We didn’t really learn anything new about Orlando in this game because Atlanta has yet to seriously test the Magic. You know it’s bad when I find myself flipping between the PGA Players Championship and the NBA playoffs.
The Magic continued to prove that they are a serious contender, and maybe even the favorite to become the 2010 NBA champions. At the very least, they are certainly playing the best ball of anyone in the playoffs.
Game Three was a "do or die" game for Atlanta, but they looked done before they even stepped on the court. Here are five (mostly basketball related) takeaways from the depressingly uncompetitive Game Three in Atlanta.
Johnson's coach, Mike Woodson knows he is going to be fired. His players have tuned him out. At this point, Woody doesn't seem to care.
But one person that should have been motivated to bring it this series is Joe Johnson. Johnson, who also wants to leave Atlanta, entered this postseason with the opportunity to earn a max contract in free agency this summer. After an up and down series against Milwaukee, he needed to show consistency, leadership, and toughness in round two. Instead, he has been consistently awful.
He may still get big money, but his lack of urgency and intensity as the “leader” of a listless Atlanta squad showed me he is not even ready to be the second best player on a contender. His shooting was off and he did absolutely nothing to inspire or motivate his teammates.
As Johnson put it, "guys look to me for guidance. When I'm playing like that, it's almost impossible for us to win." Couldn't have said it better myself.
After three games, Johnson is shooting 12-42. Yuck. Even worse, he isn’t distributing the ball and making his teammates better. Who knows how many millions his performance has cost him.
I can't confirm that Doris is trying to augment her vocabulary by adding a new word every day. But if that is the case, then “abject” was Saturday’s word of the day. She must have been excited, because the Hawks’ performance gave her plenty of opportunities to use her new word.
Burke dropped “abject” twice in the first quarter and once again in the second half. Each time, she used it to describe Atlanta, which gives you a pretty good idea of how the Hawks played.
However, just because Atlanta’s players may have shown an abject lack of effort doesn’t mandate using the word thrice in one telecast.
I always think it’s funny when a commentator latches on to a word that isn’t in common usage and means something slightly different than how the commentator uses it.
Doris, thank you for upping the unintentional comedy level in an otherwise boring game.
What?! I thought the NBA cares!
I know Atlanta isn’t the most supportive pro basketball town, but the Hawks should know that’s no way to reward paying customers.
The Hawk faithful arrived in white out attire and were ready to pump up the volume and propel their team to victory. The Hawks players looked like they had been ripping bongs all morning.
Talk about an abject performance! The only players who showed any spark were the pitiable Mike Bibby, who just can’t get it done at this point, and the ever feisty Jamal Crawford.
Here’s what Joe Johnson said about the crowd’s hostility in the second half: "That doesn't bother me. I could care less if they showed up or not." Think he's ready to get out of Atlanta?
Atlanta’s players surrendered their only advantage, a riled up crowd, like France surrenders cities. I don’t blame the fans for checking out midway through the first half, they lasted about three games longer than the Hawk players.
*this word is the registered trademark of Doris Burke inc.
We all know that Stan Van Gundy is hungry... for bacon wrapped bacon. But his team is showing a similar desire to win this post season.
All series long the Magic have avoided the pitfalls of success.
They came into the series having won six of their last seven games against the Hawks. Instead of taking a victory for granted, they splattered the Hawks guts all over Amway Arena in Game One.
Before Game Two, they were primed for a let down after dismantling the Hawks in a 43-point victory. Atlanta even came out swinging, but the Magic coolly iced the game with a dominant fourth quarter.
Game Three in Atlanta, where the Hawks are 34-7 this season, presented a dangerous opportunity for the Hawks to get back in the series. Instead the Magic were razor sharp from the opening tip, coasting to another easy victory.
What does this tell us? The Magic are focused and they want a championship, bad. I love their urgency, which shouldn’t wear them down emotionally or physically because they are so deep and have only played seven games in the post season.
Which brings me too...
What is the Magic's major flaw? That their ultra dominant big man can’t make his free throws?
After seven games we can safely say Howard is less inept on offense and that his team can overcome even major lapses in Howard’s play.
We can also say that Howard has a tiny head and is built like a MonStar.
The Magic play fantastic defense, never miss a rotation, have perfect offensive spacing, whip the ball around the perimeter with outstanding passing, have six above average three point shooters, and play focused, intense ball for the entire game.
Remember, Jameer Nelson, arguably their best player in the postseason, was playing with one arm in last years Finals.
What else can you say? They are simply the best team in the league right now. Will this transfer to a championship? That, I’m not ready to say.
But the Magic don’t have down games. So if you are going to beat them, you are going to have to play four excellent games. How many other contenders can you count on to do that?
*Obligatory Space Jam reference.