Tuesday June 2, 2009 22:27
Should the Magic re-insert All-Star guard for Finals vs. Lakers?
The Orlando Magic will open the NBA Finals on Thursday with back-to-back games in Los Angeles to continue their improbable championship run after losing NBA All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson to season-ending right shoulder surgery in February.
Rafer Alston was acquired in a last-minute trade to assume Nelsonâ€™s point guard duties, and Orlando’s offense came alive to take down the defending NBA champion Boston Celtics and then Cleveland and NBA MVP LeBron James in the playoffs.
Now, the Magic are in their first NBA Finals since 1995, and it has been a team effort with Alston seamlessly getting the ball to Howard right under the basket, and Howard tossing the ball out to the Magicâ€™s plentiful long-range shooting threats: Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, Courtney Lee and Mickael Pietrus.
Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy is considering inserting Nelson back into the lineup after a fast recovery from surgery although the point guard isn’t yet back to All-Star form. On Tuesday, Nelson ran with the Magicâ€™s second team in the first full day of team practice and participated in every drill. He hasnâ€™t played a game in four months.
With Nelson at the point, the Magic has the NBA’s best record in January and went 2-0 against the Lakers in the regular season. In the two victories against L.A., Nelson led the way averaging 27.5 points after a third quarter outburst in their first matchup and a 15-point fourth quarter output in the second meeting.
Alston hasnâ€™t been as productive as a scorer, averaging only 12.7 points in the Magicâ€™sâ€™ 18 playoff games. But heâ€™s almost flawlessly run Orlandoâ€™s well-oiled offense with only 1.8 turnovers per game.
Obviously, the lineup of Alston, Howard, Turkoglu, Lewis and Lee has worked because the Magic is in its first NBA Finals since 1995.
So why fix what isnâ€™t broken by bringing back Nelson, who isnâ€™t fully recovered and has been out of action for four months?
Van Gundy said he will decide on game day. The Lakers arenâ€™t taking any chances and are preparing for Nelson to be in the Magicâ€™s lineup.
But if Nelson doesnâ€™t return, Alston is more than capable of running the Magicâ€™s explosive show.
- Category: General
- (176) Comments