Second Look: Orlando Magic 114, Atlanta Hawks 71 | Magic Basketball



May 05

Second Look: Orlando Magic 114, Atlanta Hawks 71

Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Who knew that the Orlando Magic would end up taking another day off? They certainly couldn’t have expected it to be this easy or their play to be this crisp once they blew off the cobwebs. But with their game in mothballs for seven days, the Magic showed none of the rust they expected, whipping the Atlanta Hawks 114-71 on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the second round. […] How bad was it? The Magic’s biggest lead was 46. They led by 41 points at the end of the third quarter — and the Hawks had scored just 44.”
  • Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “Here’s all you need to know: When Dwight [Howard] went to the bench with his third foul late in the third quarter Tuesday night, he actually agreed with the ref’s call and happily took a seat on the bench for the rest of the game. Of course, the Magic led by 30 and Dwight had 21 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks at the time. “I played about the same amount of minutes as I played in the Charlotte series,” Dwight said with a smile splashed across his face. So much for the Magic being rusty after an eight-day layoff. They may have been playing the Atlanta Hawks, but they battered these guys like they were the Braves’ bullpen. The last time Atlanta got torched like this, Gen. William Tecumseh Van Gundy was making his famous March to the Sea.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Orlando Magic now have played five games in the 2010 NBAplayoffs, and the only thing that has stopped Jameer Nelson so far is some bad shrimp. The diminutive point guard continued his stellar postseason Tuesday night as the Magic humiliated the Atlanta Hawks 114-71 in the opening game of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. Nelson swished 3-pointers. He finished off drives with acrobatic layups. He penetrated into the lane and dished off to Dwight Howard for easy baskets. In short, the guy Howard famously labeled a “crib midget” as a term of endearment played far bigger than his stocky frame. Nelson finished with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting. He also recorded five assists.”
  • Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Hawks started the game matching the Magic shot for shot. After the first quarter, Atlanta trailed by just two points. That evenness completely changed during the second quarter. The Magic bench players held the Hawks to a franchise playoff low of 10 points in the second quarter and Orlando had a 20-point lead at halftime. They held the Hawks to 11 points in the third quarter and Atlanta trailed by 41 after the third quarter. The Hawks shot 34.6 percent and were outscored by 22 points in the paint. Atlanta coach Mike Woodson didn’t have an answer for why things changed for his team.”
  • John Denton of “Orlando smothered the Hawks defensively, got an inspiring return to form from all-star center Dwight Howard and more solid play from point guard Jameer Nelson in a 114-71 demolition of Atlanta. A surging Magic team that led the NBA in point differential and blowout victories this season was remarkably up on the Hawks by 46 points at one moment of the fourth quarter. The 43-point victory was the second-largest in Magic history, trailing on the 47-point beatdown of the Boston Celtics in 1995. Nothing, not the seven days off or the supposed rust that was supposed to come with the extended break, was about to slow down the runaway Magic on this night. And this was the kind of lopsided blowout that had to resonate from throughout the NBA – from Cleveland to Boston and from Los Angeles to San Antonio.”
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “[…] if you’re the Magic, it’s hard to find a negative in this game. Really, the team executed about as well as it could have during the game’s competitive portions; garbage time turned a bit sloppy, with both Mo Evans and Mario West throwing down uncontested dunks, and Jeff Teague draining a three-pointer with about 15 feet between him and the nearest Magic defender. But the Magic, for the first 36 minutes or so of this game, ran their offense to perfection. Everything was inside-out, via a Howard post-up or a dribble-drive. After that, a shot went up or the ball went back out, then moved side-to-side until an open look presented itself. They executed Stan Van Gundy‘s gameplan to a T, which is why studio analyst Kenny Smith’s complaint that Howard had only 14 points at halftime confused me. Smith contended that Howard should have had 25.”
  • Mark Bradley of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “It’s no easy feat to trail a Round 2 playoff game by 41 points having played only 36 minutes, but the proud conquerors of Milwaukee managed it. They were down 85-44 after three quarters. And I say it again: This is why so few folks outside Atlanta, and many folks in Atlanta, don’t take seriously a team that won 53 games this season and has survived a Game 7 in each of the two springs. The Hawks tried really hard those first 14 minutes. Then the home team got going, and the visitors decided trying to play sound basketball really wasn’t worth the effort. So they ceased and desisted.”
  • Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “The Magic’s 43-point victory margin was their second largest in postseason franchise history. Their largest lead of the game was 46; their largest lead during the regular season was 38 in that Jan. 9 game vs. the Hawks. They’ve won their last four home games against the Hawks by an average margin of nearly 32 points. Not surprisingly, the Hawks talked afterward about how this is just one game in the series. Yes, they said they can regroup. Yes, they can come up with a plan to beat Orlando.”
  • Bret LaGree of Hoopinion: “Woodson was saving Horford to play against Marcin Gortat when Gortat replaced Howard on the court and Horford, presumably, couldn’t do that if he picked up a second foul. Somewhat predictably, Stan Van Gundy countered this strategic innovation by leaving his best player in the game against, first, Atlanta’s third-string center, then the backup center. Woodson eventually realized that Howard wasn’t headed to the bench anytime soon and put Horford back in with 8:55 left in the second quarter. That’s 9 minutes and 41 seconds of the first 15 minutes and 5 seconds of the game that Al Horford spent on the bench as his coach, in an effort to create a future mis-match that didn’t materialize until Orlando had a 16-point lead, gifted his opponent’s best player a mis-match in the present. It was surely the nadir of The Horford Treatment and, perhaps, a mis-calculation so severe as to kill off the misguided attempt at maintaining control for good.”
  • David Whitley of NBA FanHouse: “After pouting, fouling and sitting his way through the first round of the playoffs, everybody was wondering what was wrong with Dwight Howard. Nothing the Atlanta Hawks and Nick Nolte can’t cure. The NBA’s self-proclaimed Superman is back. If only he could play the Hawks every game from here on out, the Magic would romp to the world championship. Based on Tuesday night’s 114-71 cataclysm, they might do it anyway. They are the stealth team nobody has noticed. Maybe Howard needs to wrap his elbow, wince a lot and start shooting free throws with his left hand.”
  • Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse: “It’s why this best-of-seven, second-round matchup isn’t going to take very long. Atlanta’s Mike Bibby had buried his head under a towel, peeking out only once in awhile to view the wreckage. On the other side, Orlando’s Jameer Nelson was waving his towel wildly, up on his feet every few seconds. […] Nelson had 19 points — hit 5 of 8 shots — and five rebounds in his 25 minutes, orchestrating the Magic offense to perfection. After missing the Magic’s playoff run to the Finals last season, he is hungrier now than he ever has been in his career.”
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk: “Game two is not going to be exactly like this. The Hawks cannot play this bad again. But in their regular season matchups less severe versions of this same scenario played out. The Magic have a starting five that can best the Hawks starting five, and the Magic bench blows Atlanta out of the water. The Magic have matchup advantages they can easily exploit, while Howard takes away the easy baskets the Hawks try to get off their mismatches. The Magic have made a statement. The Hawks were simply the vehicle. The Cavaliers were the intended recipients.”
  • Paul Forrester of Sports Illustrated: “Professional athletes have remarkably short memories when necessary, and after losing by 43 points, the Hawks need them. On the bright side, Orlando isn’t likely to play as picture-perfect a game, nor are the Hawks likely to slug through as badly. Still, there are matchup issues that can’t be overcome in the paint. And Joe Johnson already looks tired chasing multiple threats on the perimeter. That means a whole lot of Josh Smith and getting something out of Johnson’s backcourt mates, Bibby and Crawford. But let’s be honest — Orlando is built to win a title and is playing like it. The Magic may be technically the No. 2 seed, but in watching them easily handle the first five games of these playoffs, the Eastern title goes through Orlando.”
  • Eric Freeman of The Baseline: “I’m not sure it’s scientifically possible for one time to sweep a series in one game, but I think this is the closest we’ll ever get. After a close first quarter (25-23), Orlando blew things open in the second (28-10) and third (32-11) to make this the Hawks’ worst playoff loss since the franchise moved to Atlanta. This was somehow even uglier than the score, and it’s difficult to imagine how the Hawks can come back from such a wretched performance.”
  • Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus: “It was clear that if the Atlanta Hawks did not pick up their play from where it was during a seven-game series against the Milwaukee Bucks, they would be in trouble facing the Orlando Magic in an Eastern Conference Semifinal series. As it turned out, that was a massive understatement, at least in Game One. The Hawks were outscored by such a lopsided margin in the second and third quarters that it looks like a misprint–60 to 21. The final tally wasn’t much better as Atlanta lost by 43 points. The Hawks’ problems started in the middle, where Dwight Howard was liberated from his foul-trouble issues against Charlotte and crushed fellow All-Star Al Horford. Howard scored 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting and entirely shut down Horford at the other end of the floor. The Atlanta center missed six of his seven shot attempts and had just four points in 22 minutes.”
Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Chris Humpherys

I have Magic in 5, as well.

Chris Humpherys
Chris Humpherys

The Hawks are going to have a tough time winning this series.

Magic in 5.