The Orlando Magic fired coach Stan Van Gundy Monday, part of a managerial shakeup that also included the exit of general manager Otis Smith. Whether Dwight Howard gets traded before or during next season or leaves after as a free agent, the friction between those two and Howard boiled over this season, with the Magic losing to the Indiana Pacers in just five games in the opening round of the playoffs.
Van Gundy takes with him perhaps the most grating, annoying voice in all of professional sport. While undoubtedly a decent coach – the Magic won over 70 percent of their regular season games, claimed three division titles, made the playoffs all five seasons and went to the 2009 NBA Finals – Van Gundy at his raspiest has the power to shatter glass, eardrums, and possibly even frontal lobes.
The Celtics play the Magic only a couple of times a year. As such, one’s ears always heal just enough so that when the next Celtics-Magic game comes around, Van Gundy sets them bleeding all over again.
They say misery loves company. So that everyone can share my pain, here are five moments with Stan Van Gundy (with a few guest appearances by Doc Rivers!).
• Orlando Magic vs. Toronto Raptors post-game, 4/26/2012
Paul Pierce might be nearing the finish line of a career that will end in the Hall of Fame and a spot in the TD Garden rafters. But if these are Pierce’s last games, The Truth wants to go out in style.
Pierce scored a game-high 29 points and recorded a career-best 14 assists, carrying the Boston Celtics to a 102-98 victory over the Orlando Magic and their fifth consecutive Atlantic Division title Wednesday night at the TD Garden. Avery Bradley backed up Pierce with 23 points, tying his career-high.
With home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs locked up, the short-handed Celtics can now focus on rest and recovery. Ray Allen hasn’t played in over a week, and Rajon Rondo sat Wednesday with a lower back injury.
Pierce Holds Back Magic in Fourth
Up 79-70 heading into the fourth quarter, Boston built their lead as high as 13, but a combination of outside shooting by Jameer Nelson (21 points, 3-for-6 from downtown) and dominating play inside (54 points in the paint, 17 offensive rebounds withoutDwight Howard) kept Orlando in the game. Orlando cut Boston’s lead to 92-90 with three minutes left before Pierce drew a foul and sank one of two.
A Glen Davis (27 points) steal and sprint to the basket – how many times has that ever been written? – made it 98-96 Celtics, setting up the play of the game. Pierce – who split ball-handling duties with Bradley Wednesday – brought the ball to the three-point line, nearly slipping and losing control of the ball.
With the shot-clock winding down, Pierce regained control and penetrated to just outside the foul line, hitting a 17-foot step-back jumper with 7.6 seconds left in the game. He also sank two free throws in the final seconds to maintain the two-possession lead.