What the Orlando Magic Could Have Learned from the San Antonio Spurs
–Richard III, Shakespeare’s Richard III
The game featured tonight on TNT is more than just two ships passing in the night–it’s a case of mixed up identities.
One team comes in with the best record in the League, its second double digit win streak of the year, and a capable big man surrounded by cut throat shooters and a viable bench.
The other team has slid from the ranks of the contenders to the League’s second tier, its winning identity in shatters, its big man frustrated with the erratic play of his teammates, the whole world wondering if their window has been painted shut.
San Antonio and Orlando are headed in opposite directions, but, strangely, it’s the too easily and frequently dismissed Spurs that appear to be riding up the escalator, while the Magic ride down it, and this should not be. The physics of basketball and age suggest that this Spurs team should be the one looking to rebuild, while the Magic jump out to a 25-3 start, clutch shot after clutch shot. But the grains of sand that should be slipping through Tim Duncan’s decrepit finger tips and landing in the jovial palms of Dwight Howard are instead defying gravity, making Duncan appear like a wizard juggling the cosmos (insert Manu Ginobili).
This meeting of big men should be an abdication of a thrown, of a title, of a crown, but instead, this meeting is another history lesson for the young Dwight Howard and the franchise that rests its hopes on his shoulders. The lesson: windows never shut as easily as the press’ headlines, Vince Carter’s disinterest, Amar’e Stoudemire’s rise, or LeBron James’ virtuosity may lead us to believe. There is always hope, and because of that, a franchise should never panic.
And a game like tonight will go a long way towards demonstrating whether the Magic’s trades for Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, and Gilbert Arenas were calculated maneuvers to wedge open a window with a crowbar or if the franchise just slammed a red brick through a plate glass window in an effort to breathe fresh air.
If they had discussed it with the Spurs, R.C. Buford and Gregg Popovich might have told them that just because everyone thinks the air is fresh doesn’t mean you can live off it.
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