Expert opinion: a chat with contributor Tim Povtak


Here’s part three of our expert opinion series. This time we catch up with contributer and former Magic beat writer for the Orlando Sentinel, Tim Povtak.

OMD: What are you initial thoughts on the Magic/76ers match-up?

TP: I don’t think it will be close. The best the Sixers could do would be to win Game 3 or 4 in Philly, but that’s it. They will have to double team Dwight Howard because they don’t have a center who can handle him around the basket. When they do, it just creates too many openings for everyone else. Considering how slow they started this season, when they fired Maurice Cheeks, they are happy just to be at No. 6. They also were lucky after the way they finished the season.

OMD: The Magic were inconsistent during the last 10 games of the year. Do you think there will be any hangover heading into the playoffs?

TP: If you remember, the Magic team of 1994-95 finished poorly also, losing four of their last six, but they reached the NBA Finals with a real storybook run. This is a much-more veteran team. They should be able to just flip that switch, and turn it on again. If they can stay healthy, they are good enough to reach the Finals again. The real test will be in the second round to see if they can get past Boston because they can beat Cleveland in the conference final. If Kevin Garnett doesn’t play for Boston, or he plays half speed, anything is possible for the Magic.

OMD: Dwight Howard has received some criticism lately for not being serious enough on the court. Do you think Magic fans should be worried about his focus?

TP: Focus is not a problem for Dwight Howard. Shooting free throws is the problem. The Magic could have serious problems if Howard reverts back to his poor free-throw shooting. Teams are going to hack the heck out of him in the playoffs. If he can’t hit free throws at key times, the Magic are in trouble.

OMD: Another knock against the Magic by some analysts is the team’s lack of an obvious go-to fourth quarter scorer. Do you think this will ultimately limit how far the team can go in the playoffs?

TP: They have a lot of options, and that’s key in the playoffs if you don’t have a LeBron James to dominate a game. Howard will make sure they do well throughout the game, and then Turkoglu and Lewis have to take over down the stretch.

OMD: What do you think will be Orlando’s biggest advantage in the series?

TP: They are just a much better team. Dwight Howard is their advantagAe against anyone. He has to stay out of foul trouble. If he does, I can’t see Philly presenting any real problems.

OMD: What do you think will be Philadelphia’s biggest advantage in the series?

TP: Andre Miller has all that experience at point guard. I remember one game last season in Philly where he just tore up the Magic. And they have a real hustling, attacking team. They just don’t have the depth or the reliable go-to guy they can lean on consistently through a series.

OMD: What is your final series prediction?

TP: Magic in 4.

Previous expert opinions: ESPN’s Jemele Hill takes the Magic in five games. RealGM’s Jarrod Rudolph picks the Magic in five games.