We’re back with our game four arm-chair point guard analysis. This time Howard faces facts, Stan Van Gundy blames and the Orlando Magic ignore the statistics.
Dwight Howard Leading the Magic in a Nice Way
Most critics of Dwight Howard always site his easy-going demeanor as a fatal leadership flaw. They believe Howard needs to develop more of an “Alpha Dog” attitude to get more from his team.
Maybe the time has come for Howard to be less supportive, and more critical of his Magic teammates.
In his game four post-game press conference, Howard maintained a positive attitude.
In response to questions about Orlando’s ability to make outside shots, he simply replied “gotta make shots”. Howard understands the reality of what’s happening right now to the Magic.
In his words “every possession counts”, and quite frankly, any time he doesn’t touch the basketball on offense, possessions become wasted.
Howard’s performances have been dominating.
He has averaged twelve more points per game than his career playoff average, with 32 points per game. Added to his 17.5 rebounds and nearly 2 blocks per games so far in the series, one wonders how much more “Alpha Dog” personae the all-star center needs to display.
Maybe the time has come for Howard to go on another public criticism of his team and coach. The team responded earlier in the season, when they went cold from the floor.
To get a look at Howard’s press conference click here.
Stan Van Gundy Criticizes
Orlando head coach Stan Van Gundy wanted a better effort from Hedo Turkoglu on the last shot to say the least.
When asked about the last shot by Hedo, Van Gundy stated in frustration, “We didn’t get a shot”, claiming that Turkoglu “gave him [Atlanta defender] the ball”.
Van Gundy also talked about bad shots taken by his shooters. The head coach then came back later in the interview and said his team got “good enough looks”.
If he believes the looks are “good enough”, maybe the looks need to be different.
The Magic took twenty-three three-point shots. Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu, JJ Redick and Ryan Anderson combined shot 0-18 from beyond the arc, and only 6-36 from the field over all.
Howard touched the ball fourteen times. I’m sure he and Van Gundy would have been just as comfortable if he had touched the ball just five more times in the game.
Yes, Orlando incorporates the three as a major part of their offense. But for the second straight season, Orlando’s shooters have gone cold in the playoffs.
Abandoning reliance on the three-ball makes more sense when we look at the statistics.
You can listen to parts of Van Gundy’s post-game press conference here.
Van Gundy Turning His Back on the Numbers
Orlando head coach Stan Van Gundy likes to play the percentages. Follow the coach over the period of a regular season, and he’ll continually give you percentages that make differences in games.
Van Gundy’s rejection of the numbers in his team’s first-round series in the 2011 NBA Playoffs, seems to contradict the coach’s usual style. This could be because the stats work against his basic offensive philosophy.
Take a look at what the stats say about the Magic’s struggles in the current post-season, and how Van Gundy may need to listen more to the numbers than his heart.
Van Gundy has once again over utilized Ryan Anderson to the detriment of Brandon Bass, and the Magic’s chances at wins. Bass has shot 45% from the field in the series, and Anderson only 24%. Yet, Anderson, who usually splits time with Bass, has essentially played an equal number of minutes.
Brandon Bass averaged around ten points per game with the Dallas Mavericks. He has averaged 7.7 points per game in the current series— Anderson currently averages three points per game against the Hawks.
JJ Redick has shot 6-26 for the series and only 1-12 from long-range. Redick has averaged 20 minutes per game in the series. He has a total of 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Meanwhile Quentin Richardson has played about 18 minutes less total, but gone 6-9 from the field, including going about 67% from the arc.
With Redick on Crawford, Crawford has bettered his season averages in the playoffs for points, field goals and rebounds by more than ten percent.
With Q Rich on Crawford, Crawford’s numbers in field-goal attempts, three-point shots attempted and three-point field-goal attempts have all decreased by at least ten percent as compared to the regular season.
With Q Rich on Crawford, Crawford has yet to make a three-point shot.
Combined, Ryan Anderson and Redick are shooting twenty-three percent from the field. Their combined scoring totals come to only five points per game, or twenty total points in four games.
Brandon Bass and Q Rich have combined for a 52% field-goal percentage, with a combined scoring average of 11 points per game, while taking ten fewer shots per game.
The stats seem to make some decisions simple for Van Gundy. Play Bass more and Anderson less. Bring Q Rich off the bench before Redick. Give more shots to Bass.
You can check all the stats by going to the NBA.com StatsCube.