Blog Entry

Lee loss huge for Magic

Posted on: April 30, 2009 3:46 pm
The Orlando Magic entered the playoffs with the most important rookie starter on any team. They'll be leaving the playoffs soon if Courtney Lee misses the rest of the postseason due to a fractured sinus.

The news Thursday that Lee is expected to have surgery and could be out for the rest of the postseason is devastating for Orlando. A lot more devastating than losing Howard to a one-game suspension for Game 6 Thursday night. If Orlando stumbles, they'd still have a chance to close out the Sixers with Howard in a Game 7 Saturday in Orlando. But beyond that, they need Lee to challenge Cleveland in the East. They might even need Lee just to get past either Chicago or Boston to the conferece finals.

That's how important the rookie from Western Kentucky has become to the Magic. Not only is he their most consistent perimeter defender, but his 3-point shooting has been reliable all season. Despite falling victim to a team-wide shooting slump against the Sixers -- Lee was shooting an uncharacteristic 29 percent from beyond the arc when he went down -- Orlando needs his deep shooting threat to make a prolonged playoff run.

Fortunately for the Magic, they can plug Mickael Pietrus back into the starting lineup. Pietrus has more size and strength and can defend bigger wing players. But he didn't shoot as well from 3-point range during the regular season (.359 compared to .404 for Lee), and Lee's dribble-penetration has picked Orlando up at key points in the series.

If you missed my story on Lee before the playoffs started, here it is.

Since: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: April 30, 2009 11:12 pm

Lee loss huge for Magic

After all these overtime games, whichever team wins, Boston or Chicago, is likely to be exhausted.  Orlando can use the rest while Boston and Chicago beat up on each other.

Lee is a big loss, but between MP and Reddick, the Magic have the players needed to fill in.  When you consider the fact that the Magic were missing THREE of their starters tonight to beat the Sixers, then you can see that the Magic are a fairly deep team.

Since: Sep 25, 2008
Posted on: April 30, 2009 10:16 pm

Lee loss huge for Magic

Might want to worry about Boston first.

Since: Jun 4, 2008
Posted on: April 30, 2009 4:37 pm

Lee loss huge for Magic

I actually made a typo. Pietrus is the defender, not Redick.

Pietrus is a better defender and better finisher around the rim than Redick. Also a better rebounder. When Pietrus attacks the basket like before he got hurt the second time, he can be a force. Can dunk on about anyone and can still make his 3's. Very good player, and he and Lee play very similar styles. Defense first, shooting 2nd, driving third.

In a pre camp workout, he and Lee ran the fastest 3/4 court sprints. It should be a good game tonight as "The Polish Hammer" is the leagues second best rebounder per 40 minutes. Unfortunatly, Dwight is firstCry. Gortat can keep guys out of the paint so defensivly, the let down wont be all that bad, but offensivly, it could be ugly if Rashard Lewis doesnt play like he does against Cleveland. Unfortunatly, Thaddeus Young is twice the player Anderson Varajoke is so thats not expected

Since: Mar 28, 2008
Posted on: April 30, 2009 4:24 pm

Lee loss huge for Magic

and I forgot to mention Redick. good call. His shooting will be huge. I was thinking defense, which is why I thought of Pietrus first.

Since: Jun 4, 2008
Posted on: April 30, 2009 4:00 pm

Lee loss huge for Magic

Here's how Orlando replaces Lee

It's a combination

A) Pietrus
B) Redick

Redick picks up the offensive slack, and Redick on defense. Yes, he's important, but the way that SVG likes to guard Lebron, any ole man could do it. Play 3-5 feet off and make him shoot. Then Dwight, stay right behind him. It's worked with Pietrus, Lee, Bogans, Evans, Tukroglu, Lewis, and even Redick at times in the past. No one is better than Dwight at locking down the paint.

Orland has dominated Cleveland, not only this year but in years past b/c of Dwight in the paint. Although a huge loss, the Magic have the personel to fill it in.

Good artical. But against Cleveland, Rashard Lewis is the most important guy. Just my two cents

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