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Orlando Magic 69 Final

Recap | Box Score

74 Philadelphia 76ers
Elton Brand, PF 31 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | +3

Wow.  What a defensive performance from Brand in this one.  Brand played 31 tough minutes and played great defense on Ryan Anderson as well as help defense on Dwight Howard all game.  He also added 4 blocks and 2 steals to his defensive stat sheet. Howard shot 6-17 on the night and that was in large part of Brand on the blocks.  Coach K would’ve been proud.

Andre Iguodala, SF 42 MIN | 5-11 FG | 3-9 FT | 11 REB | 6 AST | 14 PTS | +12

Iguodala played a solid game.  He filled the stat sheet and the team was +12 with him on the court.  He held Hedo Turkoglu to a season low of 1-9 from the field.  He also notched another career milestone, surpassing Sir Charles on the Sixers all-time steals list putting him in fourth place with 1,007 steals.  I’m still disappointed though that the man cannot hit his free-throws.  Going 3-9 on the night is unacceptable, considering only a few weeks ago he missed a free-throw that could’ve given the Sixers a win against Denver.  For the sake of his team, he has to put in some extra time in the gym at the foul line.  Can we get Herb Magee to come over to PCOM for an hour or so?

Tony Battie, C 17 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | +8

He sure didn’t seem like the oldest man on the team in this game.  Battie held his own against Howard and played well on offense and defense.  8 points and 9 rebounds in 17 minutes is a great night for Tony Battie.

Jodie Meeks, G 24 MIN | 2-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | +8

Meeks played a solid game.  He defended J.J. Redick very well, limiting him to 3-13 shooting.  Outside of that he didn’t need to do too much in this one.  It’s worth noting that the 3-headed monster at the shooting guard spot of Meeks, Williams, and Turner had nearly identical minutes in this one however with 24, 25, 24 respectively.

Jrue Holiday, PG 30 MIN | 3-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 6 AST | 6 PTS | +4

Jrue was cold from the field, but defended well and distributed the ball effectively as well.  The Magic were without Jameer Nelson which made Holidays job a lot easier.  With the toughest stretch of games coming up for the Sixers, Holiday has to find his rhythm for the team to have success.  He has the task of defending two of the best in the game in Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade next.  It’s his chance to make a statement around the league.

Lou Williams, PG 25 MIN | 4-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | -4

Awful shooting from Lou in this one.  His 9 points stopped his streak of five straight games hitting for double digits.  As I said for Jrue Holiday, Lou needs to be on point for this tough stretch of games coming up.  He’s still leading the team in scoring and will be looked to often to provide that scoring in the next few games.

Thaddeus Young, F 31 MIN | 5-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | -3

He tested Dwight Howard and Howard showed him why he’s one of the best defenders in the League.  Young scored 10 points but on 5-13 shooting as many of his drives to the cup were defended well by Superman.  He’ll have an easier time with those takes when he’s not going in against the 3-years and counting NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

Lavoy Allen, PF 17 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 0 PTS | +7

He did an outstanding job for a rookie making Howard work for his looks.  Lavoy continues to shine in the absence of Hawes and Vucevic.  He’s done it offensively on a couple occasions, but against Howard it was his defense that made the difference.  It seems for the moment that even when Hawes and Vuc return that Lavoy has earned some minutes of his own.  It’ll be interesting to see how coach Collins uses him the rest of the season.

Evan Turner, SG 24 MIN | 4-7 FG | 4-6 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | -10

Besides Tony Battie, Turner was the only Sixer to shoot above 50% from the field.  Turner had 12 points on 4-7 shooting, and it was nice to see him use his size and strength to get a few looks from the free-throw line.  He’s currently third on the team in FTA’s behind Lou Williams and Andre Iguodala, but only shooting 63%.  He averaged 75% from the line in his final season at Ohio State, so at least we know he’s capable of hitting them on a more consistent basis if given the opportunity.

After the Jump, Six Things We Saw Last Night

1.  A complete melt-down:  Going into this game, most of the country had already heard about the Magic’s offensive woes after Dwight Howard made it public in the teams recent 93-67 loss to the New Orleans Hornets.  In that game the Magic shot 39% on 24-61 shooting.  Dwight had good reason to be upset after going 9-14 himself from the field for 28 points while adding 16 rebounds.

If that game was considered a dreadful offensive performance, the one shown on Monday night should be considered utterly disgusting. The Magic shot 33% from the field on 26-78 shooting.  They also shot 45% from the free-throw line on 10-22 shooting(in large part from Dwight Howard’s 5-13 from the stripe).  Howard can blame his teammates all he wants, but he shot an ugly 6-17(35%) from the field (17 points on 17 shots — not good) against a team missing the two top centers on their depth chart.  The Magic didn’t get to 50 points until there was 3:18 remaining in the 4th quarter.  It was one of the worst offensive performances I’ve ever had to sit through.  It’s the type of game which could prove to be the final straw in Dwight Howard remaining with the Magic.

2.  Interior defense:  The stars of this game for the Sixers are Elton Brand, Lavoy Allen, Tony Battie, and Andre Iguodala.  Dwight Howard has completely dismantled Sixer bigs in seasons past, but they were up for the challenge in this one.  Howard playing against a depleted Sixer front-court shot just 6-17 from the field, his third worst FG% of the season.  The game plan for the most part consisted of denying the entry pass and swarming Howard when he did indeed have the ball.  The quick hands on defense led to 14 Magic turnovers and 17 points off turnovers.

The only trouble with the help-defense was the 11 offensive rebounds gathered by Magic forward Ryan Anderson.  If Magic shooters had been knocking down shots, this could’ve been killer to the Sixers.

3.  A coach with no answers:  Stan Van Gundy is a coach who I’ve voiced my opinions about already in the past for this site.  See here:  After this defeat, it looks as though he’s not only lost his star player, but that he’s completely lost his team and possibly even the team ownership.

I don’t usually point fingers, but the Magic ended their reign as top contenders in the East as soon as they traded away Rashard Lewis last season.  Before then they had a winning team in place who could beat you from the outside and inside, and who needed just a few minor adjustments to take them over the top.  Whether or not it was more Van Gundy or team president Otis Smith making the decisions, the Magic let go some of their key pieces from that run and they haven’t recovered. Since making the NBA finals in 2009, the team has parted ways with Lewis, Courtney Lee, Mickael Pietrus, Marcin Gortat, Rafer Alston, and for a brief period Hedo Turkoglu before he was traded back to the Magic in December of last season.

The biggest loss is Lewis whose unique skill-set would open up the paint for Dwight Howard, but now the Magic have become one-dimensional.  Their game-plan is now, Dwight Howard or bust.  Van Gundy had this to say after their recent loss to the Pacers.

“It’s always easy to find the reasons(why we’re losing).  That’s not hard.  The hard part is to solve it.  To make it better.  Obviously I have not gotten that done and that’s frustrating to me as a coach.  My job is to get it done and get it turned around and I have not gotten that done…I don’t know what we’re going to do.  Obviously, we’ve got to do something. I don’t know exactly what that is right now.”

A coach like Greg Popovich would never utter a sentiment like this, and he would also never break up a championship caliber team.  The Magic could very well have the talent with their current roster to get back to the finals, but their “team” left a long-time ago.

4.  Limiting turnovers:  Two days ago, Jrue Holiday talked about limiting the teams turnovers.  Holiday told John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer that, that’s the one thing that’s been on his mind.  “I really should keep track of them, honestly, but I don’t,” said Holiday alluding to his assists average on the season.  “The number that I’m most concerned about is turnovers.  That’s what we talk about the most.  That, and winning games.”Against the Magic, the Sixers had only six turnovers, while forcing 14.  Holiday was responsible for one turnover, but his six assists made up for it.  If the Sixers can continue to limit turnovers while keeping their defensive intensity at a high level, their #1 ranked defense will soar to new heights.

5.  Depressing crowd:  Is 15-6 not a good enough record to warrant a packed house?  Especially considering that the Sixers are now 11-2 at home with the two losses coming in OT.  The official attendance of the game was 16,299, but it looked like no more than 10,000 out there.  With upcoming games against the Bulls, Heat, Lakers, Spurs, and Clippers at home in the next couple weeks the Wells Fargo Center better get five sell-outs or else something is majorly wrong. The team has done all it can, the ownership has done all it can, now it’s time for you to do all you can.

6.  The Sixers were out scored 20-6 over the final minutes of the 4th quarter.  Needless to say coach Collins was not happy with the play of the 7-6 in the late fourth.


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