- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “ 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.”
- Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel states that the Atlanta Hawks are looking for positives after their Game 1 loss.
- Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post takes a look at the numbers and notes how dominant the Orlando Magic have been against the Hawks in their last nine meetings: “The Magic have also held leads of 50, 46, 38, 21, and 20 points during this span. The Hawks’ big lead, 19, came in the first game of the 2008/09 season. Since then, Atlanta has never led a game against the Magic by more than 12 points. The Hawks’ 10-point second quarter last night was their worst quarter against the Magic during this period, but not by much. Twice, they’ve managed just 11 points–including the third period last night. They also have quarters of 14 and 15 points on the books against Orlando.”
- Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk comments on the All-Defensive teams: “There are no shocks on here, everyone belongs, which is what you get when the coaches vote and not media members paid by teams who have their own agendas. Of course, a couple coaches gave Joe Johnson a vote, so clearly they are not infallible.”
- Colin Powers of SLAM ONLINE: “Damn, what a tour de force from the Magic in Game 1. There are nights when they look like world-beaters; going almost 12 deep with an endless supply of shooters and athletes on the defensive end, they certainly have all the parts you need to win a championship. Nevertheless, they continue to strike me as being mentally fragile, specifically in Dwight’s occasionally errors of immaturity (fouls and whining at referees) and [Vince] Carter’s love for his jump-shot in crunch time. Who knows, though, maybe I’m just being subconsciously influenced by Stan Van’s persistent mustache and interesting wardrobe decisions.”
- Newsflash: the Magic are not mentally fragile.
- Dwight Howard: “Really good win for us last night!!! Hope that clears up some of the doubts about whether or not we’d be rusty for the first round from all of the time off. We’re a team that’s focused on winning a championship and we’re not overlooking anybody or taking anything lightly. All we have done is win one game. We know that A-T-L has a great squad and they will come out and respond in Game 2, so we’ll have to be ready. We have to play again with the same fire and intensity to beat them. 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.”
- Dan Devine of Ball Don’t Lie spreads the good word about Mickael Pietrus: “Between lauding the Orlando Magic for racing to a 53-33 halftime lead in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series and backhanding the Atlanta Hawks for bringing bricks to a BFG fight, Charles Barkley took a moment during TNT’s halftime show to tell America that Magic reserve swingman Mickael Pietrus is his “second favorite player” in the NBA. The legend-turned-analyst’s high praise surprised some viewers; while Magic fans and some NBA heads are aware of the key role that Air France plays off the bench for Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy, Pietrus isn’t exactly a household name. And given the high-class company the Chuckster keeps in his lucrative side gig as a pitchman — y’know, Dwyane Wade, Yao Ming, Dwight Howard, Godzilla — the surprising love might have sounded random, moderately insane or even possibly insincere. In fact, though, Barkley has taken a very public, staunchly pro-Pietrus stance several times of late.”
- John Hollinger of ESPN Insider debunks four playoff myths you’ll hear or read often. Here’s one of them: “Myth 3: Regular-season matchups matter. Of course, you’d expect head-to-head results from the regular season to offer predictive value in the playoffs. Support for that came as recently as last year’s conference finals, as the Lakers and Magic both won in six games after taking the regular-season series from the Nuggets and Cavs, respectively. Don’t let those two series fool you. When we look at a sufficient sample size — in other words, something more than two series — reality is revealed. For starters, three of the past four NBA champs were swept by their Finals opponent in the regular season. Now, it is true that in the 25 postseasons before this current one, teams with homecourt advantage that also won a regular-season series did win the same matchup in the playoffs 81.9% of the time. But that number is bolstered by the fact that since 1999-2000 (not including this year’s opening round), higher-seeded teams that won a regular-season series against their playoff opponents went a statistically skewing 41-0 in the first round. From the second round on, though, only 63.6% of teams scored the playoff double-up. In other words, after the first round, you’d have been better off picking the team with the homecourt advantage (72.9%). My closing argument is the Heat’s title run in 2006. After the first round, Miami beat three teams — the Nets, Pistons and Mavs — it was 2-8 against in the regular season.”