Advanced Scouting: San Antonio Spurs at Orlando Magic
San Antonio Spurs at Orlando Magic 7:00 CST December 23, 2010
On November 22, the Spurs took advantage of a generous 3 point conversion rate to down a tough Magic team 106-97. (They shot 12 of 19 from beyond the arc.) This time, the Magic are reeling, losing 8 of their past 9 games.
The Magic won 6 straight after losing to the Spurs. On December 4, they lost in Milwaukee when several players were out with the flu. Following the loss to the Bucks, Orlando lost four tough matchups in their next five games. Possibly as a reaction to this tough stretch, they sent Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, Mickael Pietrus and Marcin Gortat packing in favor of Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu, Earl Clark and Jason Richardson. Thus far, the trade has not paid off as the Magic have lost two of three since the trade. However, these new pieces are sure to improve and I suspect the Magic will once again be in the thick of things at the end of the season.
The main thing to keep in mind when preparing for Orlando is that they still have several three point threats and difficult matchups. Additionally, their offensive and defensive cog remains Dwight Howard. Here is a link to my write-up prior to their prior matchup against the Magic.
Howard had 18 points on 15 post possessions the last time he faced the Spurs. I counted 5 or 6 possessions where he started going to the middle and spun baseline. He scored on all but one of these plays. The Magic were unable to score on any pass-outs from post possessions. With the new players still struggling to fit in, sending extra help will likely pay off for the Spurs.
The Spurs utilized 8 post possessions. They only attempted shots on 3 such possessions when the highly intimidating Howard was on the floor. (The other were either passed out or attempted with Gortat spelling Howard). On these three possessions, Blair easily scored against Lewis, McDyess missed a jumper and Duncan drew Howardâ€™s only foul of the game. Clearly, success might be difficult to find with Dwight Howard patrolling the paint, but Duncan could certainly ring up a few calls against the hack-happy Howard. Duncan did have some success driving on a rotating Howard after catching the ball on the high post. (These were not officially post possessions since Howard was not set when Duncan caught the ball.)
Orlando: 2.43 (11th)
San Antonio: 8.50 (2nd)
|Player||Fraction of teams minutes||PER minus Counterpart PER||On court +/-per 48 minutes||Off court +/-per 48 minutes||2 Year Adjusted +/-|
* Figures reflect tenure with Phoenix
* Figures reflect tenure with Washington
Nelson, Redick, Q.Richardson, Bass, Howard -3 in 41 minutes
No other lineup of active Magic players has contributed more than 12 minutes of playing time at this point.
The back to back road game always makes things a little more difficult, but the Spurs will have another opportunity to take on yet another team adjusting to new pieces. Despite their recent struggles, the Magic should retain the same killer structure of a strong post presence, great three ball shooters and Dwight Howardâ€™s dominating defense. With the potential to rain threes, the Magic could be dangerous in their new role as underdogs, but it will probably take a little luck to beat the Spurs at this point.