Tuesday, April 29

How Ya Like Me Now?

You probably noticed the Magic knocked off the Raptors last night, propelling them to the franchise’s first series victory in more than a decade.

Actually, come to think of it, you probably didn’t notice. With eight simultaneous playoff series it is difficult to focus upon all of them, and such anonymous clashes as Orlando-Toronto always seem to fade away.

The only news emanating from the series involves Dwight Howard, who lived up to his Superman nickname by rattling off three separate 20-20 performances in a command performance worthy of Moses Malone. In addition, Jameer Nelson leapt from mediocrity to acclaim, with one reporter going so far as to dub him the “story of the series.”

Not surprisingly, Rashard Lewis was the invisible man. Since readers here are Sonics fans, and since Lewis plied his trade here for one of the longest tenures in team history, I thought you’d be interested to see how Rashard did for his new team.

After a slow start in the first three games, Lewis exploded in the final two, posting 27 points and 18 rebounds in a game four win followed by 18 and 13 in the finale.

It was the rebounding which was most surprising; Lewis only made it to double figures twice all year in rebounds, so the fact he equaled that number in consecutive games is impressive.

Equally impressive are his +/- figures. Shown by game:

Game 1: +19
Game 2: +11
Game 3: -17
Game 4: +14
Game 5: +12

In a series Orlando won by a combined margin of 19 points, Lewis finished at plus 39, a difference of 20 points. Considering Lewis averaged 42 minutes a night, that’s a considerable difference.

Admittedly, Rashard’s outside shot was less than impressive, with a 42% success rate from the field, and his 0-for-9 performance from long distance in game two certainly didn’t help the cause.

Still, Lewis’ team prevailed and he played a key role on it. Granted, it’s only one playoff series, and the Magic weren’t exactly matched up against the 1983 Sixers, but a playoff win is a playoff win.

So, to those critics of Rashard, who say he 1) can’t rebound and 2) can’t play in the clutch, consider this: He just did both.


Anonymous said...

I am happy for Rashard.

Gabe said...

Still not a 90 million or whatever guy. But we always knew that Rashard was talented enough to be an all-star all the time-- he's just a head tripper. Love the headtrippers-- I will not be surprised the day that Rashard dominates a game in the finals. He's always been a future great player. He's just been shy. As a Sonic he would make a sick offensive rebound play to score

I hope he does well. He's our boy. The Magic are going further than people think.

Anonymous said...

The problem is the contract, like you said. If Rashard was earning $10 mil. a year, no one would be bad-mouthing him, but because Orlando went nuts to sign him, Rashard gets abuse.

As always, he is neither as bad as many experts are making him out to be, nor as good as we wished he would be. He's somewhere right in the middle. Still, every once in a while, he's capable of taking over and putting up some sick numbers.