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MAC10TIZZY
10-31-2008, 01:25 PM
"Mickael Pietrus was given a four-year, $23 million free-agent contract by the Orlando Magic because of nights like Wednesday, nights when he was asked to shut down All-Star guard Joe Johnson.

Shooting guards scored 20 or more points 30 times against the Magic last season with Miami's Dwyane Wade (40 points game) and Johnson (23.8) having big success.

Pietrus is an elite 6-foot-6 defender with the wingspan of a 7-footer, and the Magic feel that he can give opposing shooting guards fits with his rare combination of strength and length. And he showed off his hustling style just seconds into Wednesday's opener, diving into the crowd to save a loose ball and converting a tough layup in traffic before hitting the floor hard.

Pietrus has tried to quiet talk of him being a "defensive stopper" this preseason, stressing that top players such as Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady and Allen Iverson can't totally be stopped.

And Magic coach Stan Van Gundy has insisted that Pietrus still is going through somewhat of a learning curve in Orlando after spending the previous five seasons with the Golden State Warriors. Van Gundy would prefer that Pietrus, who had trouble with fouling in the preseason, gamble less for steals and blocks.

"He has the size, athleticism and the mentality that we love, but there's still a learning curve there," Van Gundy said. "He's very aggressive and he comes from a team where they liked to gamble and create turnovers. We want him to focus on just staying in front of the ball and not gambling so much.""


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.......................then why the hell was he gaurding mo evans during crunch time?