Wednesday's Magic Word | Magic Basketball

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Apr 20

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “If the Orlando Magic struggled to shoot the ball against the Atlanta Hawks in just one game, you could call it an aberration. If it happened twice, you could label that a mere coincidence. But the Magic’s continued offensive woes against the Hawks now have to be considered a pattern — a pattern that might force Orlando to change its identity on that end of the court just to escape the first round of these playoffs. […] In three games against the Hawks since March 30 — one in the regular season and two in these playoffs — the Magic have made only 40.0 percent of their shots from the field and just 26.5 percent of their 3-point tries. Those woeful shooting numbers place even greater pressure on the Magic to avoid turnovers, rebound well and play strong defense. During the regular season, Orlando led the league in 3-pointers made per game (9.4) and 3-pointers attempted per game (25.6). Now, all of a sudden, those shots from beyond the arc just aren’t falling.”
  • Jason Richardson stepped up when the Orlando Magic needed him to.
  • Check out two key hustle plays that ignited the Magic’s win against the Atlanta Hawks.
  • Tony Allen questions Dwight Howard‘s Defensive Player of the Year coronation.
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “If one thing has become apparent to Howard and the Magic after two games of this first-round playoff series, it’s that nothing at all is going to be easy. That’s so unlike last spring, of course, when the Magic ransacked the Hawks in a four-game sweep by a historic 25 points a game on average. But with this series tied at 1-all heading into Friday’s Game 3 in Atlanta, it’s apparent that the Magic and Hawks will likely continue to make life tough for one another. […] Nothing at all was easy about the Magic’s Game 2 victory that knotted the series. Orlando fell behind by 10 midway through the second quarter, shot the ball poorly all night and nearly squandered a 12-point lead late in the fourth quarter. Leading 78-76, point guard Jameer Nelson dived to save a ball from going out of bounds and fed it to Hedo Turkoglu, who eventually converted a layup to put the Magic up four. And seconds later, Jason Richardson took a feed from Turkoglu and capped another poor shooting night with a 3-point dagger that secured the victory for the Magic.”
  • The Magic’s desire to play with energy and effort on defense returned in Game 2.
  • Matt Moore of CBSSports.com: “The Magic’s offense? Still missing. The Hawks’ matchup advantages? Still there (Josh Smith 17 points, Jamal Crawford 25 points). But the Magic reasserted some of their own with Jameer Nelson edging Kirk Hinrich (who couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a submarine in the middle of a deep-sea trench Tuesday night). But systemically the Magic got what they needed. The Hawks got their win in Orlando and now head back to Atlanta. System vs. Personnel. The battle continues. We’ve told you again and again. This one is going to be long and tough. And even in a loss, you have to wonder if the momentum doesn’t lie with Atlanta.”
  • Dwight Howard had one of the lines of the night according to Shannon Booher of SLAM ONLINE: “That’s EVERY minute in case you didn’t know. Another dominating performance from the guy who received the L.O.N. M.V.P. vote. They almost blew this one, though, despite a seemingly uninspired (except for J-Creezy) effort from the Hawks. Seriously — Josh Smith and Joe Johnson — the Playoffs started a few days ago. Y’all are invited to participate. Special note to Josh — you are allowed to drive to the basket and utilize your insane physical gifts.”
  • Does Orlando remind you of the Ohio State program in college basketball?
  • Tracy Weissenberg of SLAM ONLINE matter-of-factly responds to Howard playing all 48 minutes against the Hawks: “Game 3 is Friday in Atlanta and Howard is lucky he has two days to rest.”
  • John Hollinger of ESPN Insider: “I’ve ripped coaches for extreme conservatism with foul trouble before, but what Larry Drew did Tuesday night in Orlando takes the cake. It may very well cost the Hawks the series. For those who didn’t see, Horford — Atlanta’s best player — picked up two fouls in the first 2:11 of the game, and Drew’s response was to sit him out for the ENTIRE FIRST HALF. This is straight out of the Larry Brown-Mike Woodson playbook, and Drew comes from that coaching tree, but I can’t emphasize enough what an irrational and counterproductive strategy this is. […] There is no way to sugarcoat it: This is the most indefensible coaching decision I’ve seen this season. Horford played the entire second half and finished the game with — you guessed it — two fouls. This didn’t come as a surprise to anyone who watched the Hawks this season. Horford has one of the lowest foul rates in the league at his position — just 2.85 fouls per 40 minutes — so even if he had stayed in the game with the two fouls he was at virtually no risk of fouling out.”
  • Zach Lowe of The Point Forward is also wondering why head coach Larry Drew sat Horford.
  • In case you haven’t heard, Howard has an injured right shoulder.
  • Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus: “The difference in the first two games of this series was less about adjustments and more about regression to the mean. While the Orlando Magic had more of a balanced offensive output than in Game One, when Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson got virtually no help from their teammates, the end result was about the same. In fact, the Magic scored fewer points per possession. However, the Atlanta Hawks were unable to replicate their hot Game One shooting, and the result was an Orlando victory that felt more resounding most of the second half.”
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie: “Dwight Howard was everywhere, and though Orlando’s perimeter defense improved somewhat, I’m handing most of the acclaim at Howard’s feet as he effectively closed off the mid-range that worked so well for the Hawks in Game 1. Jamal Crawford and Al Horford had their moments, but they weren’t anywhere near as effective from just inside the 3-point line as we saw on Saturday, and Howard’s ability to show and then get back on the glass is the reason why.”
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy thinks there’s a lack of hype surrounding Howard.
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