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With so much going on this postseason, it can be damn near impossible to keep up with it all. That’s where we come in. We’ll take the basketball bullet and give you every series in a nutshell. It’s all part of our latest gimmick… Winners and Losers!
- Glen Davis. It would have been Glen Davis’ agent, if not for the fact that he’s locked in until 2015 for 3-years/$19.4 million, a deal that has suddenly turned into one of the shrewdest contracts in the league. Without
Patrick EwingDwight Howard, the undersized (vertically, definitely not horizontally) Davis averaged 19-9 against the Pacers, while being their most consistent offensive option. Ask yourself this: If you’re building a team from scratch, would you rather have Davis or Brandon Bass? Thought so
- The Duke-North Carolina rivalry. From the Indianapolis Star: “Hansbrough, an All-American at North Carolina, can’t avoid having run-ins with former Duke players. Magic guard J.J. Redick joined fellow Blue Devil Mike Dunleavy in taking exception to Hansbrough’s aggressiveness. Redick received a technical foul for attempting to push Hansbrough out the way after Redick was fouled by Pacers guard Paul George.Redick’s push turned out to be more of a nudge; Hansbrough barely moved. “Nah, I’m not going to budge on that,” Hansbrough said. “I didn’t even foul him. He was coming at me. We got a little tangled up. I don’t even know how it really happened.”
- The Indiana Pacers training staff. For Amar’e-proofing their fire extinguishers.
- Anyone that had to watch the games. This series was the annual NBA junkie litmus test.
- The drunk Orlando idiot who thought it would be a smart idea to provoke 7-foot-1 Kyrylo Fesenko on a night out.
- Roy Hibbert. You had to think he would feast against a Howard-less Magic team, right? His numbers for the series: 11 ppg, 11 rpg, 3.8 bpg. Not exactly a “F– you, pay me” performance, despite being defended by guys half-a-foot shorter than him.
- Then again, considering the dismal state of NBA big men, and the $67 million contract Nene signed last summer, maybe Hibbert did enough.
- Ryan Anderson’s agent. After winning the NBA’s most meaningless award (Most Improved Player), Anderson took a significant step in the wrong direction. His numbers dropped from 16-8 in the regular season to 10-5 against the Pacers. You wonder how effective he can be without Howard. That has to be an important consideration going forward for obvious reasons.
- Danny Granger. He’s similar to Rudy Gay in terms of his inability to truly dominate a series. He’s talented and an occasional All-Star, but definitely shouldn’t be the highest paid guy on your team, which unfortunately he is. Again, like Rudy Gay.
- Stan Van Gundy’s future. It’s a shame considering that he’s still one of the top-10 coaches in the league, but as was the case in Cleveland with Mike Brown, Otis Smith will likely fire Van Gundy in the coming weeks in the hope of convincing Dwight that they’re willing to do anything to keep him. Flash forward to a year from now and Orlando will most likely have neither Howard, nor Stan.
- Jameer Nelson. This is in no way an indirect defense of Dwight Howard, but when you consider Nelson has basically been the second best player on this Magic team for the last few years, it does partially explain why Orlando has been so underwhelming in the postseason. Against Indiana, he had two strong games (27 in Game Five, 17-9 in Game 1), but three mediocre outings. Truth is, Nelson should be your fourth or fifth-best player. Not your second option.
- Paul George. Larry Bird on George (From the Indianapolis Star): ”(Paul George)’s got to pick it up. This isn’t the time to feel sorry for yourself. Sometimes players lose their shot, and they lose all their confidence. As he gets along in his career, we think he can be a pretty good scorer. But just because you’re not making shots doesn’t mean you can’t do the other things. “
By Thomas Johnson (Twitter)
Check back at the conclusion of every round for our winners and losers breakdown.