Actually, that's an afterthought. First question should be, given one burned timeout and another chance to read L.A.'s defense, how could such an adept passer as Hedo not get the ball inbounds to Lewis?

I'll tell you how: He failed to ball-fake a single time when he should've done it at least twice. That made it relatively uncomplicated for the Lakers to deny, deny, deny.

So, instead, the pass went to Mickael Pietrus, not known for creating and converting a jumper off the dribble or finding an open man, Lewis in the left corner. Hence, a mug shot from 20 feet out.

To Van Gundy's credit, it's not easy losing when your team shoots 17 more free throws. Of course, it helps if you're able to capitalize on the disparity; the Magic botched as many as the Lakers downed. Seven misses happened in the fourth quarter, including two by Howard with 11 seconds to go, up three.

Hey, what do the Magic expect when Nick Anderson introduces them?

Before Paul Westphal thinks I no longer care, congratulations for getting the Kings job. Hopefully, he can use it as a steppingstone to return to the NBA.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: June 15, 2009

News » Van Gundy has cost us a classic series 2009-06-15

Van Gundy has cost us a classic series 2009-06-15

Van Gundy has cost us a classic series 2009-06-15
ORLANDO - The multi-dimensional Magic -- awfully deserving of a seven-game series decided at the buzzer for deposing the Celtics, postponing King James' coronation and turning Kobe into Derek Fisher's caddy -- malfunction so often at critical times, Stan Van Gundy should have to pay to get into Game 5 today . . . scalper's price.

I cannot write it any more delicately than that.

Not after witnessing the Magic mutually mutilate sure success in Game 4 that would've stalemated the Finals at two apiece.

Not after observing one team member after another choke, gag, unravel, apple, fold up along the dotted lines and freeze.

Not after watching Jameer Nelson's baby-blanket coverage of Fisher on his regulation game-tying 3. It was as if he were trying to sell the square footage of a New York City apartment, zaps Clear Channel's Gerry Vaillancourt: "See how much room you have?"

Jeff Van Gundy wasted no time in correctly scolding Nelson for not "crowding" Fisher above the arc, playing him instead for an irrelevant lay-up.

Conversely, ABC's sit-down comic was disinclined to waste his breath attending to the Magic's mistake coach, a noticeably mute effort to absolve his older brother of any blame on the blunder, as if he were an innocent bystander.

Players, referees, the NBA office and anyone else with a tattooed name, rank and serial number are fair game for Jeff Van Gundy to second guess, chew out and mock . . . exempting coaches, especially Stan the Mannequin. Not a disparaging word was heard about a failure to insure someone more arresting than the 5-foot-10 Nelson was guarding Fisher; someone like 6-foot 3 Anthony Johnson (remember him?) or 6-foot-3 Courtney Lee.

And, unless I'm going deaf as well as blind, there also was no mention of the wretched failure to foul Fisher before he took root to shoot.

How many games must be lost before it dawns on players and coaches and commentators in need of canes for the brain that it's more advantageous to put an opponent on the line for two free throws rather than recklessly provide an opportunity to deadbolt matters with a trey?

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