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Orlando Magic 84, Philadelphia 76ers 81: The Morning After

  • Mike Bianchi offers his thoughts on what last night's victory means for Orlando:

    All of the castigation and consternation.

    All of the poor shooting and porous defense.

    All of the blown leads and bad breaks.

    And, still, the Magic are back in charge of this series.

  • Brian Schmitz starts off his post-game article with the following sentence:

    Welcome back to the playoffs, Orlando.

    Welcome back, indeed.
  • Anthony 'Dad' Johnson comments that, ultimately, the Magic will be judged on the success of the season by the team's performance in the playoffs:

    "We know what's at stake. We had an incredible year. But that being said, you have to throw it all out the window. We have thrown it out the window," he said. "Now you're going to be judged on what happened — for the most part — in the postseason.

    "We can hang our hat on having 59 wins, but we will be judged ultimately on the playoffs."

  • Kyle Hightower wonders aloud what the performances of Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu in yesterday's game will mean in Game 5 on Tuesday:

    We won’t see how much of a boost Sunday’s performance was until Game 5 Tuesday, but Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu both showed flashes of the players they were during the regular season. Both finished with 17 points and shot well. Turk was the better of the two going 8-of-15 from the field, while Lewis was 6-of-15. Lewis can still do better, but he was looking for his shot like he hasn’t really all series and his confidence in his shot paid off in crucial situations.

  • Dan Savage of the Orlando Magic explains how the roles reversed for the Magic and Sixers, with regards to game-winning shots. 
  • The mood in Philadelphia is understandably somber after a tough loss at the hands of Orlando. Check out Depressed FanLiberty Ballers, and Sixers 4 Guidos to see what their reactions are to the game.
  • Steve Aschburner of Sports Illustrated gives his take on the end-game situation for head coach Stan Van Gundy:
    If ever there was a late-game situation to entrust Dwight Howard with the Orlando Magic's fate, it came in Game 4 against Philadelphia on Sunday at the Wachovia Center. Orlando and Philly were tied at 81-81 after Samuel Dalembert's catch and slam with 14.8 seconds left.

    [...] naturally, Van Gundy has Hedo Turkoglu dribble down the clock on the perimeter and launch a three-pointer when he only needed one point. A mere 1.1 remained on the game clock when Turkoglu's shot swished through. Guess the element of surprise still matters -- Turkoglu had been struggling in the series so far, especially in the final quarter. But after averaging 11 points in the first three games, and totaling only 10 points in the fourth quarters on 3-of-14 shooting, the 6-foot-10 forward went 3-of-4 Sunday and finished with 17 points.
  • Henry Abbott of TrueHoop lends some random thoughts on the Magic/Sixers game (it's a great read). Here's some choice quotes from the post:
    - It has been said before, but it must be said again: The Magic interior defense is tough. It's not purely a Dwight Howard effect, either. The Polish Hammer Marcin Gortat also prevented more than his fair share of buckets. Beating your man on the perimeter just doesn't mean all that much against this team.
    - Before the game, ESPN's David Thorpe wrote: "It's become painfully obvious that Hedo Turkoglu is not close to 100 percent, devastating news given that he is being defended by Andre Iguodala. In my scouting report for Game 3, the word 'awful' is written next to Turkoglu's name numerous times." The day off between games, however, has served Turkoglu well. He came out with a bounce in his step for Game 4, even against Iguodala's D (which has been shown to be among the league's best). Turkoglu got to the rim time and again, making five of his first six shots -- and finishing with Stan Van Gundy drawing up a play for Turkoglu that ended in the game-winning three over Thaddeus Young with a second on the clock.
    - If anything epitomizes the Magic's team cohesion, it is some time they spent together, of their own volition, last summer. It's doubly ironic, however, this week. First of all, that time was instigated and largely financed by Jameer Nelson, who is not even in uniform after a season-ending injury. The second irony, is that the team-building was right here in Philadelphia, Nelson's hometown.
  • UPDATE:  Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie breaks down Orlando's victory over Philadelphia last night:
    Not many surprises in this one. Philly hit a good portion (42 percent) of its threes and re-found its transition touch, but the Magic countered by finally finding its stroke from within the three-point line. Baby steps.

    The 76ers destroyed Orlando on the offensive glass (pulling in about 23 percent of its chances in that area, a huge advantage), but the Magic's solid shooting from all who were counted on was enough for the three-point win.
  • UPDATE 2: Elias Sports Bureau, Inc. shares this cool nugget about Dwight Howard's performance against the Sixers:
    Hedo Turkoglu hit a game-winning three-pointer for the Magic on Sunday, but Dwight Howard helped put Orlando in a position to win with 18 points, 18 rebounds and three blocked shots. Since the NBA began keeping track of blocked shots in 1973-74, only two other players had at least 18 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks against the Sixers in a playoff game at Philadelphia: Bob McAdoo (36 PTS, 21 REB, 4 BLK for Buffalo in 1976) and Elvin Hayes (28 PTS, 18 REB, 6 BLK for Washington in 1978).
  • UPDATE 3: Zach McCann of the Orlando Magic Daily thinks, after Game 4, that Orlando should consider playing "big ball" to counter-attack Philadelphia's small starting lineup:
    Rather than catering to the Sixers' strength, I'd like to see the Magic attack the Sixers' weakness by toying with a lineup such as Alston-Lee-Lewis-Gortat-Howard. If Thad Young is playing power forward, what's he going to do to stop the Polish Hammer in the post? The Magic would have to make an effort to slow the game down, but the unlikely matchups it would create could surely be beneficial to Orlando.
  • UPDATE 4: Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus says the following in his post-game take:
    Really, this win should have been well in hand for the Magic, up 10 with four minutes left. Philly responded with a 12-2 run, and just like that we had a tie game. The stretch was similar to Game One, though with less fluky shooting, and somewhat the reverse of Game Three. No matter what, it seems games in this series are destined to come down to the last possession.
  • UPDATE 5: Dwight Howard, on his official blog, invites fans in on his mindset during the final moments of the game last night:
    I gotta admit that I closed my eyes when Hedo Turkoglu got the ball and I was just praying that he made that shot at the end Sunday night. I trusted Hedo with the ball and he made an unbelievable play.

    Coach Van Gundy drew up a great play. He thought about it for about a minute and I said, `Yo, coach we need a great play.’ He thought about it, thought about it and drew up a play for Turk. We all had confidence in Turk. After Dalembert had that tip-in our spirits didn’t get down. Coach drew up a great play and Turk made a great play.
  • UPDATE 6: David Steele delves, on his blog, a number of thoughts concerning Game 4. Check it out.

You know the drill. As the day progresses, I'll update the post accordingly with more links. Keep checking back every few hours, thanks!