Cohen Courtside: Magic vs. Sixers (4/16/12)
By Josh Cohen
April 16, 2012
In Cohen Courtside, Josh Cohen examines the state of the Orlando Magic after games this season. He will tackle sidebar storylines and focus on topics that stretch far beyond the box score. There will also be some analysis on league-wide subjects.
ORLANDO -- You couldn’t have asked the Magic to deliver a better, more outstanding performance.
Up and down the report card, the results were flawless.
Ball Movement: A+
Considering the undesirable circumstances, Orlando was brilliant in its very important win over Philadelphia on Monday.
Despite the absences of Dwight Howard (back), Hedo Turkoglu (facial fractures) and Glen Davis (knee), the Magic’s balanced effort catapulted them to an extremely impressive victory.
"We played with heart," Ryan Anderson suitably described his team's effort.
Everyone did their job without complaint.
Jameer Nelson’s craftiness and great decision making led to countless easy baskets. He finished with 13 assists and buried a few critical baskets late to seal the win.
J.J. Redick and Jason Richardson were both sensational on the perimeter and Daniel Orton and Earl Clark were dynamic up front.
It's no secret that to be a championship caliber team, the Magic need Howard. It's been noticeable since Dwight's injury began that Orlando doesn't possess the interior defense it takes to prevent opponents from having big scoring nights.
Offensively, however, the Magic have been able in these last two games to effectively move the ball and set up a myriad of high percentage shots.
While it’s no guarantee the Magic will finish with at least a No. 6 seed in the playoffs, Monday’s win made it more likely they will.
Both New York and Philadelphia are 4.5 games behind Orlando for that pivotal slot in the playoffs. A No. 6 seed assures the Magic wouldn’t have to square off with either Miami or Chicago in the First Round.
The schedule, however, doesn’t get any easier for the Magic in the final five games of the season. Orlando starts a three-game road trip in Boston on Wednesday before flying West for complex games in Utah and Denver.
It remains possible Davis could return by the end of the week since he has no structural damage to his right knee. He sprained it during Sunday’s game in Cleveland.
Howard and Turkoglu, on the other hand, are almost certain to not return until at least the start of the playoffs.
Based on Monday’s outcome, which undoubtedly provided the Magic’s supporting cast with a ton of confidence, it seems reasonable to believe this team if completely healthy has a chance to do some damage in the postseason and go on a deep run.
One can only hope they are fully healthy to give it a try.
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