Post-game Reactions

The following are the Magic’s average shot attempts per game from various distances in the regular season and in this series against Boston. 

                                                       Regular Season                                  Boston Series

Overall FGAs                                         77.9                                                       74.0

Overall FTAs                                         26.0                                                        32.0 

At rim                                                   24.1                                                          24.0

< 10 feet **                                         8.3                                                            13.0

10-15 ft                                                5.6                                                              7.5

16-23 ft                                               12.6                                                             9.5

3-pointers                                           27.3                                                             20.0

**Does not include shots at rim

You see what’s going on here in the numbers?

The C’s are allowing Orlando fewer of the shots they like best—threes—and forcing them to take more mid-range twos, the toughest shots in the NBA, particularly against a defensive beast like Boston. 

Oh: And they’re also sending the Magic to the line a ton. The Magic were the 2nd-worst free throw shooting team in the league this season, thanks largely to Dwight Howard’s continued awfulness at the line. None of this is by accident.

If someone doesn’t hire Tom Thibodeau as their head coach this off-season, I’m going to start wondering if there’s just something about his personality or his style that turns teams off. Because the numbers say this guy knows how to coach defense and game plan as well as anyone in the league.

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Zach Lowe

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  • Ian

    I hope him and Doc stay if we win

  • Sophomore

    Really good point about shooting fewer 3s. Add to that that the percentage of makes is way down – they’re hitting only 30% of them, after hitting over 37% during the season.

    I’m not sure what to say about their shots inside the 3-pt line. I think a lot of people would say that, in general, the worst shot in the game is the 16-23 foot jumper, and the Magic are actually taking fewer of those. The big pickup is in shots at less than 10 feet and 10-15. What are those shots? More D Howard hooks and VC fall-aways? JJ Redick js? Whatever they are, the Magic aren’t hitting those so well either – 40% after shooting 47% inside the line during the season.

  • @soph: The 16-23 footers are probably worse, given teams take about twice as many of those shots than from the rim-15 feet range, but the shooting percentage on those 16-23 footers is almost exactly the same as the 10-15 footers—and it’s actually been a hair higher against Boston.

  • mindgames

    Hello Zach,
    Good updates all around. While we are passing time for Game 3 on Saturday, I would like to request if you would do some research on a burning question that I have.
    The issue concerns the play of the best point guard in the league: our own Rajon Rondo.
    Let me explain: The Celtics are (were?) known for blowing big leads in the fourth quarter all season long. Though that has improved markedly in the playoffs, they haven’t stopped playing some ulcer-inducing fourth quarters. So like every Celtics fan I have been wondering myself crazy why that should be so. And during the playoffs I realized that the pace of our game slows to a crawl in the last quarter, especially the last 5 minutes or so.
    And why is that? I don’t know why but Rondo stops running the ball on offense. He starts to walk the ball over to the other side and then dribble, dribble and dribble as if passing time. Then they try something in the last remaining seconds with normally bad results. I do not know if that is how Doc’s been designing the plays for some reason. Or if Rondo just gets tired after playing nearly every minute of every playoff game. Or our guys are just too winded at the end of games to sustain the frenetic pace of the earlier quarters.
    So I had been worrying about Rondo walking the ball over for some time now. But not being too proficient in basketball, I thought I was missing something. Also, no one else seemed to worry about Rondo play at the end of games. But yesterday, I read Bill Simmons and viola he made a similar point:
    “If you want to go deeper, one reason they struggle down the stretch is because Rondo (a poor free throw shooter) doesn’t want to get fouled, so he plays the last four minutes a little differently than the first 44. Hasn’t been a problem in the postseason. Yet.”
    So, Zach, could you please look at the end of our playoff games and use your expertise to explain what happens in the last quarter, especially the last 4-5 minutes. Why do you think Rondo starts walking the ball over the court? And why does the pace of our offense grinds to a crawl? A good video review would be of immense value to all the readers.
    I just have an ominous fear about that “yet” that Simmons tagged in that quote.
    Go Celtics!
    Let’s have a sweep if that is what the Captain wants!! Why not??

  • Jay P


    If you’re going to keep re-posting that in every article Zach’s write now, it’s really going to be a problem. Send an email or something if you really want to give him an idea for an article, but no ones wants to see your wall of text re-posted again, please.

  • Perry


    Couldn’t agree more on Thibs. So far he’s undun Wade, LBJ and neutralized the Magic’s perimeter game. There may be greener pastures outside of Boston, Chicago for sure, but if Doc decides to leave there’s no better place for Thibs short term because the players know his system and have the technique for it to flourish. Vescey had a blip on his future this morning in the NY Post. I hope Danny would turn to Thibs instead of McHale. Thibs has earned it.

    A couple of days ago you charted the Magic’s FGA-M tendencies. I had made reference to the Celts forcing the Magic into settling for a mid range game. Howard is a not polished offensive weapon yet, and their lack of play making limits what they can do inside the three point line. This team misses Turk in the half court. It took Thibs’ defensive schemes and our match up advantages to expose it.

    Celts were a bit lax on ball penetration and letting Howard find his spots on the post. Even so, the Magic only shot 39% from the field in game 2. As that game wore on the pressure of falling behind 0-2 mounted in the heads of the Magic, which may explain Carter’s missed free throws and Reddick’s brain freeze.

  • DRJ1

    I’ll tell ya what Thibs has working against him. He’s a short overweight white guy who never played pro ball. Ok… but so are the Van Gundys. Hmm…. but only half of them is still coaching, and possibly not for long.

    Kidding aside, being what he is might scare NBA execs into thinking that he would not command respect among players. I think that’s a valid concern… he would probably have a steeper hill to climb than someone who’s been a good NBA player.

    Besides, he has the almost insurmountable problem of having a last name no one can spell.

  • mindgames

    Jay P,

    I understand your point. I just wanted to make sure one of the guys who can actually do some data/video analysis saw my question. And I couldn’t find Zach’s email. Anyways, thanks for your take.


  • urbeltic

    I wonder if GMs look at him and say… yeah, you’ve done an excellent job there Tibs but you have KG in there.

    I know JVG gushes about Tibs but I guess I’m wondering how well he did in Houston and further back.

  • JP

    As an Orlando fan who has watched nearly every Magic game this season, these comparitive numbers arent surprising at all. Boston have simply defended us much better then most other teams in the league.

    Regarding Tom Thibodeau though, is it necessarilly obvious that he should be approached by other teams for head coach role? Why not in his current role?

    What I mean is, why dont say someone like New Jersey aggressively try to recruit him but as their assistant coach, but not their head coach? Like Silvio Dante says in ‘The Sopranos’ “some people are better at being number twos.”

    Please dont get me wrong, Im not slating the guy at all, I mean it as a compliment. Its just that I can envisage his talents being diluted by a bigger role. His employer (whichever team it is) actually gets more out of him in the assistants role.

    Any truth to this?

  • dslack

    He did very well in Houston and with the Knicks before that. His teams area always among the top defensive outfits in the NBA.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    @JP Exactly what I was thinking. The Russian at the Jersey helm is a billionaire, far richer than Cuban & the other big spenders. I look for him to pay out the wazoo for Phil Jackson to get the triangle & pick up Thibs for the D. Then, he could try to lure bron & others. I PRAY I’m wrong, but this guy could be spending $$$$ like we’ve never seen…… I think Jersey is gonna have an amazing turn around.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    If the Russian is gonna open the $$$$ floodgates look for him to go after Ray Ray too.

  • Sophomore

    Thanks for the info about the percentage at 16-23.

    In the end, then, I think I’d put it this way. Thib and the Cs have done a great job defending the 3 – forcing Orlando to take fewer shots off the line and shoot a lower percentage. Even more impressive, they’ve done this without compromising their defense inside the arc. Holding teams to 40% in 2-pt territory is great stuff.