Fratello Telestrator

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Fratello Telestrator

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Gameday Dish: Celtics vs. Magic

Copyright Notice- Copyright 2012 NBAE - Photo by Steve Babineau/NBAE via Getty ImagesThe storied Boston Celtics come to central Florida tonight to take on the Dwight Howard-led Orlando Magic. Coach Doc Rivers’ green & white squad stands at 7-9 at the approximate quarter mark of this condensed NBA season. The veteran group, winners of the 2008 NBA title, has suffered through a five-game losing streak and whispers around the league that it may be time for GM Danny Ainge to dismantle his Hall of Fame core of 14th-year captain Paul Pierce, 16th-year shooting guard Ray Allen and 17th-year forward Kevin Garnett.

However, the Beantown Ballers have won three of their last four contests, including Monday’s obliteration of the Magic in Massachusetts by the remarkable score of 87-56. The 56 points and 24.6% field goal percentage that Orlando managed three nights ago represent franchise-record lows in both categories. The Celtics accomplished this 48-minute defensive coup without starters Ray Allen (left ankle) and Rajon Rondo (right wrist), who will both miss tonight’s rematch.

Copyright Notice- Copyright 2012 NBAE - Photo by Steve Babineau/NBAE via Getty ImagesThis game marks the return of 7th-year forward Brandon Bass to O-Town. Bass was traded to Boston in the offseason for fellow LSU Tiger Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis and guard Von Wafer. So far this season Bass (who ranks fifth in court time on the roster with 28.3 minutes per game) has been a productive contributor off the C’s bench with 11.9 ppg and 6.5 rpg. Bass played 34 minutes and had 19 points and 8 boards against his old team on Monday.

Coach Stan Van Gundy’s guys last played on Tuesday night at Indiana and came away victorious, 102-83.  In the win, All-World center Dwight Howard became the Magic’s all-time leading scorer, passing Nick Anderson who played for Orlando from 1989-1999. Superman has scored 10,657 points in his career.

The 26-year-old, 8th-year superstar Howard has been prognostication and prediction topic numero uno ever since he asked for a trade prior to the start of the season. Despite the added stress of the swelling relocation rumors surrounding their First-Team All-NBA big man (who can opt out of his current deal with Orlando when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer), the Magic sit only a half game behind the Heat in the Southeast Division at 12-5.

Marv and I will have courtside seats to the O-Town showdown when TNT presents live coverage of the Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic tonight at 8:00 PM EST.

Mike Looks Back

I stumbled upon this blast from the past on the JMU Sports Blog. The Dukes team photo was taken back when I was Lou Campanelli’s assistant coach at James Madison University in the early seventies.

University of Iowa assistant basketball coach Sherman Dillard is in the picture standing next to Coach Campanelli. Sherman played at the guard position and was our best player. The Academic All-American was also a star off the court and graduated magna cum laude. Sherman went on to carve out a successful career coaching college ball and was the head men’s basketball coach at Indiana State and James Madison, where he was named CAA Coach of the Year in 2000.

Sherman was recruiting in the Cleveland area a couple months ago so we had an opportunity to grab dinner together and catch up. We both look a little older now, but Sherman remains an outstanding human being and one of my all-time favorite people.

Fratello’s Fantasy Pick: Mo Williams

Ninth-year, 6-1 All-Star PG Maurice “Mo” Williams has delivered off the bench for the Clippers in the absence of top gun Chris Paul, who’s been sidelined for five straight games with a strained left hamstring. Williams scored 25+ points in his last three consecutive games.

Williams added 26 big ones to the scoreboard during last week’s thrilling 91-89 win over the reigning NBA World Champion Dallas Mavericks. Though his 25-point contribution wasn’t enough to lift L.A. to another W in Friday’s nail-biter against the Timberwolves, Williams sank another 26 points in Sunday’s solid 103-91 victory over the Raptors.

When the Cavaliers acquired Williams from the Bucks in 2008, he started at the point guard position alongside LeBron James. “Mo Gotti” put up some big numbers at the end of Cleveland’s heyday and was integral in helping his teammates achieve a franchise-best, league-leading 66–16 record in 2008–09 and top the standings again in the 2009-10 season with 61 wins.

On February 24, 2011, Williams was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers along with Jamario Williamson in exchange for Baron Davis and a first round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. But Williams had to take a backseat after the arrival of Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups in December. Williams loves to play, so I’m sure it’s been a challenge for him to adjust to his new role of backup point guard.

Nevertheless, the veteran reserve is doing his part to help the Clips contend this season. Williams is averaging 14.5 ppg in 27 minutes and boasts a 91.3% shooting percentage from the free throw line. He also pulls down a couple rebounds and dishes out some dimes. It’s hard to say how long Williams’ double digit hot streak will last, but Coach Vinny Del Negro will certainly continue to be cautious about returning Paul to the lineup and will limit his minutes until he’s 100%.

The Clippers play three games this week starting with a crosstown showdown against the Lakers on Wednesday the 25th at 10:30 PM ET.