Feb 9, 2011, 10:30 PM EDT
Doug Collins repeated that line multiple times after the Sixers 99-95 loss to the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
When Orlando wasn’t successfully getting Dwight the ball deep in the paint or tossing him pretty alley-oops that Howard throws down with incredible force, the Magic were swinging the ball so efficiently that their high school basketball coaches were probably smiling with pride.
“It’s easy for them because they have Dwight and four shooters,” Lou Williams said of the Magic’s effective ball movement. “As much as we rotate, every guy’s a live ball every time we rotate. It’s always tough when you guard a team like that with four shooters and a dominant big man.”
It wasn’t for a lack of effort on the Sixers part. They rotated well, but by the time the ball got swung to the fourth shooter, they often found Elton Brand trying to come all the way out on JJ Redick or Hedo Trukoglu lining up from long range.
The Sixers tried their best to slow Howard inside, but the Hack-a-Shaq approach to Dwight didn’t work so well tonight with Howard hitting an impressive 14-19 free throw attempts. Dwight finished the evening with 30 and 17, only 10 assists away from a triple double.
Maybe the Sixers can watch some tape of Dwight at the line to get some pointers. The Sixers shot an ugly 15-22 from the line themselves, good for 68% on the night.
But it wasn’t Howard who killed them late in the fourth, it was the quick ball movement and the four shooters who finally started to find the bottom of the net after a slow shooting start.
“JJ [Redick] hit one, [Jason] Richardson hit one, [Hedo] Turkoglu hit one. You can be up eight or nine on this team and that’s a three possession game,” Coach Collins said of the Magic’s three balls in the fourth.
“All in all I thought our guys played well,” Coach Collins said. “I thought we played well. I think [Orlando] showed tonight that they’re right no a better team than we are. That’s nothing to be discouraged about. That’s a team that’s picked to possibly get to the conference finals or get to the NBA finals.”
Collins got typically solid efforts out of Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand, but EB’s ability to get and do much with the ball on the block was extremely limited with Howard working the paint. “They did a good job interrupting our offense. We weren’t able to get into the lane like we usually do to get easy opportunities,” Lou Will said of the Magic’s D.
Dre finished with 21 and 8 but also had an atypically rough night taking care of the ball with 5 TOs.
As for the rest of the Sixers offense, Lou Williams lit it up in the fourth after a quiet first three. Lou, who scored 18 of his 23 in the fourth, single-handedly gave the Sixers a chance, hitting a couple of crazy threes in the final moments.
“Those last couple were basically catch up shots,” LouWill said. “Before that I was just trying to get myself going and make some aggressive plays, and try and fight and kick until the end.”
And fight they did, but the Magic were simply too much for the Sixers on this night. Back at it on Friday night at the Well against another very formidable foe in the San Antonio Spurs.
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