The Orlando Magic’s playoff dominance against the Atlanta Hawks ended with a 103-93 game 1 loss on Saturday. The Magic will host the Hawks again Tuesday and will fall into a massive hole heading back to Atlanta if they don’t get a victory.
The game will be shown nationally on NBA TV locally on FS Florida. As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.
Tip off from the Amway Center is scheduled for 7:30 pm EST.
The Line: Orlando – 9.0, 183.5
The officials will be Mike Callahan, David Guthrie and Bill Spooner.
Brian Serra offered up what he thought would be the keys to game 2 here. Brian is spot on with these keys and observations so take another look at them.
The most important thing for the Magic to do in game 2 is defend. The Hawks had way too many open looks and made the Magic pay. Orlando’s interior defense played much better (like always). The Hawks barely got into the paint and only attempted 14 shots at the rim (they made eight). I’m sure the Magic would be fine with those numbers. Atlanta did however, get to the free throw line when they got into the paint and wound up scoring 21 points from the stripe. The Magic need to cut that number down.
Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy says he’s very worried about the way Ryan Anderson defends Al Horford and J.J. Redick defends Joe Johnson. Van Gundy is right to be nervous about these matchups but Jason Richardson and Brandon Bass weren’t any better. Jason Richardson and Brandon Bass didn’t look any better. In fact, the Magic were forced to move Howard onto Horford late in the game because it looked like Horford would be able to score on nearly every trip down the court. Van Gundy was asked about playing Quentin Richardson, who’s probably Orlando’s best perimeter defender, but Van Gundy seems a little scared off by Richardson’s offense (he had two turnovers in just seven minutes Saturday night.
As I stated above, the Hawks did get too many open looks but they (especially Jamal Crawford) made a lot of tough shots that don’t usually go on. As long as the Magic do a better job of defending the perimeter, I wouldn’t expect the Hawks to shoot nearly as well from the outside.
The Magic also had another issue with turnovers, giving the ball away 18 times, including six key fourth quarter turnovers. I’d like to say this problem is correctable (because it should be) but the Magic have not been able to correct it all season.
Limiting the impact of Jason Collins on Dwight is the key to advancement. Seriously.
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(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and ESPN 1080′s Magic Insider (http://espn1080.com). Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).
Topics: Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks, Brandon Bass, Chris Duhon, Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu, J.j. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Kirk Hinrich, Larry Drew, Marvin Williams, Orlando Magic, Quentin Richardson, Ryan Anderson, Stan Van Gundy