Latest News, NBA / Jun 12, 2009 / 11:53 am

Rafer Alston “Shocked” Over 4th Quarter Benching

Rafer Alston, Dime #34

Rafer Alston, Dime #34

You knew that this series couldn’t come and go without someone making an issue over Jameer Nelson‘s playing time. Though Rafer Alston didn’t exactly say that he has an issue with how much time Jameer is on the court, he does have a problem with his being on the bench.

This is the second time someone on the Magic has been critical of Stan Van Gundy‘s coaching decisions during the playoffs. Maybe if the Cavs piped up about Mike Brown‘s series-long brain fart, they’d be in the Finals instead.

“I was shocked. I was shocked,” Alston said about spending the fourth quarter on the bench. “It’s tough. You’re thinking Coach will come back to you. The first two games I could understand, but again we were right there to win the game. As a player you would like to have your number called.”

In fact, Rafer wasn’t the only guy surprised.

“It was eye-popping,” one of his teammates said to ESPN’s Chris Broussard. “That’s the politically correct way to say it — eye-popping.”

Doesn’t that reaction feel a bit drastic? It would be “eye-popping” if Phil decided to bench Kobe during the fourth. But to keep Rafer on the bench in favor of Jameer? Not so much.

I think the bigger story is that the Magic are choosing to second-guess their coach’s decision making instead of taking full responsibility for the loss. A championship-caliber team doesn’t air out their coach in the middle of the Finals.

Source: Real GM

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  • that’s whats up

    if Turkoglu or Howard hit even one more of the FIVE MISSED late in the game SVG would be genius for playing Jameer – but, choker’s choke.

  • http://mylakersnation.com Lakers Nation

    The Master of Panic says that experience doesn’t matter . . .well, guess what Mr. Jeremy, it does . . experience is now going to tell you not mess with a team that took you to the finals . . .experience is going to tell you that you once had it good, now it’s going to be all bad.

  • King

    Well skip was playig decent and jameer wasn’t doing a damn thing. My friend who had money on the game kept saying all quarter “why is still in the game”

  • JoeCozi

    Just one of the many choke artist moves Van Gundy pulled out in the 4th….leaving Jameer in way too long…keeping dwight in when he was shooting terrible from the line all game…doubling kobe a thousand feet away from the basket with only 10 seconds left giving the lakers a 4 on 3 advantage…not fouling at half court…having Jameer Nelson in and not a defensive specialists line up in for the last possession…Van Gundy had to line up everything perfect for the Lakers to steal that win….and thats just what Van Gundy did!!!

  • John

    The guy score 20 in game 3 ,them stay on the bench in the 4 in game 4, makes a lot of sense …

  • Rafer Alston…dk

    Wah, I wanna play in the 4th. Wah, Im never gonna be a back up. Wah, my coach is better at impersonating a Mario bros. charachter then coaching. Wah, my center thinks evry thing is cute and funny, WAH

  • Scott

    They’ve been calling him out all playoffs, Dwight started it and his team has followed suit ever since. Van Gundy might as well pack his bags now, his only savior would be to win the series… and if he keeps putting Jameer in for full quarters and letting the Lakers take advantage, well, god bless.

  • karizmatic

    It just reflects the fact the Van Gundy is insecure himself as a coach. In addition, Howard didn’t set a good precedent by throwing SVG under the bus first, leadership reflects attitude.

  • Celts Fan

    Jason Whitlock’s take on this is DEAD ON. Too bad too, we were 11 seconds away from really having a great Finals. Instead, Kobe cruises to #4, probably on Sunday night. Shaq was right, “Master of panic” indeed…


  • http://www.ragingspaniard.com Xavier

    Skiop shouldave played because Jameer didnt do anything to earn his time on the floor.

    With Skip getting most minutes, the Magic beat the Celtics AND Cleveland, you dont fuck with the chemistry that accomplished that.

  • karizmatic

    Actually I meant to say attitude reflects leadership.

  • Dennis Castro

    AK, you should get over the fact that the Cavs lost to the better team. No reason to bring up the Cavs in this post.

    And it is pretty “eye popping” in that Rafer has been killing Fish ever since the series shifted to ORL, and one would think that if something works, that you would continue to exploit it. Considering this is the NBA Finals where everything gets magnified and matchups HAVE to be exploited if you have the advantage, I’d consider it eye popping level. The stakes are that much higher.

  • LakeShow

    Why is everyone hatin on Van Gundy, it doesnt matter who was in the game, these are all pro players right ? Plus the players that were in couldnt hit damn free throws, he should have benched Howard, Turk, and Mr Flagent foul for not making free throws down the stretch !!!

  • karizmatic

    Whitlock is wrong that Orlando is the better team, he’d just rather say that to justify his opinion. The Lakers are the better team. In addition coaching is part of the team as well.

  • isotope

    During the ECF everybody talking about Van Gundy outcoached Mike Brown. Now all of a sudden he is a horrible coach? LOL Nah. He’s not getting outcoached. The Magic are getting outplayed. What if Rafer was in the game at the end of regulation and Fisher still hit the three. Then what? Who do u blame then?

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Rafer and I wish he was still back here in Houston but he aint no Tony Parker. I do understand his gripe though; he wants to play. Every NBA player on the bench at crunch time should feel that way. He feels he’s earned the right to play. And I agree with him. But he aint coach. And we know Van Gundy’s coaching has brought them this far. Put a different coach over this team and they’d be out by the 2nd round. Lets be honest, the Magic players are not THAT good. It wasnt too long ago people thought they overpaid for Raw Lew, Turk was having a down year, Dwight was all blocks, rebounds and personality – no offense. Yet they are in the playoffs. It aint Van Gundy’s fault. He’s the reason they are in the finals.

  • doug

    King your boys an idiot for betting against the lakers,yall gonna learn to respect. Yall didn’t want to give it to Kobe so he took it.Laker Parade 09 on Figueroa Street. Fall back haters.

  • Mike

    I don’t see why all the hate at Van Gundy. This is what, like his 3rd year as a head coach? He is up against probably the most playoff tested team in the league. Nobody thought Orlando was going to get this far. How does a guy greatly exceed expectations and still be considered a choke job? I agree he should have played Skip, but that isn’t why they lost the game.

    Do you think he told his players to miss 5 FTs? Or he told Nelson to back-off of Fisher? If anything, the Magic choked as a team, not because of their coach.

  • ERIC

    Did anyone read some of these quotes by Magic players.. They are talking about “superstar” calls that Kobe is getting.. ARE THEY FLIPPIN OUT OF THEIR MINDS??

    Did they see that Kobe got hacked on his way to the basket several times and got NO calls in the 4th quarter (calls that Wade got every time down the floor in 2006) and the lakers shot NO free throws in the 4th or overtime (until MP smashed Gasol in the back)..

    Magic BLEW the game, CHOKED bigtime, yet they still find a way to make excuses on “favorable” Laker calls when the Lakers got nothing.

    Nice Magic act – Disappearing when it counts…

  • karizmatic

    I agree that it’s not really SVG’s fault, although I really question the decision to play Nelson over Alston. I think I would have gone with ALston in crunch time right now. Nelson isn’t 100% and he hasn’t been playing well enough for me to think he’d really be better than ALston right now. But to blame SVG for his team’s loss at this point is dumb. Like my man (#15) said what if Alston was in the game and made the same mistake? Then people would be saying SVG is a bad coach because he didn’t put Nelson in. What if Fisher doesn’t hit those 3’s? The Phil is the bad coach because he stayed with Fish despite the criticism.

    The fact of the matter is coaches coach, players play the game. The coaches go with the guys they feel will perform and then the players prove them right or wrong. SVG went with his guys and lost, but you can’t say that makes him a terrible coach or that it’s all his fault. It was one of a number of decisions he made during the course of the game that affected the outcome.

  • “I think the bigger story is that the Magic are choosing to second-guess their coach’s decision making instead of taking full responsibility for the loss. A championship-caliber team doesn’t air out their coach in the middle of the Finals.”

    Well said, AK. Anyone can point a finger. Honestly, it shouldn’t have been that close anyway. Magic had the game wrapped up, but couldn’t close it out… and that’s a TEAM effort.

  • http://www.random-ish.com Sccob

    Tell you the truth, it didn’t matter who was running point. Rashard failed to deliver. Last night it looked like he was playing hot potato with the rock. A lot of costly turnovers and brain farts down the strength and into the extra period where their downfall. The Lakers didn’t beat the magic. The Magic beat themselves.

  • thomasmmm

    lol ron jeremy + paul bearer. does howard always have to try and dunk with both hands? can’t he fake, draw contact, dunk using other arm? he is a slam dunk champion right? yeah, whatever. nevermind.

  • dk

    @19 Did you type that from an Iphone or an Instinct?

  • doug

    I can’t believe any magic player is talking about foul calls when everyone on our team except Kobe had 3 fouls by half time. They had so many chance to win the refs were pretty much handing them the game but we gutted it out and ran to the moment instead of running from it. Sorry magic better luck 15 years from now when you make your once every 15 year finals appearance just to lose. Howard was confident beginning the series that he would win a ship against the Lakers but if you noticed none of the Lakers said that they always kept it at “we’re going to play hard and see if we can get a win”. We got this 09 champs in a couple days.

  • Ian

    two things van gundy is not choking his players are and howard if fuckin overrated best center my ass.

    whitlock is a retard so if i shoot 58% im supposed to miss 10 free throws gtfoh.

  • Big V

    @4: Agree 100%.

  • Big V


    I think what he’s saying is that Howard shouldn’t have been in that position to shoot the FT’s in the first place.

    As for the percentages, I mean you can go on and on about what they really mean in terms of what to expect, but it does indicate that he’s not a good FT shooter and that there’s a decent chance that he’ll brick one or two of them.

    I’m not agreeing, just pointing out what I think the guy was trying to get at.

  • LakeShow84

    Whitlock should stick to football.. i havent been feelin his bball analysis as of late.. too much popular opinion..

    Hedo went to the line and missed TWICE.. then he goes to the line again and hits 1/2.. Jameer Nelson is a WAY better defender than Alston so i feel that decision as well.. i wouldnt want Alston dumb jackin ass in anyways.. everyone knows Alston will get you 1 win and lose you 3.. Jameers fault for forgetting we needed 3 to tie LOL..

    And why leave Howard out?? that would leave NO post presence to worry about and the shooters would be smothered.. plus he been clutch on his FT’s LATELY.. and what if they lose without Howard out there?? then you got Howard in the press whining about how he been hitting his FT;s and he still cant get crunch time burn..

    Orlando players shouldnt whine.. but it looks like thats what happening..

  • bookkwormmaster

    I’ve been reading through all these posts and the one common theme seems to be the game was lost because of SVG. I think the only thing you can question SVG on was whether or not he should have had Alston in the game instead of Nelson (i personally think that he should have). Other than that let’s not forget that the Magic were up by as much as 12 going into halftime. Let’s not forget that Howard got all the Laker bigs into foul trouble with like 3 each before halftime and couldn’t use that to his advantage, Let’s also not forget that the Magic had a five point lead with like thirty-two seconds left in the game. Let’s not forget that it was Howard and Turkoglu (the Magic’s MOST IMPORTANT PLAYER according to Jon Barry) that were bricking free throws not to mention the team as a whole. It was the Magic PLAYERS not the Magic COACH that lost them the game.

    But also give credit to the Lakers in particular Trevor Ariza and Derek Fisher. Ariza TOOK OVER that third quarter scoring like 11 straight points and swinging the momentum to his team. Also Derek Fisher was CLUTCH down the stretch and took matters into his own hands. That was a ballsy decision he made to pull up for that three after having missed his first five and then CRUSHING the Magic souls with that cold-blooded three from the top of the key in overtime. Credit also to Phil Jackson for going with the decision to inbound the ball from the backcourt instead of advancing it and credit to Kobe also for trusting his teammates to make plays instead of forcing the issue.

  • LakeShow84

    Damn i was liking the Magic but they are acting like kids at this point..

    Calling superstar calls out?? They just played Lebron and his 18 FT’s per game without making much of a peep.. but they won so thats the difference..

    And they blaming they accomplished coach.. F what Shaq says.. Van Gundy is good coach.. So what he shows his emotions.. what player doesnt??

    Magic need to man up or grow up.. i wouldve rather have played the Celtics.. at least there wouldve been animosity but no excuses IN THE END..

  • Dukesman2000

    F*ck the Magic, they don’t belong in the Finals

  • the cynic


    Alston is a way better defender then Nelson, why do you think the Magic haven’t missed Nelson at all since Alston arrived. What they lost in offense from Nelson, they gained in defense (in no way am I saying Alston is an all world defender). To make matters worse Nelson isn’t even conditioned enough to be the terrible defender he was before. Van Dumbdy is a good coach, but he is second rate. While Jackson stood fast with Fisher all year, letting his best players play; Van Dumdy jerked around his QB position at the most critical time of the year. Maybe if Van Dumdy had been a real player he would understand the flow of the game

  • me

    Not so much that Fisher was “clutch”, Nelson should have come out to keep Fisher from shooting that 3. Coaching, why not foul and put them on the line for 2 they were up by 3? Mental mistakes cost them the game. If superman lets one more player take the ball from him in the post~what is that? I thought the Magic would match up better with the Laker’s then what they are showing. Where is the pride? I just don’t get it. Oh not to mention the Lakers can complain foul after foul. They have never committed a foul according to them…and Bynum, can he stay out of foul trouble. I mean the Lakers set the table for the Magic to take advantage of them and take this game, but the Magic gave it back to them.

    I don’t blame Alston for complaining. I mean they used him to get there, why throw him under the bus now. How many turnovers did Nelson have? Come on now!

  • jhuff

    i agree with the cynic 100%

  • buffaloballa

    Rafer’s ass is gonna be really shocked when he is on the AND ONE tour next year….

  • Kobe Fan

    I think the reason that we were able to come back in the final stretch of the game is because SVG messed up his team’s chemistry. I admit that with the way Rafer was playing against Fisher, I feared the match up problem that he was delivering. But when SVG brought in a lukewarm Nelson, I breathed a sigh of relief. When he was out on the floor in the 4th quarter, it was almost as if the Lakers were playing 5 against 2. Dwight wasn’t really getting the ball and when he did, he wasn’t capitalizing. Jameer Nelson took it upon himself to not be an offensive threat in the least bit, but instead play “robot basketball” by giving it to Hedo when he crossed half court. And Rashard Lewis was invisible all night. The only players that were SOMEWHAT of a threat to the Lakers were Pietrus and Turkoglu. So I do want to thank SVG for making that blunder in the 4th. He brought us one step closer to getting Kobe his 4th ring.

  • Promoman

    Overall, Skip secured a spot somewhere in the league in the aftemath of the trade. He’ll likely e out of Orlando, but he’s sealed a spot.

  • IrishBaller