Few tips to win Game 2
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on April 21, 2009
Ok, Game 1 is over and after shocking half the League with our fantastic comeback we are heading into tomorrow with an unexpected 1-0 lead.
With this post I’ll try to prove how Game 2 is a golden opportunity for the Sixers to put the Magic into a (too ?) big hole and I’ll provide few, unrequested tips to win it.
And before you remind it, yes, I said Magic in five, but I’ll gladly miss also this prediction… I won’t be ashamed, one more time.
So here is the situation.
The pressure is now on both teams, I think.
Orlando, that still is the better team, of course can’t afford to lose both games at home. Sixers can’t afford a blowout in Game 2 as well, because it would mean that what happened Sunday was accidental (which I don’t believe).
The (shifted) home court advantage is not a factor in Sixers’ favor yet, that’s my point. It would be so with a 3-2 advantage, not now. Sixers should remember that the Magic already won TWICE in regular season in Philly, therefore thinking that we could advance to the secodn round by ‘simply’ winning the three games at home would be stupid.
Psychologically the conditions are completely different, though, and here we could have an edge.
Not only the loss per se, but the way it came (the 18 point lead squandered, the last second shot etc) clearly could a negative effect on Orlando players’ minds just as big as the positive effect it had on ours. But they had three days to regroup, analyze the mistakes, and move on.
Now Magic’s mental toughness will be put to a test. If they are a great team, they will bounce back immediately and react, trying to bury us quickly in Game 2 and show the world who’s the best team. If they really lost (some?) confidence, then it would be smart to work on that and gain even more momentum.
I don’t know the exact stat about teams winning also Game 2 on the road after stealing Game 1, but the number should be very, very low. And all Game 2-s played in these playoffs so far seems to confirm it. To repeat is very tough. Wait, I just found this article, that should give us some hope. Excerpt:
To be exact, 78.8 percent of NBA teams that won Game 1 of a best-of-7 series have advanced
I think that if we manage to stay in the game for the first three quarters, starting the fourth with a single digit margin, say, Magic could feel some pressure and perhaps repeat the collapse. They are not much used to these situations: unlike the Celtics, that just won Game 2 with a last second shot, to make an example.
So how we can stay in the game TECHNICALLY?
It’s pretty safe to say that:
- Sixers won’t shoot 7/12 from downtown again, nor will make five treys in the fourth
- Orlando won’t shoot 5/18 again. Not only I expect them to have a better percentage but I think they will take a lot more of those threes, around 25 or something
- Turkoglu will play better than in Game 1 (even if he apparently is thinking about opting out this summer, which could have an effect, on himself and his team)
- same for Rashard Lewis, who had a subpar game
- Howard won’t make 9 of 12 from the line that often
- Lee will be hopefully guarded better
- Anthony Johnson won’t dunk on our centers anymore (LOL)
To conclude, here is SIXERS4GUIDOS’ GAME PLAN:
1) try to put newly named DPOY Howard in foul troubles soon. Tough task, I know. Few touches in the low post could help.
Yeah, Sam Dalembert is not exactly a scoring threat and his set of offensive moves is just as wide as Jim McIlvaine’s, so how about making Thaddeus Young work in the low post more? How about our guards strongly taking it to the rack and trying to get themselves some free throws? Iguodala shot his first foul shots with 1 minute to play in Game 1, that’s not good.
Speights should play more in the paint also, reguardless of the minutes he’ll get. Enough of his 17 footers, time to earn his salary in the lane. He will get blocked? Fine.
2) continue to defend strong on the perimeter. Quick rotations should deny their shooters open looks. Stay with your man and contest the shot.
3) (related to #2) do NOT double team Howard. I don’t care if he goes 11/13 again, we already won that way. For us, it’s worse if Magic score 12-14 threes. Ratliff and Dalembert combined for “only” seven fouls in Game 1, Evans had one. Foul Howard and send him to the line for another dozen of shots, I’d bet he won’t connect for 75% again.
4) dare Alston to shoot from outside. A career 38% shooter, 5/15 in Game 1. I’m fine with him taking a smilar amount of shots.
It could work.
(Uhm. Actually I’m glad I’m NOT the coach. LOL)