The Magic beat (on) the Hornets

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Published: December 25, 2008

First, I’ll give the Orlando Magic defense some credit.  They closed hard, rotated well, and stayed in front of their men.   They doubled who they needed to double, and left open who they needed to leave open.

That said, none of our players were on today.  A couple could be classified as “ok” but none of them were good.  Julian Wright played, but despite how refreshing it was to see him – and Morris Peterson – on the floor, neither actually played that well.  Of course, compared to what the rest of the players were doing, it seemed like they were awesome.

Tyson was unable to stay on the floor, our starters went 0-7 from deep, allowing the Magic to lay off our perimeter guys just enough, and in general our team didn’t look sharp.

The inability of some of our perimeter players to consistently hit shots is also preying on the minds of Paul and West and the players on the three-point line.  The ball used to frequently hit the perimeter and then pass along the edge, now players are receiving the ball, hesitating because maybe they should shoot it instead of passing it, and then when the ball moves the one second worth of open space has been closed.

Despite the wailing about our offense, it is the same offense as last year.  David West is not playing worse than he did last year.  He sees a few more double-teams, but the ball typically leaves his hands fine, it’s just that recently the perimeter players aren’t swinging the ball and hitting their open shots, while opponents are diligently closing on them.

Many of our ills will be cured with Peja coming back true to form and Antonio Daniels adding another player who can take a swing pass and drive with it, forcing a secondary collapse of the defense like Pargo used to.

All of that said – if we want to get back to where we were last year, it starts on the defensive end.  Last year we weren’t the best team for contesting shots, but we were special at controlling the boards and not fouling.  We’re foul machines this year – and our board control has failed regularly.  If we can fix the defense, we’ll get more fast break run outs, more outlet passes, and some easier shots.

Anyways, I’m off to be grumpy about the game.

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