Magic/Sixers Game 3 Recap
It’s a bird, It’s a plane, It’s…Thaddeus Young?!
Okay, there was much more to this game then Thaddeus Young. In fact, Young only scored six points. But two of those six were the game winner and put the Sixers up two games to one with Game 4 coming right back to Philadelphia. With mere seconds remaining, and just as it seemed the whistle was about to blow for a jump ball or possible foul, Young wrestled the ball away from Dwight Howard and put it in the bucket with two ticks left on the clock to break the tie and give Philly the lead. Out of timeouts, Orlando could only muster a lengthy heave that didn’t have a chance at going in. Wow. If there was anyone who thought Philly couldn’t possibly beat the three-seeded Magic, they believe it now.
Orlando looked pretty awful in the first half. Rafer Alston did a good job of penetrating and Superman had his cape on, but everyone else was almost non-existent. Orlando consistently looked to get Turkoglu involved but he couldn’t get it going and turned in a horrendous shooting performance. Check the stat line: 11 points on 2-of-12 shooting and he also had five turnovers. Rashard Lewis was ice cold as well going 5-for-13 and what looked like a breakout performance from Courtney Lee in Game 2 just wasn’t there tonight. He played 41 minutes and only scored 6 points on 2-of-9 shooting. Orlando also got relatively nothing from the bench, both offensively and defensively. The bench combined for 10 points and when Van Gundy had to sit Howard (it must be so painful), Philly took it to the hole at-will. Of course, when he was in the game, Dwight Howard did his thing. The tandem of Dalembert and Ratliff did a relatively good job of keeping him from going completely bonkers, but he still put up 36 points including two super-clutch free throws to tie the game with 6.9 seconds left. Speaking of Dwight Howard, his first step to the bucket is what makes him so tough to stop. Once he gets the ball on the block, it’s that first move he makes that is so deadly. If you aren’t completely in front of him you can forget about it. He’s too big and explosive.
You could maybe state that Orlando overlooked Philly. But not by the third game. Though they made a huge run in the second half to almost leave with a win, Orlando looked like the underdogs tonight. It’s hard not to feel sort of sad for old Stan Van.
Iguodala dala dala! Iggy had 29 points and it seemed that every point came in a clutch spot. When Orlando started to get it rolling he’d hit a three. When the shot clock was at one, he’d bury the twenty-foot fadeaway. He was complimented once again by Andre Miller and his near triple-double of 24-9-7. These two have been carrying the load for the Sixers and doing it well. While other big name combos have been getting lots of press, these two have been bringing it big-time every night. Miller has turned himself into a legitimate threat to score thirty if you’re sleeping. Long gone are his Jason Kidd days. He’s now a serious triple threat and Orlando hasn’t stopped him yet. Philadelphia’s success can also be contributed to the quality minutes they got from their bench players. More telling than the 21 combined points they contributed is the defense and hustle that they brought. Lou Williams, Donyell Marshall and fan favorite Reggie Evans all made their presence known.
The truth comes out when the pressure is on. After blowing what was a fifteen point lead at one point, the Magic tied things up with six minutes left in the fourth. Right then is when you would’ve thought that Orlando would make its run and finish them off. But the Sixers claimed their territory and ultimately prevailed. Orlando may have more talent on paper, but when the playoffs come rolling around you better bring your muscle or the ball may get ripped from your arms.