"Almost need the perfect game to beat this team."Josh Smith, defining success down:
"We have to look at the bright side. We played hard and we didn’t just let them roll over us."Jamal Crawford lends support:
"We came in their place and were down one entering the fourth quarter. That shows you we are right there."Al Horford on the first half:
"I think we had more movement going around instead of keeping the ball on one side and playing isolation. We were moving the ball and just sharing it. When we play like that, we are at our best."The second half was the Hawks if not at, near, their worst: All-NBA Third-Teamer Joe Johnson was 1-7, Jamal Crawford was 4-11 (6-6 FTA), Josh Smith was 4-8 (4-4 FTA) but with 5 turnovers, Horford was 3-5 with 2 assists when not sitting next to his disqualification-phobic head coach.
Michael Cunningham mentions an obvious flaw (and one without a short-term solution) of this Hawk team:
VC, Jameer Nelson, Pietrus, and Rashard Lewis combined to make 27 of 51 shots. I still think the Magic just has too many good perimeter players and the Hawks have too many bad matchups out there. That’s something that needs to be addressed in the offseason.Kevin Pelton on Atlanta's porous defense:
The problem for the Hawks ultimately came down to their inability to get stops. Aside from a 17-point second quarter, they allowed 95 points in the other three periods in what was a very slow-paced game (featuring eight and a half fewer possessions than Game One). The Magic got anything it wanted on offense, whether from the paint or on the perimeter. Orlando shot an incredible 64.4 percent (29-45) on two-point attempts and turned it over but nine times. The result was a 135.4 Offensive Rating the Phoenix Suns would envy.HawkStr8Talk on Josh Smith's effort:
Kudos to Hubie Brown for doing what Mike Woodson should have done 2-3 years ago and publicly called out Josh Smith for dogging it during this game. Josh Smith should have been benched for his play in the first 4 minutes of the 3rd quarter. And by benched, I mean - for the rest of the game. I'm sorry, but I will not lose with players who aren't committed to the team and to the game. And this from someone who has always thought of Josh Smith as my favorite Hawks player.Peachtree Hoops on Josh Smith's mindset:
Josh is always right, and when he is wrong, it clearly does not matter.Feel free to nominate your favorite Game 2 Josh Smith memory* in the comments. For me, it's a narrow decision between stepping out of bounds while trying to launch a three-pointer in the fourth quarter and falling to the ground grasping his face (after being touched there several beats and part of a play earlier) rather than getting back on defense.
*You needn't specify which time the ESPN cameras caught him strolling back on defense.
At SI.com, Frank Hughes views bad body language as a team-wide problem:
Even though they were within striking distance for most of the game, the Hawks appeared to be defeated as soon as the Magic made a 9-0 run at the start of the second half.Ben Q. Rock gives Vince Carter his due:
Though Howard scored more points and drew more attention, Carter is the player who really put Orlando over the top tonight. After a first half in which he deferred, Carter asserted himself in the second, scoring 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting and making arguably the game's defining play. Early in the fourth quarter, Williams scooped up his third offensive rebound of the night and went back up to score, but Carter spiked his offering from behind. He made the outlet pass, and just seconds later, stepped into a trailing, delayed transition three-pointer from the right wing that gave the Magic a 6-point lead and knocked the roof off Amway Arena. And he shredded the Hawks in the halfcourt running the high pick-and-roll with Howard: as ESPN analyst Hubie Brown so beatifully illustrated, the Hawks kept sending Carter's defender over the screen in order to take away the three-point shot, so Carter just continued driving to the bucket, which forced Horford to decide whether to step over to cover him or to stick with the rolling Howard. It's how Carter got free for two huge dunks and several more lay-ins. He was squarely in attack mode tonight, or at least for the final 24 minutes.Eddy Rivera continues this train of thought at Magic Basketball:
[T]he Magic were able to turn a close game into a blowout before cruising to an easy victory by running the 2/5 pick and roll with Carter and Howard on almost every possession. Because Howard was having his way on the low block throughout the evening no matter who was defending him, Atlanta was forced to compensate and keep an extra eye on him as he was rolling to the basket. And because the Hawks almost always fought over the screen since they were concentrating on taking away the three-point shot the entire game, that opened things up for Carter offensively and he was able to make the Hawks pay by being an efficient playmaker.Finding a play that works and running it until the other team stops it? (Or, in this case, until the game ends.) The Atlanta Hawks say, "That's unpossible."
That play was the difference in the fourth quarter and that play was the difference in Game 2.
Zach Harper (#2) breaks down Orlando's 21-3 fourth quarter run:
During a seven-minute stretch of the fourth quarter, the Hawks scored just three points while allowing 21 points to Orlando. The reason for this lack of Hawks offense had a lot to do with the types of shots they were settling for. Atlanta took seven jumpers (six off the dribble) during this scoring drought but only managed to make one of them. It also had two forced post moves by Josh Smith that weren't exactly good shots and a layup attempt off an offensive rebound from Marvin Williams that Vince Carter emphatically swatted away.Al Horford:
The Hawks fell right into the trap of the Magic defense and went away from what worked for them during the first three quarters. When Atlanta was scoring well it was because it moved the ball and found the open shooters. The Hawks utilized spot-up shooters who knocked down timely 3-pointers in the first three quarters. When they allowed Orlando to make their big run in the fourth quarter, they had too much one-on-one play that resulted in forced jumpers. And this is what Orlando does so well.
"I think we realized we had to play harder than we did. I think that we we got away from our game plan in the first game and we learned from that. We tried to put a whole game together tonight and just couldn't do it."