I think it would be a major understatement to say that the Magic are frustrated. They almost caved in game one, lost on a buzzer beater in game 4, and collapsed last night. So now their best player is calling out their coach.
First he's calling for the ball more.
“You’ve got a dominant player,” Howard pleaded late Tuesday night. “Let him be dominant.”
“I have to get the ball,” Howard said. “I don’t think you are going to win a lot of games when your post player only gets 10 shots. It’s tough to get yourself going and get a lot of shots without a lot of touches. We have to get better with that.”
I can understand the best player on a team wanting the ball more, but to make the case publicly is a slam on the coach and undermines his authority.
But it didn't stop there. Dwight questioned Stan Van Gundy's handling of the game.
“The coaches have to recognize what’s working on the floor and stick with it,” he said. “When you’re in a situation where guys got it going, you know everybody’s moving the ball and the energy is up, you have to stick with … what works.”
That is a direct and very public shot at the coaching staff and Van Gundy in particular. That can't be good for them.
Dwight is taking a major gamble making these statements. He's hoping that the coaching staff will hear his plea and that the rest of his team will rally around him (even if it is at the expense of the coach). He seems to be trying to inspire his team when the chips are down.
Personally I think it is a misguided attempt that will ultimately backfire with a fractured lockerroom and major question marks headed into the offseason. Which would be just fine with me, but the Celtics still need to go out and win one more game. They have to take advantage of this situation and knock the Magic out when they are staggering.
Stan Van Gundy just got a vote of no-confidence from his best player. That's bad for them, good for us. Hopefully the Celtics can take advantage.