--Pat Garrity brings up a great point on the first or second possession of the game. He said you can always post up Dwight at the end of the possession. This seemed to be the strategy early as Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu saw the first three shots of the game. Game One definitely showed how Orlando needs to keep everyone involved offensively to keep the focus and energy level high on both ends of the floor.
--I understand taking Al Horford out after two quick fouls. I really do. But the Hawks need him on the floor. The Magic cannot guard him effectively with Brandon Bass or Ryan Anderson. Plus Horford's presence on the floor along with a center gives the Hawks the advantage with Josh Smith going up against Hedo Turkoglu. Larry Drew needed to recognize this. Big coaching fail in Game Two.
--An aggressive Jameer Nelson is a good Jameer Nelson. Especially when he pushes the pace -- something Orlando had great success with throughout this game.
--Everyone seemed a lot more dialed in and focused defensively in this game. Not perfect by any means. Kirk Hinrich got free from Jameer Nelson off the dribble for open pull ups. But much better rotations from Game One.
--Eventually the Magic are going to start hitting open 3-pointers... and eventually the Hawks will stop making these extremely difficult shots.
--A good sign of Orlando's hustle was the offensive rebounding. A lot of that was just pure effort. The Magic were first to a lot of 50/50 balls.
--Jason Collins was able to poke the ball away from Dwight Howard on three possessions in the first quarter. Howard was just doing a poor job protecting the ball, mainly because he was trying to bully his way to the rim. Howard might want to focus more on finessing his way past Collins and protecting the ball more. He also has to be more aware of who is going to dig down and try to pick the ball away from him. Atlanta has done a good job showing that threat without getting too far from Orlando's shooters.
--Very surprised how few pick and rolls Orlando is running. When the offense is struggling, it seems the thing to do is to get guys heading toward the basket somehow and get guys moving to make the defense work. I know that the Hawks like to switch on screens making it difficult to attack. But with Howard in there, you almost get a free double team and open somebody up by having Dwight drive down the floor.
--Gilbert Arenas is falling out of favor right now because of his high turnover rate and poor defense -- he does not do a good job fighting over screens. But I really like Arenas' two post up looks against Jamal Crawford. Arenas made just one of two, but got great looks. Might be a thought later in the series, but only if Arenas can improve his defense.
--Atlanta was 4 for 7 on 3-pointers in the first quarter, Orlando was 0 for 5. I have to imagine these numbers will fall/rise to their means eventually. I am going to keep telling myself this.
--Really the pick and roll does good things. First one in the second quarter, J.J. Redick comes around an Anderson screen, Anderson rolls to the basket and is there to tip it in. Great execution of the play and good work by both Redick (he was open, even though he missed) and Anderson.
--The Hawks built their 10-point lead by making shots and tough shots too. Magic were turning the ball over when they attacked and it caused them to settle as the Hawks lead grew.
--The J.J. Redick play occurred with 8:15 to go and Jameer Nelson's subsequent layup made it 32-25. Matt Guokas says it is those types of plays that can turn a series around. It definitely increased the energy within Amway Center and turned this game around.
--Howard with an easy dunk off a high pick and roll with Turkoglu. The Magic need to keep running this play and make the Hawks make difficult decisions on how to cover it on defense.
--I think it was on the Magic broadcast Saturday where it was said the Magic win when they push the pace and the Hawks would win if they could slow the pace down. The first two games were definitely played at a slower pace. But Orlando is extremely effective out on the break against Atlanta. Orlando has to be looking to break as much as possible.
--Jameer Nelson played an incredible game. Not from a scoring standpoint, or a rebounding standpoint, or even a distributing standpoint. He was just constant energy. His play in the fourth quarter obviously helped decide the game, but he was everywhere on the floor trying to get loose balls. The eight rebounds he got were a sign of that, but he was putting in every bit of effort that Dwight was all game.
--It is vitally important for the Magic -- especially Jameer Nelson -- to be thinking get to the rim first off the pick and roll. Where the Magic get in trouble is when the ball handler drives in, gets stuck and tries to pass the ball back out. Nelson has this problem in general. It is all about being decisive and agressive.
--Hedo Turkoglu did a great job defending Joe Johnson in the second quarter. Magic have to get Johnson to play the three so they can match these two up in Game Three.
--Magic just have to keep shooting. They are getting the looks they want, they just are not falling. Cannot be afraid to keep shooting. The 3-pointers should come off of penetration though, not just straight pull ups.
--Seriously they have to keep shooting. Magic are getting open looks from three and just missing. It might even be just a mental block at this point.
--This kind offensive performance for Atlanta might have led to a blowout loss last year. The Hawks have a lot more poise this year than they did last. They don't crumble when you push them and make them uncomfortable. Don't know if you could say that about this team last year.
--As good as Orlando hit the offensive glass in the first half, the Hawks did a pretty good job too. They were picking up long rebounds throughout the night and showed some of the same desire the Magic were showing throughout the game. Atlanta is definitely not going to go away easy.
--Ryan Anderson seems a bit out matched in this series. He really struggles to defend Al Horford -- about all he can do is foul -- and he is simply not making his shot. I understand he has got to be in there because no one else is available. Stan Van Gundy might have to find another way to use him.
--Seriously though, once the Magic start making shots at the rate they are used to making shots, the Hawks will be in big trouble. Of course that is assuming the Magic continue playing great defense and don't turn the ball over.
--I have to imagine Stan Van Gundy was very happy with his team after watching the game tape again. There are still things to clean up -- most notably turnovers -- but Orlando got a ton of good looks and played aggressively. At least until early in the fourth quarter, the Magic played a pretty good game.
--I cannot stress how many good looks Orlando is getting off of the pick and roll. Jameer Nelson is just so effective when running that play. Really makes the Hawks defense move and rotate.
--Jameer Nelson might have saved the game by diving on the floor and saving the loose ball wtih two minutes to play in the game. Turkoglu did a good job attacking the basket. Honestly, I think the Hawks comeback in the fourth quarter was as much a product of frustration over missed shots. The Magic started turning the ball over again, but otherwise they were missing shots and good shots. Not much to adjust to that. In the end, Orlando won the 50/50 balls in this one.
--Guokas brings up a good point late in the game -- neither team is doing a great job moving the ball. He is right that Orlando misseda lot of shots off good ball movement, but there are still a lot of one-on-one sets being run (RUN PICK AND ROLLS!).