A look at Stan Van Gundy’s biggest decisions in Game 4

Stan Van Gundy made several controversial decisions in Thursday night’s loss to the Lakers. Here’s a look at the three biggest second-guesses from that contest. 1. Sitting Rafer Alston the last 18 minutes of the game in favor of Jameer Nelson. Stan Van Gundy’s rationale: “I thought we had a very, very bad third quarter, and then it wasn’t so much one guy over the other, it was just we had a unit in the fourth quarter that I thought was playing real well. And then you get down to the point where Rafer hasn’t played in 10 or 12 minutes. I thought it would be hard to bring him back. Jameer wasn’t doing a whole lot but he wasn’t hurting us at all. The unit had played pretty well, so that’s why I stayed with it.” My take: I don’t think this decision hurt the Magic as much as some other people seem to think. It’s easy to question when the Magic lose, sure. But does Rafer Alston’s presence certainly make a difference on the floor? Alston had scored 11 points in the first three quarters, but he missed eight shots. Leaving Jameer in there allowed the other four guys to get more shots. Jameer’s main interest was staying out of the way offensively. 2. Choosing to not foul Derek Fisher when he hit the game-tying 3-pointer in the final seconds. There were 11 seconds when the possession began. Stan Van Gundy’s rationale: “We thought 11 seconds was too early, especially the way we were shooting free throws tonight. So we thought it was too early. … I regret it now, but only in retrospect. I mean, normally to me 11 is too early. You foul, they make two free throws, you cut it to one. You’re still at six or seven seconds.” My take: I hate to say it, but I’m with SVG on this one. Fouling with that much time on the clock is too risky, especially with the way Orlando was missing free throws. And timing the foul without allowing Fisher to shoot is tricky. Here’s my main problem with this play: the Magic were in full-court press. Why were they defending all the way down the floor? It put Nelson in a situation where he was on an island against Fisher, who was running full speed. They should’ve packed it in for solid, half-court defense. 3. Playing Courtney Lee 7 minutes all night, and sitting Hedo Turkoglu in the fourth quarter. Stan Van Gundy’s rationale: No explanation. My take: I understand SVG doesn’t like to play rookies, but Courtney Lee isn’t prone to rookie mistakes and he’s the team’s best perimeter defender. The Magic couldn’t have used Lee on either of Fisher’s 3-pointers? Clearly, Van Gundy is favoring the experience of Redick and Pietrus by not playing Lee. At the same time, though, Van Gundy downplayed any significance of experience when questioned after the game. “That had nothing to do with any of it,” Van Gundy said. “That’s what I’ve got to say about that. Nothing.” Well, which way do you want it? Does experience matter or doesn’t it? Because I don’t see why else Lee would only play seven minutes.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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