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

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Apr 22

Sneak Preview: Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks, Game 3

AP Photo/John Raoux

  • George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Heart and Hustle is back [Orlando] Magic fans! In case you didn’t get the memo, two exciting plays from Orlando’s playoff victory Tuesday night provide documentation that there’s been a resurrection: J.J. Redick wrestling the ball away from Kirk Hinrich, and, while still on the floor zipping a pass to Jameer Nelson for a breakaway layup. And then, Nelson tugging with Hinrich for possession of the ball, setting up a Hedo Turkoglu layup. [...] Alrighty then, let’s celebrate. Or maybe just ponder a different perspective. Professional basketball players should do the heart and the hustle on every play. They are paid very handsomely to do these things, and many times, all it requires is a little extra effort. Unfortunately, sometimes the egos and the commercial endorsements get in the way, but an occasional floor burn is part of the collateral damage for playing at an elite level. But to a greater point, I’m wondering when the Magic officially transformed themselves into a underdog franchise, a bunch of scrappy guys overachieving, clawing and scratching for every victory?”
  • Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “Rich DeVos, the 85-year-old owner of the Orlando Magic, gave GM Otis Smith permission to spend as much as he wanted after the team reached the NBA Finals in 2009. Almost two years later, the Magic are now one of the highest-paying teams in all of sports, even out-spending flashy European soccer teams and high-profile Major League Baseball teams with no salary cap restrictions. The Magic pay their players an average of $6,367,114 per year, a number only exceeded by Real Madrid and Barcelona of Spain’s top soccer league, the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Lakers, according to a study by ESPN the Magazine.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “The Orlando Magic have spent the better part of the last eight months together, either practicing, playing or working out almost every day since the voluntary sessions began in September. But still, even to this day, the players and coaches are learning things about one another and the makeup of this team. There was no greater teaching moment than Tuesday’s Game 2 when the Magic started poorly, trailed by as many as 10 points, struggled to make shots and ever so briefly seemed to be staring at a 0-2 hole. But it’s the way they responded – with J.J. Redick and Jameer Nelson diving on the floor for loose balls, with Dwight Howard playing 48 minutes of dominant basketball, with Ryan Anderson giving up his body to take a charge and with Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson shrugging off poor games to make clutch plays late – that spoke volumes about the character of this Magic team. “
  • Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “The Cavaliers dominated both games there while sweeping the Hawks in the second round in 2009. The Magic did the same last year, causing Hawks fans to boo the team and All-Star Joe Johnson, who further inflamed them by telling media the Hawks didn’t care if the fans showed up. Home attendance declined for the second consecutive season in 2010-11. There were more big crowds for marquee opponents, but a high percentage of spectators cheered for the visitors. It didn’t help that the Hawks suffered more blowout home losses than any winning team in NBA history, with three defeats by at least 30 points and three others by 20 or more. The Hawks’ home record slipped from 34-7 to 24-17 this season. Only the Knicks won fewer home games among playoff teams. Horford said some players were disappointed by the small and split crowds because they felt fan support didn’t match the team’s success.”
  • Jeff Schultz of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “The Hawks’ home record during the regular season was 24-17. That ranked 16th in the NBA. Many want to blame the lack of success on poor fan support. The problem with that theory is that the only playoff team with a worse home record than Atlanta this season was the Knicks (23-18), who are one of the best-supported teams in the league. [...] But Drew knows: Empty seats or booing fans or too many folks in the crowd pulling for the other team are not legitimate reasons for losing. Teams lose because they lack talent, or interest, or focus.”
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