Monday, April 25, 2011
No Magic fingers in loss to Hawks
The Orlando Magic's playoff shooting struggles continued as they fell into a 3-to-1 series hole against the Atlanta Hawks.
The Magic were just 2-for-23 from three-point range in Sunday's Game 4. According to Elias, the 8.7 percent made from three-point range was the worst in a playoff game in NBA history, minimum 20 attempts. For the series, Orlando is shooting just 21.9 percent from deep. The Magic shot 36.6 percent during the regular season.
While this would be crushing to any team, it's even more so to the Magic who relied on the three-point shot more than any team in the NBA this season. During the 2010-11 campaign Orlando scored 28.4 percent of its points off three point field goals and averaged over nine made three's per game.
In its four games against the Hawks the Magic are averaging just over five three-point field goals per contest. That's not going to get it done.
Orlando's perimeter game in general struggled Sunday as the Hawks outscored the Magic 48-to-16 on field goal's from 15-plus feet from the basket. Atlanta shot 46.7 percent from that range while Orlando struggled.
The main culprits for the Magic were Hedo Turkoglu and Jameer Nelson who combined to go 1-for-14 from beyond that distance.
Yet in crunch time the Magic still went to Turkoglu who missed a potential game-tying three as time expired. He finished 2-for-12 from the field, including 0-for-6 from three.
While the rest of his teammates struggled, Dwight Howard continued his strong play on the inside. He finished with 29 points and 17 rebounds doing most of his damage on post-up plays.
He has averaged 20.7 points per game on post-up plays in the playoffs, and in Game 4 video footage showed he scored 20 of his 29 points on such plays. 17 of those points came in the second-half.
However this series has proved it takes more than one player to win in the postseason. Orlando may have found a potential supporting cast member for Howard in Gilbert Arenas who came off the bench to score 20 points in Game 4.
Entering Sunday, Arenas hadn’t contributed much against Atlanta in the first round playoff series. However, he sparked Orlando in Game 4 as a pick-and-roll ball handler, scoring 13 of his 20 points in that fashion.
Still while Arenas was good off the bench, Hawks' reserve Jamal Crawford continued to be even better as he led Atlanta with 25 points.
Crawford is just the third player in the last 20 seasons to score 20 points off the bench in four consecutive playoff games in a single postseason.
He joined Nick Van Exel for the Mavericks in 2003 and Kevin McHale of the Celtics in 1991 as the only players to do so. Neither of those players was able to do it in five straight.
Crawford is now averaging 24.0 points per game this postseason, the highest average for any bench player in a single postseason over the last 15 seasons.