Orlando believe 12 is better than three when it comes to Miami Heat


Jnelson_Dhoward.jpgIf you like messin’ with Sasquatch, then go to an Orlando Magic practice and start asking questions about the Miami Heat. Pretty much the same reaction.

Orlando general manager Otis Smith led the “hey, maybe they should play a game before we anoint them” cries, as reported by FanHouse.

“They’ve got three, and we’re solid 1-12. Until they start playing the games, it’s just a team on paper.”

And the collection of quotes just goes on-and-on.

“I got tired of the Heat as soon as LeBron James announced he was going to Miami,” scoffed Magic center Dwight Howard Monday…

“ESPN is like ‘all Heat, all the time,’ ” remarked Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. “This isn’t about us getting together for training camp and the theme is we have to beat the Heat. That’s ridiculous. There are a lot of good teams. They aren’t the standard bearer.”

“We will see each other down the line in the playoffs, and that will take care of itself,” said Magic guard Vince Carter.

For all the talk now, the playoffs — which don’t start for seven months — will be the testing ground. During the season teams don’t get a lot of time to really prep for each other, during the playoffs there are far more adjustments. There is a better ability to isolate weaknesses and go after it.

Can the Magic run the Jameer Nelson/Dwight Howard pick and roll, spreading the floor with shooters that keep Miami’s big three from really helping, and beat the Heat? Can Boston just overwhelm the Heat with defense and a physical front line? Are the Lakers still just deeper and better than everybody?

The answers don’t come until May at the earliest. Until then, we’re just messin’ with Sasquatch.

Chris Paul, after breaking finger, intends to play in Clippers preseason game tomorrow

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Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.

The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.

Here’s confirmation.

Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:

Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.

Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.

Report: David Lee, Tyler Zeller in line to start for Celtics; Jared Sullinger, Jonas Jerebko out of rotation

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 08: David Lee of Boston Celtics attacks during the friendlies of the NBA Global Games 2015 basketball match between Real Madrid and Boston Celtics at Barclaycard Center on October 8, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.

It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.

A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.

That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.

Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.

Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.

I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.

This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.