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Game 5: Sixers @ Magic

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"We got home court again, and we're going to have some fun at home." That's what Hedo had to say about tonight's game 5. Call me crazy, but I think Andre Iguodala has something other than "fun" in mind for Hedo. Thoughts, keys and the in-game discussion after the jump.

Well, four games later, we're right back where we started. The Sixers are going to have to win a game in Orlando to take the series. The Magic need only to assert their 59-win muscles to push Philly out of the playoffs. You know the situation, Sixers backs against the wall, Orlando desperate to prove they're a legit contender. Let's get right into the keys.

  • Here's some irony for you. Stan Van Gundy has decided to eschew offensive rebounding so his team can get back on defense and stop the Sixers' transition game. In game four, the Sixers dominated the glass (92% of defensive rebounds) and scored 21 points in transition. More of the same is needed in that department.
  • Pick and roll defense. The Sixers switched everything on the perimeter in game 4, the strategy held Orlando to their worst offensive performance of the series. Again, more of the same with a slight caveat. The Magic will eventually realize Howard is wide-open on the roll to the hoop. If you get burned on it, things may need to be switched up.
  • I'd like to see some screens used to get playmakers into the lane for layups. I don't want to see players complacently accepting the double all night long. If the trap isn't perfectly applied, it's a free pass to the hoop for a jam. Take advantage.
  • Mix it up. The third quarter has been this team's downfall, how about changing the script tonight. Come out with a different starting lineup after the break, maybe run some different plays. Here's an idea, run the offense through Thad instead of making a concerted effort to get shots for Willie early in the third. Just change something. Don't expect to do the same thing you've done all series and expect different results.
  • Sammy down the stretch. Love him, hate him, it doesn't matter. Samuel Dalembert on the floor is this team's best chance of closing out games. He needs to be in there for the final six minutes, no matter how much of a rhythm you think Theo is in.
The tip is at 7:30pm. I'll be right here, so join me in the comments and let's get this thing back to Philly up 3-2.

Ric Bucher actually has some positive things to say about the Sixers in his breakdown of tonight's game.