The Philadelphia 76ers are more than happy to help the Orlando Magic decorate their bulletin-board. With a tip of the hat to SLAM, here's Sixers point guard Andre Miller discussing with the Philadelphia Daily News' Marcus Hayes why he's happy to be playing the Magic:
"Boston is a team that people have in the conference finals. It's probably easier to go through Orlando than to try and match up with Boston, with Boston coming in with a lot of energy and trying to get through the first round as fast as they can."
More quotes from Hayes' piece, along with my commentary, after the jump.
Here's more from Hayes, with my emphasis added:
Miller and the rest of the Sixers made sure to stress that they meant no disrespect to the Magic. They understand that they might not have an answer for Orlando's three-point shooting and Dwight Howard, perhaps the league's most dynamic post presence.
Still . . .
"I agree with 'Dre," Thaddeus Young said. "Orlando's a great team, but we definitely want to play them. Boston is fresh off a championship. That's the worst thing you can do is go play a team that just won a championship. They're going to want to get back and be hungry."
We're off to a jolly-good start here, then. Although no Magic players have made similar comments--that they're happy they specifically drew the Sixers and/or avoided the Chicago Bulls and the Detroit Pistons--they have to feel pretty good about playing one of the league's worst effective-field-goal-percentage defense teams--19th in the league, just one-tenth of one percent better than the Golden State Warriors!--with only one credible post defender. Those factors, among others, are probably why 40 out of 40 basketball commentators whose predictions I've read to date have picked the Magic to win the series. One of those commentators, JSams of sister-site Liberty Ballers, is on the record as saying Philly could "possibly" win the series, but he nonetheless picked the Magic. In 5 games.
I don't mean to fault the Sixers for being confident; one prefers to hear this sort of talk than the alternative, which is defeatism. And their confidence is fairly well reasoned, since they lost each of their 4 games to the Celtics this season, including one on Tuesday when Boston was without its best defender and emotional leader, Kevin Garnett. They went winless against Orlando as well, but 0-3 is better than 0-4, right?