The Orlando Magic will take on the Atlanta Hawks in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Thursday night. Yesterday, Orlando’s had a light practice.
The Orlando Magic on Wednesday held a light practice that consisted of some film work, some shooting, some weightlifting . . . and also a history lesson, courtesy of their coach, Stan Van Gundy.
Fresh off of Tuesday night’s 114-71 victory over the Atlanta Hawks, Van Gundy shared some numbers and percentages with his players about what has happened in postseason series after blowouts.
Speaking to the media Wednesday afternoon, Van Gundy said, “Every game in the playoffs is a new day, and you can’t get caught up in what’s happened before.”
Josh Robbins has that story here.
History says the Hawks can rise up and win Game 2.
“You have to be prepared and stay focused. If the Hawks have any kind of pride, they’ll show they are better than what they displayed,” Anderson said.
Magic coach Stan Van Gundy expects a different Atlanta team. He said he also told his players cautionary tales of blowouts and letdowns before Wednesday’s short workout.
“I didn’t harp on it,” Van Gundy said. “The point is that every game in the playoffs is a new day. It wasn’t specific games … just numbers and percentages. They got the point.”
Brian Schmitz has that story here.
Dwight Howard is happy with the Game 1 win and is still asking for donations to Haiti.
I like how when we get a team down now, we put the hammer down and keep pushing. That’s how that lead got to as much as 46 points last night. It was crazy, ya’ll!!! We kept on pushing and fighting and playing for 48 minutes. In the past we’d let up at times and teams would come back on us, but I think we’ve learned our lesson.
You can read his blog here.
Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution asks if the Hawks still care.
Do they believe they can beat the Magic in a playoff series when they hardly ever beat them anymore? Can they win at Amway Arena when they keep getting blasted there and aren’t a good road playoff team to begin with? Do they really trust that they have the people and the plan to pull this off?
“I think we can beat them,” J.J said. “We just have to be poised and take our time on both ends of the court.”
“You look at it as a fluke,” Jamal said.
You can find that story here.
Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wonders if the road blowouts will ever stop for the Hawks.
“We get down and kind of bury our heads,” Woodson said. “At home we don’t do that. At home we come back and win. I still want to say we’re a team learning how to win, but surely it can’t be that lopsided.”
Shaquille O’Neal famously dubbed Stan Van Gundy, now the Magic’s coach, the Master of Panic. The Hawks, alas, are the true masters of panic. In a sport built on runs, they never answer an opponent’s surge. (At least not on the road.) They stop defending to specifications. They stop passing the pass. They go jump-shot crazy, and few substantial comebacks are ever fueled by jump shots.
You can read that story here.
The Hawks are focusing on a few bright spots.
The former usually is a strongpoint for the Hawks, but the latter is a weakness magnified by Orlando, which took away their inside and transition games. The Hawks’ view is that they got the shots they wanted even after the first quarter but just couldn’t make them.
Just look at the video from the first quarter, like the Hawks did, and it’s possible to believe that.
“You really have to throw this game out of the window,” Johnson said. “But it was good for us to look at the first quarter and see some of the positive things that we did do early. And that the game plan does work as long as you stick to it.”
Michael Cunningham has that story here.
The Hawks need good performances from Jamal Crawford.
Crawford had one assist and three turnovers on Tuesday. Though he made 1 of 11 field-goal attempts and scored five points, he said he “loved” the looks he got and expects to hit those if he gets them again.
“Those are looks I’ve been getting all season,” Crawford said.
And they’ve worked well for Crawford and the Hawks. He averaged 18 points in just over 30 minutes per game.
Tania Ganguli has that story here.
Hoopinion looks at just how inefficient the Hawks have been against the Magic this season here.
The Hawks need to do a few things to make this a series.
So how can the Hawks do it? Well first they have to look themselves in the mirror and to steal a line from ESPN’s Mark Jackson “Man Up!”. No time for more excuses. They have to play playoff basketball. To beat a better team like the Magic the Hawks will have to eliminate the silly turnovers from game one. They will have to be solid defensively for a full four quarters. It really goes beyond X’s and O’s. The Hawks have to be able to take a punch and come back from it. Time after time at Amway arena, the Magic have landed a big punch only to see the Hawks go run and hide. That is how you lose by thirty plus points on more than one occasion. Make no mistake that the punch is coming. The Magic are too good a team particularly in their home building. The Hawks have to be able to take the Magic’s best shot and deliver right back. They can’t just quit the way they did in game one and many games before that.
Kris Willis of Soaring Down South previews Game 2 here.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, a contributor on the Fansided Front Page and at Sir Charles In Charge. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).