Second Look: Orlando Magic 112, Atlanta Hawks 98 | Magic Basketball

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May 07

Second Look: Orlando Magic 112, Atlanta Hawks 98

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Orlando Magic remained the only unbeaten club in the postseason, pushing their winning streak to 12 games, including the last six of the regular season. They defeated the Atlanta Hawks 112-98 on Thursday night at Amway Arena to seize a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference series. Other than petitioning the NBA to use six or seven defenders at once, the Hawks are quickly running out of X’s as well as O’s. The Hawks sent [Dwight] Howard to the bench with early fouls and to the trainer’s room with a bloody nose, and even built an eight-point lead 48 hours after losing by 43. But Howard not only came back, but he brought friends with him — Vince [Carter], Jameer [Nelson] and Rashard [Lewis] — in a different game that offered the same results.”
  • Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “After the 114-71 Game 1 blowout of the Hawks Tuesday, the Magic came to practice Wednesday and found a sheet of paper in their lockers. The paper contained an in-depth statistical analysis of what happens to playoff teams after they win a game by 20 points more. According to [Stan] Van Gundy‘s stats over the last three seasons, 65 percent of the teams that won a playoff game by 20 points or more ended up losing the next game. “The sheet was filled with percentages and numbers and the year it happened,” Matt Barnes said. “I don’t think Stan ever sleeps.” Just call it collective insomnia. It seems like nobody on the Magic is willing to sleep until this team wins a championship.”
  • George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Where’s the NBA love for Jameer Nelson? […] Here’s a few highlights from Orlando’s 112-98 victory against the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals Thursday night at Amway Arena: See him driving the baseline against Joe Johnson, scoring while getting bopped in the head, during the third quarter. Witness a 40-foot, buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give Orlando an 84-83 lead at end of the third quarter. Feel the vibe of a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to tune of Funky Cold Medina, one of the kill shots for a decisive late run for the Magic.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Dwight Howard insisted after his dreadful, foul-plagued first round against the Charlotte Bobcats that he would be a different player in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks. His production has improved dramatically, but not by accident or because the referees are more forgiving. Instead, Howard stayed on the court Thursday night in large part because he selectively toned down his aggressiveness on the defensive end of the floor. Howard appeared to make a conscious decision not to challenge some Atlanta drives to the rim early in Game 2, and helped him play a postseason-high 39 minutes as the Magic defeated the Hawks 112-98.”
  • Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel: “After a dismal Game 1, compounded by the fact that he was removed from action after picking up one foul, Al Horford recovered in a big way Thursday night. He rebounded, scored and blocked shots fiercely, notching a double-double with 24 point sand 10 rebounds. By halftime the former Gator made six of eight shot attempts and he finished having made nine of 13 in the Hawks’ Game-2 loss. This after Horford only made one field goal Tuesday.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “Orlando seized a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series and improved to 6-0 in the playoffs, making it the NBA’s only unbeaten team in the postseason. And dating back to late in the regular season, Orlando has mowed down 12 consecutive foes. And over the last two seasons, the Magic have whipped the Hawks in eight of the last nine meetings. And they did all of that with Carter and plenty of help from his Magic teammates. With 29 points from center Dwight Howard, the 24 from Carter and 20 apiece from Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson, Orlando had four 20-point scorers for the first time in its playoff history. And it was the first time it’s happened in the postseason in the NBA since May 2007 when Golden State accomplished the feat.”
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Though Howard scored more points and drew more attention, Carter is the player who really put Orlando over the top tonight. After a first half in which he deferred, Carter asserted himself in the second, scoring 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting and making arguably the game’s defining play. Early in the fourth quarter, Williams scooped up his third offensive rebound of the night and went back up to score, but Carter spiked his offering from behind. He made the outlet pass, and just seconds later, stepped into a trailing, delayed transition three-pointer from the right wing that gave the Magic a 6-point lead and knocked the roof off Amway Arena. And he shredded the Hawks in the halfcourt running the high pick-and-roll with Howard: as ESPN analyst Hubie Brown so beatifully illustrated, the Hawks kept sending Carter’s defender over the screen in order to take away the three-point shot, so Carter just continued driving to the bucket, which forced Horford to decide whether to step over to cover him or to stick with the rolling Howard. It’s how Carter got free for two huge dunks and several more lay-ins. He was squarely in attack mode tonight, or at least for the final 24 minutes.”
  • Mark Bradley of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “It was almost as if they were expected to apologize for still being here. Everyone wanted to know how it felt to lose Game 1 by 43 points, and when the Hawks kept saying, “It’s only one game,” the reaction was as if they’d plunged into deep-dish denial. But you know what? It was only one game. And Game 2 was much better. But it wasn’t good enough. The Hawks showed Thursday they could play with the Magic for three quarters. NBA rules, alas, still stipulate four 12-minute periods.  In the fourth period the Hawks did their usual road disappearing act. They saved it for later this night, but that’s not much consolation when you’re down 2-0.”
  • Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “That a 112-98 loss was considered a competitive effort for the Hawks said more about their history in Orlando than their ability to win the game. The Hawks never threatened the Magic over the final nine minutes. After the Magic took 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, the Hawks now turn to Game 3 on Saturday at Philips Arena, hoping to regroup in a place in which they dominated teams during the regular season. However, if they harbor any thoughts of winning the series they’ll have to get a victory in Orlando. The Hawks return home after suffering the worst loss in the franchise’s Atlanta playoff history in Game 1. They limp into Georgia after coming undone in the final period of Game 2 by familiar faults: porous defense and stalled offense.”
  • Bret LaGree of Hoopinion: “For three quarters though, the Hawks were roughly as good as the Magic. It proved unsustainable, in part because a defensive focus on Howard made it difficult for Al Horford to help against Orlando’s dribble penetration when he played Howard straight up or when the Magic used Howard in screen-and-roll situations. When Atlanta doubled Howard in the post, Orlando’s spacing and ball movement made it difficult for the Hawks to rotate in time to close out on shooters. The Hawks may have shown a bit of their ersatz-zone in the fourth quarter. Then again, Rashard Lewis’ wide-open three with 5:08 left might have been the result of simple mis-communication. Josh Smith left Lewis, just right of the top of the key, to follow a cutter into the weak-side corner. Joe Johnson, at the left elbow, didn’t know this and stayed at the strong-side help line. Unable to feed Howard easily on the left block, Vince Carter made a simple, direct pass to Lewis who had time to measure the shot before releasing as Johnson was clearly surprised not have a teammate behind him.”
  • Frank Hughes of Sports Illustrated: “In the 2001 playoffs, Rashard Lewis, then playing for the Seattle SuperSonics, got caught up with San Antonio’s Malik Rose and suffered a subluxation of his shoulder, something Lewis has worked diligently to strengthen throughout the course of his career. It still bothers him on occasion though, so when he suffered a hard impact in the second quarter and spent the remaining minutes of the first half tugging at the shoulder, it could have proved disastrous for Orlando. Lewis played in the second half and hit a big 3 in the fourth quarter, but it is something that bears watching if the shoulder stiffens up overnight.”
  • John Krolik of ProBasketballTalk: “Surprisingly enough, the Atlanta Hawks were competitive for much of game two. They were able to move the ball while limiting mistakes, actually managed to get to the rim and the line with some consistency, and scored almost 100 points against the Magic’s defense. They made six of their 11 three-point attempts. They shot 97% on their 31 free-throw attempts. They had twice as many offensive rebounds as Orlando did. Jamal Crawford and Al Horford both had bounce-back games. In spite of all of that, the Hawks are going back to Atlanta with a 2-0 deficit. Why? First of all, some of Atlanta’s bad habits reared their ugly heads in the second half. More importantly, it’s almost impossible to beat Orlando when they play like they did on Thursday night.”
  • Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse: “After they were beaten so badly in Game 1, the Hawks were feeling good about their eight-point lead at halftime, and still feeling good when they trailed by just one going into the fourth quarter. But then it was like they got hit with an avalanche, buried by a 28-15 fourth quarter. “We had nothing left for the fourth quarter,” Woodson said. “Unfortunately, you have to play all fourth quarters to win against this team.” The Hawks should have seen it coming. They were playing almost flawlessly through the first three quarters when they held a 10-rebound advantage, hit all 25 of their free throws and six of their seven 3-pointers — and still trailed.”
  • Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus: “Give the Atlanta Hawks credit. After their embarrassing Game One beatdown, they not only came out and competed but looked for much of Game Two like they might just steal a win on the road. It took a Jameer Nelson buzzer-beater to ensure the Orlando Magic would lead after three quarters, but the home team dominated the final period, using a 19-2 run early in the fourth to pull away. An 8-1 Atlanta run made the final score respectable, but was far too little and far too late. The problem for the Hawks ultimately came down to their inability to get stops. Aside from a 17-point second quarter, they allowed 95 points in the other three periods in what was a very slow-paced game (featuring eight and a half fewer possessions than Game One). The Magic got anything it wanted on offense, whether from the paint or on the perimeter. Orlando shot an incredible 64.4 percent (29-45) on two-point attempts and turned it over but nine times. The result was a 135.4 Offensive Rating the Phoenix Suns would envy.”
  • Eric Freeman of The Baseline: “The Magic’s game stats won’t make you think they struggled at times, but that’s only because their second half was so impressive. They shot 55.9 percent and had just nine turnovers, their efficiency and ability to execute down the stretch on full display. Dwight Howard was dominant with 29 points (on 8-of-9 from the floor) and 17 rebounds in 39 minutes. Vince Carter (24 on 9-of-16 FG, seven rebounds), Rashard Lewis (20 points and six assists), and Jameer Nelson (20 points on 7-of-14 FG) also scored at least 20 points while making at least half their shots. Despite some difficulties, the Magic remain firmly in control of this series. It’s just a question of how long the Hawks can postpone their demise.”
4 comments
Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Jayson

The constant overlooking of the Magic by a good portion of the mainstream media gets tiring but in the end, it really doesn't matter. Orlando is taking care of business ... that's what matters.

Jayson
Jayson

@jax502

Thats OK. Let them keep talking about LeBron's limbs and ignoring the Magical dominance. I can't believe we are still "sneaking up" on people. Watching the pre-game show last night, they were talking about the Magic as though they were the biggest surprise in the playoffs. This is great for us. It gives us identity. We're the illegitimate child of the NBA. Kobe and LeBron are the good ones, we're sitting in the corner of the room tearing it up. One word gives this team identity and drive: underappreciation (my spell check says that its not a word, but I think it is and I'm sticking with it).

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@jax502

Yeah, I hope Lewis is okay.

As for the Queen James comment, that isn't necessary. I know that the media is running that story into the ground but better just ignore it.

jax502
jax502

Great game last night.

@Frank Hughes article: I hope Lewis' shoulder will be ok. At least we know they're not going all out and get CNN's Sanjay Gupta to show and analyze the injury and make a big deal out of it. Apparently, (Drama) Queen James' elbow is the hottest topic right now in the NBA.