Magic-Bulls Preview

Here are some quick facts about the Orlando Magic:

At 13-4, they’re leading the Southeast Division and tied for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

They rank 1st in Defensive Rating (100.1) and 12th in Offensive Rating (107.5).

More stats:

Offensive Four Factors:
2nd in Effective Field Goal Percentage (.530), 13th in Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt (.242), 17th in Offensive Rebounding Percentage (.258) and 27th in Turnover Percentage (.153).

Defensive Four Factors:
3rd in Defensive Rebounding Percentage (.772), 6th in Opponents Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt (.215), 8th in Opponents Effective Field Goal Percentage (.476) and 8th in Opponents Turnover Percentage (.147).

Obviously, Dwight Howard (21.8 PPG, 12.1 RPG, 2.4 BPG, 59 percent shooting) is the foundation of Orlando’s offense and defense.

Offensively, the Magic go inside-out: Post Howard, draw the double team, kick out to open shooters. That’s a big part of why they’re ranked 2nd in the league in three-point attempts (418). Defensively, the Magic players funnel their men toward Dwight, who’s always a blocked or intimidated shot waiting to happen. Not surprisingly, Howard currently leads the NBA in Defensive Rating (92.2).

So how do you beat them?

Well, it’ll help if Joakim Noah can shut down or contain Howard. Too bad he didn’t talk to John Elway in that steam room. Maybe Elway could have made a few suggestions.

I checked out Orlando’s splits at Basketball-Reference, and the most glaring difference between their 13 wins and four losses were their fouls committed and their opponents’ free throws attempted. In those losses, the Magic committed three more fouls per game (21.5 to 18.5) and gave up almost seven more free throw attempts per contest (27.3 to 20.7).

In their first three losses, Howard committed 16 fouls and fouled out once.

The Bulls need to be aggressive, force the action and attack the basket. They have to challenge Howard and, hopefully, get him into foul trouble.

Unfortunately, that’s not really one of Chicago’s strengths, considering they rank 19th in Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt. But it’s worth noting that in their nine wins, the Bulls averaged 29.3 FTAs. In their six losses, they averaged 23.7 FTAs.

Of course, if Carlos Boozer returns to action, he might be worth a few more foul shots. Still no word on whether he’ll play though.

Said Boozer: ”I may or may not play (Wednesday). I feel close. If not Wednesday, then I’m hoping this weekend for sure.”

Naturally, no discussion of the Bulls’ chances would be complete without mention of Bulls.com’s Sam Smith’s early season pick for MVP. Derrick Rose currently ranks 2nd in PPG (26.6) and 8th in APG (8.2). And, as Smith points out, “[Rose] just brought the Bulls off perhaps their toughest road trip in a decade with a 4-3 record while averaging 30 points. And this with every defense focused solely on him with no other true scorer on the team, certainly no one to create a shot.”

As everybody knows, this is Derrick’s team. And they’re going only as far as he can take them.

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9 Responses to Magic-Bulls Preview

  1. reggiemcglory@yahoo.com'
    Chi4life da Bulls December 1, 2010 at 3:55 pm #

    This is D Roses team not confusion but yet this is still Da Bulls which means we win as a team lose as a team but most of all play as a team there is no I in team.time for the waiting is almost over which means boozer is back my first view will be that he comes back hungry all that time on the bench wishing he could play waiting for the chance to play howard is a big bully every time he has played Rose he fouls him hard should be flagurent fouls that don’t get called tonight if he does that I hope the bulls players that are on the court send him a msge like they did shack when he was being a bully bum rushed him as a team oakly and company the time to make sure others know that you have each others back when you step on the floor now if need be send the msge to the league the bulls will respond with force Howard yr days of hard fouls with no consequences should of been over now tonight I hope they are last time he almost hurt DRose badly saying a little guy should watch how he comes in the lane to drive well no more boozer Tgib Noah send the msge to him bum rush him as a team if need be he is a big bully at times in my book,do to him what any bully deserves to get if he gets out of line .Go Bulls

  2. Inception December 1, 2010 at 3:58 pm #

    So Sir Charles chose the bulls to come out of the East….the expectations are rising…personally, i think this team performs better as the “underdog”…we’ll see…

  3. TBF December 1, 2010 at 4:07 pm #

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Punctuation is your friend.

    This game is going to hinge on what we can do with Howard. If he gets to the line a bunch and works Noah over, we’re going to lose. If Gibson starts he needs to stay out of foul trouble. We’re going to need him to give good minutes out there. I shudder to think what Howard will do to poor Omir Asik. I like him, but he desperately needs to spend an offseason in an NBA strength program. He’s horribly weak for a man of his size.

    Noah did an excellent job on Gasol. I think Noah should use his decent dribble drives against Howard. He’s a shot-blocking fiend, but his defense otherwise isn’t stellar. Maybe we can get a few cheap foul calls on him and send him to the bench.

  4. yomomma@hotmail.com'
    Scottie Pimpin December 1, 2010 at 8:31 pm #

    sam smith has an interesting article about how howard took down rose twice lst season and no one did anything about it. hey maybe overreacting , but one of those did seem pretty flagrant where he bumped him hard with his body and then came down with his arm on rose.

    normally i would question retaliation play in the NBA since refs call flagrants and techs even if you get angry, but this is sam smith, hes watched the bulls play the pistons, and the knicks, so i guess he know what hes talking about.

    Kurt Thomas, your up tonight, go in hard and wipe that grin of supermans face.

  5. bodybagsteven@gmail.com'
    bullsfandom December 1, 2010 at 9:14 pm #

    I’m with Scottie on this one. If (God forbid) Rose gets whacked by D-Ho again, I fully expect somebody to take offense to it.

  6. gorditadog@aol.com'
    Gorditadog December 2, 2010 at 12:55 am #

    I’m with you guys. Thibs, dust off Kurt and send him out tonight.

  7. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath December 2, 2010 at 2:04 am #

    almost to the half… this is one weird game. the officials are a little fuzzy tonight.

  8. Inception December 2, 2010 at 3:12 am #

    ugly debut for the Boozer era….uhhhh…readjusting time.

  9. jeremyhornik@gmail.com'
    J Hornik December 2, 2010 at 4:32 am #

    Oof.

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