Rashard Lewis Battling Viral Infection

Rashard Lewis has been a complete no-show through four games of the Eastern Conference Finals.  To say Orlandos highest paid player has been horrible would be an understatement.  Through four games, Lewis is 29% shooting overall and 18% from beyond the arc.  He has averaged 7.0 points, a number that would be lower if not for his 13-point performance in Game 4 — his best of the series.  The lock-down defense being played by the Celtics hasn’t helped, but Lewis has been especially bad.

Blogs, newspapers, radio stations, and any other media outlets that deal with sports have crucified Lewis non-stop for over a week.  Apparently he has a reason for his poor play — a seemingly good one at that.  The forward disclosed today that he has been sick throughout the entire series with a viral infection.  Here’s what the Magic superstar had to say about being under the weather:

Overall it effects you. I’ve been throwing up. I haven’t been at full strength. I’ve been feeling weak, my legs been feeling weak. I find myself getting tired very fast in the first quarter. You know, when you can’t hold food down you have no energy in your body to go out there and perform. Regular season, I probably would have sat out. Not to make no excuses, it is the playoffs. You just got to go out there and give it 110 percent. It’s the playoffs. I’ve got to drag myself out there if anything.

Nobody likes a cry-baby, and that’s probably why Lewis waited so long to share this with the public.  However, I’m not sure it would have hurt his image to come out with it a while ago. It’s a pretty legit excuse, and disclosing it before you stink out the building for four straight games wouldn’t be a bad idea in my opinion.  Regardless, he chose to wait until the day of Game 5 to let people know.  We’ll have to wait and see how it affects the way Stan Van Gundy uses him — if at all.

Magic’s Rashard Lewis playing with viral infection [AP/Yahoo! Sports]
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Stat Credit: NBA.com

Jackson Tries to Squash Rumors, Still Leaves Future a Mystery

We all know by now that Phil Jackson is an absolute master of mind games.  Most will argue that it’s one of the main contributing factors to the success he’s had throughout his career.  The most likely scenario for Jackson’s future is that he either continues to coach the Lakers, or retires.  Last season, he told Magic Johnson that he had “one more year after this one with the Lakers.”  Even then, he chose to say “with the Lakers”, which doesn’t exactly close the door on the possibility him coaching another team.

With the LeBron James frenzy in full-force, rumors have run wild that Jackson may be interested in reuniting with the Chicago Bulls next season — one of LeBron’s most likely landing spots.  The chatter is even more intriguing when you consider the rumors that Jackson would have to take a 60% pay cut (he’s making $12 million this season) if he wants to continue to coach the Lakers for another season.  Last night, before LA’s Game 4 Western Conference Finals loss to the Phoenix Suns, Jackson remained emphatic that he is not interested in coaching the Bulls next season:

I have no, at all, desire to go back to Chicago and coach the Bulls.”

Sounds pretty direct, right?  Not exactly.  In order to press him further, a reporter came up with a clever request when he said, “You can end all this talk, any distraction and all these rumors — just say I’ll either be with the Lakers next year, or I’ll be home. Go ahead.”  Of course, the Zen Master couldn’t allow it to be that simple, and gave yet another open-ended response:

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Lou Amundson Serviced by Trainer After Game 4 Win

It wasn’t quite as bad as the Visanthe Shiancoe wardrobe malfunction after a Vikings game on FOX TV nor Shannon Brown’s bare butt on FSN, but TNT still gave us quite the visual on Tuesday night. After Game 4 in Phoenix between the Suns and the Lakers, TNT played a clip of Suns coach Alvin Gentry giving a postgame speech to his team. It was difficult to pay attention to what Gentry was saying because of the image in the background. Backup center Lou Amundson was being treated by a trainer and it resulted in these curious pictures:

I’m guessing the Suns won’t be happy to see these pictures make the internet and they’ll probably let TNT know about it. Hopefully that will mark the end of television cameras in the locker room for pre and post game coach’s speeches; they have no business being there in the first place for what should be private moments between a coach and his players.

Suns Fans Want to Deport Los Lakers

The playoffs are always a time when fan interest is at its highest and rivalries are most heated. Celtics fans expressed their feelings about the Cavs by sporting LeBron James “Nope” shirts — a takeoff on President Obama’s Hope poster. Lakers fans meanwhile were too cool to wear shirts handed out to all customers. Suns fans? Well they hit below the belt. A pair of Suns fans sitting behind the Lakers bench were wearing these “Deport Los Lakers” shirts as a reference to Arizona’s new immigration law.

I’m eagerly awaiting Vanessa Bryant’s response on Thursday night in Los Angeles. As for Phil Jackson? I’m guessing he gave it a chuckle.

Jameer Nelson Smacks Teammate

A friend just directed my attention to a great video he came across on YouTube.  There’s such a thing as getting caught up in the moment during an intense part of a game or getting carried away with your celebrating, but at what point does a teammate get pissed off?  I understand Jameer Nelson is a starter and one of the most important players on the Orlando Magic, but does that mean he gets to smack the bench players in the mouth when he gets excited?  Fast forward to about the 50-second mark in this video if you’re interested in seeing Jameer Nelson smack his own teammate in the mouth after hitting back-to-back three pointers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

The best part is Nelson just carries on like he didn’t even do it.  No extension of the hand to indicate it was a mistake.  No “my bad” type moment between teammates.  It seems as though he’s either too in the zone to realize, or he’s taking the stance of, “I’m a superstar, you’re a bench player, you got smacked in the mouth — deal with it.”  The shots were no question huge, and they helped prevent the Magic from being swept.  While I’m sure he was going for the hand and missed, would it kill him to acknowledge that he just clubbed his own teammate? I know, I don’t understand what it’s like to hit a big three in an NBA game. In any event, this is one of those clips I find myself watching over and over again.

Video Credit: YouTube user rudythetech

Jason Williams Spazzes on Reporters

If Orlando Magic guard Jason Williams took chasing down loose balls half as seriously as he takes reporters crowding his space, he may have prevented Rajon Rondo from making him look like a fool during Game 3.  I’m sure he was plenty frustrated after the Celtics embarrassed he and his team on Saturday night, and I guess you could say it showed.  What really managed to shine through is how much of a white trash thug Williams is.  Check out the video of Jason Williams going off on reporters after Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, courtesy of Sports by Brooks.

Note to Jason Williams: Try not to let opposing players make you look like an idiot during a playoff game, and reporters will have no desire to ask you any questions.  You certainly aren’t going to affect the outcome of a game in such a positive way that writers and reporters will be itching to question you after it.

“Don’t get smart, Buzz”?  Or else what? I almost feel bad for Matt Barnes for having a locker next to this guy after seeing this.

Can We Plz Get Randy Moss In Here To Translate? [SPORTSbyBROOKS]

Celtics Are Playing ‘No Mas’ Defense

In sports, the question is often asked after a game whether one team won it or the other team lost it. The negative viewpoint through which we see the world often leads us to point out flaws and say teams lost games more frequently than they win them. Because there’s no right or wrong answer to this question, I’ve coined the term “sportadox” to explain the puzzling nature of the issue. This weeks sportadox concerns the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics knocked the Cavaliers out of the playoffs in six games, frustrating them to the point that the fans booed the poor effort in Game 5 and I criticized them for quitting in Game 6. Much of the focus was on the ways the Cavs screwed up. Here’s a sample of what people were saying bout the Cavs: they didn’t have enough heart, they played the wrong personnel, they quit, LeBron isn’t a winner — there were tons of proposals for why the Cavs lost to the Celtics. The last explanation for most people was that the Celtics were simply a better team that played stellar defense, making the Cavs look inept and confused. This is a point Stan Van Gundy noted and lamented because it was overlooked by most of the fans and media.

A week later and it’s Van Gundy’s Magic team getting the treatment from Boston’s suffocating defense. In Game 1, Orlando struggled mightily to get to the basket and the only player they could only rely on to get decent shots was Vince Carter. In Game 2, Dwight Howard played well but the Magic couldn’t make a shot from the outside. In Game 3, Orlando was embarrassed every bit as badly as Cleveland was by the Boston Celtics. The same things that were said about the Cavs after the Eastern Conference Semis are now being said about the Magic: they don’t have any heart, they’re not playing with passion, they’re not going with the right matchups, and they’re being out-coached. Before another breath or word is wasted on criticizing the Magic and trying to discover what’s wrong, allow me to clue you in: the Boston Celtics are that much better than both the Cavs and Magic.

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