After watching the Magic face the 'Sixers at the Amway Arena in the second game of the first round of the playoffs, I finally realized why Orlando is having such a tough time against Philly.
The Phildelphia 76ers' two starting forwards, Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young, match up extremely well against the Orlando Magic's two starting forwards, Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis.
Both Turk' and 'Shard are 30 years of age, while Iguodala is 25 and Young is just 20.
Iguodala and Young both have a faster first step than the Magic forwards and are noticeably quicker as well, preventing Turkoglu and Lewis from playing their "natural" game on the court.
Offensively, Turkoglu and Lewis both live off of their shooting. If a defender can keep up with them on defense, these guys are basically shut down on the offensive end.
During the two game series thus far, Turkoglu is shooting a horrific 27 percent from the field and 33 percent from the three-point line. He has combined for just 22 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists in a little over 37 minutes per game.
Lewis is shooting a whopping 36 percent from the field and a dreaded 20 percent from three-point range.
Clearly, both of these players are having a serious problems with scoring during the past two games.
Turkoglu hinted during the post-game interview that his ankle has had a major impact on his recent play, but he will continue to battle it out.
Lewis was not interviewed, but he is clearly in a serious shooting funk and needs to snap out of it quick. He stepped it up on the boards last night, grabbing eight rebounds, and will need to continue to be more aggressive on the offensive end of the court.
Standing 6'10", Lewis has the ability to take the ball to the rack and finish, he just relies on the three-pointer too much.
"Lee"-fense (v.): The Act of Courtney Lee Playing Stellar Defense
Like it or not, rookie guard Courtney Lee won the game for the Magic last night.
Let's begin with the first quarter.
'Sixers point guard Andre Miller got off to a quick start, scoring 13 points in the first six minutes of action.
Magic point guard Rafer Alston simply could not keep up with Miller's play, causing head coach Stan Van Gundy to substitute backup guard Anthony Johnson into the game.
After finally accepting that Johnson was not quick enough to defend Miller, Van Gundy put rookie guard Courtney Lee on him. Lee defended players like Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Ray Allen throughout the regular season.
Lee was the answer to the Magic's problem. He stopped Miller from contributing, and quickly began his own offensive surge.
Lee finished the first half with a team-high 11 points and ended the game with a career playoff-high 24 points, shooting 10-for-17 from the field, 1-for-4 from three-point range, and 3-for-4 from the charity stripe.
Why Courtney Lee Won the Game for the Magic
Lee stole the ball three times from the 'Sixers and turned those steals into offensive points. He was the only player on the Magic roster to persistently drive the ball to the rack.
Lee came up remarkably clutch during the last eight minutes of the game, hitting a jump shot and a big three-pointer to increase the Magic lead to 10.
With a fouled-out Dwight Howard on the bench, Lee finished off the game by scoring another two clutch free-throws with only 22 seconds left on the clock.
But in the end, the "Lee"fense is what ultimately won the game for the Magic.
Howard dropped just 11 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks in 30 minutes of action. For NBA fanatics, we all know those are minuscule numbers for the big man. He will need to step it up during Game 3, along with forwards Turkoglu and Lewis.
Lee will continue to be the X-factor for the Orlando Magic during the first round and will hopefully help the team advance past this series.
Game 3 Prediction: The Magic will win by at least 10 points.