Preview and Chat: The Orlando Magic

Kurt —  January 12, 2007

Kobe? He’s listed as probably and a game-time decision after the groin strain the other night. Yes, it would leave the Lakers incredibly short handed if he sat, but it’s a long season so I lean toward rest rather than pushing it if there is any pain or concerns.

Orlando is hot. They come in winning five straight, and they are doing it with defense. Their offense hasn’t been spectacular — only Dwight Howard and Trevor Ariza are shooting over 50% in the last 10 games. Howard has been spectacular, he comes in off a 30 point, 25 rebound game (against the lacking inside game of Golden State).

What is fueling the Magic is teams are shooting just 44.5% (eFG%) against them in the last 10 games. The Lakers are shooting 52.3% on the season. It’s always easy to say “the team that shoots better will win” but tonight the Lakers field goal percentage is something to watch.

Last meeting with Orlando. The Lakers won handily, by 13, in the game where Smush had the big third quarter (coincidentally after Sasha had a good second quarter). The Lakers pulled away at the end of the third and never looked back. Kobe had 27 and Smush 20. For the Magic, Grant Hill had 20 but Kwame Brown held Howard to 12 points and 8 boards.

The Magic spread their possessions out fairly well between Jameer Nelson, Hill, Howard, Darko and Carlos Arroyo. Trevor Ariza had a nice game as well, shooting 62.5%. The Magic ran their offense often through the high pick and roll, but the Lakers were sagging then. One of the positives the last couple games is that Bynum seems to have gotten the message and was out hedging on the ball handler coming off the pick, that could help the Lakers tonight. Last game the Lakers switch on the pick a lot, but the Magic did a poor job of exploiting the mismatches.

For the Lakers, it was a hot shooting night for basically every Laker save Kobe (who, of course, took the most shots). Smush shot 75%, Waton 64% and Cook 87%. Of late Kobe has been better about making sure those guys get shots when hot, so I expect more out of them — and if Kobe sits they are going to have to be huge.

Battle of the future. Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum. It’s going to be fun to watch these two match up for the game. No predictions, although it’s safe to say that Howard’s game is a little more polished than Drew’s right now. Last meeting Kwame was able to be physical with Howard and kept him in check, we’ll see what Drew can do.

I expect teams are going to try to establish their bigs so this will be a fun matchup to watch in the first quarter.

As a side note, I wonder if we coming into a little “golden age” of talented bigs again, with these two plus guys like Oden and Durant coming in next season, Love and his Bill Walton style below the rim game going to UCLA then likely the NBA. Yao is still pretty young (even though it seems he’s been around forever). That’s a lot of talent.

Thing to look for: Chris Webber in the stands.

Kurt

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15 responses to Preview and Chat: The Orlando Magic

  1. Make that 2-0 in games decided by 3 or less.

    Dear Brian Hill,
    If you’re going to make a point of saying that you can’t let the Smush Parkers of the world beat you, you might want to let your team know not to let the actual Smush Parker beat you.

  2. Man, we are not good at defense. We’d better be able to fix that wil LO and Kwame back in the lineup or we’re not doing anything in the postseason.

  3. We’re worse right now, but our defense hasn’t been great when Odom and Kwame were healthy,

  4. While our defense is not great (inexplicably) I’m heartened by the fact that it can be overcome by the offense on some nights. The Lakers scored 109 points with a slowed Kobe and Smush Parker against the 3rd stingiest defense in the league.

  5. A slowed Kobe was still pretty damn good, and basically pulled the game out with his last 7 minute scoring burst.

    I was kinda disheartened by the way Howard was able to push Bynum around so easily.

    Please note that I could be talking out of my a$$ because I just based those comments on the NBA.com highlights and the AP game review.

  6. I can see the headlines already:

    “Orlando Smushed in LA”

    “Orlando has no answer for Parker”

    “Watch out Allen, ‘Mello, “Bron, and Dwayne: here comes the Smusher up the scoring leader list.

    The Lakers have the best scorer in the NBA spending most of the game playing point guard, decoying the defense to him, looking for assists–while it’s bona fide point guard, never much of an assists man anyway, is on a scoring binge.

    Along with other big time scorers in the NBA, the Smusher should be commended for his high pick and roll stance: let the big Laker guys come out to pick up my man. That’s how Smush can get separation. When Smush’s man makes the basket, Smush is already separated enough to “get one back.”

    Nevermind that it leads to basket trading down to the wire and requires Kobe to make some miracle shot to win the game–the Smusher is moving up the charts!

  7. Bynum does not have the strenght to take on Howard just yet. But keeping a tandem of Kwame and Bynum should be enough to put up against Howard for years to come.

    KWame can be physical with him, and Bynum (should he be learning) can get some finesse moves and take advantage in the offense. But let’s wait and see how he evolves…

  8. Bynum did get pushed around a little by Howard, but he also scored on Howard in a couple of one on one situations, and Howard also had some real bone headed plays esp. down the stretch….

  9. Howard is two years older and more physically developed than Bynum because of it. He also has more hops and is more athletic. But Bynum is longer and already shows a little more finesse and touch.

    They are going to be fun to watch going at each other for years.

  10. Er… It’s hard to find news… but, is Penny near an agreement with the Lakers?

    This would be a wet dream… Having Smush benched… :)

  11. Good win for the Lakers. It’s all about defense and rebounding and limiting turnovers. The other more important thing is focus against weak opponents. They’re playing great against teams above.500. Terrible against teams below.500.
    Focus Focus Focus.
    On another note….I was watching some ESPN classic and Andrew’s game reminds me a lot of Robert Parrish. Always keeps the ball high. If only Andrew had The Chiefs turnaround jumper. Hopefully he will develope one with time.

  12. Apparently, also, Bynum can hit his throws. Howard’s misses cost Orlando big time.

  13. I’m probably inaccurate, but Bynum reminds me of a bigger back to the basket center-version of Tim Duncan.

  14. 10. Penny wants to make a comeback and says his knees are fine. but he hasn’t even been a decent NBA sub in recent years. I’d pass.

  15. I think I would be a better fit for the Lakers (Defensively) than the Smusher. I’m having nightmares with him turning Dan Dickau into an all-star if we play against Portland enough times…