Ryan Anderson had some telling comments the other day regarding Orlando’s shooting struggles in Games 1 and 2. As reported by Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel Anderson said:
“They know how to guard us,” Anderson said. “They have a great game plan coming into these games. They’re trying to eliminate aspects of our offense that we’re really used to going through. We’re not getting as many open shots. We’re not getting as many 3s. So we just need to continue to work on the glass.”
It sounds like the Magic has made a focused effort to get offensive rebounds because they realize they need all of of the possessions they can get. Atlanta, using the Dwight Defense, has managed to eliminate what’s normally the second-most efficient part of Orlando’s offense.
The Magic have launched 45 3-point attempts in the two games and made just 11. For the season they averaged 25.6 attempts and 9.4 makes overall and 21 attempts and 4.8 makes against the Hawks, both lows vs. any opponent.
I fired up the Synergy Sports Technology machine to look at each of Orlando’s 45 3-point attempts in the series to see where the needle points on the “missing open shots vs. not getting many open shots” scale.
The verdict: The Magic haven’t gotten many clean looks but they got more in Game 2 than Game 1. By my subjective count, in Game 1 Orlando players got nine good looks on 3-point attempts (with two of those in garbage time) and made three. In Game 2 they got 13 clean looks on 3-point attempts and made four (J.J. actually closed out pretty strong on that that J-Rich dagger). Those totals don’t count two long heaves at the buzzer by the Magic.
How did the Magic get those clean looks? A breakdown:
Five thoughts after looking at those plays:
1. The Magic recognize that Jamal isn’t fighting over screens, providing much resistance against dribble penetration or keeping track of his man when they rebound misses. They are looking to exploit all of those weaknesses to set up 3-point shots.
2. All of the other Atlanta perimeter players have been generally sound in their efforts to limit 3s.
3. Hinrich’s awareness and ability to cover a lot of ground really helps Atlanta’s cause–there were a handful of 3-point attempts where he helped off his man and still was able to recover and challenge kick-out 3s.
3. Stan Van Gundy’s quip that “I don’t really have a strategy for getting guys to shoot the ball well” applied more in Game 2 than Game 1 and is relevant to Turkoglu most of all. Closer to the truth is that Van Gundy doesn’t really have a strategy to get guys clean looks against the Dwight Defense.
4. Atlanta’s length bothers Orlando’s shooters so late close-outs or even the threat of them tend to make the Magic rush their 3-point attempts.
5. The Magic have gotten exactly one clean look off a 3-pointer from a Dwight post-up.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks basketball