NBA in Threes: Fighting in Philly; Arcade-style basketball in Washington

NBA Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
NBA Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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NBA Toronto Raptors Pascal Siakam (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Toronto Raptors vs. Orland Magic

I won’t say much about the Toronto Raptors for this game. They played well at the offensive end of the floor for stretches and went ice cold in others. Their defense was what kept them in the game during the scoring droughts and allowed them to come away with the win.

The Orlando Magic started the season struggling with their shooting. Those struggles continued in the first quarter of this game where they made just 8-25 field-goal attempts. The fact that the Raptors were still up by five points at halftime told me more about the work Orlando’s offense needs than anything else.

Frankly, the Raptors offense was terrible in the second quarter and if Orlando had any offensive chemistry at all it would have been an easy thing for them to come into the third quarter with a lead. In the 4th quarter, Orlando went on a 13-0 run that ended with 3:57 to play in the game.  Had they been able to keep the game close throughout, that run probably would have given them a late-game lead.

Orlando’s pace was pretty slow which takes advantage of their defensive capabilities and length. Jonathan Isaac is one of a handful of defenders that can give Pascal Siakam problems on the defensive end of the floor. But when Orlando’s offense is not producing, that slow pace is a liability.

They hit only 12 of 39 from distance for the game. When the three-ball isn’t falling, conventional wisdom is to try to get into the paint for some easy buckets. But with Evan Fournier, D.J. Augustin and Nikola Vucevic combining to miss 12 shots in the paint, several of which were right at the rim, there wasn’t a way for  Orlando to have a shot at winning this game.

If last night is any indication of how Orlando’s season is going to go, it’s not looking good for their playoff hopes. Many other teams would have been able to capitalize on the Raptors’ poor offensive performance and come away with the win. And with the way the New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks have come out to start the season the Magic look primed to slip out of playoff contention based on early-season play.