Tonight's Game: Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic

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TV NOTE: I just received word from the Magic that neither tonight's Game 2 nor Friday's Game 3 will be broadcast in high definition. Sunday's Game 4, however, will be so broadcast.

2009 NBA Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Philadelphia 76ers classic logo
vs.
Orlando Magic main logo
Philadelphia leads, 1-0
April 22nd, 2009
Amway Arena
7:00 PM
NBA TV / Sun Sports
Probable Starters
Andre Miller PG Rafer Alston
Willie Green SG Courtney Lee
Andre Iguodala SF Hedo Turkoglu
Thaddeus Young PF Rashard Lewis
Samuel Dalembert C Dwight Howard
Game Officials
Steve Javie
James Capers
Greg Willard
Series Central

Certainly the biggest question that Orlando Magic fans will want answered in the their team's game against the Philadelphia 76ers tonight, in which Orlando will attempt to even the series at one game apiece before heading back to Philadelphia, is the following: "can this team keep it together for 48 minutes with their season likely on the line?" Likewise for Sixers fans, the question is, "can this team avoid a repeat of last year's first-round series with Detroit?" The seventh-seeded 76ers won Game 1 in Detroit, but the Pistons rebounded to win 4 of the next 5 games, and the series.

The Sixers' current series, by its very nature--Philly is the 6th seed, Orlando the 3rd--invites comparisons to last year's. Depressed Fan and Liberty Ballers make the case that the comparisons aren't exactly fair, and that Philadelphia stands a great chance of winning tonight's game and ultimately the series.

If Orlando plays any better than it did on Sunday--which is to say, if it plays well enough not to blow an 18-point lead to an offensively challenged team without a go-to scorer or lock-down defender--they will indeed even the series tonight. There's little reason to believe that Philadelphia will duplicate its amazing 7-of-12 three-point-shooting performance, as they made at least 7 threes while shooting a better percentage exactly thrice this season; likewise, there's little reason to believe that Orlando will shoot as poorly from long range (5-of-18) as it did, having shot worse than 28% in as many or more attempts only 12 times this year.

(I'll concede that Dwight Howard is not likely to shoot 11-of-13 again, yet counter that Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu will not combine to shoot worse than they did on Sunday [7-of-19 total, 1-of-6 from beyond the arc] again.)

The game tips at 7 on Sun Sports locally and NBA TV nationally. If the Magic tighten up the defense and give Dwight Howard the ball (he wants it), even in the clutch, they should be in great shape.

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