So anyway. I didn't want to wait until the front page article was posted. I have stuff I need to do around the house tonight if I don't get too drunk.
How does this happen? I mean, I understand how we lost that game, those things happen. Am I upset by it? HELL YES!!! But my real question is.....How does that happen??? How do people like TheColdHardTrutt get to be alive on the planet earth? How do they get to be that freaking annoying, on purpose....and still sleep at night?
Things that need to change....
Obviously we need to hit FTs. That's pretty evident. Our shooting otherwise, from the floor, was also bad, but you have to give the Magic credit, they played really good on ball defense and we just couldn't get the inside. So, I'll go player-by-player here.
1. Danny- Hit your FTs. Stop trying to decide how to get through screens, just narrow your body and go (same goes for PG24 and Hill). Otherwise, aside from the travel and the over-and-back, I think he played "OK". But, two missed free throws and two turnovers lost us that game.
2. West- Good game. Like to see a few more of those tough shots fall late, and I feel like we are going to need him to figure out how to play 38+ minutes if Lou and Tyler continue to struggle scoring (actually Ty wasn't too bad).
3. Hibbert- Can't believe I'm going to complain about him after blocking 9 shots, but he actually had a pretty bad game. Needed much more on offense. Slow it down and demand the ball in the post.
4. Paul George- Just shoot it. You are struggling from the field...but the best way to overcome that might be to stop second guessing yourself. Also, you need to get back to being that lock down defender. Reddick and J-Rich shouldn't be able to score on you. When you are out there....shut them down. Don't bite on their jab steps or head fakes. You can defend them with your length.
5. Hill- WTF??? Where were you? You didn't play well, looked like you might have been hurt. Then you didn't get on the floor....but....in the final minutes...you did.....Are you hurt? What happened?
6. Tyler- If you can do what you did this game in 19 minutes with one or two less FGA ...I'm good.
7. DC- Strong game. Wish a few more of your shots had fallen. Way to start a QB controversy in the middle of an upset playoff series.
8. Barbosa- Uh...your defense was pretty good from what I saw. Somehow you didn't get many touches. I think Vogel needs to decide what to do with you and PG b/c we aren't getting what we need from you guys right now.
9. Lou- You bastard! Why did you play so well in the 2nd half of the season. Make us think you could have an impact on a game...you're a scrub...we all knew that....stop playing with our emotions.....but we still love you....get a freakin' hair cut though!!!
10. Fez- Maybe we need your hard fouling now. Go make Big Baby cry again. At least you won't over think it like Hibbert did on offense. You'll quickly take bad shots...which is what Hibbert did...but he's not supposed to do that...you are...which I'm much more ok with.
11. Lance???? Uh....you got anymore of those jumpers left in you???? Can Hill, DC, PG, or Danny borrow a couple of those????
But, seriously. Not freaking out. We should've won that game. It was a strange one. They actually shot better in the 1st half when I think we defended pretty well. They got some open looks all game long with kickouts, but hit more of 'em in the 1st half and hit some circus shots in the 1st half (and a couple in the 2nd). I actually think, assuming we are just bad at defending the perimeter on average and struggle against screening/ball moving teams....we actually played pretty solid defense. We didn't shoot too well in general, but Magic's defense was crazy tough. We just need to slow it down and figure out how to get it inside earlier in the clock, and tell Roy to take his time with these midgets.
I was never as confident as I sounded in my posts leading up to this matchup. I just didn't want to kill the excitement. I knew there was a good chance this would be a tough series. Orlando is a vet team and I never considered them a bad matchup strictly b/c of Howard. Really thought they were a tough opponent for us all season b/c they move the ball, run-off screens, and are just a good jump shooting team. I actually think if Howard was in there and they are going to prevent if from getting into the post like they did tonight....they really aren't any worse of a matchup for us b/c Howard just doesn't really play that hard and we can Hack-a-Howard. I mean that sounds crazy, but without Dwight all they do on offense is something we struggle against and that's move the ball and find open spots as we slightly over pursue. Didn't know they had this kind of defensive intensity in them though. I did think we'd be able to pull of the 1st game. But, maybe this is a good thing...I mean....it's not....but maybe it's not as bad as we think. Now we see what we have to deal with. We've been beating scrubs all April.
We can still come back from this obviously. But, I thought that Orlando would beat us by shooting 45+% from behind the arc on a million attempts....or we'd just shoot poorly from the line/floor. That's not too far off of what happened...but I didn't expect that level of on ball defense. I fear that what they did tonight is a little more repeatable than what I expected to see in the game or two that I thought they'd beat us in.
Worried? Yes. Disappointed? Yes. Defeated? Not yet.