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Orlando Magic News & Notes: Magic Impressive Again

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The Orlando Magic blew out the Hawks 107-75 to win Game 3 and take a 3-0 lead in the series.

The Magic are all business.

"Seconds after the final horn and the Magic had secured a 3-0 stranglehold on the series, fans inside Philips Arena filled the air with angry boos. Smokey Robinson’s, “It Ain’t Over till it’s Over,’’ blared from the loudspeakers, but it rang quite hollow considering that the Magic have won three games by margins of 43, 14 and 30 points.“You see the focus from our guys and it’s all business when we step on the floor for games or practices,’’ Magic point guard Jameer Nelson said. “We’re not out there playing like we have a cushion at all. We’re pushing and playing hard like a team that’s trying to win a championship.’’Are they ever? The seven consecutive playoff wins are the most in Magic history. The Magic have led 121:48 of the 144 minutes played so far against Atlanta and became just the fourth team in NBA history to win two games by 30-or-more points in a series."

John Denton offers his postgame analysis here.

The Magic have embarrassed the Hawks in this series.

"All you need to know is this: The Hawks were booed off the floor at halftime of their first home playoff game in this series.“We deserved to be booed — all of us,” Hawks coach Mike Woodson said.This was not a basketball game so much as it was a funeral march. The only thing missing from the pre-game introductions was a lone bugler playing Taps as the Magic carried a coffin draped in a Hawks banner out to midcourt."

Mike Bianchi has that story here.

The Magic have stuck their foot on the Hawks’ throat once they got the lead.

"There is no letup or letdown as the Magic speed toward an anticipated showdown against LeBron James and Cleveland for the right to return to the title round.They are stomping on everything in their path, perhaps ending the national perception that Dwight Howard smiles too much and the team with the league’s second-best record is a Disney creation.“We’ve tried to work on having a killer instinct,” Lewis said."

Brian Schmitz has that story here.

Dwight Howard put on a good performance for in front of his hometown. The crowd included a fan that’s very special to Howard.

"“I think he’s setting the scene for what he needs to do for the rest of the playoffs,” Dwight Howard Sr. said after the final horn sounded inside Philips Arena. “I think he’s coming in with a good, calm personality and he realizes that whatever happens with Dwight Howard, there goes the team. So, I think he’s not just saying ‘I’m a team captain’ by word, but ‘I’m a team captain’ by deed.”The younger Howard committed his second personal foul with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter and Orlando leading 24-16. He returned to the game with 7:21 remaining in the second quarter and his team up by 14 points. The Atlanta native didn’t record another foul until the fourth quarter."

Josh Robbins has that story here.

The Magic are on an impressive run.

"For the first time in club history, the Magic have started the playoffs 7-0. Their previous best start was in 1996 when they went 6-0.Orlando has also won 13 straight dating back to the regular season. The franchise, in fact, has never won more than nine consecutive games during the regular season. It also became just the fourth team in NBA history to win two or more postseason games by 30 or more in the same series. The Magic won by 43 in Game 1 and 30 in Game 3."

Dan Savage and Josh Cohen of OrlandoMagic.com go “Around the Association” here.

The Hawks did not play the kind of game you’d have expected from a team with their backs against the wall.

"It was emblematic of a problem that affected most of the Hawks players today, by my estimation: an utter lack of urgency or purpose. I Tweeted that Atlanta approached this game with all the intensity it’d bring for a January game against the Nets, and even that might have been charitable. Whereas the Magic patiently ran their offense on one end, the Hawks just forced the issue on the other. They didn’t turn the ball over–they rarely do, ranking first in turnover rate this season–but just did not get good looks."

Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post has that story here.

Orlando’s defense may have been overshadowed.

"Orlando’s defense was equally as impressive. Atlanta settled for jumpers and settled for one on one play throughout the game. When the Magic were looking to make the extra pass, the Hawks were fine with playing one on one basketball. The Hawks had just nine assists in the game on 34.9 percent shooting and Joe Johnson continued to struggle with eight points on 3-of-15 shooting."

Phillip Rossman-Reich of Orlando Magic Daily has that story here.

Eddy Rivera of Magic Basketball credits Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy.

"The Magic, if anything, played like the team that was down 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. There was a sense of urgency from Orlando for 48 minutes and it wasn’t too hard to tell by how they played. The ball movement was crisp on offense, the execution was great on both ends of the court, and the Magic played like a team dead-set on going in for the killshot. All the credit needs to be directed at head coach Stan Van Gundy because he has his players prepared and keeps them grounded despite the success they’ve had so far. Very rarely will Orlando’s focus waver at the task at hand. This was evident in the first round against the Charlotte Bobcats when the Magic finished things off on the road and it’s evident now against the Hawks."

You can find that story here.

Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal Constitution thinks the Hawks have quit on the season.

"Al Horford, the best hope this franchise has for a leader, openly questioned his teammates’ heart.“Effort. Effort — that’s all it is,” he said. “Guys can say all they want about coverages and all this. But it came down to effort — [not] going for loose balls early in the game, missing rebounds when they missed shots.”And then: “It’s frustrating. I’m not the kind of person who’s going to go out there and point people out. I’ll let them know. But you’re not going to see me cursing somebody out. They know what they have to do, and it’s frustrating when the effort is not there.”"

You can find that story here.

Joe Johnson doesn’t care if the fans show up to Game 4.

"Fans directed some of their boos at Johnson in particular during the Hawks’ 105-75 loss to the Magic on Saturday. He struggled to finish with eight points on 3-of-15 shooting and afterward expressed indifference to fans’ displeasure.“That doesn’t bother me, and I hope it doesn’t bother anyone in this locker room,” Johnson said. “It’s about us in this locker room. We could care less if [fans] showed up.”"

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

The Hawks’ effort in this series could cost Mike Woodson his job.

"Woodson is in the final year of his contract. “I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else. But, hey, it’s what it is, man,” Woodson said before the Hawks faced the Magic on Saturday.“We’ll probably sit down, I’m sure, after end of the season once this is all over with and talk about a contract. But right now I’ve got Orlando staring me in the face.”Woodson was asked if the situation was taking its toll. He at least had a sense of humor.“I don’t know. Do I look that bad?” he said."

You can find that story here.

If you want to read more about the hawks, you’re in luck. There are great Hawks blogs out there, so check out Soaring Down South, Hoopinion, Peachtree Hoops, The Vent and Hawks Str8 Talk.

John Krolik of Pro Basketball Talk has some lofty praise for the Magic.

"For the Magic, everything looks good right now — all that’s left for them to do is close out the Hawks, go home, and prepare for the Eastern Conference Finals. They look like the best team in the NBA at the moment, but they still have nine wins to go before they reach their ultimate goal. The way they’re playing, it’ll be very tough for anyone to stop Orlando from getting those nine wins."

You can find that story here.

The NBA’s three favorites, including the Magic, are looking good.

"We also can say with some certainty that this is shaping up to be a short semifinal round for the Magic, whose 105-75 win over the Hawks on Saturday was their 13th in a row, including the playoffs. While much attention has been on the Cavaliers in the East, the Magic have been quietly and methodically defending their conference crown."

Sean Deveney of The Baseline has that story here.

(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).