Atlanta Struggles Against Pick and Roll | Magic Basketball



May 07

Atlanta Struggles Against Pick and Roll

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

As seen on ESPN’s Daily Dime.

After the Atlanta Hawks’ 43-point loss at the hands of the Orlando Magic in Game 1, it was widely assumed that Game 2 would be a more competitive contest between the two teams from the Southeast Division. And it was … for approximately three quarters. However, the Magic went to another gear in the fourth quarter and were able to defeat the Hawks by the score of 112-98 thanks in large part to the excellent performances of the four All-Stars on the roster — Vince Carter, Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, and Jameer Nelson.

Each player shouldered the load at different junctures in the game but after a slow start in the first half, Carter exploded in the second half by scoring 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting (he finished 9-for-16 with 24 points and seven rebounds) and helped carry Orlando in the fourth quarter by running a simple play that caused problems for Atlanta.

The pick and roll.

From the start of the final period up until the last minutes, Carter ran the pick and roll with Howard to perfection. Carter did a great job of being a playmaker for the Magic, looking to pass or score whenever possible. When Carter was looking to score, he was almost always aggressive attacking the basket and showing off glimpses of Vinsanity with a few highlight-reel dunks that excited the crowd at Amway Arena. When Carter was looking to pass, he was able to jumpstart the offense by finding the open man or triggering the same type of ball movement that was the death knell for the Hawks in Game 1.

All in all, Carter has settled into a groove and has scored 20 points or more in three consecutive playoff games dating back to Game 4 against the Charlotte Bobcats in the first round. However, Carter’s performance against Atlanta in Game 2 has been his best game so far in the postseason because he was efficient offensively and his shot selection was very good. Carter, for the most part, strayed away from taking long two-point jumpers and instead operated either in the paint or behind the three-point line.

When Carter optimizes his offense in that manner, he becomes a deadly offensive player for the Magic. Game 2 was a prime example.