Offensive Mindset

Two games have passed in the NBA Finals and the L.A. Lakers are up 2-0 over the Orlando Magic. The runaway freight train from Central Florida came to a halt in Game 1′s 25-point loss, while gaining a bit of steam in a close OT loss last night. Some have already counted the Magic out and expect a clean sweep by the Lakers.

Well, it certainly looks like it thus far, even with the close game that Orlando lost in overtime. But the question that comes up is the mindset of the Magic. Not mentally but more so their game play, which if you haven’t noticed, is offensive. They’re a shooting team, first and foremost, live and die by the 3, and rely on that to get them either back in games or to win ‘em. They’ve been on fire in their series wins over the Sixers, Celtics, and Cavaliers, but they seem to have lost their swagger since meeting the Lakers in the Finals.

Their field goal percentage is significantly down, not to mention their 3-point shooting. They’re not running and gunning like they have in past series. They just don’t look like the same team that we’ve enjoyed throughout these playoffs. I wonder, are they finally suffering from the latter of the aforementioned phrase:

Live and Die by the 3

Can that type of mindset, though has gotten them deep into the playoffs, win them a title? Many have said that it’s defense that wins championships and the Lakers are trying to make that come true. They’ve tightened up their D from past series and are clamping down on the Magic; not only on their 3-point shooting but on Dwight Howard as well, as he only has ONE dunk in the first two games of the Finals.

What’s your take? Do you think the Magic have just lost steam? Or have they finally met their match, defensively?

  1. Kasey Skala (Reply) on Tuesday 9, 2009

    A team that relies on 3-pt shooting will never win a championship. But that’s not the issue. A team that is one-sided will not win a championship. Again, that’s not the issue. I think it’s a combiniation of a few things.

    1) Dwight is still raw. It’s easy to pound your way around against the Sixers, Cavs and a KG-less Celtics. But against a defensive team like LA, he’s met his match. He needs to learn to be a better passes. Gasol, Odom & Bynum are fairly athletic. Big Z wasn’t, so he had his way.

    2) You can’t expect to continue to live and die by the 3. Look at the past teams that have won in recent years: Lakers, Spurs, Celtics. What do they have in common – they have an all-around game. Each have their shooters, but their scoring comes on driving the ball and being agressive. They also play great D.

    3) Outside of Hedo, the Magic don’t have any experience. That’s why I thought the Cavs would have made the Finals. Experience from last year and a better team.

    I could see a sweep, I definitely was wrong with my Magic in 6 prediction (although it still could technically happen). Either way, this is good for the Magic. Gets them some experience and they’ll be back next year.

  2. Sonny Gill (Reply) on Tuesday 9, 2009

    @Kasey: Good points, Kasey. I definitely agree that it comes down to the all-around game. If both sides of the court, let alone the Magic’s bread and butter – their offense, isn’t up to par, then they’re going to have a tough time winning even one game against the Lakers.

    Game 2 was a lot better for them as far as offense, but other players and their bench need to step up to pull it through at home tonight.