Moving forward: what the Magic must do to win game two


What happened last night was inexcusable. Championship contenders – heck, even good teams – don’t allow an inferior opponent to come back from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter. But it’s no reason to panic. In fact, it took a pretty flukey performance by Philadelphia to pull off the dramatic win. How often are the Sixers going to shoot 58.3 percent from 3-point range? Is Lou Williams going to score 18 points, including 3-for-3 from deep, in every game? And we haven’t even mentioned Donyell Marshall. Meanwhile, the Magic only made 19 of 49 jump shots and shot 27.8 percent from 3-point range. They got nothing from Hedo Turkoglu, and Rashard Lewis only had three points at halftime. Here are three things the Magic must focus on to ensure a game-two victory. 1. Get back on transition defense. This is where the Sixers absolutely killed it at the end of the game. When the Sixers got a defensive rebound, they were pushing it as fast as possible. It led to several lay-ups and open 3-pointers, as it’s difficult to keep tabs of everyone if a team is pushing the ball hard. Stan Van Gundy expressed his concern about the team’s transition defense, and it’s undoubtedly something the team is working on today at practice. 2. Don’t forget about Dwight Howard. Last night was one of Howard’s best offensive performances, as he made 11 of 13 field goals and scored a playoff career-high 31 points. Yet, in the fourth quarter, it seemed like he was being ignored. You could see the frustration in Howard’s body language throughout the second half. He barked at Hedo Turkoglu several times for not passing him the ball in the fourth quarter. There was a late possession where Howard ran down the court, and just as he started posting up, another Magic player missed a jump shot that deflected the other direction. Howard just shook his head, slumped his shoulders and began the trek back to the defensive end of the court. The Magic have to keep Howard happy and involved. 3. Keep Courtney Lee involved. The Sixers put Andre Miller and Lou Williams on Courtney Lee, and Lee was able to get by both of those guys with relative ease. The Sixers’ spacing on defense was all messed up because of their attention to Howard and Lewis, so there were plenty of lanes for Lee to attack. Despite making only 4-of-12 jump shots, Lee scored 18 points and shot 47 percent from the field in his first career playoff game. He proved that he can truly be a weapon for this team. Here’s what the Magic need to do in game two, in their own words: Stan Van Gundy: “No. 1, we’ve got to play harder. On the defensive end especially I thought in the fourth quarter they were just running by us. We didn’t have any sense of urgency in getting back. Our two biggest things coming into this game were to take care of the ball, get back and rebound. We did a decent job of taking care of the ball, until that last possession there. We did a decent job rebounding but we didn’t get back at all. I was very, very disappointed in that.” Dwight Howard: “We’ve got to come out with a better effort on the defensive end. Everybody’s gotta be locked in, knowing what certain players do and for the most part, like me and Rashard and a couple other guys thought, that everybody was ready going into this game with the defensive schemes.” Rashard Lewis: “Keep doing what was working for us in the first half. And I think we go away from that, we started shooting jump shots, we started running a lot of pick-and-rolls, didn’t get the ball inside. We started missing shots and they went down and made shots. Courtney Lee: “We’ll definitely come out and work on the things that we didn’t do today. We’ll definitely be more focused. We’ll still have the same approach. We’ll come in and do the things that we’ve been doing, but just limit the mistakes.” Anthony Johnson: “For us to have championship aspirations, we have to have that full hunger and full fight for 48 minutes, and we didn’t do that. We have to come back. There’s no choice to let them have two wins in Orlando.” After the jump, just for kicks, there’s video of Anthony Johnson’s sick dunk on Theo Ratliff.