Blog Entry

Playoff Fix: Magic have to live by the 3

Posted on: April 28, 2011 9:53 am
Hawks try to close the Magic out, but if Orlando can stay warm from the outside, they'll force a Game 7.
Posted by Matt Moore

One Big Thing:  The Magic have to stay hot from the perimeter. This series really does come down to shooting percentages. Everything else evens out, even Dwight's impact inside, marginalized by the work of Josh Smith, Al Horford and the Atlanta bigs. It just comes down to whether the 3-point barrage from Orlando can hold up. That's what this game, and this series, will be decided on. Seems simple, because it is. Make shots, and Orlando's going to push this to seven. 

The X-Factor: J.J. Redick wasn't bombing from deep in Game 5, but he was doing work off the dribble. Yes, little J.J.'s all grown up. The Magic need a ball-handler who can score off the bench whose name isn't a grill and whose knees haven't been through multiple surgeries in four season.  Redick was hampered by injury at the end of the regular season and start of this series. He looked back to his old self in Game 5. That holds up, and that takes the sting out of Jamal Crawford, the real eternal X-Factor in this series. 

The Adjustment: The Hawks have to get back to what worked in the first four games: running off 3-pointers, doubling, and recovering. All the damage the Magic did inside compounded the outside and vice-versa. The Hawks aren't going to improve on offense. They're going to have more bad possessions than good. But defensively, they spark fast breaks, which is where their best ball-movement comes from. Letting the Magic fire away will guarantee the Hawks suffer the ignominy of losing a series they were up 3-1 in. 

The Sticking Point: The Magic really showed they were a better team when the shots were falling in Game 5. That has to put the fear of God into Atlanta. If the Hawks don't get a break and have the Magic miss a few early ones, Atlanta could come undone. This is a deciding game in this series, and not just because the Magic remain on the edge of elimination. A loss and the Hawks enter full-on meltdown mode. Just like that, a series that looked to be theirs can wind up firmly in Orlando's grasp. 

Since: Dec 11, 2006
Posted on: April 28, 2011 12:03 pm

Playoff Fix: Magic have to live by the 3

The Magic are very tough to deal with when they get their perimeter game going.  With Dwight Howard in the post, which poison do you pick if you're Atlanta?  Game 5 in this series showed clearly the lethality of this Orlando team when all cylinders are firing for them.  Game 5 was a marvel to watch, particularly if you are a fan of the Magic.  We all were pretty sure it was there, but anxiously awaited it's appearance.  It is obviously alive and well.  If I'm Atlanta, I have to continue my focus on the middle in game six.  One game for Orlando does not take the series.  I would make the Magic show me again.  If they do, well I couldn't have won this series anyway.  It's simply too much to cover with the talent I have.  Game 5 had to give the Magic a lot of confidence.  I'm getting worried in Georgia, but it is a home game.  This is going to be a critical Game 6 to watch.  Watch the early 3 point shooting performance of the Magic in Game 6 as the fulcrum in this competitve series.  I'm still leaning toward the Magic in this series.

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