I feel real sorry for anyone who only liked the Magic because of Dwight Howard. I know when we won Game 1 last Saturday, there wasn't much of a buzz in downtown Orlando for having accomplished a hell of a road feat. Why is this the case? Because not enough people are invested in this franchise as there needs to be. Because not enough people care to think for themselves and recklessly choose to buy into the doom and gloom attitude around them in regards to the current state of the Magic. It's like all of a sudden this season gets ignored because we're not a top championship contender and the boats been rocked a bit, or we're not the hot ticket in our community because ESPN doesn't think we exist. Shame on you. Shame on any of you with a ticket to a Magic game that'd rather be socializing on the balcony, staring deep into your phone, or stuffing your face at the buffet rather than viewing playoff basketball in person. Shame on anyone contemplating giving a damn about the Heat that has zero ties to Miami. We're only down 2-1 in a series we can easily still win, yet I'm hearing guys like Mike Bianchi and other local radio personalities deciding to go with other story lines. Boxing? The Kentucky Derby? Seriously? It's the playoffs and there's a team in your backyard participating in them. God forbid we win on Saturday, we even the series up, and people have to pretend to be optimistic a little bit longer. It's amazing what a difference one week makes. At least Dwight considers Los Angeles a "jail" and is repeating our "We All We Got" motto. That'll quiet down the 'he quit' accusations for now.
Memo to Ryan Anderson: Congratulations on your more than deserved Most Improved Player award. Now go play like an improved player starting Saturday. Get that 20-10 game we so desperately need from you and then drink your ass off into a coma to celebrate your 24th birthday. For a relatively young franchise, the Magic have quite a large volume of MIP winners. Since the award was created in the '85-'86 season, no other franchise has more winners than we do (5). The Pacers are next closest with 3. When Scott Skiles received his '90-'91 award, he didn't have a postseason to build off of what would be his best NBA season in his injury-riddled career. Darrell 'Flash' Armstrong's '98-'99 award was buffered by a solid playoffs. Granted they were severely shortened thanks to the Sixers, Darrell was one of the few Magic men who didn't let us down. T-MAC's '00-'01 kicked off about an 8-year span of All-Star (with some superstar spans sprinkled in) basketball that very few could match. Hedo's '07-'08 award is about as astounding as it gets. Hedo never before nor since came close to the statistics and clutchness he produced. Five years ago seems light years away now when we could use some 'Hero' ball. We expect Ryno to continue to up his game, but it needs to begin now before he officially gets labeled a playoff choker.
I'm stunned that Stan isn't expected to be making any lineup changes. Maybe it is all about "energy", but we're seeing WAY too many horribly trending patterns that suggest energy can only take you so far. Early on in Game 3, it looked like the Pacers had figured us out on both ends of the court. Then Glen kept us around until Indy put another 3rd quarter shellacking on us for the third straight game. Drunk Orlando folks had more energy Wednesday night than our players did. All I know is the guys in white with black pinstripes wet the bed. For the most part, the Amway Center crowd was spectacular (put the state of Indiana to embarrassment). After initially rumored it wouldn't happen, Amway Center was decorated in its usual 'Blue & White Ignite' attire. New Stuff was also blue and actually good. Even Scotty B wasn't as annoying as usual. Hell, we even dusted off Gina Marie Incandela for another powerful anthem (I saw that fist bump, Wafer). And yet, nothing. Tactics and personnel sometimes need to be shaken up if you want to win a playoff series. I'll trust Stan again as I always do, but he'll take all the blame if we get blown out again at Amway on Saturday afternoon. Maybe Liggins should be activated and guard Paul George? Maybe Redick, Earl, and Wafer need a ton more minutes? Maybe that Ish guy can at least make Collison and/or George Hill contemplate exerting themselves on defense? Something, Stan, anything. Cinco de Mayo is as superb a time as any to drink away your sorrows or party like madmen. Not sure about you folks, but I'm ready to wear my celebration cap.