Quantcast 2010 Orlando Magic: Magic vs Bobcats

 

NBA Playoff Recap - East First Round - Game 2

(2) Orlando 92, (7) Charlotte 77 - Magic lead series, 2-0


The Orlando Magic - with their combination of size, length and quality shooters - figured to be a bad matchup for the Charlotte Bobcats. The first two games of this Eastern Conference playoff series have done nothing to change that initial view.

Then again, it's not as though Charlotte is doing anything in its own right to change national perceptions. What was witnessed in the first half on Wednesday night in Amway Arena would prevent any underdog from leveling a better challenge against a favorite.



The Bobcats, making their first-ever NBA postseason appearance, gave Orlando a good run in Game 1 of this series on Sunday, so as they took the court for Game 2, they had reason to think they could make this best-of-seven battle appreciably interesting. Instead, they stunk up the joint. Charlotte scored just 30 first-half points and committed six of its 21 turnovers in the first eight minutes of competition. Yes, NBA games are 48 minutes long and feature an abundance of possessions. Yes, the Bobcats found themselves trailing by only eight points with 3:16 left in the fourth period. However, the crew from the Carolinas gave away too many looks at the basket in the first 24 minutes of play.

In halfcourt sets and in transition, Charlotte couldn't make simple passes with crispness and clarity. When the Bobcats did get open looks, they couldn't knock them down. NBA basketball - unlike the college game - possesses such a bread-and-butter feel because of the 24-second shot clock. There's little time for holding the ball or extensively probing a defense. Possessions must immediately take shape, and coach Larry Brown's bunch simply did not value the ball or shoot it. That's how a team scores just 77 points and trails by a 75-55 margin after three quarters. The Bobcats never stopped battling, but they lacked the polish and precision needed to take down the reigning Eastern Conference champions.

 

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Orlando didn't play its best in this contest, but coach Stan Van Gundy's team was never seriously threatened; being up by eight with just over three minutes left is not a blowout-level lead, but it's still a notable cushion which was in fact preserved. Vince Carter - yes, Vince Carter, he of the horrible postseason reputation during his stops in Toronto and New Jersey - played an appreciably efficient game for the Magic. Carter scored 19 points and committed only one turnover in 39 quality minutes. "Vinsanity" also provided the basket which blunted Charlotte's late charge after the Bobcats sliced Orlando's lead to single digits.

All five starters scored in double figures for the Magic, who shot only 45 percent from the field and missed 11 of 35 free throws but still coasted home to the finish line first. True to the pre-series speculation, Orlando owned too much balance for Charlotte in this game; the Bobcats produced just two starters who were able to score more than five points (Stephen Jackson with 27 and Gerald Wallace with 15).

It's going to take a mighty effort by Charlotte just to win a game in this series. Orlando is a nasty opponent for anyone, and the Bobcats - who are just beginning to taste the world of playoff basketball - need to apply a lot of lessons on the fly if they merely want to avoid a sweep.

 

By: Matt Zemek
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer


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