NBA Finals: Orlando's Game Two Adjustments
The most vicious and serious statement that Michael Jordan ever made would apply quite well to Game Two of this young Finals (though not word-for-word):
"If [Kobe] was in a zone and tried to hit [81 points] on my team, he would be on his back every time on the way to the basket, and my whole team would have at least five fouls a piece."
This would be a great mindset for the Magic, often described recently as "weak," "tight," "young," and "inexperienced." They should play Kobe like this for the rest of the series, not just Game Two. If he goes down hard more often, his body will wear and it will be like the Mavs trying to keep up with Wade two years back, but with Kobe being stopped and the role being reversed.
We could see a Magic team getting back into the groove that got them to where they are.
Kobe scoring 40 points in the first contest isn't anything that major, as we saw LeBron get a ton of points in the Eastern Conference Finals, yet Orlando still came out on top. But when you factor in how the Mamba nearly got a triple-double, there's got to be a difference in your game plan and the way you play the main threat.
The lanes must tighten up, and his driving ability must be reduced for the Magic to be able to win on the defensive side of the ball. That would create more chances for the offense to score.
An idea that worked extremely well for the Celtics last year was to get a Lakers big man in foul trouble early. It worked in the first quarter of Game One for Orlando but needs to be executed throughout the entire series if the Magic wish to win.
Another issue is that Dwight got into foul trouble at the end of the first; I believe that the Magic should be resting him more in the first (perhaps at about two minutes to go) because nearing the end of quarters is where he has trouble staying composed. The refs tend to call him for his second foul around the two-minute mark; this is pretty much a recurring issue that needs to be monitored more by the coaching staff in regards to Dwight's stamina and foul issues.
Having Jameer Nelson back is nice, but the Magic need to keep him sidelined for tonight's contest. When you have two point guards running the team at different times and splitting the duties, turnovers become more prominent and the team itself loses some of its composure and steadiness. At the shooting guard position, it would be okay to pull switcharoo, but not at the point, as it needs to be the most consistent position.
It must be filled in with someone who has run the offense throughout the entire playoffs, and that's Alston.
The fact still remains that the Magic need more consistent effort and hunger. They seemingly had it going into the '95 series against Houston; perhaps they can look there for inspiration (though not for a desired end result).
This June 7 matchup needs to have a lot better effort and better ball movement from the players for the Magic to win. If not it may be a sad ending to a storybook season.
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