Orlando Magic News & Notes: Magic Go For Sweep Of Hawks

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The Orlando Magic will take on the Atlanta Hawks for the fourth time this season. The Magic have won the first three meetings. You can read more about this game here.

John Denton takes a look at Wednesday’s matchup.

"“A couple of years ago they used to always beat us and Dominique and I talked about it and he just told me it was probably just a mental thing for us,’’ Howard remembered. “He told me, `You just have to go out there and fully believe you can beat them and it will turn around.’ That’s when we started beating them after that.’’Have they ever? The Magic (50-21) have beaten the Hawks (45-25) in three games this season by 17, 32 and 18 points. And in the three wins against Atlanta last season, the Magic won by six points, 34 points and four points. The six consecutive victories have come by an average of 18 points a game."

You can find that story here.

Brian Schmitz compares the Hawks to the Magic.

"The Hawks (45-25) are where the Magic (50-21) were a few seasons ago.They’ve been building a foundation, rising through the ranks and now learning the hard lessons of life in the playoffs.“They’ve been on that rise. The thing with them is they’ve been very patient. They’ve built with the same guys,” said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, whose club faces the Hawks tonight at Philips Arena.Orlando’s record the last five years: 36-46, 36-46, 40-42, 52-30 and 59-23.Atlanta’s record: 13-69, 26-56, 30-52, 37-45 and 47-35."

You can find that story here.

With a victory on Wednesday, the Magic can all but eliminate the Hawks from contention for the #2 seed.

"Looking to strengthen their hold on their spot in the East, the Magic could increase their lead to 5½ games over the Hawks with 10 games remaining.The margin would be 6½, in effect, considering Orlando already has won the season series and, thus, any possible playoff tiebreaker should the teams finish with the same regular-season record.The Magic lead the season series over Atlanta 3-0, and there’s a possibility they could meet again in the second round of the postseason."

You can read more about that here.

Ken Sugiura of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says this is Atlanta’s last chance to stop Orlando.

"“I feel like we go into the game and we have a game plan, and then we get hit in the mouth and then everything gets thrown out the window,” said swingman Mo Evans.“I feel like other teams play them well in our division,” center Al Horford said. “We kind of have to figure out what works best for us.”Hawks fans know the drill. Led by Howard, the four-time All-Star center from Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, the Magic have had the Hawks’ number, and a few of their letters. The Magic’s three wins over the Hawks this season have been by an average of 22.3 points. The Magic won the first game by winning the second half 54-25, the second when Howard was limited to 12 points but his teammates made 12 3-pointers and the third when Howard detonated the Hawks with 31 points and 19 rebounds.“We’ve got to find out whether we’re going to take the shooters away or take Dwight away on the inside,” forward Joe Smith said. “They present a tough challenge for every team with that.”"

You can find that story here.

"Peachtree Hoops thinks the Hawks lack a killer instinct (or a coaching issue).The real white elephant is the defense. The Hawks cannot stop enough people to make a comeback. The Charlotte game, one of the two exceptions, saw Atlanta hold the Bobcats to 15 points. That needs to happen far more often than it does. Since the all-star break, the Hawks are giving up 25.4 points a game in the fourth. In those 19 games, Atlanta has scored more than 25 points in that quarter only seven times. One of those was against the Nets, twice they gave up as many points, once they lost to the Knicks, once they dominated the Bulls (dropping 41), and once it brought home a victory (outscoring Utah 31-25). What am I saying? The Hawks have scored more than 25 points and that scoring was only decisive for victory twice since the all-star break. The currently designed offense is not going to win many games, it will only maintain efficiency, and the defense is not great at maintaining leads."

You can find that story here.

Dwight Howard is very happy to be back home in Atlanta.

"I’m lucky because the Hawks are in our division, so that means I get to go home two times a year during the regular season and most years we are up here in the preseason too. We haven’t been here to play since Thanksgiving Day so it’s good to go back to the crib and seem the fam!!!Now, comes the trouble of trying to find enough tickets for all of my family, friends and homeboys who want to come and watch us play. I actually have to get more ticket now that I used when I first came into the league. That’s kind of a challenge, but it’s all good because I know those people are coming to the game to show their support for me and the Magic. And it’s always good to have your own cheering section on the road when the crowd is mostly for the home team."

You can read Dwight’s blog here.

Josh Cohen takes a look at Orlando’s potential first round opponents and breaks down their strengths and weaknesses here.

Vice President Joe Biden dropped an “F-bomb” when introducing President Barack Obama. Dwight Howard feels his pain. Shannon Owns of the Orlando Sentinel has that story (and video) here.

Maurice Brooks of ESPN updates his awards watch and has Dwight Howard fourth in the MVP race and first in the race for Defensive Players Of The Year.

"1. Dwight Howard, Magic: With the exception of Steve Nash (assists and free throw percentage), Howard is the only player leading the NBA in more than one statistical category (double-doubles, field goal percentage, rebounds and blocks). (Last week: 1)"

You can read that story here.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks and Sir Charles In Charge. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).