With Dwight Howard and Mickael Pietrus taking the night off, the Orlando Magic took care of business against a Houston Rockets team missing Tracy McGrady, Shane Battier and Luis Scola (and Yao Ming, too, if you want to be like that). As always, I’m not going to analyze these preseason games for more than they’re worth and instead provide some quick thoughts from the game.
The star of the night was Marcin Gortat, who provided a very small validation of Otis Smith’s decision to match Dallas’ offer for the big man. Granted, it was a preseason game and he spent a big portion of his minutes playing against a very undermanned frontcourt of David Andersen and Joey Dorsey, but his 14 rebounds and six blocks can’t be ignored. Those are big time numbers in the NBA, no matter the circumstance.
Ah, it’s basketball season again. Stan Van Gundy: “I thought we played the game okay offensively, but to me it’s all about defense that’s got to get us through and I was just very disappointed with that. … There’s going to be mistakes, that’s going to happen, as everybody is getting on the same page so a lot of it is repetition and learning but that should not detract from the intensity and the commitment and what I saw right now is a lack of determination. I don’t mean it’s awful, I’m not going on a rant. I’ve been happy with this team, they’ve worked hard. I know there’s a little bit of fatigue right now, I understand all of that, but I still just don’t sense right now that people truly have a commitment to being a great defensive team and that’s the main adjustment that needs to take place is our defensive mentality.
Weird seeing Trevor Ariza in a Rockets uniform. It’s hard to believe a player of his caliber can be playing on his fourth team at age 24.
Van Gundy also mentioned in the post-game press conference that he was pleased with Brandon Bass’ offense but not his defense. Bass has been great offensively, and he went 6-for-6 from the field on Friday night. But he’s certainly blending in on defense.
Carter made an effort to be more assertive on offense, firing up 19 field goals and hitting 1-of-7 3-pointers.
It’s still too way, way too early to make any conclusions about this team, but here’s what I see: Jameer Nelson is playing like he did in the first part of last season, it’s going to be hard to keep Ryan Anderson off the floor, Bass was a solid signing and it’s hard to choose between Jason Williams and Anthony Johnson at this juncture.