Quick Recap for those who didn’t watch it….
Things got sour early for the Hawks in the first quarter as Al Horford committed two (one was questionable) fouls within 3 minutes into the game. For those who don’t know, Coach Larry Drew sits out a player for the rest of the first half once they commit 2 fouls. That being said, Al Horford only played 02:10 minutes in the first half because he got two fouls. Good move? Not so much. At first, the abscence of Al didn’t seem to matter. Not only did the Hawks not fall behind without Al, they actually took the lead. The Hawks’ offense wasn’t the reason though. They struggled in the halfcourt against the Magic’s defense. Isolations and the slow ball movement made it tough for the Hawks to see any shot go in. Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford actually bailed the Hawks’ horrendous offense two times in the first quarter as both made a 30 foot bomb that hit nothing but net. It was actually the Hawks’ defense that kept the Hawks competitive in the first quarter. Jason Collins alone made Dwight turn the ball over 3 times (out of his 4 in the 1st) by poking the ball loose inside the paint when Dwight was backing him down. Because of the defense, the Hawks stayed competitive against the Magic. Because of the two long balls by Jamal and Joe Johnson, the Hawks took a six point lead after one quarter.
In the second quarter, the Hawks actually extended their lead, thanks to a Marvin Williams lucky but amazing tip in 15 feet away from the basket, a Josh Smith hook shot that bounced in the rim about 5 times before going in, and Jamal Crawford staying hot. The Hawks extended their lead all the way up to 10 points within 7 minutes left remaining in the second quarter with a Jamal Crawford mid range jumper that didn’t seem to fail. However, after Stan Van Gundy called timeout after that play, that lead never extended for the Hawks. The Magic started going inside, getting offense rebounds, and getting help from the refs after the timeout. Because of that, the Magic eventually took the lead in the 2nd quarter and extended it all the way up to six points by the end of the 2nd quarter. In the 2nd, the Magic scored 32 points. Out of the 32 points, 30 of them came from either inside the paint or from the free throw line. The Magic attempted 15 free throw shots and made 12 of them. Also, the Orlando Magic killed the Hawks in the boards. The Magic grabbed 16 OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS in the first half while the Hawks only grabbed 15 TOTAL REBOUNDS in the first half. That’s not a stat the Hawks want to be a part of.
Third quarter, the Al Horford that only played 02:10 minutes in the first half came back in. Unfortunately, that didn’t translate into any success for the Hawks. Al Horford struggled to get any good looks and forced shots a couple of times. One has to wonder if Al Horford struggled because he never got into a rhythm in the first half because LD decided to sit him out for 20+ minutes in the first half. Anyway, it wasn’t only Al Horford that struggled. The whole Atlanta Hawks offense was. Again, ball movement was slow and isolations were too commonplace. Also, when the Hawks did go to the free throw line, they weren’t converting. Luckily for the Hawks, the Orlando Magic were struggling too. But the Orlando Magic were struggling in another way. The Magic were moving the ball around and getting good looks, they just couldn’t hit any of their open jumpers. The Magic only scored 17 points in the 2nd quarter while the Hawks only scored 12 points. The Orlando Magic led after three by 11 points.
Fourth quarter, as time kept ticking, the Hawks chances became slimmer and slimmer. The Hawks couldn’t cut into the deficit for most of the fourth quarter. However, eventually the Hawks cut a once 14 point Orlando Magic lead to 2 when the Hawks went on a 12-2 run. The Magic stopped that lead however when Zaza knocked the ball from Dwight leading to a loose ball scramble that eventually ended in Hedo Turkoglu making a layup that bounced around about 3 times and sat at the rim longer than usual. Next possession afterwards, Al Horford did his version of Iso-Joe dribbling and eventually taking a jumper that would miss. Next possesion afterwards, Hedo Turkoglu passed the ball to Jason Richardson who hit a dagger 3 to give the Magic a 7 point lead late in the game. Game eventually ended and….
Final Score: Hawks: 82 | Magic: 88
If you couldn’t tell by my recap, the Hawks lost this game because of these things (not in order of fault)…..
- Larry Drew’s two foul rule which led
- The lack of ball movement.
- The referees seemingly giving the Magic a lot of calls.
- Rebounding differential.
- Hawks missing too many free throws.
I know what you’re thinking, with all those things happening, the Hawks only lost by 6. Pretty good right? Well, still no. This game could have very well been a blowout if it wasn’t for….
- Joe Johnson’s 30 footer bailout in the first quarter.
- Jamal Crawford’s 30 foot buzzer beater at the end of the first.
- Marvin Williams’ tip in 15 feet away from the basket.
- Josh Smith’s hook shot that luckily bounced in.
- Joe Johnson’s other 30 foot bailout three pointer in the second quarter.
- You combine the first 5 bullet points and that adds to 13 lucky points in 5 shots.
- The Magic missed a ton of open shots throughout the game that would normally go in.
This game is hard to judge. One can say the Hawks could have easily won this game but one can say the Magic could have easily blown this game out. All I know is that I doubt anyone can say who will win this series just based on this game and who has the momentum going into Game 3.
Some things worth mentioning….
I was afraid when LD chose to sit Al that it would turn into one of those games when Al sits out for a chunk of minutes in the first half because of two fouls but end up with only 2 or 3 fouls at the end of the game. LD needs to tell Al and trust Al Horford that he won’t get a foul. Al is one of the smartest players on the team, you’ve got to trust him. The rule should always be if you have one more foul than what the quarter is, you’re in foul trouble. So yeah, Al deserved to sit for 10 minutes in the 1st quarter, but no, he should not have have sat the entire 2nd quarter. He only had two fouls, that’s nothing. Especially for a player that doesn’t foul that much or isn’t guarding anyone that draws fouls in a high rate.
- Dwight Howard played the full 48 minutes. That’s not a typo. Dwight took advantage of all the playing time, scoring 33 points (including 15-19 FTs) and grabbing 19 rebounds while Jameer Nelson (13) and Hedo Turkoglu (10) were the only two Magic players to hit double figures in points. Every Orlando player asides Dwight Howard hit just 18-66 from the field (.273)
- Jamal Crawford had a good game again. He finished with a team high 25 points and hit 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. His defense still wasn’t anything to brag about but his offensive output yesterday beats his defensive deficiencies yesterday. Josh Sith was the only starter was the only Atlanta starter to fnish 50% from the field, scoring 17 points in 8 for 14 shooting.
- Effort was great. I felt the Hawks never gave up. That’s something us Hawks fans should be proud about. Even with all the adversity they had to face, the Hawks stayed competitive against the Magic. I know some people will overreact about this loss, but they shouldn’t. No, this team should not restart from scratch and rebuild from the ground up just because they lost this. If they can keep up this level of competition, the Hawks will be in good shape.
Next up: On to Atlanta. The Hawks will host Game 3 of the series on Friday at Philips Arena. Game will be televised in ESPN. Please buy tickets!
Final Thought: Just buy tickets Hawks fans, please! I do not want to see blue jerseys scattered around Philips Arena on Friday. Buy your tickets and make it a Boston Celtics 2008 Playoff Series type of atmosphere. This Hawks team deserves it. They didn’t get the support in the regular season and it’s time that they do. They’re playing their butts off in this series and it would be nice to see the fans scream their butts off on Friday.