody can get into his head is cuz balding already did. looks like hes missing a patch of carpet. the only player i got respect for is ray allen. MAD respect to him for his shooting ability and his D. looks like he has some young legs since hes been taking it to the rim and even actually dunked! but Finals matchup will be the same as last year. LA vs. Orlando.


      Spot on, he plays the game as if its soccer. See him try to fake ANOTHER injury?

  29. shaun p says:

    Boston woke the beast. Like all boston fans they blame everyone but their teams. Oh by the way orlando lost the first 2 games by 7 points combined so they could easily have won this series in 5 but they were too impatient. But now they know there the better team and are showing it Magic will win. And Dwight quit elbowing the celtics just knee them in their faces so they can get the dirty play like they always give teams. They do have 2 of the dirtiest players in the top 10 of all time in kg and sheed


    it will be magic vs suns into the NBA FINALS believe me ! forget about celtics vs lakers dream match! SUNS IN 4-2 AND MAGIC IN 4-3.. WAIT AND SEE

  31. Mj M says:

    Orlando and Phoenix in the finals and Orlando takes it in 5 calling it now.

  32. captainobvious says:

    everyone should’ve known this would happen. In the NBA it’s always the better team that wins, the same luck on plays is given to both teams. [The sad part is it comes at different times i guess so we’ll never really have that fully satisfying great game where the best team actually wins]. Game 6 is really anybody’s game just as the whole series has been anybody’s series [i.e. will be won by whoever wants it the most]

  33. aboulc says:

    Magic in 7, Celtics are old and it shows in a longer series
    history to be made soon!

  34. Nik123dj says:

    Just wait for Celtics response in game six. Revenge is coming…

  35. JC44PORTLIFE says:

    If you watched game 4 you can tell the Magics stepped up their game and won because the age of the Celtics showed off in overtime. But game 5 is Totally different, the officials were DEFFINATLY on the magics side.!!! It got me mad that they were calling all of the fouls on the Celtics and only a few on the magics. But we cant do anything about it. But with what i know about the teams….. CELTICS taking it in game 6 on THEIR turf but it will be a close game my predictions it that the Celtics will win by 11 points.. Count on that BOSTON!!!!!!!!

    • ede21 says:

      come on man, just admit that the celtics loose the game, it wasn’t because of the officials

      • Magic says:

        Ya come on I dont think Celtics lost by 21 points because of the reffs you just cant admit how good the MAGIC is

  36. D.H. says:

    The fact is that I agree with Ernie. The Magic have showed that they are resilient and the only one’s who seem to be griping about the “gritty” basketball right now are the Celtic fans who know that their Celtics are just as gritty. Man will it be a good time seeing you guys leave to go back under your rocks after the Magic make history by being the first team to come back from a 3-0 deficit. Maybe then Boston will realize that seasoned does not always mean better…the fact is th Celtics are old and the problem is that the Celtics have not realized that yet, they wasted their energy on Game 1-3 while the Magic played the sleeping giant that awoke during Game 4 and 5 to slap the Celtics around. Boston is going to have to make some decisions in the off season to really change things up because the fact is…their team is weak in long stretch series’. See all you Celtics fans later. Go Magic all the way!

    • Jason says:

      haha that is really ridiculous… the whole talk about wasted energy in games 1 through 3. ARE YOU kidding me!!!!!! hahah.. dude these guys (the celtics) are professional and they are going to do what it takes to win any game. The Magic are no push over and did you expect them to go out in a 4 game sweep?? I sure didnt. both of these teams are great. and the celtics are not done yet either.. it will be an interesting game 6 and possible game 7

  37. tenpiece says:

    I’d panic too if I had Vince Carter on my team instead of Hedo

  38. Ernie Sarmiento says:

    Let me tell you guys about basketball I mean “BASKETBALL”. If you know how to read,play, comment follow the game watch good and bad game head coach decision players plan on the floor you will know exactly what is basketball is. The way I look and watch the game between Magic and Celtics 5th game. The Magic will win the series definetely, believe me. They will win this Friday over the Celtics iN Boston….

  39. mac says:

    So What! Vangundy should be winning with the team that he has at his disposal. The true surprise coaching comes from Alvin Gentry who is outcoaching Phil Jackson but nobody wants to talk about that! Hmmmmmmmmmm.

  40. Filipe Portugal says:

    well i saw the game yersterday… and i wont lie the magic had a good game.. but at first they had alittle help from the refrees.. come on!!! what is needed so the refree can see that dwight howard is always in the paint? he lives there.. and they dont blow the whistle on him! and than they havent been seing the way he has been using his elbows…. and offense fouls.. oh well i believe.. they will start seing what he does.. he plays around, looks like a nice guy… but doing what he did yersterday and getting away with it is just to tuff… hope celtics win next game.. to have the classic celtics vs lakers finals.. stay up untill 5 a.m so i can see the entire game

    • G says:

      dwight doesnt leave the paint, well thats kinda true, he steps out and goes right back in it thats why you cant call him on the 3sec, plus if hes guarding someone near the paint(around the borders) he gets away with it because he is technically still guarding someone thats around him, why do you think he always picks up anyone who gets near the paint and rasheed wallace can take open 3 pointers as much as he wants.

    • ede21 says:

      I saw the game too, and don’t tell me that Howard is the only player who played phisically in this series…he elbowed David thats true but not intentionally. GOGO Magic, i belived in you when no one did, and i still belive you can make it!!!

    • CJM says:

      Typical Boston fan. Boohoo the refs are the reason we lost. I thought the refs were completley inconsistant. It was very poor officiating. Paul Pierce should have gotten a technical for shoving JJ, but they let it go and gave Perkins one for no reason. Totally inconsistant, but not the reason Boston lost. They lost because Orlando has figured out that the Celtics cannot keep up with them running. Keep the pushing the pace, and both KG and PP will lose their legs by the fourth quarter.
      And it won’t be the refs when O-town wins game 6 either. Those old guys from Bean-town better get some rest, because Dwight doesn’t need any.

  41. CargoCult says:

    The only master of panic is wearing a green uniform!

  42. Fernando G says:

    I like boston celtics