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First Round Prediction

"Lou Williams has a huge positive effect on the series, carrying the scoring load for stretches with the second unit."

Of your general predictions, to me, this is the biggest key to, arguably, the whole series. He has been so inconsistent and erratic this whole year. It would not surprise to see him revert to the bad Lou and dribble endlessly while jacking up horrible shots. On the flip side, he could be the good Lou who scores efficiently and continually attacks the lane while either finishing or, at the least, getting to the line.

But my biggest key is one that I spoke of back around Jan. or Feb. when it happened during an isolated game and he set his career high. Thad getting to the line.

This can be the tipping point where these possessions are more magnified in the playoffs. We were winning in early Jan. and weren't even getting this element from him (for multiple reasons). If that midseason play from the team resurfaces AND we get him going to the line 7-10 a game, look out.

The Sixers are going to need the perimeter guys to put fouls on Howard. Sammy isn't going to do it. If Thad can draw contact when he blows by Lewis on the perimeter, which he will do at will, he could really change this series.

Bryon reply to Brian on Apr 19 at 14:31

BTW, I initially put it on the Orlando Magic Daily thread a few days ago while debating with Joe. Sixers in 6.

deepsixersuede on Apr 19 at 14:02

another key will be hitting our free throws. We can assume we will get killed from behind the arc but we can!t compound that by shooting 70 % from the line.

Very good point. The Sixers are a terrible free throw shooting team, so at the bare minimum they have to hit their average. If they have any games at or below 70%, which they've done quite a few times this season, they don't have a prayer in those games.

See, the problem with the whole "Team X did XYZ last year, now they're more experienced and have more weapons so they should do better" logic is that there are two teams in a series. Orlando, last year, played a team as good as we are today in the first round, maybe better, namely 41-41 Toronto, a team that, by Pythagorean record, should've been 49-33. They won in 5 games. Then they lost in 5 in the second round to Detroit, true. But now, Orlando's (a) more experienced, (b) has more weapons (mainly a totally reliable, solid shooting guard, as well as an improved bench), and (c) unlike us, they actually improved by seven wins. Therefore, by your sort of logic, Orlando should beat the next 41-41 team it faces in the first round in 4, I suppose. I don't particularly buy either version of the argument, so I'll go with Orlando in 6.

One difference between last year's magic team and this year's magic team. Jameer Nelson vs. Rafer Alston.

Also, does anyone on their bench really scare you?

Tray reply to Brian on Apr 19 at 23:04

They don't scare me, but they're nice players. Battie and Gortat are useful role players, so is Johnson, so is Pietrus. Even Redick will eventually hit some threes.

I think if you follow Lou thru this year, he and Thad are the only sixers that have steadily improved through the year. Yes, Lou could revert back but that would not make sense.

I am voting sixers in 6 but would not be shocked if the sixers lose in 6 or 7.

This won't be a Sixers blog unless we can rally behind the Sixers so I will go for Sixers in 7.

The Magic are a far superior team so a lot has to happen for the Sixers to beat them 4 times. Off the top of my head:

* Thad scores loads and the team trusts him to take the big shots
* Miller abuses Alston
* Ratliff and Daly ensure we double Howard as little as possible
* Turkoglu struggles with his ankle
* Speights and Lou provide 20 PPG from the bench
* DiLeo learns to use Reggie and Ivey only at the appropriate times
* Marshall sees 10 MPG at the 4
* Sixers take advantage of their athleticism and youth to run as much as possible, possibly send games to overtime

Bryon reply to Alvin on Apr 19 at 14:27

Marshall getting those 10 MPG could be so crucial and should come at the expense of Ivey if not Reggie. The Magic don't really have a guard oriented perimeter player that needs to be shut down which Ivey supposedly excels at. And Ivey's shooting of three's has worn thin lately.

I'd love it, but I just don't see it happening, not right away at least. Marshall is saved for desperate circumstances, then when the team plays well he gets back in the rotation for a couple games, then they forget about him again. I don't understand why, but that's the pattern.

Well, umm... umm... I like the Moneyline tonight?

Orlando in 4 is my prediction.

If the Sixers don't win tonight, I highly doubt they get a win at all. If they won, I'd like Orlando in 6.

Orlando in 5 is what i've thought all week - no reason to change my mind as i can ses

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