HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Keep working your Magic the way you did against the Lakers (above) Dwight Howard and maybe, just maybe, your Orlando Magic can find their way back into the league’s elite.
The Magic finally fed their low-post monster the way they are supposed to and they held the Lakers to a season-low 75 points in the process. Howard got all the touches he needed and posted a 31-point, 13-rebound, 3-block performance (the six turnovers weren’t pretty, but you can take that when he’s dominating on both ends).
Magic coach Stan Van Gundy is clearly on board with feeding Howard the ball as often as necessary. He made that clear after a Friday night loss to the Hornets and then followed that up by featuring Howard at every turn against the Lakers.
Some of Howard’s teammates, however, see things a bit differently.
“Some nights he’s not going to get it,” Arenas told the Orlando Sentinel. “Some nights there are going to be guards dominating. We just made plays tonight. When you have a guy that’s on, and their big men weren’t controlling him down there, he took advantage of it. He made plays. If you look around the beginning of the third he was getting frustrated again that he wasn’t getting the ball. It just takes time. He can’t get it every time. When you’re a dominant player you want it every time. He did a great job tonight and we found him.”
They have plenty of time to get their chemistry issues resolved and get back into the mix at the top of the East. Whether or not this win over the Lakers serves as their final wake-up call remains to be seen.
CAVS START ANOTHER STREAK
Just when we started feeling good about the guys in Cleveland, they go off and lose to the one team that cannot win on the road … until now.
The Wizards snapped their road losing streak at 25 games with a win over the Cavs, who snapped their NBA-record losing streak at 26 games Friday night.
Cavs coach Byron Scott stayed positive throughout his team’s disastrous losing stretch. But he let loose on them after seeing the previously hapless-away-from-home Wizards find their mark at Quicken Loans Arena, courtesy of the Plain Dealer:
“I’m still trying to figure them out,” Scott fumed afterward. “Because to me, that was ridiculous.”
“I don’t think there’s any way in the world we should have been in that locker room thinking after we got a win against the Clippers that we’ve arrived or we’re better than anybody else,” Scott said. “We have to come out with that sense of urgency, and I just didn’t see that tonight from the start. It’s disappointing.”
HERE COME THE HT GRIZZLIES
Have you checked the standings lately?
Do you see who is making a push in the Western Conference playoff chase, and just in time for the post-All-Star Weekend push?
That’s right, those Hang Time Grizzlies are making a move. Of course, they are chasing another team that’s on a nice roll. The Trail Blazers currently own the eighth spot in the standings. Winners of four straight, they are going to have to fight off our Grizzlies, winners of three straight after Sunday’s solid win over Denver.
O.J. Mayo‘s return from a 10-game suspension for Tuesday’s game against Philadelphia should be interesting. Things have changed dramatically in his absence, as my main man Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal explains:
Mayo hasn’t played since Jan. 24. The suspension ended Sunday following the Grizzlies’ 116-108 win over the Denver Nuggets. Although Mayo was allowed to practice and travel with the team over the past 21/2 weeks, Coach Lionel Hollins said Mayo’s return will present a major challenge for the third-year player.
“The team is not static. It’s fluid. It’s changing constantly,” Hollins said. “He’ll be trying to find out where the team is and trying to catch up to that rhythm. It’s going to be difficult. The team has moved in a positive direction.”
Memphis went 8-2 during Mayo’s suspension. The team is 9-2 without Mayo overall this season.
The bench also developed a different identity in Mayo’s absence. The reserves have gone from deferring to Mayo for scoring to following veteran guard Tony Allen‘s lead with gritty, defensive-minded play. The Grizzlies have also enjoyed more ball movement and an effective zone defense from their second unit.
Don’t jinx us O.J. We need you to come back with a vengeance, on a mission to prove your doubters and critics wrong about you. But mire important than any of that, we need you to help get the HT Grizzlies scratch out a playoff berth.