Friday, April 18, 2008

Hardwood Paroxysm's Plethora of Playoff Prognostication: Magic (3) vs. Raptors (6)

The most glorious time has come. Playoffs. Where cliches and overly intense promos run wild. Where players still miss their free throws. Where bombardment with terrible TV Coverage from ESPN/ABC happens. We present to you, our four part previews for each series, continuing with Orlando versus Toronto.
The Word:

Often times, when you think about Canada, you think of many wonderful things. Scenery, culture, health care, an endless supply of pop-rock bands. And they also have a terrific basketball team in Toronto. The Raptors have a great compliment of talent and have managed to hustle their way into the playoffs. Unfortunately, Orlando also has a terrific team, and the Magic await the Raptors in the playoffs. Orlando has something else, though, that Toronto does not have, and that will prove to be the difference maker in this series. And it's also this series' word.


Yes, those woodland creatures that create mischief. They are known by many names. Alboz, Elver, Huldufolk. (Carlos Arroyo). They are capable of so much, like Orlando Bloom in Lord of the Rings (looking hot and clueless). They can really turn the tide of this matchup, what with the wonderland that exists in Orlando. After all, Canada doesn't have any magical, mythical beings on it's side (besides Alanis Morrissette). It can't produce any special healing powers (universal health care), nor can it summon a great army (World War II). It doesn't even have a castle! (like this?). Orlando has a much stronger magical presence that can be used to ward off Rasho and Bosh (like scented candles). And while Jason Kapono and Jose Calderon do have a pixie like way of causing mayhem (you're thinking of "fairies."), I just can't see them being able to counteract the power of a freaking dragon (Dwight "Big Beastly Jesus" Howard).

It's okay, Canada. Not everyone can be magical (note: Not true. Penn and Teller). But just be sure to come to terms with that, so you don't get too hurt by your disappointment (or the constant mockery by ye old internets). Thanks, and take care of your non-magical selves.
And now we turn to the part of our show where we discuss the finer issues of these series, in Point/Counterpoint. Today's topic: What's worse? The Raptors' perimeter defense or the Magic's back court?

Matt Moore:
Point- Let me put it this way. You could create a starting back court from Stonehenge, a Golem, and Shaq, and somehow, the Raptors back court would still get lost in rotation. This entire season, I've wanted to watch Raptors games. But for some reason, whenever I do, I end up watching them against a fairly good back court that just makes them look like complete idiots. The Detroit games were the worst. There was a point in one game where I saw Calderon rotate to the wrong man, then go after another wrong man, then try and run back to his original man, even though the ball had been passed to the first guy he was guarding. He literally ran past the ball trying to get to the guy he'd originally missed guarding and allow an open three. Now, I think Orlando's frontcourt is better than the Raps as well, but I think it's close. And I'm not a huge fan of the Jameer Nelson/Carlos Arroyo combo. But anyone could take this defense outside of the paint. Anyone. Maurice Evans and Keith Bogans, even. The Magic back court will kill this defense.

Counterpoint- Look, you have to expect that the Raptor's perimeter defense is going to suck. They are a bunch of Euro who don't flop. And if you are A) a Euro and B) not a flopper, you don't stand a chance of defending in this league. However, they have one thing the Magic backcourt cannot possibly have -- talent. There is positively defensive talent for Tornto. And, better yet (you ready for this?), you can coach hustle. The Raptor's D can hustle more and keep pushing and swtiching. You cannot make Jameer Nelson a consistent 3 point threat over the course of a couple days. You cannot make Carlos Arroyo stop making bad decisions -- unless you don't give him the ball, which means its 4-on-5 and the Raptors have an advantage there. Plus, the Magic refuse to play J.J. Redick, who is probably the most unstoppable offensive weapon in the universe. Again, advantage Canadians! But really, if the Raptors are smart, they will play full court defense and let Bosh do his best against Howard. That way, the bumbling Magic ball handlers cannot get the ball down low and will force Hedo (although we love him) and the $118 million dollar man to create their own shots. Again, advantage Toronto. Geez, what is it with all the advantages? A tennis match? The Orlando backcourt is as good at magic as this guy.
Film Interpretation:


Matt: Magic in 6.

Corndogg: Magic in 6.

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