October 28, 2008. That was the last time the Atlanta Hawks came into and Orlando and exited with a win. In a game that seemed to lack energy for 3 quarters the Hawks finally came out on top in Orlando by a score of 80-74. The lack of energy on the Magic’s behalf can be blamed in part on the stomach virus that the team dressing the league minimum 8 players in the previous two games. Dwight Howard, J.J. Redick, and Mickael Pietrus returned tonight but didn’t look right. Point guard Jameer Nelson sat out again in this one and was sorely missed. Defense anchored the flow of this game and in the end it was Orlando’s inability to score that led to the Hawks win.
Josh Smith and Al Horford paced the Hawks for three and half quarters before Hawks guards Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford closed the Magic out with clutch shots down the stretch. Bibby hit 2 tough 3′s in the face of Magic defenders, almost if Bibby had flashed back to his Sacramento King days. Crawford had J.J. Redick on skates and blew by him on 3 key possessions forcing Coach Van Gundy to call upon Pietrus for help. While the Magic suffered defensively In the waning minutes they were also unimaginative on the offensive end as well. The Magic clearly lacked offensive direction without Jameer Nelson’s leadership on the floor. Instead it was Vince Carter, an out of sync and sluggish Dwight Howard, and the woeful Rashard Lewis who tried to keep the Magic in the game to no avail. Carter was able to score on a few driving layups to keep the game close but when the Hawks defense forced him to give the ball up, Lewis and Howard were ineffective with Lewis missing a layup that would have cut the Hawks lead to 4 at one point late in the game.
Hopefully Nelson will be back in the next game and Howard, Redick, and Pietrus will return to form as this virus has the Magic losers of 2 straight. With the West Coast trip looming later this week the Magic can ill afford to be short handed much longer.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com