NBA Playoffs 2012: Complete Guide to Beating the Orlando Magic
After Wednesday night's Orlando Magic victory against the dismal Charlotte Bobcats, the Eastern Conference playoff picture has officially been set. The sixth-seeded Magic, owners of a 37-28 record after the aforementioned win, will be forced to battle the Indiana Pacers to advance to the second round.
While the Magic have not been terrible in Dwight Howard's absence, as the team has a 4-7 overall record without the dominant behemoth, the team lacks the defensive presence and consistent double-double threat that Howard brought to the table.
But the organization is no doubt susceptible to a first-round exit. The Indiana Pacers are quite the formidable opponent. Their depth, length and unselfishness will test a Howard-less Orlando's limits.
So, how can the Indiana Pacers, or any playoff team for that matter, beat the Orlando Magic in a seven-game series? The subsequent slides will present and examine a guide on how a franchise can avoid a disappointing oust by the Magic.
Utilize Big Man Depth
Obviously, the Orlando Magic lack quality players to fill the production left off by All-NBA talent, Dwight Howard. The big man trio of Glen Davis, Ryan Anderson and the inexperienced Daniel Orton are just not going to cut it if Orlando wants to make it past the first round.
In fact, the Magic lacked big man depth even when Dwight Howard was healthy. While many fans were calling for the Magic to sign a backup center at the beginning of the season, Orlando, known contrarians, were content with their roster.
Well, that decision back fired and Orlando finds themselves in a troublesome predicament.
Indiana needs to utilize their length and depth in the frontcourt. Roy Hibbert, the 7'2" All-Star, alone may be enough to wreak havoc, but add forwards Tyler Hansbrough and David West and you have a combination that will be too strong, refined and long for Orlando to handle.
Due to the rapid decline of production from veteran ball-handlers Chris Duhon, Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson, the Orlando Magic are giving up over 15 turnovers per game.
The sad reality is, however, that these three players make up for a majority of their lost opportunities.
In a league where possessions are invaluable, the Orlando Magic must find a way to limit these pesky turnovers.
The Indiana Pacers, however, must force the issue by applying pressure to Orlando's facilitators. With the depth the Pacers possess in the backcourt, Indiana will order their guards to play tough defense and battle fatigue due to the amount of competent substitutes on the bench.
After all, Pacers Darren Collison, Leonardo Barbosa, George Hill and Paul George are all starter-quality players in the Association.
Challenge Every Three-Point Attempt
If Orlando wants a fighting chance in their first-round matchup, they must shoot efficiently from downtown. Over the course of the season, the Magic shot 38 percent from deep and connected on an average of 10 three-pointers per night. That is one-third of the team's total offense.
Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel must stress to his squad to challenge every three-pointer attempted by Orlando. While this is a challenging task, as nearly everybody on Orlando's roster is effective from behind the arc, the Pacers must make a conscious effort to limit their long-balls.