Monday, April 27, 2009

Game 5 Adjustments: Magic-Sixers

1)Don't forget Howard- the big thing that led to Orlando's 4th quarter collapses was its inability to get the ball to Dwight Howard. It was not even the inability to get the ball to Howard, it was the unwillingness.

In the final four minutes of the game, there were maybe two plays ran for Howard. The rest were pick and rolls for Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis and even Courtney Lee. That is not efficient offense.

It is clear Philadelphia cannot guard Howard. Their attempts to double have left some guys open and really for the first time all series, the Magic took advantage of it.

But as always, the offense begins and ends with Howard. Orlando clearly does not need gargantuan 30-point efforts from him (they lost those two games). But the team needs him to be the focal point of the offense and be more of a threat than just a pick.

The 76ers have done too good of a job defending the pick and roll this series and too poor of a job defending him one on one to let them get away with it.

2) Attack the rim- Philadelphia's offense is predicated on getting out on the break. There is no doubt about this.

It is an offense that is difficult to defend. But the Magic have done a decent job so far. Each game though, the 76ers have gone on stretches where they get out on the break and simply dominate.

Cutting down turnovers will help. While Orlando struggled on the offensive glass, the team's reluctance to attack the offensive glass is part of this defense.

The one real way the Magic can shut down the 76ers attack is to get to the basket and get to the foul line. Orlando is a 3-point shooting team, but it is precisely these 3-point shots and jump shots that lead to the long rebounds that start the Philadelphia offense and gets the team running.

For the most part Sunday, the Magic attacked the basket and took good shots. It helps when you shoot 50 percent from the floor (they finished at 47.1 on the night) in stopping the break. But Philadelphia can score points in a hurry.

Attacking the basket is a sure way to 1) get to the free throw line and 2) prevent long rebounds that lead to outlet passes that kickstart the break.

Finishing is an entirely different issue -- Rafer Alston -- but it is the best way for Orlando to slow down the games.

3) Control the glass- the 76ers are an energy team. And nothing can give a team more energy and a second wind then an offensive rebound.

Philadelphia had several possessions where it missed shots and got the offensive rebound, giving the team a second chance. In the playoffs, no team will miss up on that opportunity.

The Magic are not attacking the offensive glass because of the fast break opportunities it might create for the 76ers, so every offensive rebound they give up is almost counted double.

It was a minor issue in Game One, but in Game Four it kept Philadelphia firmly in the game. The team grabbed 10 offensive rebounds and stayed competitive despite shooting only 38.8 percent.

Games Two and Three, Orlando controlled the glass pretty well. This needs to be re-emphasized for the Magic to pull out a crucial Game Five victory.

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