Second Thoughts: Magic/Pacers Game One


Still feeling good about Game One? Yeah, sure you are. But Game Two is Monday night and this is a series so you have to take what you can from Game One and adjust and improve for Game Two. To do that, I am taking a second look at Game One this morning and providing my thoughts below. I will have a post later this afternoon on the specific adjustments the Magic might make for Game Two.

First Quarter

–The Pacers know they have an advantage in the post. I somewhat expect them to focus more on establishing a post game with Roy Hibbert, David West and Danny Granger. West had such a good game, and I would suspect that the Pacers will try to get him involved with post ups on Ryan Anderson more in Game Two. Granted though, Anderson and Glen Davis did a great job pushing West and Hibbert off their spots. That has to continue.

–I noticed the a few times later in the game, but I will keep an eye on it. Ryan Anderson looked to be rushing his shot for most of the night. Don’t know if that is nerves or just good close outs, but Anderson has to be effective from the outside for the Magic this series. He needs to take his time with his shot and find his rhythm.

–The matchup with David West is going to give the Magic some problems. There is a lot of attention put on Roy Hibbert and doubling him when he gets the ball in the post. That could free up West cutting from the weak side on a curl. They did this a few times and the Magic simply could not cover everyone.

–Magic have to be smarter with their shot selection. The offense struggles when they settle for mid-range jumpers. Things are not made easy if Hibbert is going to be blocking shots like he was in the first and third quarters of this game. But Orlando has to continue to be determined to get to the basket and finish at the rim. Whether that means more pump fakes or weak side cutters is something the offense has to think about adding.

–Orlando was extremely active defensively. Stan Van Gundy is not a fan of players going for steals, because it takes them out of position defensively, but Orlando did a lot of things that they don’t normally do to annoy and throw Indiana off rhythm. Glen Davis defnitely deserves some praise for knocking the ball out of Hibbert’s hands and taking him out of rhythm with his post game.

–I really liked Orlando’s attitude early in this game to attack Roy Hibbert and challenge him. He was up for the challenge in Game One. But the Magic have to keep this up. Hibbert will not go another game without committing a foul. Getting him out would be big as it would enable the team to focus on just one dangerous post player.

–Earl Clark is going to be incredibly important in this series. He is a strong defender who could defend David West or Danny Granger. More importantly, his energy defensively really changed the tenor of the game in the first quarter. He was a big shot-blocker and really the only guy on the roster who is consistently going to challenge shots at the rim.

Second Quarter

–Magic have to value their possessions a little bit better. Contested 3-pointers on the fast break are going to get this team in trouble and cost the team valuable opportunities to score. It happened later in the game too when the Magic inexplicably went 1-on-3 or 1-on-4 with a two-point deficit twice. You don’t want the Pacers defense to get set too much but you have to value possessions too.

–This goes double when Roy Hibbert is off the floor. The Magic in the second quarter settled for too many mid-range jumpers and did not look to attack the basket in the same way that they did in the first quarter. Part of that is personnel but part of that just has to be a willingness to get in the paint.

–If Chris Duhon continues to have problems bringing the ball up the floor, Stan Van Gundy has to consider bringing in Ish Smith to back up Jameer Nelson. Or if he won’t do that, perhaps playing Hedo Turkoglu alongside Duhon and having Turkoglu bring the ball up.

–Quentin Richardson had a great second quarter. Played with a lot of energy, especially on the defensive end, and contributed positively offensively.

–Davis got wide open on pick and rolls twice. The Pacers changed up their pick and roll defense in the second half, but there were definite miscommunications on how to handle the Magic’s double screen play.

–Jameer Nelson’s dribble penetration is so vital to this team. He did a great job getting into the paint and setting himself up to score or finding others. Great game from the co-captain.

–Having said that, Jameer has to do what he did with about two minutes to play. He has to be going into the paint and toward the basket looking to score. That will open up the passing lanes for others and free up shooters. In the third quarter especially, Hibbert kind of spooked him and he got caught in the air looking for a pass or driving to pass rather than to score. Nelson is a scorer and Orlando needs him to create for himself and others.

–I still really like what Jason Richardson did trying to dunk over Roy Hibbert. That was a no fear play. Exactly what the Magic needed.

Third Quarter

–Davis has to adjust his attack on Hibbert a little bit. He has the right idea trying to right at him in the post, but Davis has some bad habits. He flails around a bit too much and, because he plays so below the rim, his shot is available to be blocked. So what Davis has to do is pump fake a little bit more to get Hibbert off his feet, use his body to protect the ball and his shot around the rim — forcing the defender to foul him to get to the ball — and going into the body of the post defender. Davis has to do this to help eliminate some of the size advantage the Pacers have.

–Orlando used a lot of curls to get guys open in the paint off that horns set. With the way Orlando was attacking off the pick and roll and the timing the Magic have, this could be a way to generate some offense especially using Jason Richardson or J.J. Redick. Would be nice if Hedo Turkoglu could work off a curl, but I do not know if that is in his game.

–A good chunk of this series might come down to turnovers. Orlando had three at halftime and then three in the first three minutes of the second half. Predictably, the Magic lost their seven-point lead pretty quickly.

–The Magic generally closed out on 3-point shooters really well. This is not what Indiana is best at, so I think Orlando wants Indiana to try and beat it from beyond the arc. What was pointed out in the local broadcast is the Magic’s inconsistent effectiveness double teaming the post. I suspect this will continue, but the Magic need to continue working on their technique doubling the post and rotating back out. The Magic were generally pretty good, but expect some adjustments so the Magic need to keep practicing.

–A lot more of Hibbert’s blocks were cleaner than I thought last night.

–Ryan Anderson held his ground against Roy Hibbert really well. Hibbert has to be better and smell blood if this happens in Game Two.

–I thought Orlando generally did a very nice job keeping Tyler Hansbrough out of the game. He is such a big energy boost for the Pacers. If the Magic can take him out of the game, they make their job a lot easier.

Fourth Quarter

–Pacers hedged much more aggressively and strongly in the second half. It was part of the “ramped up” defense that Indiana played in the second half. This took the Magic out of rhythm and took them away from the paint. Orlando’s offense runs multiple pick and rolls but rarely has a second or third option after the pick and roll and the team has to reset. This will lead to a lot more late shot clock desperation shots.

–Every time the Magic got into a tough offensive stretch, it seemed like they came up with a defensive stop when they absolutely needed it. Seems like Orlando rediscovered a defensive identity.

–77-70 with 4:14 to play…

–Jameer Nelson hit so many tough shots. The one that sparked the 11-0 run was certainly no gimme. Extremely difficult turnaround fadeaway. Then the Magic with a nice trap after the pick and roll to begin Granger’s downfall with the backcourt violation.

–Pacers had a lot of opportunities to close this game out. Four minutes is an eternity in the NBA and it was not like the Magic scored on every possession in the closing minutes.

–What a double flare screen from Glen Davis and Ryan Anderson to free up Jason Richardson for his first 3-pointer. Paul George had no clue how to get around the screen and David West or Roy Hibbert did not communicate well enough to close out on the shooter until George could recover.

–George missed two wide open 3-pointers on consecutive possessions. Magic did not cash in by going one-on-four and taking wild shots with no chance to go in.

–Collison missed a 3-pointer from the corner. Wide open again. The Magic were really scrambling when Granger sucked them into the paint. I think this was part of Orlando’s strategy. But, man, was it dangerous at the end of this game.

–Granger looked like he was fading away from the line a bit and not getting his legs involved on those free throws. As Frank Vogel said… that is basketball.

–Wow, the play that sprung Jason Richardson open for the 3-pointer was a beauty. The inbound goes to Jameer Nelson at the top of the key. He dribbles right toward the usual stagger screen play that Orlando always runs with Jason Richardson and Ryan Anderson set up to set the screens.

But instead of going through the normal pick and roll, Richardson cuts toward and Anderson and Anderson sets a nice screen to free up Richardson. Nelson has already passed him and cannot get a great pass to the top of the key.

So, and I don’t know if this was designed or improvised, Richardson darts back toward Nelson using another Anderson screen. Nelson pulls up dishes to Richardson for the wide open three.

Great play call. Looking at it again, it had to be planned as Nelson is already passing the ball once Anderson sets the screen. Watch it in full speed.

This game came down to execution in the end. The Magic were able to finish, and the Pacers looked like they succumbed to the pressure of being the favorite a bit. The Magic played with nothing to lose. That will have to continue in Game Two.

Be sure to share your second thoughts with me on twitter @OMagicDaily or in the comments below. Game Two is Monday at 7:30 p.m.