Posted by Melanie Curtsinger, Wednesday, May 26, 2010, 2 PM
Nelson & Howard: It Takes Two
“It takes two to make a thing go right… It takes two to make it out of sight.”
Who knew Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock were so wise. (By the way, I know you’re singing that tune in your head right now, admit it!)
These guys may not have been rapping about basketball when they came up with this little ditty back in 1988, but these lyrics epitomize the Orlando Magic’s season right now 22 years later. Even furthermore, this song takes on a whole new meaning when applied to the team’s two postseason stars, Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard.
Magic General Manager Otis Smith and I have talked numerous times about how Nelson is really the heart and soul of this team. He is an undisputed leader in the locker room, has a great feel out on the court and, more than anything, has more fire and willpower in his little body than just about anyone I have ever watched. Need proof? How about when he forced Paul Pierce to lose control of the ball on the Celtics’ last possession in Game 4 that ran the clock out and sent the game to OT? Oh, and then there were the deadly back-to-back 3–pointers that he drained, one of which was banked in, that put the Magic up by six points in the extra session. Not only were those treys monumental because they essentially provided the dagger we needed to silence the Celtics (and their crowd), but they also did something else that has quite possibly never been done before – they left me speechless (just ask my friends Jackie and Kristen who were watching Game 4 with me – that’s not an easy task to do).
And while Nelson provided the dagger, teammate Howard provided the swagger, pouring in 32 points (on 68 percent shooting), grabbing 16 rebounds and blocking four shots in over 43 minutes of play. When it was all said and done, the dynamic duo finished the night with a staggering 55 points, 21 rebounds and nine assists. Which leads me to my next point – when these two play at that high of a level, I can guarantee you one thing: this team has a great shot to win any game against any opponent. For instance, of Howard’s nine games this year when he failed to score in double figures, four of those were losses. And out of the 23 times Orlando was defeated this year, only five of those saw Nelson dish out more than six assists, and he only scored 15-or-more points in six of those 23 contests.
Need more proof? A little look through the team’s stats this year tells an even bigger story – Howard averaged 2.3 more points per game in wins, shot over 62 percent from the field in wins (compared to 58 in losses), and, as he demonstrated in Game 4, Nelson shot 42 percent from the 3-point line this season when the Magic were victors compared to only 28 percent when they ended the game in the loss column.
So call them whatever you want – co-captains, Superman and Mighty Mouse or even one of their early monikers, “Thunder and Lightning”; but just know that if they are ever going to be described as “NBA Champions,” as Marvin Gaye once said, “It takes two, baby.”
That’s what she said.
E-mail your thoughts to Melanie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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