Courtney Lee vs. Eddie House: The Most Intriguing Second-Round Matchup

Sean StancillSenior Writer IMay 7, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 22:  Courtney Lee #11 of the Orlando Magic watches the action against the Philadelphia 76ers 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)

Early in the year, Courtney Lee was able to earn minutes in the Orlando Magic's rotation thanks to his unselfishness and his willingness to compete on the defensive end of the floor.

He was chosen 22nd overall out of Western Kentucky and he averaged eight points, a steal, and shot over 40 percent from long-range in his first full season.
In his first four postseason games, he had outputs of 24, 18, and 15 to go along with eight steals and tight defense on his counterparts.
The Celtics have a variety of weapons that proved to be trouble for the Magic in Game Three, but none bigger than three-point specialist Eddie House.
House splurged for 31 points and made four treys en route to the C's blow-out win over Orlando.
The 6'0" assassin was being guarded by Mickael Pietrus for most of the evening, whom he torched thanks to his fast movements around screens.
Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy will be looking to assign a new defender to House in an attempt to bottle him up, and the perfect man for the job is Courtney Lee.
Though Lee has missed the Magic's last four postseason games thanks to a fractured sinus he suffered from Dwight Howard's elbow in Game Five of their first-round series vs. Philadelphia, Lee has resumed basketball activities and had an outside shot of playing in Game Two against the Celtics.
Reports indicate he will play in Game Three and his fast hands and even quicker reactions will be utilized.
Lee is widely regarded as Orlando's best perimeter defender and he has the physical attributes working in his favor (as did Mickael Pietrus, but we know how that turned out) so what's the difference between the two?
Lee is quick and slides feet in coordination with the dribbles of the offensive player. In House's case, Lee will need to rely on his good Basketball I.Q., sense of his help around him, and on studying hours of game footage of just what makes House so deadly.
Dating back to his days in Golden State, Pietrus' is more of a great help defender and a shot-blocker at the guard position, whereas Lee will let the game develop, allow the opposing player to execute his moves, and then either poke the ball out at the right moment or soundly contest the shot.
In addition, some of Mickael's bulk actually may have hurt him. Eddie House lives or dies by the three and also applies the same theory to the screens which free him up.
It's simple: If the pick isn't good and the defender is able to slide through or evade the screen, House's shot in turn will suffer. If House's defender gets planted by the screen then House receives a quality look where he's automatic (44 percent in the regular season and 50 percent in the playoffs).
Lee is 15 pounds lighter than Pietrus, and though this may be hard to believe, it may actually be of some help to him. 
When Pietrus began guarding him in Game Two, Eddie House was able to curl around screens thanks to a combination of perfect timing from the Celtics' bigs when setting the screen and Mickael's stout body. 
The fact that the rookie is smaller and hasn't developed a typical NBA-body yet is an asset that will help him shed screens geared to set up House and hang with the six-foot sharpshooter.
Lee will be itching to return to the court and with the home-court crowd behind him he will be presented with the task of defending the Celtics' most flammable player.
Good luck, Courtney Lee. The outcome of your one matchup could very well decide the rest of the series.


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