In playing against the Philadelphia 76ers, it's all about transition defense. They play a very uptempo, fast-breaking style, with their athletic guards in Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller. The Orlando Magic are the better team, but if they allow the 76ers to get into the open court and make plays which happened in the 4th quarter of Game 1, bad things happen.

Against a good fast-break team like the 76ers, you need to do 2 things defensively. First, is to take care of the ball on offense and take good shots. Second, your players have to get back on defense and be aware of where the ball is and where it is going to go. In the following sequences, the Magic make some mistakes offensively with some turnovers and bad shots, but I give them credit for making good plays in transition defense to make up for sloppy offense,

Right after Magic guard Courtney Lee makes a bad pass on the fast break -- jumping in the air trying to pass to a forward with his back turned -- Lee hustles back on defense and intercepts a baseball pass by 76ers Reggie Evans. Most fast-breaking teams are coached to outlet the ball as fast as possible, this often leads to players heaving one downcourt without really looking. They gamble because often times the defense is slow to react. Not this time,

In this sequence, 76ers guard Andre Iguodala is flying towards the basket with his head down. Magic defender Michael Pietrus steps up and takes one in the chest and gets the charge call on Iguodala,

Teams that play fast in transition often play out of control. That is the way they are coached, they play fast and sometimes border on reckless. Defensively, you want to take advantage of the offense's propensity to gamble and play overly aggressive.


This series is all about tempo. If the Magic can force the 76ers to play a halfcourt possession style game, the 76ers have no chance, they have nobody to matchup against Dwight Howard, even when they double. However, if the Magic take bad shots and turn the ball over, they allow the 76ers to get into their offense.

For more video info on transition defense, take a look at Kelvin Sampson's DVD on defensive transition drills. Coach Sampson is an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's Basketball Forum to discuss this and any of your favorite basketball topics.