There's been a lack of activity on my part over here today and last night (not that it's stopped any of you), but that's in part because I've been pretty active on FanHouse. Here are some highlights from last night:
- Flip Saunders on Chauncey Billups taking his time returning:
"It's up to the players [to decide] when they're right," said Saunders. "And when they're right, I don't want them to have any hesitation, because if they're not right and they have hesitation, they're not going to play very good, to be honest. So, he's got to feel comfortable as far as about it."
Stan Van Gundy on Jameer Nelson's "guarantee" as well as calling out the media for making lazy judgments:
"What happens all the time is how well [we] play determines what you guys write about a team's character and everything," Van Gundy told the gaggle of reporters. "So automatically, if you play well, you have great character. And if you don't play well, it's because you don't have the 'resolve,' and the 'mental toughness' and all of that. We have all of that. We have to play well."
This is an excellent point. I've grown increasingly sensitive to assigning character flaws to a team every time they lose. The Magic didn't lose last night because they lacked character. In fact, the opposite is true: they held Detroit to 36% shooting, they out-rebounded them and they gave up only three three-pointers all night long.
Unfortunately, they also turned the ball over 21 times (for 34 Pistons points) while Detroit set an NBA playoff record with three turnovers, including not one in the final three quarters. Orlando showed a ton of heart by staying in this game all night long, but in the end, the Pistons executed and they didn't. That's nothing to be ashamed of. The Pistons have been to six straight conference finals for a reason.
The Pistons see this type of logic used against them all the time. When the Pistons lose, it's not because they're complacent, they simply don't well every single night. When Rasheed Wallace has a bad shooting night, he's not being lazy, he just couldn't get into a groove. If you ever see me relying on cliche instead of reality, please call me out.
- Jameer Nelson thinks the media made too much of his "guarantee:"
After the game, slumped in a chair in front of his locker with his feet soaking in ice and wearing only a towel, a dejected Nelson reflected on his "guarantee" and the attention it attracted. "I didn't guarantee a win," he said. "I didn't say, 'we're going to ...' I said 'we have to go win, we're going to come get this win.' And the media took it out of proportion or whatever they want to do. The media always wants a story. I mean, I really don't care what people write, you know?"
I mean, he did say the Magic were going to win, but if you read my whole post, he explains himself.
- I spoke to Rashard Lewis before the game about a handful of things, including how competitive this series actually was despite the fact that Orlando only won a single game:
We won one game, but at the same time, the record doesn't say how hard we've been playing, how tough we've been taking a team down to the wire. They've beat us three times, we've only beat them once, but I can guarantee you that every game they had to go out there and win the game, it wasn't handed to them.
And last but certainly not least ...
Rip Hamilton's reaction after the game:
"I didn't even see who blocked the shot, to tell you the truth. The only thing I'd seen was Tay flexing. I went up to Rasheed and I was like, 'Uh, who blocked that shot? It must be Tay, huh?'