Last night, the Orlando Magic opened up their 2009/10 season with a 120-106 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. 14 points is no small margin, but as Eddy, Kelly Dwyer, and I have pointed out elsewhere, it's not indicative of just how dominant the Magic were. They held a 31-point lead after three periods, and in the fourth, went into cruise control. Philadelphia made the final score with a 37-20 romp in the fourth quarter, with nothing at stake except appearances.
I wanted to get a better idea of what the game looked like when the Magic were actually trying, so I surveyed the quarter-by-quarter statistics at Popcorn Machine. The table below illustrates how the Magic and the Sixers stacked up against each other through the first three quarters of last night's game.
|Team||Pace||Efficiency||eFG%||FT Rate||OReb%||TO Rate|
Small sample size or not, holding a team of Philadelphia's caliber to one point per possession is impressive. The Magic played much better than what the final box score may have indicated, but there's still plenty of room for improvement. Keeping up the intensity, on both ends of the floor, for 48 minutes instead of the first 36 is the first step.