Second Look: Atlanta Hawks 88, Orlando Magic 85 | Magic Basketball



Apr 25

Second Look: Atlanta Hawks 88, Orlando Magic 85

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “In the Orlando Magic‘s postgame locker room Sunday night, Stan Van Gundy turned to his assistant coaches and asked a question. Should they take their players directly from Orlando International Airport to Amway Center upon arrival in Florida and shoot baskets until their teamwide shooting woes disappear? Van Gundy was only half-joking. An atrocious shooting slump, poor perimeter defense and a tendency to start games slowly has the Magic one loss away from elimination after they dropped Game 4 of their first-round playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks 88-85 Sunday night at Philips Arena. Only eight teams in NBA history have accomplished what the Magic will try to do now: win a best-of-seven series after trailing three games to one. Dwight Howard boiled down the talk ahead to a simple message to his teammates. […] Appropriately enough, Game 4 ended on a missed 3-pointer. The Magic inbounded the ball to Gilbert Arenas with 10.5 seconds left, and Arenas swung the ball to Hedo Turkoglu. The Hawks’ Al Horford knocked the ball away, and although Turkoglu recovered it, he had no choice but to take a desperation shot. It clanged off the back left side of the rim, sending the announced crowd of 19,490 and the Hawks into a frenzy.”
  • Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “Hate to say it, but it might just be time for the most dreaded four words in the Magic playoff vernacular: Gentlemen, start your razors. Before the Magic began the 2011 NBA playoffs, players vowed not to shave until the postseason was over and fans throughout Central Florida began the rallying cry … “Fear the Beard!” Now, after yet another nail-biting, heart-breaking loss to the Atlanta Hawks that has put the Magic in a nearly hopeless 3-1 hole, it’s getting closer and closer to a time when “Fear the Beer” might be a more appropriate mantra. After all, it probably won’t be long now before Magic fans everywhere are drowning their sorrows following what is quickly turning into an depressingly disappointing season. But there is one positive. Hey, Magic fans, did you see Gilbert Arenas Sunday night? What’s it tell you about this series when the Magic can’t beat the Hawks when Dwight Howard scores 46 points in Game 1 and when Arenas rises from the ashes to score to score 20 in Game 4? Maybe it’s just not meant to be. Maybe just maybe the Hawks, who have now beaten the Magic six of eight times this season, are just the better team.”
  • George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Atlanta Hawks are programmed to beat the Orlando Magic. Three out of four in the regular season. Now three out of four in the playoffs after Atlanta took a commanding 3-1 Sunday night. Magic fans can scream all they want about the clank-clank perimeter shooting of Hedo Turkoglu, Jameer Nelson, Ryan Anderson and J.J. Redick (at least he has a doctor’s excuse — he’s been hurt). The problem is that the Magic are very beatable when no one doubles down on Dwight Howard. The Magic aren’t very good about creating their own shots or driving to the basket. They are very good in working the ball around and getting good spacing on the floor to set up their perimeter game. But that’s not happening because the Hawks aren’t double-teaming Dwight Howard. The Hawks are bigger and squeezing the Magic out of their comfort zone. They are still getting jump shots, just not where they want them.”
  • John Denton of “Much like in this increasingly frustrating series, the Orlando Magic could never get over the hump on Sunday night against the Atlanta Hawks. Now, trailing 3-1, the Magic are faced with overcoming a mountain of odds to save their playoff lives. The Magic dug their way out of an early hole and twice got Game 4 tied in the fourth quarter on Sunday night, but they could never take the lead and had to stomach a crushing 88-85 loss to the Hawks that dropped them into a 3-1 deficit in the best-of-seven series. To get out of the first round of the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season, the fourth-seeded Magic must now beat the fifth-seeded Hawks three straight games. Game 5 is Tuesday night in the Amway Center. Counting regular-season play, the Hawks have now defeated the Magic in six of eight games this season, including all four times at Atlanta’s Philips Arena.”
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “About all that’s changed is the sudden emergence of Arenas, who had, at least on this night, the look of a useful NBA player again. Arenas earned a Did Not Play-Coach’s Decision in Game Three as coach Stan Van Gundy called on Turkoglu to play point forward, but he elected to give Arenas a go tonight. The Magic’s big-name midseason acquisition delivered, to a degree, pouring in 20 points in 22 minutes, the sort of high-pressure outing Magic fans had hoped for. Only he and Dwight Howard (a game-high 29 points) could score consistently.”
  • Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “It took a lot of hard work for the Hawks to take homecourt advantage away from the Magic in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series. They nearly gave it back with several mistakes in the final moments of Game 4 on Sunday night before finally putting away the Magic. Guard Joe Johnson made four free throws in the final 20.2 seconds to secure Atlanta’s 88-85 victory over Orlando at Philips Arena. The Hawks can win the best-of-seven series with a victory at Orlando on Tuesday. Jamal Crawford scored a team-high 25 points and Johnson had 20 for the Hawks.”
  • Mark Bradley of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Say what you will about these Hawks, and by now we’ve said it all, usually with a few choice words interspersed. That they’re sloppy with a lead. That they often act as if basketball was a sport scored on degree of difficulty. That they lead the world in keeping both teams in the game. But here’s something we haven’t been able to say about any Hawks team since 1970: That it leads a best-of-seven series 3-1. Also this: That it’s one game from winning a playoff series in which it didn’t hold the homecourt edge for the first time since 1996.”
  • Bret LaGree of Hoopinion: “Either prolonged exposure to this series is creating an illusion of coherence or Game 4 was the most Hawks/Magic game of this Hawks/Magic series. There were the requisite 88 points scored by the winning team, the terrible shot selection (both teams), the terrible shot-making (Orlando only), the improbably great yet perfectly representative, in kind if not frequency, shot-making of Jamal Crawford, a routine 29 and 17 from Dwight Howard, Jason Collins fouling, 19 unproductive minutes from hideously unqualified Hawk frontcourt reserves, the Hawks building a significant lead despite not playing very good offense, the Magic erasing that lead despite not playing very good offense, and the Hawks prevailing through some combination of the aforementioned Crawford and Collins plus an inefficient but impressive Al Horford, Joe Johnson being efficient but unimpressive for long stretches, Kirk Hinrich making Hawks fans so happy Mike Bibby’s gone, and Josh Smith being inexplicable but not completely useless. “

Welp, so much for this season. Kinda wish I had the opportunity to watch this abomination BEFORE I renewed my season tickets. If I'm Dwight, I'm gone. Simple as that. And I can't even blame him either. Whenever he does leave, I give us at least a 50% chance at the worst record in league history. This is so freaking depressing. Bring on college football ASAP!