Apr 14, 2011, 1:30 PM EDT
I’m going to get a few jokes out of the way before we start this, okay? I want to give the Magic their due. I do. And I will. I just have to get a few of these out of the way. See, I’ll even use bullets to keep it short.
How the Magic can win it all:
- Use the time-traveling technology from the “Terminator” series to send Chris Duhon back (he’s expendable) and warn Otis Smith about Vince Carter/Gilbert Arenas.
- Create magical formula to boost 3-point shooting efficiency by 700%, bringing them to a top five team.
- Put Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderson in a blender for six to seven minutes and hope a legit well-rounded power-forward comes out of it.
- LET THE BEARDS PLAY!
Okay, so realistically what has to happen?
Shots Gotta Fall
The “Live by the three, die by the three” thing is played out. It really is. Every great team needs to hit some perimeter shots, and the Magic don’t shoot ill-advised threes (most of the time). It’s a product of their system. But that only works for them when they actually, you know, hit. The Magic are a great defensive team, but their postseason success has been defined by hot shooting. Gilbert Arenas absolutely must get hot if the Magic are going to have a chance. Ryan Anderson will help, as will a healthy J.J. Redick. But if Arenas is getting as many minutes as he does and still taking terrible threes and missing even worse, Orlando doesn’t have the weaponry it used to.
Dwight has to prove it
A lot of people think Dwight Howard should be the MVP over Derrick Rose. If he wants to make an Olajuwon like statement about his inevitable snub, now would be a great time to. Howard has the ability to take over a game and just overwhelm teams with his physical abilities. He has to put that kind of effort in, consistently, if the Magic are going to win it all. It has to be one of the great offensive showcases by a center in NBA history. I wish I was exaggerating. It has to be legendary. If he just goes through his 20-12 motions, it won’t be enough for the Magic to advance past the second round.
SVG has to keep their heads
SVG will lose the team eventually. That’s not a knock on SVG. He’s one of the top three coaches in the league in any given year. He’s a brilliant tactician, patient, motivates his guys and gets consistent effort. But if this team, whose chemistry is still an unknown, starts to drift, things will come apart. 2009′s success for Orlando was determined by faith in themselves, faith in the system. SVG has to keep getting his guys to buy in night after night.
In reality, there’s not a lot Orlando can do to win it all. Chicago’s defense will stifle them on the perimeter, Boston would pound them on the interior, the Heat would overwhelm them with firepower, and the Lakers, well, we’ve seen that act before. The window closed on Orlando despite their best efforts. The window was firmly open, and then just like that, it closed. If the Magic were to make the Finals and win, it would be one of the biggest upsets in NBA history. The fact that the Magic were in the Finals just two years ago shows you how fast these things can change.
But if they get hot from the perimeter…
- Preview: Did Grizzlies figure out Spurs or will Game 3 be more of the same? 0
- George Hill says only God is scarier to face than LeBron James 18
- LeBron James commits two costly turnovers in final minute of Game 2 loss to Pacers 21
- Pacers find their offense, find balance, find Heat’s respect 17
- Pacers get big games from Roy Hibbert and Paul George, take Game 2 from Heat to even the series 27
- Report: Dwight Howard will consider multiple teams in free agency, is said to be most intrigued by the Rockets (124)
- Alonzo Mourning says Scottie Pippen says LeBron would “kick Jordan’s ass” (83)
- LeBron’s triple-double, game-winner in overtime lead Heat to Game 1 win over Pacers (70)
- Pacers advance to the Eastern Conference Finals with Game 6 win over Knicks (61)
- If Phil Jackson could have any player to start a team it would be… Bill Russell (61)
- Follow LIVE: Champions League final
- Live box score: UEFA Champions League final
- PBT: Pacers' Hill: Only God scarier than LeBron
- Hundreds run Boston Marathon's final mile
- MST Monaco GP predictions: Mercedes' time?
- PHT: Brassard says Marchand shows no respect
- PST: Neymar reportedly set to join Barcelona