Tag: Celtics Magic Game 2

NBA Playoffs, Magic v. Celtics: Matt Barnes says what we already know about Paul Pierce


There are various degrees of flopping. There are players that “flop” strictly as a way to exaggerate contact in order to get a call they rightfully deserve. There are others who flop as a way to validate a smart play, like when the how every player that draws a charge isn’t just knocked over, but sent sliding across the floor. Then there are those who create fouls from nothing, and through a scream of pain, a flailing of limbs, and often a fall, some players are able to completely manipulate the referees into seeing something that flat-out didn’t happen.

Then on another level entirely is Baron Davis’ flop against Mehmet Okur in 2007, which is just tremendous.

Paul Pierce is a fantastic player, but the infuriating thing about him is that he stands (or falls?) amongst the most egregious floppers. It’s one thing for Paul to exaggerate a bump on the way to the rim, but the way he collapses on the floor after minimal incidental contact or pretends to be hit in the head while shooting seems like it should be beneath him. He’s honestly too good of a player to be compensating like that.

Matt Barnes, who has become intimately familiar with Pierce’s…gamesmanship, talked a bit about Paul and his ability to manufacture foul calls. From Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel:

Pierce can be a maddening player for opposing teams.

His ability to score and to draw fouls are among his strengths. Both
California guys, Barnes knows Pierce’s game well. And while some of
Pierce’s antics annoy Barnes, he said he doesn’t “go for” some of what
Pierce tries to do, he couldn’t deny Pierce’s effectiveness.

“My third foul in the third quarter, when I tried to beat him over
the screen, he fell down like I threw him,” Barnes said, when asked
about Pierce’s tendency to exaggerate contact. “It was ridiculous. But
the refs called it, so it was a good play. It was a flop, 100 percent,
and that’s how some guys like to play. But if the refs call it, it’s

Barnes’ quote applies more to a singular incident of Pierce’s flopping than a general trend, but his point stands. However, that doesn’t mean I’m here on a holy crusade to rid the world of the flopping abomination. That’s the problem, actually. No matter how much we rant and rave, there isn’t a convenient solution to get rid of this kind of play. Pierce will continue to go on rewarded for what he does, and there’s really not much the NBA can do about it.

Start giving technical fouls for flopping? Well, that relies on refs correctly identifying the flopping in the first place in the course of a game, which they’re clearly not doing. Fine players for flopping? It can be obvious like in that Baron Davis clip, but there’s pretty much no bright line on what constitutes flopping, and assessing who’s to be fined would be a hell of a judgment call.

Rather it’s just to reference what Paul is doing, shake my head in disgust, and maybe even laugh at him a bit. There are players in this league who need to sell calls in order to elevate their value and earn their next big payday. Pierce is not such a player, and it’s interesting to note that despite Paul’s hubris, he still thinks he needs to be.

Referee Joe DeRosa suspended for tossing ball to fan


At halftime of Game 2 in the Celtics/Magic series, referee Joe DeRosa walked over to the scorer’s table to pick up the crew’s jackets, found a heckler waiting for him there and at one point tossed the guy the ball.

Turns out, that’s enough to get you suspended.

DeRosa has been suspended from the next game he was to work, it was announced by Ron Johnson, NBA Senior Vice President, Referee Operations.

The NBA investigated the situation, and we don’t know what was said. What we do know is that, unlike was reported before, the heckler was not ejected from the arena by DeRosa. Not really sure that tossing a ball to a fan should earn a suspension, but that’s the call.

Bottom line is the league doesn’t want its referees reacting to hecklers under any circumstances. Not even Jack Nicholson — YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH.

NBA Playoffs Magic v. Celtics: J.J. Redick making it tough for Magic to keep him off the floor


nba_redick.jpgAlthough the Orlando Magic have struggled at times in their series against the Boston Celtics, they need not despair. It’s never good to drop two games on your home court in the playoffs, especially in consecutive contests in the series’ opening games.

Still, Orlando has lost two games by a combined seven points against a team on an obscene roll. It makes winning the series incredibly difficult, sure, but for as well as the Celtics have played and as poorly as the Magic have at times, the slim scoring margin between the two has to be seen as reason for optimism.

The key is for Stan Van Gundy and his staff to identify the most problematic areas and the Magic players to adjust before its too late. In a seven-game series, changes in approach and execution are only as influential as the time at which they’re implemented. Everyone within the Magic organization can only hope that there’s still time to implement a change, go about making the necessary adjustment, and do their best to perform beginning with Game 3.

One possible adjustment is to yank the injured Matt Barnes from the starting lineup, and replace him with the far more effective J.J. Redick.

Just by watching the flow of the Magic offense, you can notice a significant difference between when Redick is in the game compared to when he is not. It’s as much about what Redick does as it is about what Barnes doesn’t (or can’t, with his injury). Revisit the video from Game 2, and you’ll not only see Redick contributing off the ball on both ends (either by chasing Ray Allen around screens or making his defender chase him), but also with the ball in his hands or the hands of his defensive assignment.

The only situation in which Redick seemed to struggle was in a temporary lapse of judgment that cost the Magic a proper look at a game-tying three-pointer. That play was an outlier. It was a bout of temporary insanity for a player that has played very well this season and has carved out a place in the NBA by working and making the right play.

Don’t trust me? I’d like to point your attention to an excellent piece by Ben Q. Rock of the Orlando Pinstriped Post, who used a combination of Redick-centric stats as evidence of J.J.’s impact. When you look at his production relative to Barnes’, the decision to start Redick doesn’t even seem debatable.

This is a player that’s giving the Magic the best chance to win by playing with the starting unit, and even though Stan Van Gundy has displayed an unwillingness to alter his starting five (while still praising Redick’s impact, mind you), the most important thing is that SVG continues to employ this incredibly successful lineup for serious minutes. Redick has forced the adjustment with his play, and J.J.’s 34 Game 2 minutes should establish a trend for the remainder of the series.

NBA Playoffs, Magic Celtics: Dwight Howard does too have post moves

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Thumbnail image for Howard_game.jpgDwight Howard is a brute in the low post with no moves, he just gets by on his sheer force and athleticism, right? He can’t adjust because of that, which is why the Celtics can stop him, right?


Nobody is suggesting Howard has all the post moves of Pau Gasol, but he does have a few. And he can make adjustments — he did for Game 2 against the Celtics and ended up with 30 points on 9 of 13 shooting, and he got to the line. Orlando’s problem was that guys not named Dwight Howard shot just 32.8 percent on the night.

Zach Harper over at Hardwood Paroxysm broke down the adjustments Howard made with video and words. How he made better, more decisive decisions and that let him get off shots before Kendrick Perkins could get that big body into him.

Dwight Howard definitely has a post game and it’s still growing. Ever since some time in January, Dwight has been showing real improvement in the way he scores with his back to the basket and when he faces up and drives on his defenders. Like I said in the video, he doesn’t have a huge repertoire of moves. He’s definitely not going to be doing any Kevin McHale impersonations any time soon. But he has a couple of go-to moves in the paint….

Give him room to operate by spreading the floor and a confident, relaxed and poised Dwight will unleash his small set of post moves and do it effectively. Hopefully for Orlando, it will turn into some wins in this series.

The problem for Orlando is not Howard not scoring — he did that — it’s that the Celtics are not giving anybody else room to score efficiently. The ball movement that Atlanta did little more than watch doesn’t work against a team that can recover like the Celtics. Boston is contesting everything. And they will continue to single-cover Howard.

And if you’re watching, you’ll see a couple post moves.

Referee DeRosa tossed the ball at a fan in Orlando. Then had him ejected. Nice.

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As if the referees weren’t in enough trouble for game two of the Celtics/Magic series — the terrible charging call on JJ Redick when the game was in doubt, or the nine straight calls against the Celtics earlier in the fourth quarter — there comes this, from the Associated Press:

(Joe) DeRosa was walking to the scorer’s table to get the warm-up jackets for his crew, a common practice before the trio of referees leave the floor at intermission. A fan behind the table approached DeRosa, gesturing with his arms and appearing to be shouting at the veteran official.

DeRosa flipped the game ball to the fan, who tossed it back. DeRosa then motioned for the man to be ejected by security.


This is all being investigated by the league. However, we climb all over players when they can’t rise above taunts and words — of fans or other players — and we need to expect at least that much from the referees. It’s a hard job, a thankless one. But to quote the Super Chicken theme song — you knew the job was dangerous when you took it.

Got to be bigger than this, refs. Rise above.