Atlanta Hawks vs. Orlando Magic Game 2 NBA Playoff Preview and Pick

Atlanta Hawks (53-29 SU, 45-33-4 ATS) vs. Orlando Magic (53-29 SU, 48-34 ATS), 8:00 p.m. EST, Thursday, May 6, 2010, Amway Arena, Orlando, Fla. TV: ESPN
by Ryno of

Point Spread: Hawks +9.5/Magic -9.5
Over/Under: 189.5

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The Orlando Magic absolutely embarrassed the Atlanta Hawks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals with a 114-71 victory. The Hawks didn’t even look like they belonged on the same court as the Magic. Now, the Hawks have a chance to regroup and possibly get a victory in Game 2 in Orlando. At the very least, the Hawks need to come out more prepared and prove that they can compete with the Magic and make this a series.

In Game 1, the Magic led 25-23 after the first quarter and it looked like it might be a very tight, competitive game throughout. But the Magic broke the game open by outscoring the Hawks 28-10 in the second quarter to take a 20-point lead at the half. The third quarter was much of the same as the Magic outscored the Hawks 32-11 and held an 85-44 lead after the third quarter. The middle two quarters, especially the third quarter, really were embarrassing for the Hawks. They couldn’t do anything well.

The Magic shot 52 percent from the field and 9-for-23 from 3-point range, while the Hawks shot 35 percent from the field and 2-for-13 from 3-point range. The Magic dominated on the boards with a 53-35 rebounding advantage. The Hawks only turned the ball over two more times than the Magic, but it was the rebounding and shooting that really separated these teams.

After having at least five fouls in each of the Magic’s four games in the first round of the playoffs, Dwight Howard stayed out of foul trouble with only three fouls and finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks in 29 minutes. Howard showed that he can be very dominant if he stays on the court and out of foul trouble. Vince Carter scored 20 points, Jameer Nelson had 19 points and five assists, Rashard Lewis had nine points and seven rebounds, and J.J. Redick chipped in with 10 points off the bench.

Josh Smith led the Hawks in scoring with 14 points but he failed to rack up the numbers in any other category, finishing with just three rebounds and no assists. Joe Johnson had 10 points and seven rebounds, and Zaza Pachulia had 12 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Mike Bibby (two points), Al Horford (four points, six rebounds), Marvin Williams (eight points) and Jamal Crawford (five points) combined for a total of 19 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. Crawford shot 1-for-11 from the field and Bibby and Horford combined to shoot 1-for-12 from the field. Jeff Teague made the only two 3-pointers in the game for the Hawks.

The Hawks have size inside with Horford, Smith, Pachulia and Williams, but they have to use it. The Hawks have to be stronger and more physical with the Magic. They have to assert themselves down low and keep Howard out of the paint. If Horford or Smith can guard Howard, then the Hawks won’t have to double-team him, which would leave guys open on the perimeter. And it’s a bad idea to leave Magic shooters open on the perimeter, since they are probably the best outside shooting team in the NBA. On offense, the Hawks have to get the ball down low to Horford and Smith and try to go right at Howard to get him in foul trouble. With the size of the Magic and the rebounding differential in Game 1, the Hawks have to have all five players box out and try to grab rebounds. Offensive rebounds lead to extra offensive opportunities and defensive rebounds prevents the Magic from doing the same.

The under is 6-0 in the last six meetings between these teams and 4-1 in the last five meetings in Orlando. The favorite and the home team are both 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings between these teams. The Hawks are 1-7 ATS in their last eight meetings with the Magic and 0-4 ATS in their last four meetings in Orlando.

Ryno’s Pick: Expect the Hawks to get blown out again tonight as they just don’t seem to match up well with the Magic.