NBA Notebook: Magic needs players
The NBA notebook …
ORLANDO, Fla. ó With Rafer Alston suspended and Jameer Nelson already injured, the Orlando Magic are running out of point guards.
The NBA suspended Alston one game Thursday for slapping Eddie House in the back of the head, leaving the team in the hands of 34-year-old Anthony Johnson and seldom-used Tyronn Lue for Friday’s Game 3 against the Boston Celtics in their Eastern Conference semifinal.
Alston contended afterward that House goaded him into the play. A Magic spokesman said Alston was not planning to comment until Friday’s morning shootaround.
Physical play has frustrated the Magic throughout the playoffs and ballooned into a series of foolish retaliations, a formula the Celtics look to continue as the series shifts to Orlando tied.
Dwight Howard lost his cool and elbowed Samuel Dalembert in the head to draw a suspension for Game 6 of their first-round series against Philadelphia ó but Orlando still managed to win. Hedo Turkoglu was ejected in Game 6 for an incident with Dalembert, and the usually calm J.J. Redick was tossed Wednesday against Boston for arguing with officials after he fouled out.
“It is not an easy thing to raise your intensity level and keep your composure and emotions under control,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “But it is going to take both of those for us to win this series.”
Lue will likely back up Johnson and the Magic will need them to play well after being dominated by Boston’s Rajon Rondo in Game 2.
Starting shooting guard Courtney Lee missed the first two games recovering from a fractured sinus. He began practicing with a mask on Wednesday, but his playing status remains uncertain. Redick, who has 27 points through the first two games in Lee’s place, has held his own against Ray Allen and been one of the few bright spots for Orlando.
NEW YORK ó The Los Angeles Lakers won’t have Derek Fisher for Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal series, but Kobe Bryant will be in the lineup because the elbow he threw at Ron Artest landed just low enough.
Fisher and Orlando’s Rafer Alston were both suspended one game by the NBA on Thursday for separate incidents in playoff games the previous night. The league also assessed Bryant a flagrant foul one penalty for elbowing Artest during the second half of the Lakers’ testy victory over the Houston Rockets.However, Bryant was not suspended because the league ruled he elbowed Artest in the chest area. Had it been above the shoulders ó and Artest said it was his neck ó the Lakers All-Star likely would have been banned from the arena Friday.
DALLAS ó Mavericks All-Star Dirk Nowitzki offered no explanation Thursday about the arrest of a woman at his home, saying only that he is having personal troubles now.
When asked about his relationship with 37-year-old Cristal Taylor, who was arrested on a probation violation and theft of services warrants Wednesday, Nowitzki declined comment.
“It’s pretty obvious that I’m going through a tough time in my personal life right now, but like I always have, I want to kind of keep my private life private,” he said.