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The Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks will square off in the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs. On Monday, I discussed Pythagorean wins and win profiles. Today, we will look at specific tendencies the teams utilize.
Ranked by points per possession
Orlando’s offense and Atlanta’s defense are evenly matched. The Magic have the 11th best offense in the NBA, and the Hawks have the 13th best defense in the NBA.
Orlando is the best team in the league in scoring with their roll man off the pick-and-roll, and Dwight Howard deserves much of the credit. Orlando’s first play in their recent contest in Charlotte is the epitome of their prowess in this area. Dwight set a screen on the man who was guarding Jameer Nelson, and then he slammed home Nelson’s lob pass to give Orlando a 2-0 lead. Unfortunately for Larry Drew, Atlanta ranks near the bottom of the league, 19th, in stopping the roll man.
The Magic are also successful when the pick-and-roll ball handler attempts a shot. They score the 4th most points per possession in the NBA on this play, and Atlanta is in the middle of the pack (15) at stopping the ball handler. Nearly 50% of Jammer Nelson’s possessions make use of the pick-and-roll, and he is the 30th best player in the NBA in scoring from that set up.
The Magic are near the top in the league scoring off cuts, and Atlanta has issues defending this play. However, Orlando only cuts to the rim about 1 out of every 20 plays.
To no one’s surprise, Orlando is the second best team in the league on scoring after offensive rebounds. When the MVP candidate secures the ball right at the rim, he usually scores. Atlanta is dead last in the NBA at thwarting opponents from scoring on offensive rebounds.
Expect a fierce battle when Orlando spots up on offense. The Magic sharp shooters are the 5th best in the NBA on this type of play, and the Hawks are the 6th best at stopping teams from scoring on spot ups.