Quantcast 2011 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs: Round One - Orlando vs Atlanta

 

2011 NBA Playoff Preview – Eastern Conference First Round

Eastern Conference First Round Game 5 - Orlando 101, Atlanta 76 – Hawks lead series, 3-2

 

 

Sure, Orlando brought back memories of the 2010 postseason in Game 5 of its first-round series, but unless this team can win Game 6 in Georgia, a 25-point thumping won’t mean anything.

Any idea that the Orlando Magic would go out of the 2011 NBA Playoffs as a thief in the night were obliterated within the first 12 minutes on Tuesday night at Amway Arena. However, Orlando’s familiar blowout win over the Atlanta Hawks – which evoked recollections of last year’s four-game postseason romp – doesn’t count for two games. All the Magic did was prolong their season by one game. Now comes the hard part: Winning on the road and forcing a Game 7 on the weekend.

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Brandon Bass and J.J. Redick were entirely responsible for turning a 10-9 lead into a 26-13 first quarter advantage over the final 4:35 of the period. Bass scored the first six points and Redick poured in the next 11 to bring the Orlando crowd to its feet. The 13- point first quarter advantage was only the beginning for the Magic, who will need a lot more from Bass and Redick when this series returns to Atlanta. Ryan Anderson hit two 3-pointers, Jason Richardson added another, and Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu got involved in the scoring and before five minutes had passed in the second quarter, Orlando a 40-19 advantage. Atlanta’s offensive struggles carried into the third quarter. After three periods of play, the Hawks had just 53 points. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t their night. Orlando avoided elimination and will now have to do the same thing on the road at Atlanta on Thursday.

 

 

The Hawks shot just 36 percent from the field. Josh Smith had 22 points and 11 rebounds. Jamal Crawford, who had scored at least 20 points off the bench in each of the previous four games, failed to get going on Tuesday. Crawford was just 2-of-8, finishing with eight points.

Despite the blowout victory, Orlando still didn’t shoot the ball well. A balanced scoring attack and a tremendous first half were vital to the Magic’s success. Richardson led the Magic with 17. Redick added 14 points. The hope for Orlando is that it can grind down Atlanta’s offense and turn the Hawks into a half-court train-wreck once again. Atlanta’s offense was abysmal in last year’s four-game sweep; if Orlando can hold Atlanta in the 70s once more, even a so-so shooting night should be enough to grab a win in Game 6 and restore order in a series that’s still Atlanta’s to lose.

 

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By: Matt Zemek
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer


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