Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers swept through the first two rounds of the playoffs with ease, only to lose home-court advantage after a game one loss to the Orlando Magic. They went on to lose the series, and it’s clear looking back that they may have underestimated the eventual Eastern Conference Champions. A year later, it’s the Magic who swept through the first two rounds, only to be suffer an upset loss to the Boston Celtics in game one of the conference finals.
Matt Barnes wasn’t on the Magic team that beat the Cavaliers, but he had some ideas about what caused them to lose to the Celtics on the Magic’s home floor. Speaking with the Orlando Sentinel’s Tania Ganguli, the straight-talking Barnes gave a frank diagnosis
of why the Magic find themselves down 0-1 in the series:
“Being 8-0 in the playoffs – I can’t speak for everyone – but we may have been feeling ourselves too much,” Matt Barnes said. “They kicked our (butts) last night, and now we have to get back to work.”
Barnes went on to say that the fourth-seeded Celtics are clearly a tougher opponent than the third-seeded Hawks, whom the Magic swept in the second round, saying “Not to take anything away from Atlanta, but 7 days off & playing Atlanta is a lot different than playing Boston.”
For whatever reason, the Magic seem to have failed to learn the lesson they taught Cleveland in last year’s playoffs. We’ll see how they respond in game two.
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?
Gregg Popovich said he wouldn’t coach in July.
Apparently, he’s taking off part of October, too.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
It’s not that surprising to see Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw staying home. Veterans miss preseason games all the time just to rest. With the Spurs, it happens even in the regular season.
But it’s still a little strange to see the head coach sit out, even though Popovich also did it last year.
It makes sense, though. Who cares about this preseason game? If travelling less helps the 66-year-old Popovich stay fresh in the years ahead, that’s well worth it. Plus, it gets Messina a little extra experience. Some day, he might be the head coach.