Oh, they did much more than beat the Magic—they revealed the Magic's biggest weakness: the whole team excluding Dwight Howard.
It may seem rash to base the series off of one game, but it's hard to ignore such an eye-opening game. I mean the Magic were supposed to be the better team, correct? Wrong.
The Hawks may have been running off adrenaline, but beating a No.4 seed such as the Magic so thoroughly that Magic fans actually booed after the game suggests that without an earlier 15-point performance from Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu or Jason Richardson, this team is in for a rough series.
Losing by 10 really didn't recap the story of the game. The Hawks finished the game shooting a blazing 51.4 percent from the field. At some points they were shooting even higher.
The story of the game really wasn't the fact that Dwight scored a career-high 46 points; it was the fact that the rest of the Magic team couldn't make a bucket if their lives depended on it. Especially Turkoglu and Richardson, who combined for a dismal 4-of-17 from the field.
You can say the outcome of the game depended on the red-hot shooting from the Hawks, or you can agree that the Hawks are the overall better team in terms of both talent and personnel.
It really is a shame to see Dwight doing so much and receiving so little. Since the 2009 NBA Finals, the Magic's play quality seems to have dropped. For whatever reason, they seem to rely too much on Dwight. For this reason, the Magic have a very good chance of being knocked out in the first round of playoffs by an Atlanta Hawk team that has been labeled overrated during the regular season.
One positive came out of this game for the Magic, and it wasn't their defense. Actually, it was the shining of Nelson in the second half. Yes, it might have come too late, but it saved the Magic from an even more embarrassing loss to the Hawks. Without Nelson's 27-point performance—which came mostly in the second half—the Magic might have lost by 20. Nonetheless, this team needs to sit down and have a good talk before the next game.
What Did We Learn?
We learned that the Magic aren't the team we once saw two years ago in the Finals. We learned that the Hawks are a much better team than expected and we learned that Turkoglu isn't showing up in crunch time like he is supposed to do.
All in all, the future of the series for the Magic is looking very bleak. Unless the rest of the Magic team can back Dwight's efforts in these next two games, the Hawks—better team between the two—will come out on top.