Instant reaction: Magic 96, Sixers 87

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Here are some quick and random thoughts after the Magic’s game against the Sixers here at Amway Arena. We’ll be back later with an update from the players and coaches.

It wasn’t pretty by any means, but you take a playoff win any way you can get it. Considering Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu combined to shoot 29 percent, Dwight Howard had a quiet night while battling foul trouble and the Magic missed 17 3-pointers, you can’t be too upset with a 9-point playoff win. The Magic have a lot to improve on, no doubt, but we’ve yet to see the Magic play well and they’re tied 1-1 in the series. Things could be worse.

We’re definitely seeing an evolution of Courtney Lee. He’s out there for defense, where he’s making some electrifying plays and really getting the Magic going in the fastbreak game. On offense, he’s stealing the show from Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis. Lee is asserting himself more than ever, and the crowd’s energy begins to rise whenever Lee gets the ball in a scoring situation. It’s Turkoglu’s and Lewis’ job to score – but they’re not getting the job done, and Lee is picking up the slack. The rookie scored 22 points and carried the Magic through a second- and third-quarter stretch when they weren’t getting much production from anyone else

After taking almost 30 minutes to finally score in game one, it took Hedo Turkoglu just 3:46 to put his first points on the board tonight. He’s definitely out of sync, though. He’s basically incapable of penetrating, and a lot of his passes are getting tipped and slapped away. It’s like he’s a step slower out there. You know when you play pick-up basketball against weak competition, then you play against really good players the next day and you feel a step slow? Hedo looks like he’s playing on the next day.

The crowd was significantly less crowded and less rowdy than on Sunday. There was a substantial amount of seats empty in the corners of the upper bowl, in addition to some scattered empties in the lower bowl. Still, there’s legitimately more energy in here than a good regular season game. And more good news: I can count the Philly fans I saw on one hand.

At the 5:47 mark in the first quarter, Andre Miller was on pace to score 87 points.

The first three quarters played out a lot like game one. After a slow start, the Magic played well in the second quarter and pulled away in the third quarter. When Dwight Howard was called for the technical, it started to feel like the Magic were letting the Sixers back in it.

If Lewis and Turkoglu keep playing like this on the offensive end, the Magic are going nowhere. Even if they win this series, there’s no way they’re beating Boston or Chicago with this poor offense. The Magic look worse on offense right now than they’ve looked all season.

  • Early on, it just didn’t look like it was the Magic’s night. In a timeout competition between Stuff the Magic Mascot and a random Sixers fan, Stuff was required to dunk off a trampoline in order to win the fixed event. Stuff missed the dunk worse than Yao Ming.
  • In the third quarter, Howard was incredibly frustrated and you could really see it on the floor. At one point, Rafer Alston reset the offense, held the ball at the top of the key and yelled “Relax!” repeatedly in Howard’s direction.

    As the Magic’s double-digit lead disappeared in the second half, there was mostly silence and some scattered boos from the crowd. In that situation, the crowd needs to lift this team up. Start a “Let’s go Magic” chant or something — anything to pick this team up. When the team is frustrated with themselves and clearly unhappy on the court, more boos won’t help turn things around.

    Would you ever see LeBron James foul out on an offensive charge where the defender didn’t even fall over? These refs baffle me. Doesn’t Dwight Howard qualify for the Jordan rules?

    Anthony Johnson: 27 minutes. Rafer Alston: 21 minutes. No word on an injury to Alston. Hmm?