Last year the Magic and Hawks met in the second round of the playoffs, the result was one of the most lopsided playoff series ever as the Magic destroyed the Hawks. This year they meet again, in a first round tilt.
Both of these teams have been overlooked this season as contenders and deservedly so. The Magic made more news for their trades than on the court success while the Hawks have seemed to have peak.
Atlanta responded to Orlando’s dominance in the playoffs by winning the season series 3-1 surprisingly. Including a game in which Jason Collins of all people frustrated Magic superstar Dwight Howard.
Perhaps the most overlooked series in the east, this series has the potential to be a good one if Atlanta can continue its success against Orlando. Orlando still seems to be making adjustments since those two trades which could lead to an upset.
X Factor: Orlando’s ability to get Dwight Howard the ball.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing about the Orlando Magic is that they have a center with the ability to dominate the game, yet we still see Jameer Nelson, Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson and others hoisting up 3’s. Simply put, Dwight Howard doesn’t get the ball nearly as much as he should.
Howard has the ability to grab a series by the throat as evident during his 2009 playoff run when he took Orlando to the Finals. To be successful during these playoffs the Magic must utilize Superman to his full potential, if not they are playing right into the Hawks’ hands.
Despite Collins’ success, the belief that Howard can be stopped by any member of the Hawks is outlandish; if Orlando gets the ball to their big man this should be an easy series for them.
Prediction: Magic in five
Simply put, Dwight Howard will be too much for this Hawks team on both ends of the court once again. Atlanta’s only hope is to speed the tempo of the game up and attempt to entice the Magic guards to take the shots rather than Howard.
At the end of the day though, Howard and the Magic will move on to an interesting match up with Chicago, while the Hawks will continue to be one of the league’s most talented pretenders.