Posted by: Michael Kaskey-Blomain
05/01/09 8:56 am EST

Magic 76ers BasketballSo long season.  I’ve always heard that you can’t be let down if you don’t expect too much, and boy did my expectations sure let me down this time.  Heading into game 6, I actually fooled myself into believing that the 76ers had a chance to beat the Orlando Magic without Dwight Howard and Courtney Lee.  How foolish of me.  How naive must I have been to have believed that a team at full strength, in an elimination game in their home building, could put forth the effort to defeat an opponent without two of their starters, including their best player?  The worst part about the Sixers embarrassing 114-89 loss, besides the fact that I’m forced to dwell on it until October, is that fact that I was actually convinced that the Sixers could defeat the Magic sans Dwight, and force a seventh game, and then even potentially surge into the second round.  However, my fantasy did not lost for long, and after the team came out flatter than a ten year old basketball, I was quickly dragged back down to reality and forced to accept another first round failure. 
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Posted by: Michael Kaskey-Blomain
04/29/09 12:54 pm EST

76ers Magic BasketballHeading into Game 5, a Sixers victory appeared quite possible, especially after the team was merely a Hedo Turkoglu miss away from having an opportunity to take a two game series lead after an overly exciting game 4.  But, Hedo did his thing, and the teams headed to Orlando with the score card reading two wins apiece. The Sixers entered the game with great confidence, knowing that if they could continue the style of play that had suited them so well for the past few games, a style which worked well to frustrate the Magic, they would have a great chance to take a commanding 3-2 series lead back to the wild fans in Wachovia.  However, such an opportunity must be captured, and thanks to another enormous night from Dwight Howard and the emergence of Rashard Lewis, it was the Magic who were able to obtain the opportunity to close out the series in Game 6.
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Posted by: Philadunkia
04/29/09 12:07 am EST

76ers Magic BasketballThe Sixers Achilles heels — terrible 3-point shooting and soft perimeter defense — reared their ugly heads tonight and the result was a big fat 91-78 L. The Sixers shot an unbelievable 4-18 from deep in this game. That for the record equates to 22%…22% !!!!! On the flip side, the Magic’s Rashard Lewis found himself open all night and was finally able to get it going from the outside — 3-5 from deep and 24 points total.

Additionally, the Sixers need to come up with an offensive game plan that will prevent the Magic’s Dwight Howard from shutting down the lane. For the second straight game, the Magic effectively used Howard to “rush” any Sixer, but especially Andre Iguodala, who put the ball on the floor and drove to the hole. The results for the Sixers were a flurry of off balance shots with a high degree of difficulty.

We just felt sick after this loss because the Sixers looked tired and disinterested at times and we do not have a good feeling about Thursday night at all.  

Some quick notes and thoughts :

DiLeo and the Sixers staff have done a nice job of designing a weak-side help strategy for Dwight Howard. They’re waiting until Howard puts the ball on the deck to send the weak-side help defense and apparently no one on the Magic is communicating with DH that the double-team is coming because Andre Miller stripped Howard of the ball several times and Willie Green also had some nice defensive plays from the weak-side.
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Posted by: Jeff McMenamin
04/28/09 11:03 am EST

hedoIn order to write the recap of the Sixers game 4 match-up against the Magic, I had to take some time to regroup. After being up in the rafters of the Wachovia Center on Sunday night and hoping to take a 3-1 lead in the series, let’s just say I was emotionally drained as well as searching for answers by the time the game was over.


Instead of having a Monday afternoon post of the recap from game 4, I huddled by my TV and watched the replay of the heart wrenching game on Comcast SportsNet. When you watch a game you know you are going to lose, it is a lot easier to pick up on what went wrong. Seeing the game twice now, I realized that I have to tip my hat off to the Magic in game 4, because like the Sixers did in the first three games of the series the Magic went with a new strategy and stuck with it the entire game.
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Posted by: Michael Kaskey-Blomain
04/24/09 1:24 am EST

sixers04-20ld1Well now I’m confused.  The Sixers overcome an enormous eighteen point second half deficit and a monster night from Dwight Howard to get the best of Orlando in game one, and then hold the Defensive Player of the Year to a paltry 11 point 10 rebound game, and lose?  Shouldn’t the outcomes be reversed?


Apparently not, which has me scratching my head as the series flows into Philly for the next two games.  Game three could potentially be the difference maker, and for the Sixers it serves as the biggest game of the season, and more importantly, the series.  After an unthinkable come from behind win against the Eastern powerhouse in game one, the Sixers were able to capture the momentum of the series, and spoil Orlando’s home court advantage.  This momentum however, did not last as Orlando was able to secure a victory and recapture the momentum in game two, thanks to a balanced effort from their starters, who all scored in double figures.
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Posted by: Jeff McMenamin
04/23/09 6:39 am EST

76ers Magic BasketballThe 76ers loss in game 2 Wednesday night to the Magic is going to be a hard one for players and fans to swallow. Even when the Sixers got superman himself Dwight Howard to foul out with 11 points and shot a better FG percentage than the Magic, they still ended the game coming up short. So how did the Magic with a not so Magic performance come up with the win? It came down to many things.


I hate to say it, but this loss is on Tony DiLeo. 16 turnovers, 14 offensive rebounds given up, and a rookie dropping 24 points on you after a night where he torched you for 18 cannot happen.


Sixteen turnovers in a playoff game is completely unacceptable. The trend that is developing from the turnovers falls on the Sixers star player. Andre Iguodala has now compiled back-to-back 5 turnover contests and it needs to be addressed. As a coach, DiLeo must figure out how to use Iggy the most effectively. He is obviously the best player at driving to the cup, but it should be Andre Millers job to drive to the lane in order to pass to a cutting Iguodala for a better look. This would be a simple solution to cut back on turnovers because instead of a mediocre ball handler driving to the rim in Iguodala, you would have your best ball handler and passer driving to the rim to give the Sixers better looks. It is a point guard’s job to be the set-up man, scoring is just an added bonus.
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Posted by: Philadunkia
04/22/09 10:37 pm EST

76ers Magic Basketball…the 76ers absolutely could have and should have won this game.

To start, the Sixers had balanced scoring as Thad, (20 points), Iguodala (21 points) and Miller (30 points) all had solid nights. On top of that, the Magic shot 6-23 from deep and the refs held Howard to 11 points. That’s a rare off night for BOTH of the Orlando’s big offensive weapons. If you’re the Sixers you HAVE to capitalize on the Magic’s poor offensive showing and win that game. 

Additionally, defensively the Sixers did NOT play any where near the level they did in Game 1. If they had, the victory and a commanding 2-0 was there to be had. We would say this L even hurts a little, because again it was within our reach.
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Posted by: Philadunkia
04/22/09 8:42 am EST

drematicWe gave our guy Zach McCann at Orlando Magic 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
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Posted by: Michael Kaskey-Blomain
04/21/09 9:03 am EST

iguodala04-21iiiParallels are often drawn between the world of sports and that of superheroes, with athletes frequently being depicted as having incredible powers, above and beyond those of the average human.  If this parallel has any merit than the Sixers must have gotten their collective inner-Superman on, because they sure dodged a bullet in Game 1 of the Orlando series. 


Typical of storylines involving non-mortals, things did not look so promising for our heroes for a while, as the Sixers were simply were outplayed for most of the game, but especially in the third quarter. For three full quarters, the Philadunkia faithful most likely had that sinking feeling they have become so familiar with over the past few years from recent first round exists.  However, thanks to major contributions for the apparently ageless Theo Ratliff and Donyell Marshall, along with some late-game heroics from their star, the Sixers managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and gain the upper hand in the series.
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Posted by: Philadunkia
04/20/09 1:24 pm EST

iggy04-201What a comeback W by the 76ers in Orlando last night and while many people are writing and saying that the Magic “choked”, we’d counter that the Sixers snatched the game from the Magic’s clutches. The effort and execution put on the floor by the Sixers in the second half last night, especially in the 4th quarter, was the difference in the game and the Sixers should be given the proper credit. It took heart, guts, detrmination, some big baskets and some key X&O moves to pickup this victory in the unfriendly confines of Amway Arena.  Here’s a bunch of our notes from the Game 1 victory.

As we expected, the Magic’s Dwight Howard was a force from the jump.  The Sixers tried double-teaming him, but he fought through the traffic and ended the 1st half with18 points and 7 rebounds. DH ended with 31 & 16, but it was not enough. We also have to ask why the Magic do not get the ball to Howard in clutch time? Instead they choose to run plays for their solid, not great and ceratinly not superstar level wingmen.

The Magic shot 48.7 percent (37 of 76). But take away Dwight Howard‘s 11 of 13 and Orlando was at 26 of 63.

The upset was of historical proportions as the Magic are 48-4 when leading after three quarters and 52-1 when leading with five minutes to play. It was the biggest lead the Magic blew all season. 

The Magic (5-18), the second-best 3-point shooting team in the league, got out shot from behind the arc by the Sixers (7-12) — the second-worst 3-point shooting team in the league.
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