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Orlando Magic News & Notes: Hawks Eager To Face Magic


The Orlando Magic will be taking on the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

"The Magic finished six games ahead of the Hawks in the Southeast Division standings during the regular season. Orlando beat Atlanta in three of the four meetings this season by an average of 16.2 points and won both games in Orlando. The Hawks did beat Orlando 86-84 on March 24 at Philips Arena on a buzzer-beating follow-up dunk by Josh Smith. That ended a string of six consecutive Magic wins – many of them lopsided – against the Hawks.The Hawks seemingly always have trouble containing Magic superstar center Dwight Howard, an Atlanta native. Howard averaged 21 points, 16.8 rebounds and 3.5 blocks a game this season against the Hawks while shooting 55.1 percent."

John Denton has that story here.

The Hawks must quickly turn their attention to the Orlando Magic.

"Orlando, the second seed in the East, won the Southeast Division title by six games over the Hawks. The Magic won three of the four regular-season meetings by an average margin of 22.2 points. The Hawks won the final meeting 86-84 at Philips Arena on Josh Smith’s tip-dunk at the buzzer.“We feel confident,” Hawks center Al Horford said. “I think we’ve figured out if we play hard defensively we always give ourselves a chance to win games. We just have to come out and match their intensity. They have a lot of good shooters; they have Dwight inside. It’s going to be a challenge but we are excited about it.”The Hawks have had trouble stopping Orlando. During the regular-season series the Magic made 54 percent of their two-point shots against Atlanta, led by Howard’s 55-percent shooting."

Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has that story here.

The Hawks are eager to get this series started.

"“There’s no quit in us,” Hawks power forward Josh Smith said. “We’re resilient and we came to play. We’ve got to bottle those two games up and apply it to each game we play in the next series.”Yet the Magic should create more headaches on offense than the Bucks did. With starting center Andrew Bogut out with a severe arm injury, Milwaukee played Atlanta without a true scoring threat on the inside. Orlando, of course, has all-star Dwight Howard, who will match up against fellow all-star Al Horford.“They have a lot of good shooters,” Horford said. “They have Dwight inside. So, it’s going to be a challenge, but we’re excited about it.”"

Josh Robbins has that story here.

The Magic expect to blanket Joe Johnson.

"The Hawks beat the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday afternoon in Game 7 of their opening round series, making the target of the Magic’s preparations clear.They will blanket Joe Johnson.“He is the one who makes them go. If we slow him down, we’ll be able to win,” said Magic forward Matt Barnes, who will start shadowing Johnson at the opening tip. “We saw what Milwaukee did to him. You take notes. We’ll be well prepared. You put a lot of pressure on him, make him turn the ball over and take tough shots. I’m not going to guarantee anything, but that’s my job, to slow him down. We’ll be ready for him.”"

Tim Povtak has that story here.

Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution thinks the  Hawks are at their best during desperate times.

"Now you know the Hawks. Their ceiling and their floor.“Sometimes it looks like we need to have a challenge,” Smith said.“I don’t think it’s a coincidence what happened the last two games – we had no choice,” Marvin Williams said.“We were in a desperate situation,” Mike Bibby said. “I think we took them a little too lightly after the first two games. Being up [2-0] and playing our game and them not having any answers, we looked at it like, ‘Oh, we’re gonna get through this pretty easy.’ And then when they came back and beat us in Game 3, we knew we were in a series. When they had our backs against the wall, we weren’t ready to go home yet.”"

You can read that story here.

Brian Schmitz offers a scouting report on the upcoming series.

Kelly Dwyer questions the Hawks.

"The biggest question, beyond Atlanta’s consistent inconsistency, remains only partially answered. Will Mike Woodson realize that he has admirable depth on his team? Depth not named “Maurice Evans,” mind you, because Mike loves him some Mo Evans."

You can find that story here.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution looks at eight potential ways the Hawks can stop Dwight Howard.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, a contributor on the Fansided Front Page and at 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).