Monday, April 14, 2008

Magic will face Raptors in Playoffs

Despite my pleas (that somehow went unheard), the Orlando Magic will not face the 76ers in the first round of the playoffs. They will, however, need to get their passports out and get ready to go through customs because they will be Toronto bound.

The Magic will kick off the 2008 postseason at home against the one team that I didn't want them to face. Simply put, the Raptors present match-up problems for the Magic. Their point guards (Ford and Calderon) are ridiculously quick and their pick-and-roll gave the Magic fits during the regular season. Inside, they have Bosh and Nesterovic. Howard has had trouble guarding Bosh in the past, as Bosh has been able to pull Howard away from the rim and shoot his mid-range jumper. Nesterovic's recent upturn will force Howard to guard him, while Rashard Lewis will then have to step out on Bosh. Again, this favors the Raptors.

Things aren't all bad for the Magic though. They did win 2 out of the 3 games they played against the Dinosaurs, and will present some match-up problems of their own. The first question, is who is going to guard Howard? Bosh is too small, and Nesterovic isn't quick enough. Look for a steady rotation of Bargnani/Humphries/Brezec to give up their bodies for the good of the team. After Howard, the Raptors will still have to deal with Hedo Turkoglu and the aforementioned Lewis. Bosh has the ability to guard Lewis away from the basket, but Turkoglu should be able to take advantage of rookie Jamario Moon.

If the Magic role players (Mo Evans, Keith Bogans, Keyon Dooling, Adonal Foyle) play well the Magic have the edge. Their ability to shoot the three, combined with the dominating prescence of Howard inside should be the difference in this series. I think this is going to be pretty competitive (6 games), but in the end the Magic should be able to punch their ticket to the second round and a probable match-up with the dreaded Pistons.

1 comment:

ASponge said...

Toronto is the kind of team I wouldn't want to face in the first round, but I still like the Magic.

I'll take the Magic in 6.