What the Magic Have Learned

In talking to Magic big man Adonal Foyle, I have learned way more than we can fit into his video playoff journal.

For instance, yesterday when he told me that Dwight Howard has an above average post-game, I talked to him just after the Magic had come out of a film study session, and he shared various insights about what the Magic have learned.

Foyle said the emphasis of the film session was that the team needed to do a better job of preventing Laker points in the paint. The coaching staff had also identified several mistakes in reading the Laker offense, which they hope to correct moving forward.

Most interestingly, Foyle says the team now has a clear picture of what defensive rules the Lakers are using against Dwight Howard. Specifically, as Foyle sees it:

  • "If the guy who throws the ball in [to Howard] from the strong side cuts through, his defender starts the cut, then comes back and doubles."

  • "If [Howard] goes to the middle, the point guard comes to double." (David Thorpe points out that Derek Fisher will do this even from all the way across the court, which is exceedingly rare.)

  • "If [Howard] goes to the baseline and tries to spin back, there's always somebody there to catch the spin."

The net result, according to Foyle: "He's understanding that they are very committed to keeping him out of the paint. One of things he's going to have to do more is catch and shoot, and not put the ball on the floor as much. He's going to have to take a jumpshot without taking a dribble. I know the dribble gives him rhythm, but when he dribbles, everybody comes, but he has to get that shot off first."