Some impressions from this week's preseason games
The number that sticks out to everyone — and has perhaps thrown a splash of fuel to the fire in the disagreement between a certain NBA blogger and Kevin Durant – is the +48 next to Mickael Pietrus’ name from last night. I’ve never seen a single-game +/- that high (or that low). Somebody do some research and see if that’s a record (even if it is preseason).
Ryan Anderson continues to make a push for starting minutes while Rashard Lewis is suspended, scoring 22 points on 62.5 eFG% against New Orleans. He held his own on the defensive end, as well. Stan Van Gundy has alluded to the possibility of Anderson starting several times, and that notion has been generally met with half smiles and empty nods by whoever he was talking to. But it’s becoming real.
And to some commenters who were comparing Anderson to Hedo Turkoglu: no. He is nothing like Turkoglu, other than they’re both fair-skinned and can shoot 3s. Turk plays on the perimeter and is a ball-handler — Anderson is a big man. There won’t be any pick and rolls with Anderson handling the ball, and you won’t ever see Anderson bringing the ball up as a point-forward. Anderson is a 4 or a 5, and that’s it.
What is it about the Magic and the Hornets that makes these games so lop-sided? The Magic enjoyed a 30-point halftime lead and beat the Hornets 88-68 last Christmas, then the Hornets ripped the Magic (sans Jameer Nelson and before Rafer Alston) 117-85 in February. If you’re attending a Hornets-Magic game anytime soon, feel free to make early dinner plans because you might be leaving at halftime.
Pietrus was unconscious from the floor on Tuesday, by the way, hitting 5-of-6 from deep.
The Magic absolutely smoked the Hornets on the boards, holding a 44-25 rebounding advantage. But to be fair, Emeka Okafor and Ike Diogu weren’t playing for New Orleans.
Orlando’s starting lineup of Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, Ryan Anderson and Dwight Howard may not be their best lineup, but it’s probably the most fun. That’s an incredibly tough lineup to defend. But, of course, it’s also a tough lineup to defend with.
You may have noticed there weren’t recaps for the Magic’s two latest preseason games. That’s because I had real work during Monday’s game — and you can’t record a game that’s not on TV — and there weren’t TV cameras at Tuesday’s game, apparently, as the game wasn’t shown in Orlando or New Orleans. But after reading and talking to several people who were at the games, here are some impressions: