"Lee"fense Wins Games for Orlando Magic

Brandon RibakSenior Writer IApril 23, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 22:  Louis Williams #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers is guarded by Courtney Lee #11 of the Orlando Magic in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Amway Arena April 22, 2009 in Orlando, Florida.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

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After watching the Magic face the Sixers at Amway Arena for the second game in the first round of the playoffs, I finally realized why the Magic are having such a tough time against Philly.

The Forwards

Philadelphia 76ers' two starting forwards Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young match-up extremely well against Orlando's two starting forwards  in Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis.

Both 'Turk' and 'Shard' are 30 years-old while Iguodala is 25 and Young is just 20.

Iguodala and Young both have a faster first step then the Magic's forwards and are notably quicker than them as well.

These Sixers forwards prevent Turk and Shard 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 7 assists in a little over 37 MPG.

Shard is shooting a whopping 36 percent from the field and a dreadful 20 percent from three-point range (just two per game).

Clearly both these players are having serious problems with scoring.

Turkoglu hinted in the interview after last night's victory that his ankle has had a major impact on his recent play. Yet he will continue to battle it out.

Shard 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 way 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 during 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 back-up guard Anthony Johnson into the game.

After finally realizing Johnson was not quick enough either to defend Miller, Van Gundy put rookie guard Courtney Lee on him (Lee defended players like Wade, Bryant, James, and Allen throughout the regular season.)

Lee was the answer to the Magic's problem. He stopped Miller from contributing as much 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 10-17 from the field. He was one—of—four from three—point range, and three—of—four from the charity stripe.

Why Courtney Lee won the game for the Magic

Courtney stole the ball three times from the Sixers and turned those turnovers into 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's lead to ten.

With a fouled—out Dwight Howard, Lee finished off the game 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.

Ending opinion

Dwight Howard dropped just 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 blocks in 30 minutes of action. For NBA fanatics, we all know those are minuscule numbers for the big man.

Howard will need to step it up during game three, along with forward Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis.

Courtney Lee will continue to be the X—factor for the Orlando Magic during the first round and will hopefully help advance them past this series.

Game 3 prediction: Magic win by at least 10 points.