Atlanta Hawks: Joe Johnson Leads the Team to a 3-1 Lead Over Orlando Magic

Will BrownContributor IApril 25, 2011

Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images
Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks have done it again.

After being absolutely dominated last year in the postseason by the Orlando Magic, Joe Johnson and the squad have gone ahead in the opening round series 3-1.

The 88-85 win last night was not a pretty one by any stretch of the imagination as both teams combined to go eight for 38 from three-point range (the Hawks were six for 15). Both teams went through stretches where they just traded awful shots early on in the shot clock. This particularly kept the game close as the Hawks had a few stretches where they could have gone up 15-20 points.

The Hawks will take it though, because a win is a win in the playoffs.

Should this come as a surprise? Some would say so because of the sweep last year, but the Hawks did go 3-1 against the Magic in the regular season. They still came in to the playoffs with most people giving them little chance to move on.

While they still haven't officially moved on, it seems all but wrapped up.

The Hawks have outplayed the Magic by a pretty good deal over the series, as Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson seem to be the only players that didn't think they would come in and dominate the Hawks again.

While Howard had a great game one and great series, he can't do it on his own. So far, he hasn't been able to do it with Nelson helping him out.

While Johnson was clutch down the stretch by knocking down free throw after free throw in the fourth quarter, Jamal Crawford again came off the bench and gave the team a huge boost by scoring 25 points. He has scored at least 23 points in every game in the series.

Johnson still did good work overall in the game by scoring 20 points to go along with nine rebounds and one assist. Some fans have been skeptical of his playoff performances in the past by Johnson is really trying to put them to rest this year, as he is averaging 20 points, 6.5 rebounds and four assists a game.

Al Horford and Josh Smith combined for 23 points and 22 rebounds in the win, helping control the paint a bit from Howard, who scored 29 points and grabbed 17 rebounds.

Game 5 is back in Orlando on Tuesday night and the Magic will be trying to prolong the series in front of the home crowd.

Will they do it or will the Hawks take the series in five games and get prepared for their next series? I wouldn't be surprised to see the Magic take the next one, but even if they do I don't see them coming in to Atlanta and beating the Hawks in Game 6.

Time will tell though and Hawks fans should enjoy this win until then.