The Orlando Magic capped off their 2009/2010 regular season with their 6th straight win, and secured homecourt advantage for the NBA Finals, with their 125-111 victory against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Magic essentially put the game away in the first period, in which they jumped out to a 37-20 lead and shot 15-of-18 from the floor. Vince Carter's three-pointer just before halftime helped the Magic set a new single-season record for three-pointers made. Carter and Jameer Nelson combined for 38 points, 6 rebounds, 10 assists, and 7 of Orlando's 11 treys as Philadelphia's defense couldn't, wouldn't, or didn't want to--take your pick--close out on any shooters. And Dwight Howard shot 6-of-8 from the floor, virtually assuring that he'll lead the league in field goal percentage this season and, in so doing, become the first player to ever pace the league in shooting, rebounding, and shot-blocking. The bad news for Orlando is that it played a pretty horrid defensive game, yielding 111 points in a low-possession game to a 76ers team that affixed a stamp to this season long ago.
|Team||Pace||Efficiency||eFG%||FT Rate||OReb%||TO Rate|
|Green denotes a stat better than the team's season average;|
red denotes a stat worse than the team's season average.
Yes, the regular season wound to a close tonight with the successes listed above. But I don't think coach Stan Van Gundy can be happy with the way his team closed the season on the defensive end of the floor. We like to have fun with Van Gundy when he burns timeouts in seemingly silly situations, but when Marreese Speights cut right down the center of the lane and threw down a nasty, one-handed slam early in the fourth period to cut Orlando's lead to 23 points, Van Gundy was 100% right to call timeout immediately to try to wake his team up defensively. In the 82nd game, defensive breakdowns like that just shouldn't happen. And that is, to me, the Magic's biggest concern heading into the playoffs. While the team's playing great ball for the most part, the defensive slippage here is too great to ignore. Since beating the Mavericks in Dallas two weeks ago, the Magic have allowed opponents to score 110.3 points per 100 possessions, which is much higher than league average, and much much higher than Orlando's usual standard.
But apart from the D? No complaints. The Magic head into the postseason on a high note, as opposed to last season, when they lost 4 of their last 6 games but went all the way to the NBA Finals anyway.
Orlando will open its first-round series against the Charlotte Bobcats this Sunday at 5:30 PM Eastern.