Atlanta's end-of-the-third-quarter defense: This shot really was the beginning of the end for the Hawks last night:
Granted, it was a tough shot. But Orlando inbounded the ball with less than six seconds left in the quarter. Atlanta only applied token pressure when Jameer Nelson started pushing the ball upcourt. Hell, Joe Johnson was backpedaling sideways before Nelson even got to him. That's not fundamental defense, folks. If the Hawks had pressured the ball handler, they might have avoided a pretty drastic momentum shift. Instead...
Atlanta's fourth quarter offense:Check it out: jump shots, turnovers and more jump shots. Of course, Orlando's offense was also pretty jumper-centric, but the Magic were hitting their shots. Not to go all Hubie Brown on you, but you can't win on the road in the playoffs by shooting nothing nothing but jumpers.
Atlanta's defense: Even though the Hawks kept things close, the reality is this: Teams usually lose games when they give up 112 points on 56 percent shooting. And unlike the Bobcats, they haven't been able to contain Dwight Howard or get him into early foul trouble. Pumaman played 39 minutes and finished with 29 points and 17 rebounds while going 8-for-9 from the field and 13-for-18 from the line.
And he did that with a busted nose.
For some historical perspective, Dwight Howard became the fourth player in the last 40 years to have at least 25 points and 17 boards while shooting 85 percent in a playoff game. The other guys were Shaq, Wilt and Wes Unseld.
Man, who looks this stuff up??
Speaking of which, the Magic have compiled the fourth highest scoring differential (+57) in the first two games of an NBA playoff series. Of course, their 43-point win in Game 1 kind of padded that stat, but still.
One last historic fail: Howard, Nelson, Rashard Lewis and Vince Carter all scored 20 or more points...and that was the first time the Magic ever had four players score at least 20 points in a playoff game.
Atlanta's offense: Um...41 percent shooting? Probably not gonna get it done. Also, the Hawks had only 4 fast break points. I thought this team was built to run?
Dwight Howard, quote machine: "I'm human. It's not like I'm built of metal. They did to me like they did the Wolverine. I bleed. I break bones."
By the way, I had to include this video of Dwight mocking LeBron's chalk toss:
Mike Bibby: This guy is done. Finished. Kaput. Mike Woodson played him only 14 minutes, and Bibby finished with 3 points and an assist. Dude looks like he's ready for the 50 and over league.
The Bizarro Logic for All-NBA Teams: Okay, so...the starting guards on the All-NBA First Team are Mamba and Pookie, and the starting backcourt for the Second Team includes Deron Williams and Steve Nash. Look, what NBA team starts two shooting guards? Or, for that matter, two point guards? How about designing the All-NBA Teams the way actual NBA teams are assembled? I know this isn't a new thing...but it still bugs me.
Oh, and Amar''''''e isn't a center!
Lacktion report: And now chris presents his "Is anyone even watching this series??" lacktion report:
Hawks-Magic: You get the feeling that Mike Woodson would love to just declare the series over after two games, and apparently so does Zaza Pachulia - four fouls in 7:04 earned a +4 suck differential and a 4:0 Voskuhl! Randolph Morris also meowed into the Voskuhl section tonight by garnering a 3:1 ratio in 5:59 by countering a board with a brick and three fouls.
For the alchemists, Ryan Anderson celebrated another clinical victory by fouling and bricking once each in 2:05 for a +2 that also earned a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl. Also sucking it up tonight was Brandon Bass, whose low note of the game came in just 62 seconds with a brick.