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News » Southeast preview: Magic aiming for Finals return

Southeast preview: Magic aiming for Finals return

Southeast preview: Magic aiming for Finals return

Strengths: Dwight Howard's muscle and aggressive attacks at the hoop.

The incredible talents of Vince Carter.

Jameer Nelson's propensity for making clutch plays.

The three-pointers outside and turnaround jumpers inside unleashed by Rashard Lewis.

Brandon Bass brings accurate mid-range jumpers and extremely physical play in the paint.

In short stretches, Mickael Pietrus can change games with his defense and treys.

J.J. Redick has learned not only how to survive, but also how to contribute.

Matt Barnes can score beaucoup points off the bench.

Weaknesses: Howard's offensive moves are still somewhat limited and therefore predictable.

Nelson is defensively challenged.

In clutch situations, Lewis frequently disappears.

Pietrus often has trouble handling pressure and differentiating between good shots and bad ones.

Barnes is shot-happy.

Carter chokes.

Prognosis: Without Hedo Turkoglu, the Magic now fields more of a traditional lineup. This translates into fewer mismatches to take advantage of. It's therefore unlikely Orlando can get past Boston and/or Cleveland and return to the NBA Finals.

Washington Wizards

Strengths: Gilbert Arenas' genius for scoring.

The steady point-making skills of Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison.

Mike Miller is a spot shooter deluxe.

Randy Foye is a solid all-around performer on offense.

In Nick Young, a blossoming star.

The continued potential of Andray Blatche.

Flip Saunder's zone defenses that look like man-to-man alignments, as well as his multiple offenses.

Weaknesses: Arenas, Butler, Miller, Foye, Young and Blatche all need lots of ball time to be effective.

Not enough defense.

Not enough willing role players.

Brendan Haywood and Blatche are career underachievers.

Prognosis: They can't possibly be worse than last season's 19-win squad. But since they are only equipped to play offense, the best they can do is to win half of their games. Even so, their dynamic scoring will always make them dangerous opponents.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: October 12, 2009


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