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“We all we got.”
Glen Davis came up with the slogan in response to the Orlando Magic’s whirlwind regular season that has been decimated by injuries, punctuated with Dwight Howard needing season-ending back surgery to repair a herniated disk.
With Dwight done for the year, Hedo Turkoglu still recovering from facial fracture surgery (he donned a mask for Thursday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies), and Davis — himself — trying to heal a sprained right ankle as fast as possible, it’s no surprise the Magic have taken on a bunker-like mentality. And for Orlando, in a season which has featured a lot of drama and controversy, it’s only fitting that they will be playing with their backs against the wall in their first round playoff series with the Indiana Pacers.
The Magic have been playing with their backs against the all practically all year, what with Dwight’s saga dominating the headlines. But will any of that matter? Does Orlando, with the odds heavily stacked against them, stand a chance against the Indiana Pacers?
The crew at Magic Basketball, with the help from our friends over at Eight Points, Nine Seconds, attempt to find that out.
What is the greatest matchup advantage for the Magic?
Nate Drexler, Magic Basketball: There are few teams capable of truly guarding Ryan Anderson when he’s stretched out. Certainly Indiana has the advantage inside, but if Anderson can stretch things out and catch fire it might create some problems for the Pacers. Then again, with Dwight out and Anderson on the three-point line I have to wonder who is going to rebound the ball.
Danny Nowell, Magic Basketball: Ryan Anderson. “The Grenade Launcher” should be able to draw some of Indiana’s considerable brawn out of the paint and free some things up for a hopefully dialed-in Jameer Nelson. It’s really the Magic’s only hope, as I see things.
Matt Scribbins, Magic Basketball: With the current roster, Ryan Anderson is the greatest matchup advantage no matter who the Magic play. Other teams, including the Pacers, do not have players who can defend a stretch four that knocks down shots consistently from beyond the arc.
Tim Donahue, 8 Points, 9 Seconds: Ryan Anderson vs. the Pacer starting bigs. Neither David West nor Roy Hibbert are fleet of foot, and a stretch big like Anderson can pull either of them far out of their comfort zone defensively. A big series by Anderson will not only weaken the Pacer D by spreading them out, but could force the Pacers to go small.
Jared Wade, 8 Points, 9 Seconds: Ummm … hmmm … let me see if … got nothing. Would perhaps say the coach if I didn’t presume a few of the players hate Stan now and Frank Vogel hadn’t been so good this season. But, otherwise, just not seeing a single advantage for the Magic without Dwight.