• Do yourselves a favor and go read this post at Orlando Pinstriped Post about how efficiently Dwight Howard has scored in various roles in Orlando’s offense during this series—i.e. on post-ups, as the roll man on screen/rolls, in transition, etc. The numbers are stark—Howard can’t score in the post, and he has been devastating in the screen/roll and on the offensive glass.
One tidbit of the many you will find in friendly chart format: Howard is 14-of-36 (39 percent) on post-ups. In other words: There is no reason for Boston to double Howard in the post unless a switch has produced a mismatch.
The other question this data raises: What took Orlando so long to move from its four-in/one-out offense to one centered on screen/rolls? Again: The Magic ran 33 screen/rolls combined in the first three games and 43 in Game 4 alone, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
Stan Van Gundy is a great coach, and he made the proper adjustments. But he should have made them sooner.
• At Pro Basketball Talk, Matt Moore (who is not fond on your Boston Celtics but is still a nice person and smart, smart NBA writer) suggests that Van Gundy must be open to make further adjustments, even dramatic ones, to keep his team alive. Among Moore’s suggestions: More J.J. Redick (he’s +21 in this series) and less Vince Carter (-23).
• Barack Obama is picking the Los Angeles Lakers to defeat the Boston Celtics in the Finals, thus giving an immediate boost to the legitimacy of the Tea Party movement. (Kidding). Bloomberg reports on Obama’s interview with Marv Albert:
“I’ve got to go with the Lakers again,” Obama said in the interview that will begin airing on NBA TV today. “Boston’s a veteran club, but the Lakers are looking pretty good.”
Obama called Bryant the “the fiercest competitor in the league” and Jackson “the best coach in the NBA right now.” Of Gasol, Obama said “he may be the best big man in the league.”
• A win by Orlando tonight would be a rare, rare thing in NBA history. Of the prior 93 NBA teams who have fallen behind 3-0 in series, only 9 have even forced a Game 6. (None have come back to win, of course).
Also: The Celtics have led a best-of-seven series 11 times in their history, and none have gone beyond Game 5, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
That’s it for now. We’ll have more later.