Although Orlando is down 3-2 in the series against the Boston Celtics and the odds are stacked heavily against the Magic's favor to make a comeback - historically, teams have a series record of 188-32 (85.5%) when leading 3-2; the C's are 32-0 when leading 3-2 - if history has taught us anything, it's that nothing is impossible.
For head coach Stan Van Gundy and the players to make the near impossible possible, the Magic must execute in the next two games (I know I've been burying this concept to the ground, I apologize). Here is Orlando's recipe for a comeback.
ed. note: These are just a few keys I address. I couldn't cover everything.
Start Courtney Lee - Unless something is wrong with the rookie's health, there's no reason he should not start in place of J.J. Redick. It seems odd that SVG is letting Eddie House dictate whether or not Courtney Lee starts, but that is what is occurring. More often than not, teams that let their opponents dictate matchups end up paying the price (ask the 2007 Dallas Mavericks, for example) sooner or later.
|J.J. Redick||Courtney Lee|
|Minutes Per Game (26.8)||Minutes Per Game (22.3)|
|PPG (7.4)||PPG (7.7)|
|P/36 (9.9)||P/36 (11.8)|
|FG% (35.5%)||FG% (46.7%)|
|3P% (38.1%)||3P% (66.7%)|
Redick should be commended for his play in the postseason, especially on defense, but Lee is one of the most dynamic players on the roster for the Magic and has proved his worth in the playoffs. Redick has natural limitations as a player that impede him from being a bigger impact on the court. Redick is a shooter, plain and simple; he doesn't do much else on offense and as such, that limits Orlando offensively. Lee, on the other hand, can do a variety of things. such as attack the basket and convert lay-ups (2nd on the team), dribble penetrate, shoot the mid-range jumper or the three (preferably from the corners), and more. As you can see, that's a big difference between the offensive repertoires of the two players. Given the fact that the Magic need to dribble penetrate more on offense against the Celtics, it only makes sense to have someone on the court that can aid in that quest.
Someone like Lee.
Involve Dwight Howard in the Pick & Roll - Click here.
Get Dribble Penetration - Same as above.
Play Marcin Gortat More - Unfortunately, the reality is this - Gortat is most likely gone after the season unless something miraculous happens with the Magic roster shuffle. Why let the Polish Hammer go to waste, then? In the minutes he's played, Gortat has proven to be productive with his playing time against Boston and it's time that he's utilized more, while he's still around. There are some problems when pairing Gortat and Howard together; spacing becomes an issue on offense. However, there are some advantages when playing the two big men together. Here's some examples:
defense improves - Though the sample size is small, common sense dictates that when you pair two excellent defensive big men together, the results will be impressive. Take a look below and you'll see what I mean (via 82games):
rebounding improves - The Celtics have had the rebounding edge in 4 out of the 5 games. Having Gortat and Howard on the court together eliminates this advantage, when you take into account the excellent rebounding rates of both players and the simple fact that both individuals have a height advantage versus Davis, Perkins, etc.
Rashard Lewis Needs To Be The #1 Option On Offense - This is a no-brainer. There is no one on the Boston roster, who's playing, that can effectively stop Lewis from doing whatever he wants to do offensively. Normally, the offense for Orlando funnels through Dwight Howard but given his ineffectiveness against Kendrick Perkins on the low block, the team needs to have Lewis touch the ball on every possession (even if the Magic ended up finally utilizing Howard in pick & rolls). His ability to get the Boston bigs in foul trouble, post up, pump-fake & drive to the basket or pull up for a mid-range jumper are a few examples of how Lewis has been the best offensive player for Orlando. As such, the Magic need to exploit this matchup advantage every time on offense. There's no excuse for Lewis not to have 30+ point games.
For the Orlando Magic, it all comes down to execution versus the Boston Celtics. It's a simple concept, yet an important one. This series has proven it matters, a lot.