What I Saw: the Orlando Machine and stupid techs

I’m sat here watching the Washington-Orlando match-up, and here’s what I’m seeing:

Washington 83, Orlando 112: Orlando are an extremely good basketball team. Right from the outset, they took the Wizards out of anything they wanted to do offensively. They doubled early on Andray Blatche (in order to either make him pass, or as was the case, make him take very bad shots) and sagged off John Wall in order to stop penetration and make him shoot jumpers.

On the flipside of their phenomenal defence, their offence was clicking, where they were getting to the rim with ease early on. VC had it going early, first off driving and then making a couple of 3s. Rashard Lewis was also aggressive at getting to the rim rather than settling for the 3-pointer.

Although, as much as Orlando was aggressive at going to the rim, it was a product of Washington’s poor D. With Hinrich guarding Nelson early, it was up to Wall to stop VC, and he got lost a bit defensively. Wall will be a good defender in time, but not in his debut as a pro. Lewis was just quicker than Blatche early, and JaVale McGee missed a couple of rotations early on the screen-roll.

The Wizards best was probably Cartier Martin, he came off the bench and didn’t try to do too much, he shot it when he was open and passed if he wasn’t, he led them with 17 points. Also played some good D and had a nice block on Dwight.

Obviously any time you win the season-opener by 29 you’re pretty happy, but especially holding Washington to just 37% shooting while shooting 56% themselves is positive. Additionally, the Magic doubled the Wizards up on the boards 53-25; however they did turn the ball over 20+ times. Dwight was effective with 23 points, 10 boards and 3 blocks, although he shot just 9-19 from the foul line.

Phoenix 110, Utah 94: Utah look really out-of-sync at the moment. Their offence just isn’t flowing. Not only does the offence look disjointed, but they seem to be playing with a lack of energy that they just cannot afford. Seeing as how they’re missing depth with Memo Okur still out, the guys that are available need to play with urgency. Deron Williams needs to step up and score the basketball, and Al Jefferson needs to get comfortable with his new teammates.

On the defensive end, they just need to play hard. While none of the Jazz, save for Raja Bell, are particularly good individual defenders, they just need to stick with their guys and trust Coach Sloan’s defensive schemes. Rotate, help each other and close out on the 3-point shooters. Just as they’re playing flat on the offensive end, the same goes for the D. Hopefully they can pull it all together fairly soon.

Good win for Phoenix, though. They’re a very unconventional team, they have a lot of good shooters/scorers, and there’ll be nights when the shots fall. Led by Steve Nash’s 18, they had 6 guys reach double figures and had Hakim Warrick come off the bench for a nice 18/11 double-double, including some Amar’e-esque finished on the pick-n-roll with Nash. They were patient in the half-court, working the ball around to find the open man and not really rushing any attempts.

On defence, they played hard and forced quite a few turnovers. The biggest thing though was probably hanging with the Jazz on the boards, with the Suns grabbing 44 to Utah’s 45, much more respectable than the 30-48 drubbing from Portland.

The other thing that really bothers me is the technical rule. D-Will got whistled for a delay-of-game tech, he had a huge jam down the lane when the Jazz were making a run, and he hit at the ball on the way down. I just don’t like it one little bit. I want to see these guys get excited. It was a huge play, and he’d been struggling all game, so to be penalised for such and insignificant action just annoys me. He’d already been hit with a technical earlier in the game, but thankfully the second tech didn’t result in an ejection. We just need common sense to prevail and realise that these are humans. They get excited, annoyed, frustrated just like the rest of us. Let us see that! Don’t whistle the guys for every little thing. The emotion is what makes the game great. Hopefully we see the rule relaxed very soon.

That’ll do it from me for now, cheers.


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