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Magic Soar Past Hapless Hawks

October 19, 2010

October 18, 2010

The Orlando Magic improved to 6-0 for the preseason Monday night with a 102-73 victory over the Atlanta Hawks and extended their preseason winning streak to an ever meaningless 20 straight games.  The Magic jumped out to an early 12-3 lead and never looked back against a Hawk team that looked like they were still sulking after last season’s playoff sweep.  Perhaps the Hawks players were simply too distraught by the lack of fan support tonight as it seemed like the majority of the Atlanta sports world must have been at the Braves playoff game home.  Actually, there were roughly 1000 more fans at the Magic’s open practice on Sunday than there was in the Philips Arena tonight to see the Magic face the Hawks (announced attendance of 7,571).  While the Hawks players and fans were disinterested in showing up tonight, it did not stop this Magic team which continues to look as committed and devoted as they possibly can.  Brandon Bass led the way with 17 points and 8 rebounds in only 20 minutes and Dwight Howard continued his usual steady play with 14 points and 13 rebounds.  More quick tidbits:

  • Dwight Howard nailed another jump shot tonight in the 1st quarter with Zaza Pachulia guarding him.  With Pachulia holding his arms by his side in preparation for a quick, strong move to the post, Dwight took a swift step-back jumper and drained it. Hand down, man down.
  • As mentioned above, Brandon Bass continued his outstanding play during the preseason.  He seems to be making plays out of nothing and always somehow finds a way to be around the ball.  Also, the Magic were running a lot of offense through Bass in the high post and allowing him to distribute the ball as appropriate.  Good signs for Bass and future playing time.
  • When Rashard Lewis is playing the SF position, as he did again in spurts tonight, the Magic generally have a huge advantage in size which allows Lewis to be effective in the post.   Look for the Magic to begin using this strategy a lot more often against undersized SF’s.
  • The Atlanta Hawks were attempting to run their new “motion” offense but as you can see from the score, it was ineffective.  Often they would go through the motions for 10-12 seconds and then whoever had the ball at that point would just take a bad jump shot.  The Hawks finished the night shooting 30.8% from the floor.
  • The biggest difference you see between Orlando and Atlanta, when it comes to intangibles, is the difference in body language.  The Hawks generally just look disinterested and almost like they just can’t stand playing with each other.  Meanwhile, on the other hand, the Magic players are going hard for all 48 minutes no matter who is in the game and cheering and giving full effort.  Stuff like that is the difference between an average team and a championship contender.

The next Magic game is back home in Orlando on Wednesday night against the Dallas Mavericks.  Game time is at 7PM and will be televised locally on Sun Sports.

 

Brian Serra is a contributing blogger at Howard the Dunk and the founder of MagicBasketballOnline.com.  You can follow/add him on Twitter and on Facebook.

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