The Magic were unable to come away with victory in a tough fought Game 3. By now, you know the score and if you watched the game you know the Hawks just outplayed the Magic and made shots when they mattered most. Below I take a look at the positives, negatives, randomtives from Game 3 and the keys to Game 4.
To read the full recap of tonight’s game, click here.
– Best of SEVEN series. Despite what you may be hearing, the Magic have not yet been eliminated. Game 4 isn’t a “must win” but if the Magic can win the game, they will have home court advantage for the remainder of the series. Regardless, in the playoffs you should be playing EVERY game as a “must win” anyways.
– Low turnovers. The Magic had only 10 team turnovers, 5 below their season average and 7 below the Game 2 number.
– Quentin Richardson. Q finally was able to knock down shots and scored his first points of the series last night when he was 3-3 from the field for 9 points. He played OK defense on Josh Smith, but Smith’s size is tough for Q to handle.
– Dwight. If I didn’t put this every game I’d be foolish. He only scored 21 this game but his defensive presence was once again huge. 15 rebounds for Dwight and 3 recorded blocks. With that being said, I’d like to see Dwight get to his help position a step sooner and stop relying so heavily on his ability to block shots. It’s small, but would help.
– Controlling Al Horford. Al is averaging only Well, besides the jumper he hit that gave Atlanta the lead at the end of the game.
– The Hawks really really really can’t continue making some of these ridiculous shots. Right? …Right?
You can see the negatives and keys to Game 4 after the jump.
– Hedo’s shot selection. Here is a quote from Stan Van Gundy on the subject: “He fairly consistently passes up very good shots to take very tough shots.” He then further added, “He’s like everyone else he’s putting a lot into this, he’s playing hard, he wants to do well… his decision making on shots and stuff is not good. It’s further compounded by him not shooting the ball well. And instead of then really focusing on shooting every good shot he has, he’s hesitant because he’s not shooting the ball well, so he ends up taking bad shots and which percentages goes down. It’s a vicious cycle that we’ve got to get him out of.” Stan said he is happy with his effort overall though.
– Ryan Anderson. Zero points in 23 minutes. Ryan had been the model of consistency ever since December and now in the last three games, he hasn’t been able to get anything going (only 8 total points). Looking further, his usage percentage is down at the same level as Quentin Richardson this series at only 8%. That’s down from his season average of 20%. He and his teammates need to do a better job of making him involved in the offense when he’s on the floor because they NEED his offense.
– Jason Richardson’s ejection. Just flat out dumb. He let his emotions get the best of him and it will most likely lead to a suspension for Game 4.
– Could be forced to use Gilbert Arenas. With Jason Richardson likely to be suspended the Magic depth chart shrinks. Stan Van Gundy doesn’t like to play Q at the 2 so we could potentially see Gilbert in spot minutes. Even more of a negative? Having to use the word “forced”.
– Gilbert Arenas did not play as was expected. Turk got the backup PG minutes when Jameer was rested.
– Marvin Williams has played only 48 total minutes in the three games of the series after starting 52 games for Atlanta this season.
5 Keys to Game 4
– Magic fans cry for their team to show toughness, but that toughness means nothing when it hurts the team and results in a loss. Composure is key.
– Dwight can’t sit. He took a 3 minute break at the beginning of the 2nd quarter and the Hawks went on an 8-3 run with all 8 points coming in the paint.
– The Magic must continue to do a better job of getting and taking rhythm shots.
– J.J. Redick’s defense for a full game on Joe Johnson. With J-Rich suspended, Redick will likely get the start and will have a very tough task at hand.
– Continue to keep Joe Johnson out of the paint and off the free throw line.
Game 4 will be Sunday night at 7:00 in Atlanta. It will be televised nationally on TNT and locally on Sun Sports.
Brian Serra is the Captain of Face Slaps for Howard the Dunk and the founder of Magic Basketball Online. You can follow him on Twitter and add MBO on Facebook to get the latest story updates! You can now download the MBO app in the Android Marketplace by searching for Magic Basketball Online.