After falling 103-93 to the Atlanta Hawks, the Magic have a lot more negatives staring them in the face than positiv..."/> After falling 103-93 to the Atlanta Hawks, the Magic have a lot more negatives staring them in the face than positiv..."/>

A look at the positives and negatives from Magic vs Hawks, Game 1


After falling 103-93 to the Atlanta Hawks, the Magic have a lot more negatives staring them in the face than positives.  I take a look at the positives, negatives, and randomtives from tonight as well as the keys to victory in Game 2 below.

To read the full recap of tonight’s game, click here.


–          Dwight Howard. Dwight Howard. Dwight Howard.  Playoff career high 46 points and also pulled in 19 rebounds.  Outside of a BS technical foul call and 8 turnovers, Dwight did just about everything right.  Hard to blame him for the downfalls tonight when he literally carried the team (plus Collins and Pachulia) on his back.

–          Jameer Nelson’s 3rd quarter. Meer dropped in 20 in the 3rd quarter alone after scoring only one point in the first half.  He finished with 27 for the game after having only 1 point in the first quarter.

–          J.J. Redick returning.  Even though J.J. didn’t have a great game overall, his presence does allow the Magic to throw different matchups on the floor and will, eventually, provide more offensive firepower.


–          Production from anyone not named Dwight Howard or Jameer Nelson.  Stan Van Gundy steered every question he received tonight to the defensive failures, but the offensive woes were just as bad.  If you remove Dwight and Jameer from the box score, the Magic shot 8-34 from the field and scored only 20 points.  Further adding to this point, the remaining three starters were 4-21 for only 10 points. It doesn’t take a lot of analysis to figure out that you can’t win that way.

–          Lack of ball movement.  For large chunks of the game, the entire offensive flow just stopped.  Everyone knew Dwight was getting the ball so they seemed to just act disinterested in cutting and moving without the ball.  This of course leads to the defense not having to expend energy and tougher shots when they do come.

–          Every aspect of defense.  Orlando seemed confused with what they wanted to do and Stan Van Gundy even pointed out post game that part of that fell on him.   He also pointed out that they couldn’t play anything they sent at us offensively.   That’s all fine and great that Stan wants to take the blame, but it starts with the guys on the floor.  With that being said, they do need to tighten up the defensive plan and figure some things out (double teams, hedging versus switching, help defense rotations).

–          Matchups.  The Hawks are a big team and because of that create a lot of matchup problems.  Joe Johnson took the Jason Richardson, J.J. Redick and Quentin Richardson trio to school for 25 points.  I asked Stan after the game if he would have to potentially go to Q more in the series and he wasn’t really fully able to answer. Redick gives you offense and Richardson gives you defense.  It’s hard to make the appropriate matchup adjustments when trailing by 15+ points for much of the game.

The randomtives and keys to game 2 success are available after the jump:


–          Dwight Howard became the Orlando Magic’s all-time playoff scoring leader tonight.  Dwight now has 1017 career playoff points in 52 games. He passed Penny Hardaway (979). Dwight owns the franchise playoff records for points, rebounds, blocks and games played.

–          Dwight also tied a franchise playoff record for points in a game with 46.  Tracy McGrady scored 46 points against the Detroit Piston on April 20th, 2003.

–          Hedo Turkoglu moved into 5th place on the Magic’s all-time scoring list after his monster 6 point game.  He passed Nick Anderson to reach the top-5.

–          The Magic are now 11-13 all-time in Game 1’s during their playoff history. 9-6 at home.

–          The Magic are 1-10 in playoff series when losing Game 1.  That one series victory was against Philly in 2009 – the same year they went to the Finals.

5 Keys to Game 2

  1. See those negatives listed above? TURN THEM INTO POSITIVES.
  2. Magic must get production from anyone on the team not named Dwight Howard or Jameer Nelson.
  3. Keep Joe Johnson off the free throw line and return him to Iso-Joe.
  4. Use better ball movement to create more efficient shots.
  5. Don’t panic – This is ONE game in a seven game series. If the Magic make some basic corrections, which they are more than capable of, then this series is still in the favor of Orlando. Magic in 6 still stands.

Game 2 will be Tuesday night at 7:30 here at the Amway Center. Find the best ticket deals anywhere online here.

Brian Serra is the Chief of Shaking Ones Head for Howard the Dunk and the founder of Magic Basketball Online. You can follow him on Twitter and add MBO on Facebook to get the latest story updates!  You can now download the MBO app in the Android Marketplace by searching for Magic Basketball Online.