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First Round Matchups: The Small Forwards

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Part three of the playoff matchup series features Andre Iguodala vs. Hedo Turkoglu. Game on the line, these are the guys who will have the ball in their hands. I'll break it down for you after the jump.

The NBA's most-improved player from 2007-2008 took a step back this season. Did he step far enough back to be passed by the Sixers rising star? Maybe Iguodala was already ahead of him.

The Stats

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My Take

If you asked the layman to compare Andre Iguodala and Hedo Turkuglu, they'd probably tell you that Hedo is the better offensive player, Iguodala a better athlete and defender. They'd be half right. Fact of the matter is, Iguodala pretty much dominated Hedo in every area of the game this season, statistically. Hedo held a decent advantage in three-point percentage, but he was still below league average. He was a better free throw shooter. But Iguodala shot 6 percent better from the floor, his true shooting and eFG numbers were better. His points per shot better. They were even in assists, but Iguodala's assist-to-turnover ratio was better.

On the floor, Hedo has deceptive quickness. I think he lulls a lot of defenders to sleep with his big, doofy Euro look. Iguodala has fallen for it before, so don't count on Iggy's enormous athletic advantage to translate into a complete lockdown of Turkoglu. Truth be told, he's probably going to do more damage from deep against the Sixers than driving the ball. He shot an ungodly 45% from beyond in their three meetings this season. I expect Turkuglu to lead the team in scoring at least once in the series, hopefully, he's going to have to work for it, though.

The Turk suffered a sprained ankle toward the end of the season and missed the team's final two games. If he's even a little gimpy, you can throw everything I said above out the window. Without his deceptive quickness, he's only a threat as a spot-up shooter, and he hasn't been particularly effective shooting the ball this season.

When the Sixers have the ball, this is an enormous mismatch. Even 100% healthy, Turkuglu cannot stay in front of Iguodala. I'm expecting one of two things to happen, either the Magic will employ the same swarm defense the Pistons did last year. Basically, they'll try to make someone other than Iguodala beat them. Or Iguodala is going to have a monster series. He can't settle for the jumper with Hedo on him, he has to force the issue and more importantly, when Dwight Howard comes to help, Iguodala needs to make smart interior passes to the bigs for easy finishes. Don't get cute with bounce passes, get the ball to the rim so Sam can go up and get it. Iguodala shot the ball poorly against Orlando this season, but had solid all-around games in all three losses.

Advantage Sixers: I'm sure plenty of people can make an argument for Hedo in this matchup, mainly because he shoots the three better. That's short-sighted. Iguodala is a much, much better all around player and as far as I'm concerned this is the second clear advantage for the Sixers, one they need to take advantage of at every opportunity. Iguodala is going to need to either score efficiently or really take advantage of gambles Stan Van Gundy is taking to slow him down for the Sixers to win.

Vote below, thoughts in the comments, as usual. Check out the other matchup previews here.