The Orlando Magic will take on the Charlotte Bobcats at the Time Warner Cable Arena on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 pm EST.
The Magic hope to avoid an emotional letdown.
“The big thing is you have to go up there with the same sense of urgency and focus and toughness to get the job done in Game 3 as you had in Game 2,” Van Gundy said. “Most of the time people take 2-0 leads, Game 3 is not a good one. You start feeling like this is a game you don’t have to win and you back off a little.”
Therefore, despite all the concern about Dwight Howard’s recurring foul trouble and the Bobcats’ tenacious defense, Van Gundy has focused in recent days on his players’ mindset in recent days as much as on X’s and O’s.
To make his point, Van Gundy painstakingly combed through the 2009-10 Official NBA Guide and tallied the results of all 75 playoff series over the previous five postseasons. He discovered that 32 of the 47 teams that had 2-0 series leads lost Game 3.
Josh Robbins has that story here.
John Denton offers his keys to game 3.
1. Weather the storm.
If they didn’t already know, the Magic got a peek into what they were about to face on Saturday in Charlotte when they watched top seeds Cleveland and the Los Angeles Lakers lose to No. 8 seeds Chicago and Oklahoma City.
Throughout these playoffs teams behind in the series have played with great desperation. Phoenix rallied for two wins after losing the opener to Portland and San Antonio got a split in Dallas after losing Game 1 to the Mavs. And both the Bulls and Thunder showed life on Thursday to win after falling down 0-2.
The Magic expect the same sort of challenge from a Charlotte team that has been dramatically better at home (31 wins) this season than on the road (13 wins). Also, factor in that this will be the Charlotte’s first playoff game since 2002, a time when the Hornets played there.
You can see all of his keys here.
The Bobcats think their homecourt will be a huge plus.
“It’s not as important at home to get off to a great start,” Wallace said. “Your main focus as a road team is to immediately take the crowd out of the game; take their energy away from them. We do a poor job of that on the road.
“We don’t even have to lead,” Wallace said of the difference at home. “Just keep it close at the end of the first quarter, so we don’t have to fight so much” later.
Bobcats coach Larry Brown agrees. However, he is leery of his players assuming two home games are a cure-all to what’s ailed them in this series.
Rick Bonnell has that story here.
Another thing to consider is the Game Three effect. The lower seeded team tends to throw its best punch in Game Three whether they are down 2-0 or not.
The Magic have seen this firsthand. Orlando won its lone game in the Finals last year in Game Three behind an amped up Amway Arena. The last time the Magic had a 2-0 first round lead, they dropped Game Three in Toronto on their way to a five-game series victory.
Last year, the home team was 4-0 in Game Threes Orlando played. In the postseason last year, the home team was 10-6 in Game Three. For a league that is apparently lopsided and easy to predict, this seems to be a pretty good indicator that Game Three is in the home team’s favor.
Philip Rossman-Reich wonders if the road team will survive.
You can read that story here.
Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace have carried the load for Charlotte. A third Bobcat must step up if they hope to have any chance in this series.
But even with the crowd roaring, the Bobcats can’t beat the Magic unless a third player emerges. We’ve seen what Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace can do.
As good as they are, they can’t beat Orlando. Assistance is required.
The obvious candidates are Raymond Felton and Boris Diaw. The not-so-obvious candidate is D.J. Augustin.
Augustin looks shy out there. He hit a couple 3-pointers in Game 2, but he didn’t penetrate, didn’t disrupt the defense, didn’t get the ball to a teammate for an easy shot. Except for Jackson, nobody has. Augustin floated around the perimeter, looking more like a rookie than a leader.
Tom Sorenson of the Charlotte Observer has that story here.
Larry Brown and the Bobcats are big on second chances.
They’re down 2-0 to the Orlando Magic in a first-round series, heading into Game 3 Saturday at Time Warner Cable Arena.
“My whole career, I’ve had guys whom a lot of people might not have seen as a great player, or a guy who can help win a game,” said Brown.. “Maybe somebody else doesn’t think they can fit into their system and they maybe can fit into ours. Somebody gets drafted by a team and they don’t necessarily value what (he does) and he gets pushed aside.
“I love it. It’s one of the greatest things for me, coaching these kinds of guys.”
David Scott has that story here.
Brett Hainline knows how the Bobcats can avoid loss three.
Not turning the ball over 6 times in the first few minutes of game 3 would certainly be a good start on improving from game 2. But that is not the only area of focus for the Bobcats.
Another good place to look would be at the three point line. No, not to shoot them – to stop the Magic from shooting them. So far in the series, the Magic have taken 57 three pointers and made 23 for a 3-point field goal percentage of 40.4%. While the Magic were very good in the regular season, they were not that good, shooting 37.6% from long range over the 82-game haul. That 3% difference is about 1 make per game so far in the series, or 3 additional points each night for the Magic. The key? Not who you might expect.
You can read that story here.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor on the Fansided Front Page and at Sir Charles In Charge. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).
Topics: 2010 Nba Playoffs, Brandon Bass, Charlotte Bobcats, Defensive Player Of The Year, Dwight Howard, Gerald Wallace, Jameer Nelson, Jason Williams, JJ Redick, Larry Brown, Marcin Gortat, Matt Barnes, Mickael Pietrus, Orlando Magic, Rashard Lewis, Ryan Anderson, Stan Van Gundy, Stephen Jackson, Vince Carter