You knew that this series couldn’t come and go without someone making an issue over Jameer Nelson‘s playing time. Though Rafer Alston didn’t exactly say that he has an issue with how much time Jameer is on the court, he does have a problem with his being on the bench.
This is the second time someone on the Magic has been critical of Stan Van Gundy‘s coaching decisions during the playoffs. Maybe if the Cavs piped up about Mike Brown‘s series-long brain fart, they’d be in the Finals instead.
“I was shocked. I was shocked,” Alston said about spending the fourth quarter on the bench. “It’s tough. You’re thinking Coach will come back to you. The first two games I could understand, but again we were right there to win the game. As a player you would like to have your number called.”
In fact, Rafer wasn’t the only guy surprised.
“It was eye-popping,” one of his teammates said to ESPN’s Chris Broussard. “That’s the politically correct way to say it — eye-popping.”
Doesn’t that reaction feel a bit drastic? It would be “eye-popping” if Phil decided to bench Kobe during the fourth. But to keep Rafer on the bench in favor of Jameer? Not so much.
I think the bigger story is that the Magic are choosing to second-guess their coach’s decision making instead of taking full responsibility for the loss. A championship-caliber team doesn’t air out their coach in the middle of the Finals.
Source: Real GM