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Put the First Half to Bed

Dare to dream is right. I really like the way Orlando is playing right now.

I think they're better offensively, they lost the gimmick, but they've got guys looking for their best player now. On the defensive end, though, they don't have a single wing defender who's above average imo. And they're really lacking for athleticism. They're going to miss Pietrus and Barnes coming off the bench in a big way.

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Rich reply to Brian on Jan 19 at 16:07
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I actually think they have the gimmick back, and that namely is having Hedo back and playing well. That gives them an identity, and they should have just resigned Hedo instead of keeping Gortat and getting Bass after 2009. They needed a perimeter creator to play with the shooters around Dwight.

Athleticism is lacking, but that may not matter for a team of drivers like the Sixers because Dwight is the great equalizer. The Sixers are going to have to make a lot of perimeter shots, because Orlando is going to score. I watched their last two games and they played OKC and Boston really tough on the road, and those team's perimeter players were great in those games.

Eh. The gimmick was 4 guys on the floor who could knock down the three and Howard. That's gone. Hedo works as a gimmick against some teams because of his size at the three, but that's pretty meaningless against the Sixers. Iguodala can handle him, always has in the past.

Long-term it looks like a lousy deal but it appears to have given them a shot at winning this year - a shot they didn't really have before.

The Magic have to think short term (like the cavs) because they need to win a title while dwight is on the team or he's probably gone - no matter what the new CBA is - teams will line up to give him a max deal

Really? As far as I can tell, they really only have one quality win since making the trade. They beat the Celts (at full strength) in Orlando on Christmas.

You may be able to count the San Antonio win as well, also in Orlando, but San Antonio was on the second night of a back-to-back, had played the night before in San Antonio, a tough win over Denver.

Their other 8 wins since the trade:

NJN
CLE
NYK (at home)
GSW
MIL
HOU
@ DAL (without Dirk)
@ MIN

They also lost @NOH, @BOS and @OKC.

Looks like an easy stretch of the schedule to me rather than a team that suddenly has a legit shot. They don't have anyone to guard LeBron, Wade, Pierce, Allen, Rose, etc. when the playoffs come around.

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Rich reply to Brian on Jan 19 at 17:26
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It'll be interesting, but those last 2 were good losses, and on the road. They look like they could make the finals this year with their three point offense back on track. Will they? That's to be debated, but they weren't doing it with that team they started the season with.

As for guarding LeBron, etc. They just need to make him work hard like they did a couple of years ago. Pietrus did a pretty good job, but it's a little overrated. LeBron still got to the line a ton that series. The reason they won that series was that they shut down the other guys and let LeBron get his on that end combined with being really hard to guard on offense, and they made a ton of threes. They have that second element back now, and Dwight's better. That should make them have a say in who makes the Finals.

I wouldn't be surprised if this is the game where Hawes loses his starting job.

I worry that Hawes has the strength or spine to foul Howard hard enough to avoid an and-one. Speights and Brand have no such reservations (maybe another 6 point play?)

I do like some of the Sixers match-ups. This is a game where they need "good Lou" badly. he needs to draw fouls on the bigs, since Arnenas, Jameer and Reddick will not stay in front of him. Likewise, they need good shooting from Jrue, Turner and Meeks- because i doubt those guys finish in the lane with Howard nearby.

And will this finally be a game where Jrue and Turner have good offensive games and Iguodala plays heavy minutes? The last 2 games have been wins- but offensively Jrue and Turner have been marginalized in favor of Iguodala and Lou (30 pts combined compared to 79.)

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johnrosz on Jan 19 at 16:20
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Hasn't Jrue had problems with Jameer in the past? or am I not remembering that correctly

Smaller guards always seem to give Jrue a problem

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tk76 reply to johnrosz on Jan 19 at 16:27
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He's had trouble with a range of guards.

Small quick guys like Collison get past him.
Strong guards like Rose and Barron Davis have bullied him at times. And crafty vets like Bibby and Kidd have given him trouble by getting wide open for 3's.

That's not to say Jrue lacks promise as a defender. And Jrue has been a handful for opponents on the other end of the floor. But its more than one type of guard that get to him. And in Jameer's case I think its the combo of quickness and strength that get Jrue.

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tk76 reply to tk76 on Jan 19 at 16:28
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But Jrue's biggest problem has been chasing after his man after a pick and then picking up ticky-tack fouls as his man starts to drive the lane.

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johnrosz reply to tk76 on Jan 19 at 16:36
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i've been hoping some of those ticky tacky calls will see a reduction as he gets older and gets a rep as a physical defender

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tk76 reply to johnrosz on Jan 19 at 17:10
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Or maybe his teammate can show better on the pick and roll?

and by "show better" you really mean "show at all," right?

The coach count is 4 now (5, 6?) when this team hasn't been able to defend the pick & Roll

what the crap is that all about - it's one of hte most basic plays in basketball how the hell can yo ube SO terrible year after year coach after coach at it?

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johnrosz reply to GoSixers on Jan 19 at 17:27
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where would you rate Elton's ability to defend the pick and roll

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tk76 reply to johnrosz on Jan 19 at 17:30
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Good his 1st year (prrior to injury), bad last year. ZSo-so this year. Don't know how much of the variation is due to coaching change vs physical ability because of injuries/age.

From time to time, he's devastating on the p&r. When he doubles the ball hard with those long arms, it's really tough for a PG to escape. Problem is, that takes a lot of energy and it's something they rarely do. As for just hedging and slowing the guy down, he's terrible. He stays glued to his man and essentially makes the pick twice as wide as he gets in Jrue's way when he's trying to bounce under it.

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tk76 reply to Brian on Jan 19 at 17:38
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I think his 1st year he showed hard most times- which probably is what I'm remembering as successful.

Was that Mo's coaching?

Possibly. I'm still trying to figure out what this team's philosophy is on the P&R. I don't get the draw of staying home no matter what for the big, unless Collins just figures his bigs are so slow, they won't be able to hedge efficiently, and he'd rather have a PG driving in the lane (with Jrue going under to hopefully meet him on the other end), than have bigs diving to the rim for easy dunks. If those are you two choices, you aren't going to defend it well no matter what, so I guess you choose the lesser of two evils.

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johnrosz reply to tk76 on Jan 19 at 17:42
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I guess my point is that when you're starting PF has the lateral quickness of a turtle, and your 20 year old PG is going through his growing pains, it's hard to get on the coach on inconsistent results in P&R

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johnrosz reply to johnrosz on Jan 19 at 17:42
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your

I think the trade with Phoenix was a steal, J-Rich is nasty and Hedo had an expected rebirth, Orlando is the only place he is good. But the Lewis for Arenas trade was a disaster. Reuniting the Howard-Hedo-Lewis line would have improved Lewis, I think, plus his contract expires a year before Arenas's. Not to mention that Arenas just pretty much stinks these days.


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