R. Daniel – 2010/11

It’s Magic


Oklahoma City. Game five, NBA Finals. We really wanted to end it here. Any further games would put our season in jeopardy. In that light, we had to play well, and I had to bring it all four quarters.

I had a big first quarter with 14 points,  one board, two assists and two blocked shots as we opened an 11 point lead. By halftime it was a 13 point lead and I had 20 points.

We poured it on as the game continued and by the time I got to take a rest with two-plus minutes in the fourth quarter we were up by nearly 20. I wasn’t needed again.


NBA champions! Yes!



We took it to the Thunder in game four, and I played with a poise that I don’t usually have. 40 points, two rebounds, five assists and only 1 turnover on over 70% shooting.


I was ultimately the Finals MVP, capping off my first full NBA season in style. In the offseason, I was asked if I wanted to leave the Magic for either the Heat, Knicks or Cavs, or stay in Orlando. It took allot not to go back to my home team in Cleveland, but the Magic took a chance on me and we won a championship, so I’ll reward that. I’m staying here.

Well, that concludes my NBA 2K10 career. With NBA 2K11 coming tomorrow who knows what will happen. Will I stay the same? Will I get a new look? Will I be replaced by a whole new player?? It’s all up in the air. In any case we’ll find out in mere days. See you then!

- Rick Daniel

Almost at our Goal


Game four was a beast. All business, all grit, all game. We opened the game down 8-0 and were down by 11 at one point in the first quarter. By the third quarter, we had come back and opened up a 17 lead of our own. We squandered most of it, leading by 4 in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, but we held on for the win to lead the series 3-1.

True to the game’s atmosphere, I had an all-business game: 26 points, 6 assists. Nothing flashy. Actually, this is the third game in the series where I’ve scored just one basket after half time, and we’ve won all three. Hey, whatever it takes to get a ‘W’.

We’re now within sight of our goal. We just have to reach out and grab it.

- Rick Daniel

Thunder Come Storming Back


The Thunder came back at their place and made it a 2-1 series. Our defense was atrocious, but there were two main factors for our failure to win. Number one was myself spending almost half of the game on the bench with foul trouble. I still scored 25, but I was unable to control the game or Russell Westbrook (who scored 23).


Problem number two was Manu Ginobili coming back from injury to light up Vince “Half Man, Half Defensive Sieve" Carter. We were up by two when I went to the bench in the third quarter with my forth foul, but down 13 when I came back in at the start of the fourth. We cut it to four with under two minutes to go with defensive grit and some timely baskets. Unfortunately, some turnovers and bad shots cost us the game. I guess we’re in for a series here.

- Rick Daniel

Magic Makes Durant Vanish


Game two is in the books, and it was very reminiscent of game one. I had a big first half with 22 points, six assists and two steals but rode the bench much of the second half to finish with 30 points, 7 assists and those same two steals. This is irritating, but we’re winning so I’m not going to complain.


Durant pulled a near no-show tonight. Only 11 points on 5-9 shooting as his team was getting blown out of the building. We’re rolling now and our goal is just two wins away. However, I hear rumors of some kind of shake-up in the league, come October 5th. I’m not sure what it’s all about but somehow I worry that my work is going to be for naught. We’ll see.

- Rick Daniel

No Thunder in Orlando, Just Lightning


It’s the NBA Finals, game one and we got off to a raucous start. We opened an early 8 point lead that was only built as the first half went on. After posting 6 points in the first period I scored 13 more in the second quarter, including a pull-up halftime buzzer beating three pointer after a steal.


I keep telling you: If you’ve got a meaningless buzzer to beat, I’m your man. The bad part was just about the end of my offense for the game. I scored I only scored two more points the rest of the game, partly because our coach kept putting me in and yanking me again. I’d play for a minute, sit for two, play for 30 seconds, get pulled for the next minute-plus, and so on. I was unable to get in any kind of rhythm after halftime. I finished with 21 points, two rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks, and was working over Russell Westbrook.


Yup, I shook him time and again, but whenever I passed the ball off, I couldn’t get it back. The team would also inbound to Vince Carter who shot a whole 2-7 for 4 points. Rashard Lewis played good though, hitting 4-5 threes for 15 points, and Dwight Howard had 31 points and 10 boards. Kevin Durant was almost the Thunder’s entire offense in the first quarter (11 of their 15 points), and was their only consistent threat all game. He ended the game with 21 points, just like me., but he was their high scorer and besides him only James Harden scored in double digits.

This was a surprise after the fight the Nets gave us, but remember that the Nets fought us hard only after dropping the first three, so I don’t think OKC’s out of this at all.

- Rick Daniel

Tales of Games 5 and 6


(This post combines games 5 and 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals together, because I forgot to post the Game 5 one)

Game 5 was an absolute nightmare. Yes, I scored 34 points. Yes, I had seven assists. The problem was that there was zero defense. Period. No one could stop anyone (especially Devin Harris on the perimeter), and there was no interior presence at all. I’m irate.


Yeah, go ahead and cheer, Joe Johnson. I’ll have my day. It may not be this year, But I’ll have my day.

(Fast forward two days)


Before game six, I gathered everyone in the locker room. We were going to have a team meeting, and I was giving a quick pep talk.

“We’re home tonight, folks. That’s our court. Those are our fans. We blew it for them two games ago, not sealing the deal here – we owe them. We can’t afford to go back to New Jersey! There’s no way in blue blazes we’re getting a fair shake at their place. We have to win tonight! If we don’t, our season could be over. So let’s make sure our next trip to the Meadowlands is scheduled for next fall!”


I set a decent pace to start the game, but we could not get any separation. It was tied or within two baskets the whole first half. Half time came and I was feeling a little stressed (I’d missed a half-time buzzer beater, something I almost never do). My jump shot was not there, and our rebounding wasn’t good again. Turnovers were abundant, Vince wasn’t shooting worth a damn and I still couldn’t stop Harris. I had to do something to change the course of the game. I wanted to get in Harris’ head, offensively, like he was mine. That didn’t really happen, sadly. What did happen was even more amazing.


In the third quarter, I forced four turnovers, including three straight to spark a run. We opened a 10 point lead thanks to my defense, and as a result, Harris stopped handling the ball. First he was pulled completely, and then when he came back in he was placed at shooting guard, away from me. Ha! He ended the game with an astounding 6 turnovers. With that run, we had a commanding lead – now we just had to hold it.


I think my jubilation here says it all. We’re headed to the Finals people, and we’re going to face the Oklahoma City Thunder! It’s on now. I’m past Devin Harris and I don’t have to face my personal nemesis, Lyle Johnston.

I didn’t have great stats in the clinching game, with just 20 points, six assists and three steals, but my defensive lockdown in the third that shook Harris and got him out of my way (and my head) was the difference. I couldn’t be more elated right now. NBA Finals, here we come!

- Rick Daniel

Caught in NJ’s Net


The Nets were determined not to go without a fight, and they didn’t. In fact, we didn’t sent them packing period; they whipped us at home by 10. We actually played a solid game, offensively. Well, my team did. I got off to a bad start, shooting 16% in the 1st quarter before hitting 71% of my shots in the 2nd. I finished the game with 28 points, two rebounds, a game-high 7 assists, a steal and two blocks. It was our defense though that cost us.

Devin Harris in particular was torrid, scoring 31 points with six boards and six assists. He could not be stopped, including hitting 3-3 from deep. I had hit a buzzer beater to end the 3rd to put us within a basket but NJ went on a scoring spree to open a 10 point lead as soon as the 4th quarter started. Our defense could not get a single stop! We were only down 10 with two minutes to go, and we were scoring well but we couldn’t get a stop to cut into their lead. So it went; we lost and failed at going “Fo’, fo’, and fo’”, as Moses Malone would say (actually, Malone’s team that year went four, five and four, losing a game along the way, so it may be more accurate then at face value – if we win our next match).

Well, we never expected to sweep the playoffs. On to game 5!

- Rick Daniel

Perfect Magic


I was right: the Nets came to Orlando fired up and gave us a run for our money. The big players for them were Joe Johnson and Terrance Williams (18 points apiece)  and Devon Harris again (15 points, two boards, seven assists on 6-8 shooting). That’d be mildly impressive if you didn’t see my stat line.


I scored 32 points with six assists and three steals on 100% shooting. 15-15 from the field. I could not miss! I even hit another buzzer-beater.


This was to beat the 2nd quarter buzzer. I’m telling you – if you need a meaningless buzzer beaten, I’m your man. If you need one that counts –one to win a game or tie it in the 4th – well, look somewhere else. I’m the Alex Rodriguez of the NBA. Great stats, scores big when when things are going well, but haven’t proven that I can perform when the pressure’s on.

As a side note, the Thunder and the Rockets are tied 2-2 in the west. I’m torn on who I want to face.

- Rick Daniel

Down to the Wire in NJ


Well we finally had our first playoff-style game, courtesy of the the Nets. We went back-and-forth the whole game, down to the final few minutes. I wasn’t shooting too well (just over 50%) but I did get 36 points to go with one rebound, five assists and a steal. I didn’t turn the ball over, either! That’s a plus for me.

Devin Harris was a nuisance the entire game, netting 22 points, mostly on layups and floaters. I just couldn’t stay in front of him, and when he got to the rim no matter what we did he scored. I need to buckle down next game.


In the end, we won by 7 points.  Our big ace in the hole was our front line. Kevin Love and Dwight Howard each had more then 10 rebounds while none of the Nets had double digit boards. Dwight also blocked four shots. The Nets will have confidence coming to Orlando though, which should make for one hell of a game. I’ll be ready.

- Rick Daniel

Tearing Down the Nets


Big game for me! I scored 37 points with two rebounds, two assists, four steals and a blog on almost 80% shooting. On the opposite side, Devon Harris never got into the flow after I drew two early fouls on him to put him on the bench (I hit 5 free throws in the first quarter). He scored 1 point  but had 7 assists. All of our starters scored in double digits, with Dwight Howard scoring 20.


My secret to scoring so much was getting around my man for allot of layups and dunks. Seriously, I kind of wish we’d faced the Cavs instead because no one will take us seriously if we beat this slow Nets team. Conversely, if we lose our rep may never recover. In any case, it’s one game down, three to go.

- Rick Daniel