The Cavs and the Nuggets are awaiting an opposing team to play for their respective conference finals. Boston leads Orlando 3-2 and appears to control the momentum in this series, while the Magic are unraveling quickly. Glen Davis' game winning shot to tie the series at 2-2 in game 4, marks this momentum swing. In game 5, the Celtics finished the game with a 17-3 run. The Magic helped the Celtics run, changing their free play style to conservative in attmept to protect their lead, rather than do the things that allowed them to hold the lead for most of the game.
Dwight Howard publicly rebuked head coach Stan Van Gundy for Orlando's inability to close the game saying, "You have a dominant player (referring to himself of course), why don't you let him dominate?"
I don't believe Stan Van Gundy is a championship caliber coach. The Ron Jeremy look alike is the NBA coaching version of Mark Cuban, meaning he has no check on his emotions and therefore cannot lead when the stakes get too big. Look at the immature, unsportsman-like behavior of the Mavs fans. (Good examples: Pat Riley, Greg Popavich, Phil Jackson, Larry Brown, or George Karl) Don Nelson is emotional when he needs to be, but he always has a plan and seems to be in control, no matter what happens on the court. Van Gundy does not.
"He's (Van Gundy) is a master of panic," said Shaq during the regular season when the Orlando head coach made an unnecessarily big deal of Shaq Daddy of flopping.
Despite my lack of faith in Van Gundy as a high pressure playoff leader, Dwight Howard is equally guilty for the Magic not getting it done in crunch time. Sure, Van Gundy's play calling and substituting could have been better, but if you're a dominant player, that shouldn't matter. Back your way into the post and put up your hand like you mean business. Get in your team's faces and demand they throw the ball in the post. (See: Tim Duncan, Shaq, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olijawon, Charles Barkley) Jordan, Kobe, and LeBron will have the ball when it matters, no questions, all you have to do is look in their eyes. Howard is physically dominant, but still needs to develop his leadership skills. If your team won't feed the post because they don't want you on the FT line, you're not a leader. If you blame your coach for "not allowing" you to dominate, you are not a leader. Grow up Dwight. The Magic are not ready or deserving of a Conference finals series. At least it will save the embarrassment of getting swept by the Cavs...Congrats Boston.
I think the Lakers butts are still partially on fire from game 4, as they let the 'Yao-less' Rockets humiliate them, prompting Magic Johnson to say their performance was "an embarrassment to the Lakers organization." Well, let's see you do it Kobe, I mean Lakers. This team is not motivated every game and has inconsistent bench play. Good luck playing a the Nuggets who remind me of a higher scoring Detroit Pistons of 2004. Actually, good luck getting past the Rockets to get there.