'Dwight and Four Shooters' Too Much for Sixers as Magic Win 99-95

'Dwight and Four Shooters' Too Much for Sixers as Magic Win 99-95

"That's a tough team to defend."

Doug Collins repeated that line multiple times after the Sixers 99-95 loss to the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

When Orlando wasn't successfully getting Dwight the ball deep in the paint or tossing him pretty alley-oops that Howard throws down with incredible force, the Magic were swinging the ball so efficiently that their high school basketball coaches were probably smiling with pride.

"It's easy for them because they have Dwight and four shooters," Lou Williams said of the Magic's effective ball movement. "As much as we rotate, every guy's a live ball every time we rotate. It's always tough when you guard a team like that with four shooters and a dominant big man."

It wasn't for a lack of effort on the Sixers part. They rotated well, but by the time the ball got swung to the fourth shooter, they often found Elton Brand trying to come all the way out on JJ Redick or Hedo Trukoglu lining up from long range.

The Sixers tried their best to slow Howard inside, but the Hack-a-Shaq approach to Dwight didn't work so well tonight with Howard hitting an impressive 14-19 free throw attempts. Dwight finished the evening with 30 and 17, only 10 assists away from a triple double.

Maybe the Sixers can watch some tape of Dwight at the line to get some pointers. The Sixers shot an ugly 15-22 from the line themselves, good for 68% on the night.

But it wasn't Howard who killed them late in the fourth, it was the quick ball movement and the four shooters who finally started to find the bottom of the net after a slow shooting start.

"JJ [Redick] hit one, [Jason] Richardson hit one, [Hedo] Turkoglu hit one. You can be up eight or nine on this team and that's a three possession game," Coach Collins said of the Magic's three balls in the fourth.

"All in all I thought our guys played well," Coach Collins said. "I thought we played well. I think [Orlando] showed tonight that they're right no a better team than we are. That's nothing to be discouraged about. That's a team that's picked to possibly get to the conference finals or get to the NBA finals."

Collins got typically solid efforts out of Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand, but EB's ability to get and do much with the ball on the block was extremely limited with Howard working the paint. "They did a good job interrupting our offense. We weren't able to get into the lane like we usually do to get easy opportunities," Lou Will said of the Magic's D.

Dre finished with 21 and 8 but also had an atypically rough night taking care of the ball with 5 TOs.

As for the rest of the Sixers offense, Lou Williams lit it up in the fourth after a quiet first three. Lou, who scored 18 of his 23 in the fourth, single-handedly gave the Sixers a chance, hitting a couple of crazy threes in the final moments.

"Those last couple were basically catch up shots," LouWill said. "Before that I was just trying to get myself going and make some aggressive plays, and try and fight and kick until the end."

And fight they did, but the Magic were simply too much for the Sixers on this night. Back at it on Friday night at the Well against another very formidable foe in the San Antonio Spurs.

Was Roy Halladay's perfect game really seven years ago?

Was Roy Halladay's perfect game really seven years ago?

Where were you seven years ago today? I'd put my money on a number of Phillies fans spending their Saturday of Memorial Day weekend 2010 lounging out on the beach at the Jersey Shore just as I was.

But that night — just 14 miles from where the Phils will take on the now-Miami Marlins tonight — Roy Halladay tossed just the second perfect game in Phillies history, striking out 11 Marlins en route. Yes, that was the same Halladay who earned 55 wins over the course of four seasons in Philadelphia and pitched a no-hitter that same season against the Cincinnati Reds in the opening game of the NLDS.

It was a magical night at Dolphin Land Shark Sun Life Stadium. Anyone who wasn't watching the Flyers lose Game One of the Stanley Cup Final, 6-5, probably remembers Shane Victorino tracking down Wes Helms' deep fly to dead center as well as the incredible game called by Carlos Ruiz behind the plate. And then there's the 27th out as third baseman Juan Castro cooly collected the Ronny Paulino ground ball, spun and fired to Ryan Howard at first base.

So what's Doc doing now you ask?

Well, if his Twitter is any indication, Halladay has not stepped too far away from the game of baseball. During the weekend, he posted a series of tweets with his son Braden's high school baseball team, Cavalry Christian (Clearwater, Fla.), as they completed a perfect 30-0 season and won the Florida 4A state title with Halladay as one of the team's assistant coaches.

He also tweeted to honor fellow Phillie Jim Bunning — the only other Phillies pitcher to ever throw a perfect game — after the baseball legend passed away Friday night at the age of 85.

End to End: Who's the better fit for Flyers, Nico Hischier or Nolan Patrick?

End to End: Who's the better fit for Flyers, Nico Hischier or Nolan Patrick?

Throughout the offseason, we’ll ask questions about the Flyers to our resident hockey analysts and see what they have to say.
 
Going End to End today are CSNPhilly.com producers/reporters Tom Dougherty, Jordan Hall and Greg Paone.
 
The topic: Who would be a better fit for the Flyers, Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier?
 
Dougherty
I don’t believe either one would necessarily be a better fit than the other for the Flyers. This is a case where either player matches what the orange and black need: a top-six centerman. It’s safe to say with either Hischier or Patrick, they will come away from Chicago with a substantial piece they can add to their puzzle. I’ve felt they needed another lottery forward.
 
They’re getting one now, but which player would I prefer to see as a Flyer? That would be Patrick because, for me, he’s the safer bet who is closer to the NHL than Hischier. Now, I don’t believe the Flyers should draft based on who will be here quicker. That would be asinine. But it sure wouldn’t hurt to see either one of them in Philadelphia next season.
 
Patrick has been atop the rankings for this class for two years now. He dominated the WHL as a 17-year-old two years ago, and despite injuries last season, he still ruled play. Plus it’s hard not to be enamored with Patrick’s size. At 6-foot-3, 198 pounds, he’s a big right-handed pivot. Hischier is listed at 6-foot, 176 pounds. He’ll have to get stronger.
 
That’s not saying Patrick doesn’t need to add more muscle to his frame, but at 6-3, 198, he has a solid frame that should be able to handle the wear-and-tear of an NHL season. Sure, he does have some durability questions, but it’s not to the Joel Embiid level of concern.
 
Both players play a solid 200-foot game, which is something GM Ron Hextall preaches. Neither is deficient in his own zone. Patrick is more of a physical player than Hischier. The Brandon center has a solid combination of speed, power and skill, which is attractive.
 
Hischier has many of the same traits as Patrick, but he’s the flashier of the two. Ultimately, this is a discussion for the Devils more than the Flyers. New Jersey has to decide which one they want, and then the Flyers get the other. From afar, Hischier seems more of a fit to what the Devils need and factor in his rise over the last few months, I think he’ll be a Devil.
 
And that means Patrick will be a Flyer. Which is perfectly fine with me.

Hall
If I had to pick, I think the Flyers need more of a player like Hischier than Patrick.
 
The good thing is they can't go wrong with either 18-year-old.
 
Hischier seems to come with a higher ceiling offensively and greater potential to put up star numbers at the center position. The playmaking ability is what changes games and the teams that score are the teams that win.
 
"He's such a strong offensive player, he's completely fearless — you cannot intimidate him," Cam Russell, the general manager of Hischier's junior club, the Halifax Mooseheads, said (see story). "If you watch him play closely, you'll see that he's the first one on the puck and I've never seen a player roll off hits like he does in the corner. I can't think of a time when he was run over or contained in the corner, he's just so strong, so quick and so agile with the puck."
 
What's really appealing about Patrick is you know what you're getting: a proven two-way center that focuses on defense just as much as offense. He'll bring everything to the table and he looks to be the safer pick.
 
He has "elite" potential, too, in his own right.
 
"He won't let anybody down," Grant Armstrong, the general manager of Patrick's junior club, the Brandon Wheat Kings, said. "I just think he's an elite talent with an elite sense for the game. At some point, he'll be a great two-way centerman in the league."
 
So, the Flyers are in an excellent spot. I'd like to see Hischier fall to the Flyers, but Patrick should excite fans, as well.
 
And the funny thing is the Flyers won't have to decide between the two.

Paone
Let's get this part out of the way before I go deeper into this question: both Patrick and Hischier are great fits for the Flyers.

Both are impact forwards who should be able to help sooner rather than later. And with the way the Flyers struggled offensively last season, that's just what the doctor ordered. So they really can't go wrong here and, as I said on Sunday, I do feel it comes down to simplest terms as the Flyers should take whomever New Jersey doesn't out of Patrick and Hischier.

But this question is about the better fit between the two.

Let's think about it this way: We all have a bunch of t-shirts that fit, but we all have that one t-shirt that fits just right. And when we're in a pinch and need something to wear, we always go back to that t-shirt that fits just right.

And the "just right" fit here for the Flyers is Hischier.

The guy just brings an energy to the ice when you see him play. He has a dynamic way to him that when you watch him play, your eyes are just drawn to him. So many times last season the Flyers seemed so lethargic and slogged through periods and games. They needed an energy boost. Hischier can help bring that needed jolt.

On top of that, the high offensive ceiling for Hischier has to appeal to the Flyers, as Jordan said above. That's just what they need. Nothing against Patrick, seen as more of the two-way player. But the two-way center has been the Flyers' preferred way of thinking for so long now. Nothing against a two-way center, but the Flyers need more of a dynamic, playmaking center and Hischier is that. It's time for something different.

The Flyers are going to get a darn good player at No. 2 no matter what, but Hischier is the better fit here and now.