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Orlando looking for effort, answers vs. Kobe in Game 2

By 06.06.09
Dwight Howard (photo. Mannion)

Dwight Howard (photo. Mannion)


Friday was pretty quiet for the day after the opening act of the NBA Finals. Then again, funerals tend to be that way. Seriously though, only the most giddy Lakers fans (that includes you, Spike Lee) are completely writing off the Magic after the Game 1 piecing, but anyone who saw the game or just saw the score has to admit Orlando has a lot of work to do to make this series competitive. And if you want to merely chalk it up to first-game nerves, then you might as well put the down payment on that fishing boat rental for Dwight Howard‘s squad, because a case of bad nerves at this point is the kiss of death … With two days off before Game 2 (Sunday, 8 p.m. EST, ABC), you have to wonder if Kobe can maintain that level of Tiger Woods-like focus he had when he dropped 40 in the first game. Kobe has looked like a grumpy old man for a minute now (albeit a grumpy old man who would kick your ass), like he’s operating on that Chuck Norris philosophy: Kobe Bryant doesn’t sleep. He waits … After Game 1, Dwight wondered aloud where his team’s effort was, and Stan Van Gundy said Marcin Gortat “had the best all-around game” of anyone on the roster. Given the problems Orlando had rebounding and dealing with L.A.’s height, Van Gundy said he’d think about playing Gortat and Dwight together more often. It’s tricky for SVG because you want to make the necessary adjustments to win, but you also don’t want to make a panic move and possibly slice off your nose (offense) to spite your face (defense/rebounding). And ask the ’07 Mavs and Avery Johnson; players can sense when the coach is making a panic move, and it does affect them … So who needs to step up? Whether it’s Rashard Lewis or Hedo Turkoglu or Rafer Alston or Dennis Scott, somebody needs to knock down some threes; if nothing else, to keep the Lakers from collapsing the D on Howard all the time. And while it’s too late to ask Dwight to find an offensive game all of a sudden — it’s not like he has Kevin McHale pills at his disposal — the face-up moves weren’t working for him the other day. Dwight just needs to break free of the trees and get a couple of easy finishes to get going. The Lakers would send Dwight to the line 20 times a night if it means he won’t get any of those monster dunks … This week’s NBA Draft hot commodity is DeMar DeRozan, taking over for Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday last week. In our most recent mock draft we had DeRozan going to the Raptors with the 9th pick, but since then he’s reportedly looking real good to teams like Oklahoma City (#3) and Golden State (#7). You’re probably wondering why Nellie would pick another wing player built strictly for offense. So are we … Tyler Hansbrough recently worked out for the Hornets (#21), after which Byron Scott had this to say: “He’s a much better athlete than I think a lot of people give him credit for,” Scott told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “He shoots the ball much better than people give him credit for. So I don’t think it’ll be a big-time transition period to the NBA style.” In our Dime #49 NBA Draft Preview, we break down Psycho T’s pro potential. Pick it up if you see it this weekend … We’re out like Happy Kobe …


TOPICS#DWIGHT HOWARD#KOBE BRYANT
TAGSDEMAR DEROZANDennis ScottHEDO TURKOGLUJrue Holidaykevin mchaleMARCIN GORTATRAFER ALSTONRASHARD LEWISSmackspike leeSTAN VAN GUNDYTIGER WOODSTYLER HANSBROUGHTYREKE EVANS

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