The Orlando Magic got a big, and largely unexpected victory over the Nuggets on Friday, thanks to a 29 point, 10 rebound effort from Glen Davis, and 21 points off the bench from J.J. Redick.
After the complete organizational upheaval the team underwent during the offseason — from GM, to head coach, to a certain departed superstar who shall not be named — this is exactly the fresh start the team needed to open the new season.
All was not perfect, however, as starting forward Hedo Turkoglu left the game in the third quarter with a fractured left hand. After undergoing surgery Saturday morning, he’s expected to miss four weeks.
(He’s resting comfortably, by the way, in case you were wondering.)
Turkoglu’s skill set doesn’t match the giant annual salary he has remaining on his current contract, one that pays him close to $12 million this year and is only guaranteed for half as much the season after. He’s a trade piece due to that contract situation more than anything else, but he’s also someone the team needs in the short term because he’s at least serviceable at a position the Magic find themselves very thin at just one game into the season.
Beyond Turkoglu, there aren’t really any viable options for Orlando at the small forward spot. Maurice Harkless is the obvious answer, but he’s still making his way back after hernia surgery during the offseason. The Magic will likely slide Arron Afflalo to the three until Harkless is ready.
Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.
But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.
There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.
Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….
Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.
This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.
If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.
The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.
Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.
Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.
Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.