Eastern Conference 1st Round Matchup: Magic vs. Hawks

Posted by By at 13 April, at 01 : 44 AM Print

The East playoff matchup between the seeds 4 and 5 have been set in stone! It will be between Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks.

In the regular season, the results between these two have been:
11/8: Atlanta @ Orlando- Magic won 93-89
12/6: Atlanta @ Orlando- Hawks won 80-74
12/20: Orlando @ Atlanta-Hawks won 91-81
3/30: Orlando @ Atlanta- Hawks won 85-82

Although these results cannot be taken seriously without knowing the context of the matches. On the 12/6 matchup, Orlando had just overhauled their roster and had to play the next day. Atlanta took advantage of the lack of chemistry between the Magic players and won by 6 points easily.

On the 12/20, again Atlanta took full advantage of Orlando with Nelson out with illness. Duhon played 33 minutes in that game. In the end, Atlanta convincingly won by 10 points.

Although in the last game, Atlanta stressed the importance of winning the game against Orlando which will boost their confidence, which they did, by 3 points.

Atlanta won the season head to head matchup 3-1 which will give them a clear sense of confidence that they can beat Orlando. We must not forget that last year Orlando did sweep Atlanta in the second round and made them look like they didn’t even want to be playing. I am sure that those memories will be scarred in their minds and will look to avenge those memories by winning the playoff series.
I believe the biggest and most pivotal matchup will be between Dwight Howard (Magic) and Jason Collins (Hawks) as when Collins plays on Howard, it reminds me a little bit of the fierce contests between Perkins when he was at Celtics and Howard, with the strong interior defense and big bodies between the two. If Collins can significantly decrease Howard’s impact in the game, Atlanta’s chances to win significantly increases.
The key players for both teams are:

Jameer Nelson (Magic) – Nelson is the barometer of Orlando Magic, if he plays aggressive, Orlando plays aggressive. If he scores well, Orlando scores well. Simply put.

Al Horford (Hawks) – Horford is a strong young Center/Forward. If Horford can play well defensively, he can help Collins nullify the impact of Howard. As well as offensively, Horford is averaging a career high 15.6 in points this season.

Hedo Turkoglu (Magic) – Turk was brought back into the team after stints in Toronto and Phoenix for this reason, to help Magic go deep into the playoffs with his unique playmaking skills and undeniable chemisty with Nelson and Howard. If Turk picks up the form in had that carried Magic into the 08 finals, Look out!

Josh Smith (Hawks) – “Smoove” was the runner up of last year’s Defensive Player of the year, which interestingly was won by Howard, so expect this playoff series be played with high defensive intensity with Smith’s skills on the defensive side. Smith has broaden his skills by increasing his awareness and scoring on the offense. If he’s on fire, Atlanta will be on fire.

Jason Richardson (Magic) – J-Rich, a three point specialist can choose to hit treys at will. If you know Magic, you know that they live and die by the three point line, and J-Rich is a key factor in that. Although inconsistency and injuries have risen as of late. Will be crucial for him to be healthy and performing well.

Joe Johnson (Hawks) – The most expensive free agent signed this year, with a downside. Hasn’t performed up to his potential, and proved that he deserves the money. Maybe he is waiting for the playoffs to strut his stuff. If he turns it on and hits most of his shots, tread carefully Orlando.

Recent injuries, high turnovers and inconsistency has been huge on the agenda of Orlando which will favour Atlanta. Orlando must correct those areas if they are to go deep into playoffs. As good as Atlanta are, they don’t seem to click in playoffs. This year may be the year they will prove us wrong and beating Magic will be a perfect start!

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  1. MagicManLenny, 9 years ago Reply

    James, great preview. If Dwight goes off, its over. he should be MVP. Hes a monster and can single handedly win this series. if he makes his free throws, lookout!

  2. Zig, 9 years ago Reply

    I wouldn’t count the hawks out. This will be a solid series…but in the end DH will be too much for the hawks to handle !!

  3. Don, 9 years ago Reply

    J-Smooth is going to neutralize Howard. Watch for the upset in 7!!!

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