We gave our guy Zach McCann at Orlando Magic daily.com a couple days to get over the sting of the big Game 1 comeback before we reviewed the carnage with him. It was the least we could do, because we know that if the Sixers blew an 18-point lead in front of a packed Wachovia Center to lose Game 1 of this series that Philadunkia nation would have been furious and we’d need some time before talking with a loyal Magic fan. Anyways here’s Zach’s answers to our post Game 1 questions including his observations of the Magic locker room after the stunning loss. Again thanks to Zach for his help.
First, Amway Arena seemed to be going absolutely nuts. Talk to us about the atmosphere in Orlando for Game 1.
OMD : It was really an electric atmosphere. That’s what playoff basketball is about. The Magic gave away these obnoxious noisemakers that were definitely a distraction to the Sixers, and might’ve been part of the reason they only made 55 percent of their free throws
Honestly now, with Lee and Howard just killing us in the first half, you thought the Magic were going to cruise home with the W, right?
OMD : I absolutely thought the Magic were cruising to a blowout victory. The Magic were 52-1 this season when leading after the fourth quarter, so I thought it was in the bag. In fact, you could sense that Orlando’s fans and players felt the same way – of course, the Sixers had other ideas.
Where did Lee disappear to in the second half? The Sixers D was tough, but it can not be given all the credit for his MIA status in the second half or can it?
OMD : His jumper went cold in the second half, but I think his disappearance had more to do with Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis attempting to assert themselves in the final quarter. Lee didn’t have the same opportunities in the fourth quarter that he was taking advantage of earlier in the game. And I think his second-quarter scoring outburst let the Sixers know that they have to pay attention to this guy. I still think Lee will be an X-factor throughout the series, as his quickness will really give Andre Miller some problems
At what point did it dawn on you that the Magic’s big lead was in serious trouble?
OMD : When the Sixers cut it to 84-81 and the Magic called timeout, I turned to Woody (my blogging partner) and said “uh-oh,” or something to that affect. I still felt like the Magic were going to pull it out, because they’ve been pulling out these types of games all season.
Several writers who cover the Magic for various outlets questioned the Magic’s heart, will and intensity after the game. Granted the magic coughed it up a big time, but do you feel the harsh criticism is just after a loss in Game 1?
OMD : The Magic deserved it, and they knew it. The locker room was like a morgue after the game. The players and Stan Van Gundy openly questioned and discussed their own lack of effort in post-game press conferences and interviews. It wasn’t that the Magic played poorly or just missed shots – the Sixers wanted it more.
The Magic’s forwards combined for 21 points and a lot of misses. What can the Magic do to get Hedo and Lewis going in Game 2?
OMD : If I know Hedo Turkoglu, he’ll bounce back for a huge game on Wednesday. Turk is known for being incredibly inconsistent, and in game one we saw one of his bad games. Rashard Lewis was a couple rim-rattling 3s from scoring 20+ points. He’s fine, but I do think he needs to take it to the basket a little bit more. That said, I’m fully expecting the Magic to turn it around and win handily in game two.