Ball Don't Lie - NBA


Scanning the blogs and beats following the Magic's series-clinchin' win over the Sixers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals ...

The FanHouse: "[Samuel] Dalembert and [Hedo] Turkoglu got tangled in the paint in the fourth quarter, at which point Dalembert apparently decided to plant a kiss on Turkoglu's forehead. In lieu of apparently non-existent YouTube footage, I advise you to check out the series of pictures taken by Gary W. Green of the Orlando Sentinel, which captures the odd incident frame by frame. After Turkoglu angrily took offense, both he and Dalembert were tagged with double technicals. Given that Turkoglu had already picked up a tech earlier in the night for arguing a call, it was essentially a kiss of death, sending him back to the locker room for an early shower."

Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel: "You want to talk about an unlikely recipe for success? This was like the Magic making the most incredible Philly cheesesteak you could possibly imagine — without the steak and the cheese. The Magic weren't just missing their franchise player — suspended center Dwight Howard — they were also missing injured shooting guard Courtney Lee. This was like Spock and Bones piloting the Starship Enterprise to where no man has gone before — without Captain Kirk on board. And now the Magic are going where few Orlando teams have gone over the last decade — the second round of the playoffs — without Howard in the house. Dwight was not allowed in the arena and watched the game from a nearby hotel where he actually tweeted with friends on Twitter. Before the game, Dwight tweeted, 'my boys jus gotta play. Shoot and play d.' They shot all right. They shot the Sixers right out of the gym and right into summer vacation. They shot like they haven't shot in more than a month."

Game On: "President Obama proved how well sports and politics go together. Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy has certainly taken notice. After his team closed out Philadelphia in the first round of the NBA playoffs he started his press conference with higher office rather than higher seed on his mind. 'My 17-year-old daughter, she's never asked me to do this (but if) anybody from Seminole High School is watching the press conference, next Friday you got to vote for my daughter for the Student Council. I told her I would do that. Shannon Van Gundy. Give her your vote,' he said."

Third Quarter Collapse: "The easiest explanation for the Magic's dominance is low expectations. The odds were stacked against them: they were on the road, without two key players players, facing a team that refused to quit in the first five games of the series. All the pressure was on Philadelphia to even the series and head to Orlando for the decisive Game 7 this weekend. The Sixers, for possibly the first time all series, did not respond well to the pressure. They caved, in fact. Orlando's slow start to the second quarter allowed the Sixers to get out in transition, but when the Magic got their offense back on track, Philly did not stand a chance. There was simply no intensity on the defensive end, and one wonders why coach Tony DiLeo did not assign ace defender Andre Iguodala to check Lewis when it became apparent Thaddeus Young didn't stand a chance against him."

Liberty Ballers: "The Sixers got what they deserved tonight. They played with no intensity, no heart and no sense of urgency. They came out severely unfocused and unprepared. In a season with so many positives to build on, all we'll remember is this awful performance. After what I saw tonight, I'm officially ashamed to call myself a fan."

Talk Hoops: "This is the reason why games aren't played on paper. This game appeared to be an absolute lock for Philadelphia. Dwight Howard was serving his one-game suspension. Courtney Lee would be missing the rest of the series because of a fractured sinus cavity. The Sixers were playing at home and were about to force a game seven back in Orlando. The Magic weren't having any of that. Marcin Gortat filled in beautifully for Howard scoring 11 points and adding 15 rebounds, and the rest of the scorers on this team made up for the rest of his production. Rashard Lewis had his best scoring game of the series pouring in 29 points (without a three?). J.J. Redick scored 15 points on five made three-pointers. Mickael Pietrus added 14 points."

Sixers 4 Guidos: "I could mention at least four embarassing plays for each Sixer that was put on the floor: turnovers, airballs, dunks on, shots blocked etc. I won’t go on details as it could be very painful. Gortat = a polish David Robinson. J.J. Redick = Ray Allen part II. Rafer Alston = the new Dennis Johnson. It was that kind of night. The truth is Sixers are far from being a good playoffs team, and many things have to be re-evaluated this summer, taking this crappy game into consideration."

Bob Ford, The Philadelphia Inquirer: "Orlando is an eminently beatable team, and last night should have been a layup, but that isn't the way the NBA works. The game goes to the team that plays better, whether it's supposed to or not. 'We saw where Thaddeus Young said having Howard out would be very big for them,' Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. 'Well, you've got to watch that stuff in this league. This league will bring you to your knees. Our guys are laughing in the locker room. They're saying, 'All we had to do was get rid of Dwight's 24 points and 24 rebounds and we're fine.' Yes, it's hard to figure, and last night it was awfully hard to watch, too. It isn't how the Sixers wanted to go into the off-season, with the other team joking in its locker room, but they had the option of preventing it and couldn't do so. So, the total is still one playoff series win since the NBA Finals in 2001 for a franchise that continues to search for direction. Last night, the direction was nowhere."

Doug Smith: "The funny thing? And the issue that’s going to haunt the Sixers for a while? The one guy they needed more than anyone else in that entire series was Elton Brand. A low-post presence, a big who can shoot, a guy you can throw the ball to in the slow-down moments of a playoff series. No idea how they can integrate him into that system with those players in an 82-game schedule and be successful (they sure didn’t figure it out this season, did they?) but when the playoffs roll around, he’s the kind of guy they need."

Marcus Hayes, Philadelphia Daily News: "As the Sixers' spokesman, its face, Andre Iguodala figures he should have input. As the team's general manager, Ed Stefanski better get ready to listen. 'We could have been a 50-win team,' Iguodala said last night after the Sixers lost Game 6, 114-89, and their Eastern Conference quarterfinal to the Magic, their second six-game, first-round playoff loss in as many seasons. His solution? 'Moves. It's going to be a busy summer,' Iguodala said. 'I'm going to sit down with Ed and discuss what I think will get us over the [hump].' As for coach Tony DiLeo, the team's assistant GM who replaced Maurice Cheeks in December and led the club to the playoffs, well, Iguodala didn't exactly endorse his soft-spoken boss. 'We'll see about that,' he said, when asked whether DiLeo should return. 'We'll talk. We'll try to get the best-case scenario.'"

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