Game 2: Atlanta Hawks @ Orlando Magic


The Orlando Magic look to take a 2-0 series lead when they host the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night. Orlando dominated Game 1, winning 114-71 but know they will face a tougher challenge Thursday.

Tip-off from Amway Arena is scheduled for 8:00 pm EST and the game will be shown by ESPN.  If you can’t watch the game, you can listen to the game on AM 580 WDBO.

The officials will be Monty McCutchen, Mike Callahan and Marc Davis.

The Line: Orlando – 9.5


Atlanta Hawks

Al Horford

Josh Smith

Marvin Williams

Joe Johnson

Mike Bibby

Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard

Rashard Lewis

Matt Barnes

Vince Carter

Jameer Nelson

Game 1 was forgettable for the Atlanta Hawks. The Orlando Magic would also like to forget about that game and move on. They know they will get a better effort from the Hawks in Game 2.

“We still have to be ready for Game 2,” Rashard Lewis told reporters. “And we know that they’re going to come out with a different attitude.”

The Hawks are staying confident even after a 43-point loss. The Hawks believe that they missed some good shots in Game 1 and that is something that they can quickly correct.

“This is uncharacteristic of us,” Joe Johnson said. “Especially at this point of the season in the postseason. We just have to get ready for Game 2.”

The Hawks have made one change. Head Coach Mike Woodson said the Hawks have activated Center Randolph Morris. Morris was out sick in Game 1. To make room for Morris, Mario West will be inactive. Back in his high school days, Morris played for the Atlanta Celtics, the same AAU team that Josh Smith and Dwight Howard played for. On The Basketball Jones, J.E. Skeets suggested that the Hawks should employ the “Hack-A-Howard” strategy. Maybe the activation of Morris signals that the Hawks will try this tactic.

Whatever the strategy up front may be, the Hawks will certainly be using a different Center rotation in Game 2. In Game 1, Woodson subbed All-Star Al Horford out of the game after he picked up just one foul. Woodson was hoping to save Horford and backup Zaza Pachulia from foul trouble by using Jason Collins.

“The fact that we would let Collins use his fouls early if he had to use them and save Zaza for when Gortat came in,” Woodson explained. “I didn’t expect Orlando to use Howard as long as they did.”

“We’ve just got to adjust to that on Thursday and see how we play it,” Woodson added.

The Hawks used their first quarter performance in which they scored 23 points and trailed by just two points to gain confidence.

“I thought in the first quarter the plan that we had worked pretty good,” Joe Johnson said. “In the second quarter we just fell apart and never regrouped.”

In the first quarter, Atlanta got out and ran. The Hawks scored eight points and transition and got good looks down low, scoring 16 points in the paint. Josh Smith was very active and scored 10 points the opening quarter, but finished with just 14 points in the game.

You’d think the Magic couldn’t have asked for a better start, but in usual Stan Van Gundy fashion, he thought it could have been better.

“I think particularly in the first quarter our defense wasn’t great,” Van Gundy said. “They missed some good opportunities and our defense will need to be better in Game 2 than it was tonight.”

The Magic players agree they can play better and know that the Hawks will play better.

“Don’t be confused by the score,” Jameer Nelson told the media. “They’re a tough team, they’re going to bring it harder and probably better the next game so we can’t be full of ourselves or overconfident.”

Van Gundy is also worried about overconfidence, which is why he left his players a note at practice on Thursday, warning them that there are several teams who have won big in game 1 and have then gone on to lose the series.

The Magic are buying into what Van Gundy says and know they can’t have a letdown and allow the Hawks to steal the home court advantage.

“If we want to win this series, we have to bring this effort that we had tonight every night,” Dwight Howard said, following Tuesday’s game. “And if we do that, we should win.”

(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).