Orlando Magic Wins Their 6th Straight Postseason Game
You don’t have to go to Disney World in Orlando to have fun and see lots of action. Instead, a quick visit to Amway Arena will give you all the excitement and thrills you need.
Van Gundy said before the game that over the last three years in the playoffs, when a team has won by 20 or more points they have lost the next game 63% of the time. So how would a Hawks team that lost by 43 points in game one respond? This time they would only lose by 14.
In the 1st quarter Orlando started off with the hot hand. From mid-range jumpers to ally-oops thrown to Howard, the Magic could not seem to miss a shot which led Atlanta to call a quick timeout at the 8 minute mark.
Things cooled off a bit for Orlando as Williams completed a 7-0 run for the Hawks with a monster jam.
But then Superman came alive. After getting away with two obvious offensive fouls, Howard took control and ended the 1st quarter with 18 pts, 6-6 FG, 6-8 FT, and 5 REB to keep Orlando on top 32-27.
Only two other Orlando players had scored a basket at this point. Nelson had 4 points at the end of the 1st quarter and Lewis had 10.
Atlanta started the 2nd quarter in a fury. They went on a 17-4 run and turned a once 9-point deficit into a 9-point lead. It seemed as if they remembered they led the league in the regular season in points in the paint at 46 per game. That, combined with Orlando uncharacteristically getting killed on the glass, made it briefly appear that a different Atlanta team had showed up to play – an Atlanta team that wanted to win.
In the 1st half of game 1 the Hawks had a point differential of -20; in game 2 that differential was +8. Their FG pct at the half in game 1 was 34.9; in game 2 it was 46.3%. Atlanta had only turned the ball over twice at this point in game 2 compared to 8 times in game 1, and they shot 100% from the line compared to 60% in game 1.
Al Horford led the Hawks’ 30 point 2nd quarter with 6-8 FG and 16 points. He said at halftime that his team had been able to go inside more than in game 1, and his outside shot game had been working much better.
Joe Johnson had two of Atlanta’s four 3-pointers at the half. Orlando only had made three 3-pointers by this point.
As Orlando went into the locker room down 57-49, it looked as if they would need some encouraging words from Van Gundy to awake to sleeping beast that lurks inside the Orlando Magic.
Instead, all it took was a “slap to face.” Shortly into the 2nd half Howard took a hand to face from Horford. Howard had to leave the game for a couple minutes to stop the bleeding, but this sparked an 11-2 run that erased Atlanta’s 9 point lead and put Orlando up 62-59.
It looked like the Hawks would go into the 4th quarter with a two-point lead thanks to a three by Jamal Crawford. But Nelson answered with a buzzer beating 3-pointer that put Orlando up by one at the end of the 3rd quarter. This play seemed to be the momentum booster that Orlando needed to assure their 2-0 lead as they had to Atlanta on Saturday.
And then there was Vince. Like a horse saving its energy for the final stretch, Vince came alive in the 4th quarter. Carter had 24 points in the game – 20 of those came from the 2nd half. He led Orlando’s 19-2 run in the 4 th quarter.
If Vince wasn’t enough, it started raining…3’s. Carter, Lewis, Nelson, and Pietrus all made a 3 during the 4th quarter hot spell putting Orlando up by 19.
Even though the Hawks were 30-31 from the line, it was still not enough to stop the Mighty Magic. For the first time ever for Orlando, there were four players with at least 20 points (Howard, Carter, Lewis, and Nelson). Howard finished the night with a grizzly 29 pts, 17 reb, and 13-18 FT.
Orlando didn’t play their best basketball in the 1st half, but they stayed within reach. In the 2nd half they played like the familiar Orlando team from game 1.
With a final score of 112-98 in Orlando’s favor, the Magic have outscored the Hawks by 57 points in the first two games. If Orlando keeps playing like this, I find it hard-pressed to find a team that can stop this force. Remember, this is the same Orlando team (plus Vince Carter) that won the East last year and hasn’t lost a postseason game yet this year.
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Pro Basketball Fans Orlando Magic Correspondent
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