Sneak Preview: Atlanta Hawks at Orlando Magic, Game 2 | Magic Basketball



Apr 19

Sneak Preview: Atlanta Hawks at Orlando Magic, Game 2

AP Photo/John Raoux

  • George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel: “So Dwight Howard is the NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Third year in a row for the big man. Congrats. He became the first player in league history to receive the honor three consecutive years. Howard finished second in the league in rebounds per game (14.1) and fourth in blocked shots per game (2.38), often cleaning up the mess of his teammates in the paint who are inferior defenders. But it is time for an upgrade. Will Howard be named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player when the award is announced shortly? Everybody in the know has the answer. The fix is in, if you will, because everyone is smitten with Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls. The team improved 21 games in victories thanks in large measure to Rose’s leadership. And his ability to ‘break ankles’ driving to the paint is scary. But you could also argue that the [Orlando] Magic could be a lottery team without Dwight, unless you truly think Malik Allen has been wasting his time on the bench and now it’s his turn to shine. Howard will likely be content to be the runnerup, much like the guy in the prom who stands there when the King kisses the Queen. It shouldn’t be that way.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Our stat of the day comes courtesy of the NBA, and if it doesn’t give the Orlando Magic and their fans a sense of urgency, nothing will. Only 14 teams in league history have won a best-of-seven playoff series after falling behind two games to zero. Translation: The Magic would face a daunting uphill climb if they drop Game 2 of their first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks tonight at Amway Center. […]  The perimeter defenders must find a way to slow down Atlanta guards Kirk Hinrich, Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford. Ryan Anderson, Brandon Bass, Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu need to score some points. And everybody, particularly Dwight Howard, needs to take better care of the basketball. It’s a long to-do list.”
  • John Denton of “Usually immaculately dressed after games in clothes that are both tailored and fashionable, Orlando Magic superstar center Dwight Howard trudged to his postgame interview late Saturday night in a wrinkled shooting shirt. Howard was so mad and so filled with frustration following the Magic’s 103-93 Game 1 loss to the Atlanta Hawks that he didn’t even want to get dressed following the game. How, he wondered, could he have the game of his life with 46 points and 19 rebounds and his Magic still lose to the Hawks? How could an Atlanta team that looked mostly lifeless down the stretch go out in the playoffs and shoot 58 percent through three periods and 51 percent for the game? And how was Howard going to handle having to hear trash talk from Hawks’ forwards Josh Smith and Josh Powell, two childhood friends from his days growing up in Atlanta?”
  • Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “The Magic were so dominant over the Hawks in the last year’s Eastern Conference semifinals they hardly needed to make any major adjustments from game to game. After Atlanta’s convincing 103-93 victory in Game 1 on Saturday night, Orlando is the one scrambling to figure out a sound plan to guard the Hawks. The difficulty for the Magic is that, for the most part, they did execute their defensive game plan in Game 1. The Hawks foiled it anyway. […] The Magic prefer opponents to attempt long jump shots because they are the least efficient. It turns out the Hawks are good at making them, though. That’s just one of the strategic problems facing the Magic as they prepare for Game 2 of the best-of-seven series on Tuesday night. It’s a far cry from last spring, when the Magic won Game 1 114-71 and swept four games by an NBA-record of 101 points.”
  • Jeff Schultz of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “This first-round match-up between the Hawks and Orlando has been intriguing for two reasons: 1) Atlanta, a significant underdog, won the opener in Orlando; 2) Howard, despite scoring 46 points in the game, seemed frustrated by the Hawks’ aggressive and physical defense inside, led by Jason ‘Sluggo’ Collins. Things boiled over to the point of Howard head-butting Collins while he had his back to him, throwing out his arms as if Collins had pulled him back to cause the contact. But there’s no evidence a pull ever took place, and Collins, briefly knocked dizzy, mused after the game, ‘I’m ready for elbows and arms but I’m not ready for a head butt.’ Collins laughed Monday when told Howard blamed him for the contact.”
Deron R. Pope
Deron R. Pope

Atlanta has at least 18 fouls to throw at Dwight; as long as they single cover him, the Magic are going to have a hard time getting production from the biggest part of their offense - three point shooting.

Check out this stat; the sample size is the whole season:

Dwight scores less than 25% of the team's total points:
Magic Record: 36-12 PPG: 100.9 Dwight PPG: 18.5

Dwight scores more than 25% of the team's total points:
Magic Record: 15-15 PPG: 97.3 Dwight PPG: 29.9