For the first time this series, Tony Battie didn’t see the floor. And Marcin Gortat only played 4 minutes.
Instead, Stan Van Gundy tinkered with a lineup we haven’t seen all season: he went small by putting Mickael Pietrus at the 3 and moving Hedo Turkoglu to the 4. I’m assuming the tactic was an attempt to offset Philadelphia’s fastbreak game, as Turkoglu became the team’s slowest player on the floor.
While it did help some in that regard, it killed the Magic on the glass. On one possession in the fourth quarter, the Sixers rebounded three of their own misses before Lou William finally hit a two-point jump shot. Shortly after, Van Gundy put in a more conventional lineup.
Overall, the Johnson-Lee-Pietrus-Turkoglu-Howard combination was outscored by five points. It’s not that going small was a bad idea – but the Magic are basically going small with their normal lineup out there, because they have Rashard Lewis playing the 4.
Rather than catering to the Sixers’ strength, I’d like to see the Magic attack the Sixers’ weakness by toying with a lineup such as Alston-Lee-Lewis-Gortat-Howard. If Thad Young is playing power forward, what’s he going to do to stop the Polish Hammer in the post?
The Magic would have to make an effort to slow the game down, but the unlikely matchups it would create could surely be beneficial to Orlando. In a seven-game series, both coaches are making moves and counter-moves throughout the series. Got any ideas for SVG?