Sneak Preview: Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks, Game 3 | Magic Basketball

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May 08

Sneak Preview: Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks, Game 3

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

  • Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel: “One thing [Orlando] Magic coach Stan Van Gundy likes about his team is that their success will depend not on whether or not they put forth the right amount of effort each night or other intangibles. “These guys have been great,” Van Gundy said. “They enjoy playing together. They play well together. They trust each other. … I’ve got a lot of confidence in this team that it’ll just come down to how well we play. It won’t be chemistry problems, it won’t be lack of professionalism. It’ll come down to how we play.” Van Gundy said the kind of balanced scoring the Magic displayed in Thursday night’s Game 2 — when four players scored more than 20 points — is consistent with how the team has played all season. Often, though, rather than four players with more than 20 points, the Magic have six or seven players in double-figures.”
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Nothing else has distracted Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic, so the Atlanta Hawks might need help from their unspoken home-court advantage today for Game 3. The ATL will certainly accommodate the Magic if they want to party early. The Magic will spend three nights in the city, a legendary NBA hot-spot. [...] The Magic say they aren’t about to fall to Atlanta’s reputation, even with a 2-0 lead in the playoff series. The club’s security detail is on alert because Howard, a graduate of Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, is returning home. Other than that, the team is looking at it as a business trip.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “Dwight Howard has played in his childhood home of Atlanta 12 times in his six-year NBA career, and at times it proved to be more of a challenge than a luxury. The demand for tickets and the tugs on his time proved to be a challenge early on in Howard’s career when he was still a teenager. And, of course, there were the times when Howard felt the urge to take over games and put on a show for his family and friends. But as Howard heads back to Atlanta now for his first-ever playoff series in his hometown, clearly the 24-year-old consensus All-NBA pick has learned a few tricks of the trade about thriving in his old stomping grounds. “My phone is turned off, both of them, so people are going to have to scream through the TV to talk to me while I’m in Atlanta,” Howard said with a chuckle about how he plans on handling the off-court distractions.”
  • Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “They were good for one quarter in Orlando, then three quarters, and now the Hawks are back at Philips Arena. The Hawks say they are trending upward. The progression didn’t translate into a victory in Orlando during the first two games of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals. It almost has to mean a victory in Game 3 on Saturday: No NBA team has overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a series. And though the Hawks were dominant at home in the regular season, the Magic have been playing at an elite level for more than two months.”
  • Mark Bradley of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “The Hawks led the Magic by two points after 35 minutes and 59 seconds here Thursday night. They trailed by 19 points barely eight minutes later. The visitors had gotten almost everything they could have hoped from the first three quarters, and yet, once again, they weren’t close at the end. There was about Game 2 a sensation of a best shot having been delivered and parried — a chilling thought. Asked if that was his impression, Josh Smith said: “There’s a better shot still to come. We have to play the full 48.” Maybe those long-awaited 48 minutes will come at Philips Arena on Saturday. If not, that’s it for this season. The team that won 53 games is down to its last real chance.”
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