Man, how big is that third-quarter clock foulup from Game 2 now, Magic fans? Rashard Lewis continued to defy his skeptics by throwing down 33 points Wednesday night in Orlando's win against Detroit, putting the series at 2-1, but it could easily be 2-1 Orlando right now, with Game 4 waiting for them at home and Chauncey Billups possibly watching in street clothes.
It was Lewis' biggest scoring output of his playoff career, and he's now averaging 21 points and 7.5 rebounds in the playoffs. Not bad, Shard, not bad at all.
With the exception of last night, Lewis has not been good in the playoffs. He's scoring, but he is wildly inefficient.
In the Toronto series, he shot 43% from the floor and a miserable 25% from 3-point range.
Detroit game 1: 9 for 20, including 0 for 4 on 3-pointers.
Detroit game 2: 6 for 21, including 2 for 8 on 3-pointers.
That means in the first two games of this series, he shot under 37% from the floor and under 17% from behind the arc.
Yes, but look at the last two games of the Toronto series, when he averaged 13 boards and about 22 points. His outside shot has been bad throughout the playoffs, and nobody will argue that last night's game was what we can expect for the rest of the playoffs - nobody shoots 80% from 3's. But if Rashard can continue to routinely get 4 assists, 7 boards, and 20 points, I think he'll give Orlando exactly what they need.
Don't forget, also, that he has a 2:1 assist to turnover ratio, and has grabbed 8 steals - more than just about any other PF in the playoffs. Of course, the flip side is he doesn't block any shots, especially for a PF, and he looked lousy in the closing minutes of game two when he hesitated at the top of the key in the dying minutes.
I'm not trying to say he's the next Tim Duncan at PF for Orlando, but he had a great game last night, and overall his numbers are certainly above average, with the exception of the 3-point shooting. If Rashard (big IF) can continue to hit 3's at a 35-40% clip for the rest of the playoffs, I think this year will be a success for him.
Total points can be misleading -- when you have as many shots as points, you're not having a great night, even if you've scored 20.
The reason that's bad is that all those missed shots are missed opportunities: Shots that a more efficient shooter could be taking, and with a better chance of making them.
I was about to add "I'd rather have Turkoglu taking those shots," but then I checked his stats, and they're no better.
Your point about assist-to-turnover and steals is a good one.
At any rate I just don't see Rashard adding up to be a max-contract player. He wasn't one here (in Seattle), and hasn't done much to suggest he deserves to be one in Orlando. I was sorry to see him go, but glad the Sonics refused to pay him max money.
Totally agree - he's not a max player. But I think people have taken the money Orlando is paying him and are using it as a club to bash Rashard's game. Of course it was silly for Orlando to give Shard a max deal - he's not a #1 player and never has been. I will not even begin to attempt to defend that decision.
But let's evaluate him as he is, without money as a factor - is he helping or hurting the Magic now? He's definitely helping them, and while he's had a couple of atrocious shooting games so far, he's made up for that by posting strong numbers in other aspects of his game, and now, maybe, his shooting is perhaps turning around.
I think this Detroit series will be a good litmus test for Rashard. If Game 3 is the only one where he asserts himself offensively, and the rest of the series he puts up those awful, 4-for-14 type nights with 1-for-7 from 3-point range, then he's hurting the team. But if he gives Orlando a couple more nights along the lines of 20/7/4 or something like that, I think he's a key reason for their success.
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