The Orlando Magic hoped to even their series with the Atlanta Hawks, but their efforts were ultimately futile. The Hawks' second attempt to put away their division rival proved to be more profitable than their first.
The Hawks built a six-point lead by halftime, but that lead grew and shrunk like an accordion in the second half, which ultimately resulted in a nail-biting three-point finish.
Atlanta was led by guard Joe Johnson, who accumulated a 23-point, 10-rebound double-double. His efforts were complemented by Al Horford, who also provided a double-double for the Hawks, and Jamal Crawford, who tacked on an additional 19 points of his own.
Although the Magic delayed the flight of the Hawks in Game 5, the Hawks, like the phoenix, rose from the ashes of defeat and are now soaring into the second round of the playoffs.
Hinrich provided an economical effort, knocking down four of his seven shot attempts from the field and two of his three attempts from behind the arc. His offensive efforts led to him scoring 11 total points in the game.
On defense, Hinrich's hands remained active, which allowed him to accumulate three steals. His efforts were especially helpful in the first half, as he relentlessly attempted to knock the ball out of Dwight Howard's hands on help defense.
Hinrich wasn't a big scorer in Game 6, but his defensive efforts earned him his grade.
The grade may be a little harsh, but in a game when the Magic could have really used a big game out of Nelson, he put up mediocre numbers.
Nelson put up 11 points and six assists in Orlando's final game, which included a pair of clutch layups that came in the final 90 seconds of the fourth quarter. Despite his hearty efforts as the clock wound to a close, his efforts were not enough to save the Magic from their ultimate doom.
Joe Johnson struggled from the start, only making one of his first eight shot attempts. He finished strong, shooting 10-of-25 from the field, resulting in a 23-point, 10-rebound double-double. Johnson also dished out a few sweet assists to open teammates, which only further justify his grade.
Johnson's performance wasn't awe-inspiring, but it was just the potion that allowed his team to end the Magic in Game 6.
Richardson didn't shoot well in Game 6. He made two of his seven shots from the field and only one of his four attempts from three-point territory.
Richardson finished with seven points and a lone rebound, which left me unimpressed. After the Magic suffered without him in Game 4, he posted a redeeming 17-point performance in the Magic's Game 5 win against the Hawks. J-Rich seemed as if he was unaware that there was a Game 6 to this series, resulting in a lackluster performance.
Josh Smith was entertaining in the first half of the game, providing a pair of nice dunks, but ultimately he struggled to be an impact player in Game 6.
Smith struggled to find his stroke, knocking down only three of his first 14 attempts. He finished the game with only eight points and four rebounds—not his best performance.
Despite his subpar offensive production, Smith denied Jason Richardson the opportunity to tie the game, which certainly influenced his grade.
Hedo Turkoglu struggled to find his rhythm earlier in the series, and from the onset of the game it didn't look like he was going to find it in Game 6 either. At first, Turkoglu took some very questionable shots, but he finished with 15 points.
In addition to his scoring, Turkoglu was responsible for the pass that led to Dwight Howard's first alley-oop of this series.
In the final two minutes of the first half, Turkoglu was responsible for a steal that led to him knocking down one of Orlando's two first-half three-pointers. He was also responsible for the three-pointer that brought the Magic within one with 4:37 left in the third quarter.
Overall, Turkoglu put up a decent performance, but it wasn't enough for the Magic to ground the Hawks.
Again, Jamal Crawford was responsible for another impressive playoff performance. Though he only knocked down three of his 10 three-point attempts, two of them came in the fourth quarter.
Crawford also came up with two steals, which helped propel Atlanta to its Game 6 victory over the Magic.
Orlando's bench, which was responsible for a hefty amount of its three-point production in the regular season, only made one of seven three-point attempts in Game 6.
J.J. Redick and Gilbert Arenas accounted for six points apiece, and Ryan Anderson contributed five points of his own. The Magic's bench, which accounted for 49 of their points in Game 5, really slouched in Game 6 and is likely a reason that they were ousted by the Hawks in the first round.
Al Horford recorded his fourth double-double of the post season, scoring 10 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. He provided a stout performance to complement the efforts of Joe Johnson and was a big reason Orlando struggled to collect rebounds in the first half.
Overall, Horford wasn't super impressive, but it was certainly valuable to Atlanta achieving its fourth playoff victory.
There was only so much Superman could do to save the Magic from the fierce talon and fiery talent of the Hawks. Howard was responsible for his fourth playoff double-double this season, scoring 25 points and snatching 15 rebounds.
Howard recorded his first alley-oop of the playoffs in Game 6, but that still wasn't enough clip the wings of the Hawks.
Howard's hopes of winning an NBA title have been delayed a season, as Atlanta proved to be his kryptonite.
The game-winning block provided by Josh Smith.
Atlanta's defense proved to be stifling. Hinrich was a nuisance for Howard in the first half, resulting in Orlando committing a fair number of turnovers. Other members of Atlanta's team also forced a number of turnovers, which allowed the Hawks to build an early lead against Orlando.
Though the lead built by the Hawks was eventually reduced to three, they limited the Magic to 36 points in the first half and 81 points in the game. Also, Josh Smith denied Jason Richardson's shot attempt that aimed to tie the game in its closing moments and was the decisive gesture that ended the Magic's season.
Orlando's defense, which boasts the NBA Defensive Player of the Year from the past three seasons, produced eight steals to match the eight steals forced by its opposition.
Unfortunately, Dwight Howard and the Magic allowed the Hawks to grab 14 offensive rebounds, including one that fell into the hands of Jamal Crawford in the game's closing moments and allowed him to get to the free-throw line for two easy points.
Atlanta's offensive rebounding resulted in numerous second-chance scoring opportunities and helped them finish off the Magic.
Ultimately Orlando's defense only surrendered 84 points, but that was still four too many points than it would have taken for the Magic to win Game 6 and extend their opening-round series to a Game 7.