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The Sickest Man in America

By 06.09.09
Courtney Lee (photo. NBA)

Courtney Lee (photo. NBA)

We’re pretty sure that when Courtney Lee visualized his first NBA Finals experience, this wasn’t how he thought he’d make headlines. Getting a heaping serving of blood pudding from Kobe Bryant? That honestly shouldn’t have been a stretch to see coming. But missing the biggest shot of his life and being called “The Next Nick Anderson for all the wrong reasons? That’s tough. In the aftermath of Lee blowing Orlando’s best chance at winning Game 2 the other night, opinions in the Dime office were split: Some of us gave the rookie the benefit of the doubt, considering the pressure-packed situation and the fact that the layup wasn’t as easy as it might have looked; others took the hard stance, believing that any NBA player should make that shot. Which side do you fall on? … One thing should be clear, though: Neither Courtney Lee or Nick Anderson should take sole responsibility for losing the games for which they’ve become infamous. Back in Game 1 of the ’95 Finals, Orlando blew a 20-point lead before Nick bricked those four free throws. On Sunday, the Magic had plenty of chances (before and after Lee’s miss) to put the Lakers away and just didn’t come through … For his part, Lee has handled the whole thing admirably. After the game he answered every question and admitted he simply messed up, no excuses — unlike the hordes of Magic fans who wanted a goaltending call on Pau Gasol for touching the rim in a way that didn’t impact the shot whatsoever. What happens from this point? This was Lee’s Jackie Smith moment, his “Kobe airballs versus Utah” moment; he can either respond like a champ or let it bother him the rest of his career … Going into Game 3, the Magic are obviously in a must-win situation. Two things they should have going in their favor: Whatever confidence they can take from a close Game 2 in knowing they can play with L.A., and a RIDICULOUSLY hyped crowd. The atmosphere should be crazy tonight (ABC, 9 p.m. EST) … The contract-year status of Lamar Odom, Hedo Turkoglu and Trevor Ariza has been talked about often this postseason. One guy who hasn’t been mentioned as much in that regard is Marcin Gortat. A restricted FA, the Polish Hammer is reportedly on the Knicks’ radar already, and Magic GM Otis Smith admitted he’s not gonna go crazy with the checkbook to keep him. “If someone wants to make him a starter and figures out what’s my breaking point, I’m sure teams will make a run for him,” Smith was quoted in the New York Post. Is anyone else seeing another Jim McIlvaine situation brewing here? … Also out of New York, there’s a rumor that the Knicks are shopping David Lee, and that Detroit is interested in a sign-and-trade. Lee fits rights into the pre-Iverson Pistons identity; he’d basically be a remix of Ben Wallace without the defense, but with all of the rebounding and energy and hustle … Tim Thomas is apparently trying to land on the Celtics this summer. He’s in for a rude awakening when he realizes “Ubuntu” doesn’t translate to “Whatever” … Speaking of dudes constantly moving at half-speed, please tell us you saw Antoine Walker on “Pros vs. Joes” last night. ‘Toine was introduced as “One of the greatest gunners of his generation,” and looked awful for a guy who was actually in the NBA just a few months ago. One of the Joes even cracked on him, saying Walker “looks like a big baby.” (This is especially hilarious considering the Boston Globe just cited an “NBA source” who claimed ‘Toine is in his best shape in years.) Alonzo Mourning and Eddie Jones were also on the episode. ‘Zo looked alright, but Eddie was doing the long-sleeves thing, most likely to hide some flab, and a couple of the Joes were running circles around him … Blake Griffin worked out for the Clippers, and the team brought in 100 season ticket holders to watch. So unless the Clips really are actively trying to piss off their fans — which is still a possibility — it looks like they’re not trading the No. 1 pick … And by the way, have you met Jordan Montgomery? His older brother hit us up yesterday on Facebook about featuring Jordan, the self-proclaimed best 8-year old in the country. Check him out and let us know what you think … … We’re out like KG being in the same practice with Tim Thomas…


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