So, Orlando is coming to town. In Manu We Trust.
What does Orlando look like when they lose? A couple of things can happen. First and foremost is to get Howard into foul trouble. Detroit took a game early in the season by driving to him over and over again until he fouled out within 17 minutes. I don't think the refs would let that happen this late in the season but it might be worth a try. Another strategy after the jump.
Ok, here we are. Everyone made it without turning an ankle.
Orlando takes a lot of threes - so much in fact they rank #1 in 3-point attempts. Mirrored by that stat is the ability to knock them down as well. Remember how we used to lead the league in defense and three pointers? Well they took quite a bit from the Spurs playbook. They lead in defense and they lead in three pointers made per game. A staggering 30 points on average per game come from beyond the arc. Their artillery section is lead by Rashard Lewis who attempts 6 threes on avg. Shutting him down would be a key to the game but there are plenty of others who can fill his role: Vince Thighbone Carter, Pietrus, Anderson, Nelson, Redick and even old Jason Williams. So, what the hell can you do to take out such a massive three point taking team such as the Magic? Play perimeter defense. We got this. We are one of the top teams in guarding against the threes.
So we guard against the three with our perimeter defenders, no change in plan there. But wait! There's more. They have a big man that averages 20-20 - just like we did until recently. How the hell do you stop that from happening? Just like teams did against Our Patron Saint of Power Forwards, you get him into foul trouble. Other than that, i have no idea.
On the Defensive side (yes, I said it, although it is a sad, sad joke nowadays)
Orlando posses the ability to play shut down defense just like the Spurs of yore.....they have a big man that can really clog up the middle and alter shots - Howard. All I can say is that they are not great at defending the three ball. That means we have to live by the three and die by the three in order to pull this one out. A few mid-range shots, drive the lane to get Howard into foul trouble and threes, threes, threes.
* Last time we played Orlando and got blown out by them two things happened. 1) Howard had three fouls on him for the entire game. 2) They went on a 13 point run in the 2nd and the Spurs never recovered. Obviously we know what to do and what not to do this time.
** Orlando is susceptible to the dreaded scoring draught that we once, and still occassionaly suffer from. The best way to destroy their will to win is to score as much as possible while they are suffering one of their droughts.