The Atlanta Hawks (sans Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby) dropped a game to the Charlotte Bobcats last night, which locked in the Orlando Magic as no. 2 seed in the East. It’s not exactly an unexpected development; the Magic are at least the Eastern Conference’s second best team, and with the way Orlando has played over the last two months, this moment seemed like an inevitability.
It seems increasingly likely that the Magic will match up with the aforementioned Bobcats in the first round, but even more important is Orlando dodging Cleveland until the Conference Finals. Don’t get me wrong, the Magic stand just as good a chance as waltzing into the Finals as the Cavs do, but if they can preoccupy themselves with the Hawks or the Celtics and put off the collision with LeBron and co. until the ECF? I don’t think Orlando would mind. Not one bit.
The West may be fireworks from the start, but in the East the big payoff may not come until those two ridiculously talented teams meet. The Magic locking up the 2nd seed brings us one step closer to that reality.
I like the Knicks’ offseason moves. Well, not blowing the meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge before it ever started — you say the right things and take him to a nice dinner because that is the kind of elite player you need to try to land. Take the meeting.
However, bringing in Robin Lopez and Arron Afflalo were smart pickups, and I like the Kristaps Porzingis draft pick more than many (although we need a couple of years to see how good he will really be). Combine that with a healthy Carmelo Anthony and…
The Knicks suck less. They aren’t good, but they aren’t embarrassing. And that is step one, as I discuss with Jenna Corrado in this latest PBT Extra.
So far, the only substantive accounts of the Matt Barnes-Derek Fisher altercation have come from anonymous sources.
The Knicks coach has deflected questions.
But Barnes is giving his account, at least of the lead-up.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:
It’s completely understandable that Barnes would act to ensure his children’s welfare.
And let’s say everything he said is true. It still leaves important questions unanswered.
Did Barnes – as he reportedly texted a friend he did – beat up Fisher and spit on his estranged wife, Gloria Govan? If so, why did Barnes deem that necessary to protect kids?