David Manning/USA TODAY
A week ago, the story was Orlando's defense. The Magic were riding high and relying on a newfound defensive energy and synergy to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers, slowing down their offensive juggernaut and holding them below 100 points for the first time this season (and just one of two times so far).
This was a Magic team that was defending well in the paint. They were giving up some offensive rebounds, but recovering nicely to prevent scores.
The difference between Orlando last year and Orlando this year remained the team's defensive resurgence.
A week later, the defense is the glaring weakness of a team mired in a three-game losing streak and back below .500 yet again.
"I think overall at the end of the day, the coaching staff we've looked at it, we've looked at the numbers, the amount of shots people have taken and made and the areas that we want them to take and make shots," Jacque Vaughn said. "Unfortunately, they have made shots. And that is just a part of it. Over time, if we continue to improve on what we're doing, I think we should be in good shape."
In the last three games, Orlando has given up 47.4 percent shooting and, more importantly, 124 points -- 41.3 points per game -- on 55.9 percent shooting in the paint. That includes 50 points on 25-for-33 shooting in the paint in Monday's loss to the Celtics.
The three games prior to that, Orlando was giving up 37.0 percent shooting, setting a franchise mark for consecutive games holding teams below 40 percent shooting. The Magic were giving up an average of 30.7 points per game in the paint on 38.3 percent shooting. Those are some drastically different numbers.no comments