Ep. 574: Defense Is The Backbone

On today’s show, Skeets and Tas are delighted the playoffs have officially arrived — bring on the Conference Finals. Does Dwight need to dominate the C’s in order for the Magic to advance? Should Matt Barnes be replaced by J.J. Redick in the starting lineup? And why is Vince Carter setting the tone for the Magic over the team’s true leader, Jameer Nelson? All that, plus white shoes, Tony Allen oops and silent “loud clappers.”

(Reminder: Don’t forget to make your TBJ Book-Off picks.)

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Comments (22)

  1. Man, Tas is really eating his words on the C’s

  2. Great shirt Skeets!

  3. Gotta agree with Skeets on this one. While there were other problems (Magic didn’t move the ball very well, weren’t agressive, didn’t push the tempo, etc.), the main problem was that the Magic run so much through Dwight Howard. They rely so heavily on the fact that most teams have smaller guys who have to double him, creating opportunities to kick out, swing the ball, and get a wide open perimiter look. And then if the opponent stops doubling, Dwight is bigger/stronger than his defender and just overpowers the guy. The C’s don’t have to do that with Perkins/Rasheed (and had Dwight so confused that he didn’t seem to notice when he had the smaller Glen Davis on him), and it exposes Dwight’s embarrassing offensive game. But the Magic started to get it together late in the game (mainly because they made the wise decision to exclude Dwight from the offense), and I expect they’ll win Game 2.

  4. i disagree and see Magic in 6 still. I know it looks bad, but coming back form 20 points down with just one good quarter is a testimony to how good orlando really is, and howard will adjust please visit http://doolzdoubledribble.blogspot.com/

  5. I know the Cs defend the Pick-and-Roll well, but I don’t see any other way for the Magic to score inside… I tought they ran very few of them and when they did, they mostly took pull-up Js, going all the way to the rim very little…
    That means: almost none of those alley-up (or lay-hoop) for Jameer and Dwight, and no clean good looks for Howard on offensive rebounds…

    If you can’t play inside-out because you can’t play back to the basket, and you can’t penetrate because the lane is clogged, that’s your best option at scoring inside, either for Howard or the ball-handler… And we all know that if you score inside, no matter how, the help is bound to come and leave those 3pt shoters… They don’t need Howard to score a lot, but they do need him to be a threat…

    Ball-movement is one thing, but the Cs played the passing lanes great in the Cavs’ series and in yesterday’s game, so they have a tendency to slow-down your ball-movement (making yoou think twice before passing, not because you think you are the better option, but because you are wary of turnovers)…

    Still, I was under the impression that a lot of shots that usually fall for this Magic team didn’t (mainly open 3s for Lewis and Pietrus, and some of Howard’s “chippies”), and not necesserally because of the Boston D…

    I think both of you are right: the Magic didn’t come out ready, and the Cs are kind of their Kryptonite (a guy who can keep Howard in check, another who’s as good as it gets at guarding Lewis, great team D, not place to hide Carter on D, a great PG who can guard Nelson and create lots of turnovers…)

    The Magic have to be worried, but they can still win this series….

    That’s some hot following you guys have, btw, with several comments before the usual “release time”…

    Oh, and I loved the way JVG called out Howard on “playing like Lois Lane” :D

  6. So what if the Magic came back from 20? The Cavs came back and BEAT the C’s in game 1 and that still didn’t matter.

  7. Based on last night, I would say BOS in 4, but I think SVG is too good of a coach to let them lie down like that. Sooner or later, ORL will hit their stride again, and it’ll be a crazy series. Orlando in 7.

  8. 10th on the Book-Off! 9 wins in a row! My beloved Lakers for Game 1 shall make it 10! To have such a crappy 1st-half, w/ Dwight not on his A game, and only lose by 4 should mean this ECF match-up should be a delight. I still want a Lakers/Celtics Finals, though.

  9. Didn’t catch the game, but I’m not that surprised. Howard’s offense is completely based on physicality. I mean, look at his foul shots; he still hasn’t figured out how to use his arms and wrists for a proper jump shot. The only move I’ve ever seen him go to on the block when he doesn’t start in position for a lay-up or dunk is an awkward running hook shot. I’d like to see Howard’s offensive stats against 7 footers. Last year, Gasol defended him for much of the finals and created the same kinds of problems for him. I’m not a hater, Howard’s an all-time great defender. But his offensive game is very one-dimensional.

    I think Nelson and VC are going to be key for the Magic. With Howard held in check by Perkins (which I expect to continue through the series), Nelson and VC will probably be the best players on the Magic at creating shots. They’ll have to do the playmaking that Turkoglu did last year.

    All in all, I think the match-ups favor Boston. C’s in 7.

  10. Yea Tas, stop kissin Celtics ass after what you said in the beginning of the Cavs series. Your credibility in that department is – “Lost”. Just like your fav show. Now go play gimme-go-cracker.

    SVG impressed me yesterday with his press conference speech. The “master of panic” took it calmly… and from his words you could detect that he knows his team is going to win this series.

    Jacob says hi.

  11. I bet the Lakers are praying for an Orlando victory. Their bigs held Howard in check last year, and can do it again. On the other hand, Perkins, Garnett, BBD, and Sheed can match up with Bynum/Gasol/Odom better than anyone in the league. And Rondo will be a nightmare for Fisher.

  12. Orlando has the tools to win. From a defensive standpoint they should let JJ guard Allen a little more because he’s a better defender than Vince and could play VC at the 3 against Paul Pierce. From an offensive standpoint as everyone could see, unless Dwight develops a left hand, some sort of reliable post move or a turn and face game like Amare’s, Boston will continue to single cover him and stick on the shooters. As JE and Tas said, Boston wants Dwight to score 25+ and until he shows he can, nothing changes defensively for them. It’s up for SVG to decide to put Dwight in more pick and rolls with Jameer and then let the ball movement take over. Final though, Pietrus isn’t as big of a threat in this series because the Boston D is so good. Expect the bench points to be almost cut in half mainly because rotations get shorter [and they're not playing in blowouts anymore].

    On the Boston side, Rondo needs to find a way to get going because you can’t depend on 47 from Pierce and Allen every game. I do feel that Pierce will keep it going against defenders who aren’t 6’8, 260 and this will force SVG’s hand on defense.

    It’s still very early in the series and a 1-1 tie going to Boston would surprise me at all, but neither would Boston going up 2-0. It can be argued this team is just as good if not slightly better than 08′s because of the emergence of Rondo and I hate to say it, but the presence of Rasheed [an NBA champion} stretching the D.

  13. I agree with Skeets. In the 4th quarter, one of the reasons for the Magic comeback was consecutive 3′s that Orlando made because the Celtics doubled Dwight Howard. Perhaps because Perk had 5 fouls, they tried to help. If Dwight gets single coverage, everyone sticks to their man and the open threes are gone. They need Shelden aka Mr. Candace Parker in there to at least put some hard fouls on his box score. Celtics in 5

  14. Rondo’s white sneakers: I think he was trying to pull a volleyball move, becoming the libero of his team by wearing a different color. Though, I think Rondo should focus more on offensive, instead of defensive, moves.

    I’m surprised you guys didn’t discuss the Celtics nearly blowing a 20 point lead. Though it didn’t cost them in game 1, I think the Celtics really need to address fourth quarter playing concerns. Throughout the entire season, the Celtics fourth quarters have been terrible. I’m not sure why–whether it’s a lack of effort or has something to do with the rotation–, but the Celtics lost several games to mediocre teams during the regular season by blowing fourth quarter leads. (Come to think of it, didn’t one happen to the lowly Nets?) We’ll see if Doc makes any adjustments, because he hasn’t really switched up the fourth quarter rotation.

  15. @ Becquer
    I agree with Ric above, maybe Boston’s hard fouling playing style gets them into trouble in the 4th especially in this series where Doc is keeping key bigs on the bench because of foul trouble. This leads to doubling Howard and opening the perimeter for easier treys. Still think Boston has the edge there though because in that case Magic have to wait for Boston to become depleted in order to rally.

  16. Why does SVG insist on always trying this strategy with Dwight? How many times does it have to not work for him to realize he’s mishandling an incredibly powerful weapon.

    So important to highlight that the Celtics didn’t play well either. They did a good job being physical, which they’ll do all series. But, like the Magic, they were also mishandling the ball right and left. Ugly game. I guess that’s the way we want it from a Cs perspective.

  17. Tas: “rust, whatever”
    Skeets: “pfft. i’m not buying it.”

    ok don’t call it “rust”, call it a cooling off, and a dissipation of team psychology. “Buy it” or not, Skeets, it’s a reality of sports psychology…um, really. not kidding. It happens all the time

    It’s not THE reason, but it’s definitely a major factor.

    Celtics have got it together, and they can win it all, for sure. I’d love to seem them win over anyone in the league except the suns.

    But Orlando will get it going again, but Dwight or Vince will have to become the dominant presence on the court, vs. the team defensive presence of the Celtics.

  18. Video from @SebastianPruiti displaying the very good 3-point looks Orlando got while going 0-for-9 in the 1st half. http://bit.ly/91AciF

  19. C’s in 5. Boston has a by far better defense and their offense is like that of a ‘leaky wall’ (credit kenny anderson for that one). History has taught us that a team that lives by the 3 will also die by the 3.

  20. I really feel like Magic missed a lot of unconstested 3-balls, not to take anything away from Celts’ D. Especially in the 1st half, Pietrus and Rashard missed some wide open looks.

  21. Great link Tas, thanks.
    It shows exactly my point: the Magic could have won that game with a little luck. Not taking away anything from the Cs’ D (let’s face it, it’s great) but saying that Orlando still can win against a great D.

    I’m a sad panda today: my 2 favorite teams lost their 1st game of the CF, and don’t seem like favorites for the rest of the series…

    T_T *sob*

  22. dang, skeets and michael wilbon are on the same frequency

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