Much to the surprise of everyone who doesn't bleed green, the Orlando Magic have yet to win a game in their Eastern Conference finals matchup with the Boston Celtics. After an 8-0 start to the postseason that had the team considering a playoffs sweep, the Magic are down two games and headed to Boston, and things aren't looking too good.
Of all the things that have gone wrong for the Magic, Rashard Lewis'(notes) poor play is perhaps the worst. To complicate matters, Lewis is also the Magic's highest-paid player. It's a double-edged sword to completely butcher a metaphor. However, as the Orlando Sentinel's Josh Robbins reports, Stan Van Gundy is taking most of the blame for Lewis' struggles.
With Rashard Lewis struggling to score points so far in the Eastern Conference Finals, Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy is vowing to get the Magic's 3-point threat more involved in the offense.
"They are staying home on him," Van Gundy said. "It's incumbent on me as far as Rashard. I have to find a way to get him involved. It's not that he's playing badly."
Not so fast, Stanley. While it's certainly commendable for the coach to shield blame from a player, SVG is kind of wrong about that "playing badly" part. Because Rashard Lewis is definitely playing badly.
In the first two games of the series, Lewis has played a little more than 83 minutes. Based on his per-minute stats from the regular season, you'd expect about 35 points and 12 rebounds for that amount of tick. Lewis has fallen a little short of that — he's scored 11 points and grabbed 11 boards in the two games. That's not good.
Furthermore, the normally dead-on Lewis has made just 25 percent of his shots thus far. And as you can see by his shot chart, in typical Lewis fashion he's been hesitant to mix things up inside, preferring to hang out by the perimeter and chuck threes. Once again, not good.
In an effort to not be total downers about Rashard Lewis, since he is probably already sad about his play, we should give him some credit for not missing a free throw yet this series. Sure he's only 2-for-2, but still 100 percent is 100 percent. Also, the goatee is really looking good.
So yes, Stan Van Gundy should find a way to get Rashard Lewis more involved, but he should also realize that it's not all his fault. It's not his fault. It's not his fault.