Stan Van Gundy coached teams have never failed to make it into the 2nd round of any NBA playoffs. That trend still has a a breath of life left as the Magic humiliated Atlanta 101-76 in Game 5 of their first round series on Tuesday night. Puzzlingly the Orlando rout was not fueled by Dwight Howard but rather by the supporting cast of Jason Richardson, JJ Redick, and Ryan Anderson. J. Rich lead the Magic with 17 points after serving a one game suspension for taking a half punch at the ever annoying Za Za Pachulia. Redick added 14 points , Ryan Anderson added 11, and Howard was the best supporting actor in this Atlanta tragedy chipping in 8 points and 8 rebounds.
Howard picked up his 2nd foul at the 5:40 mark in the first quarter with the score 10-8 in favor of Orlando. His exit fueled an 11-1 Orlando run that pushed the Magic lead to 21-9. The game would never again get closer than that. JJ Redick ignited for 11 in the quarter and Atlanta’s offense went arctic. Howard didn’t make his first shot from the floor until the 4:48 mark of the 2nd quarter yet Orlando held a 46-23 lead at that point. Jason Richardson took control in the 2nd quarter finishing with 12 in the half to lead all scorers. Orlando’s balanced effort provided them with a seemingly insurmountably lead of 58-35 at the break. The Magic held Atlanta to just 34% shooting in the half and forced 8 Hawk turnovers. Josh Smith led the meager Atlanta attack with 11 and Jamal Crawford was held to 5 points on just 1-5 shooting bothered by the pesky defense of Jameer Nelson.
The 2nd half of this tilt was even more uninspiring than the first. Atlanta never got closer than 18 and they showed no interest in this game. The Hawks played like a team with the comforts of home waiting in the wings and as if this game was a complimentary stop on their way to the 2nd round. The Magic were intense from the opening possession and imposed their will on Atlanta with menacing defense and transition offense. Orlando finally made some shots and most notably their beloved 3′s. The Magic finished the game 11-26 from downtown and looked like the offensive threat they are capable of being. The series now shifts back to Atlanta where both teams will face pressure. The Hawks do not want to see the kiddie rides of Disney World again and should be at their best to close Orlando out at home. For the Magic each game is a game 7 scenario, win or go home. Can they deliver another balanced attack and send the series back to Orlando? Or will they return to the one man Magic show they have been in the previous 4 games. This is NBA playoffs and the Orlando Magic definitely know drama.
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