Atlanta Hawks/Orlando Magic Game Review: Four Quarters

More of this please---thank you.


For three quarters, the Atlanta Hawks traded punches with the Orlando Magic, trailing by a mere point, 84-83. Alas, the Hawks real nemesis, the fourth quarter, was yet to be played.

The 4th Quarter numbers? 28-15, Magic. The Hawks managed (24) percent shooting with a whopping (2) assists. The Magic almost made as many three pointers (4) in the quarter as the Hawks had field goals (5).

The Hawks looked lost for a loooooooong stretch of time on the court, and clearly needed the offensive presence of Mike Bibby on the floor to calm things. Problem with that: Jamal Crawford had made 6 of 11 shots and was answering some of the Magic's big runs with swishes of his own.

Jamal's Fourth Quarter: 1-7, 2-2, 4 points and one of the Hawks pair of assists.

Oof.

"It was weird...we had the same exact shots we had all game and they just didn't go down for us...the well went dry," explained Jamal.

The Hawks go back to Atlanta trailing 2-0 in the best of seven series, and while they showed they can match the Magic for three quarters, league rules dictate they do it for four to win. They'll have to starting in Game Three, or the old saying that a series doesn't begin until the home team loses a game will mean an almost impossible deficit for the Hawks to overcome.

The categories and quotes (in bold) from the game after the jump:

Game Over When: The Hawks had as many turnovers (2) as assists (2) in the entire fourth quarter.

Worth Noting: Al Horford was ballin', scoring (24) and grabbing (10) rebounds AND guarding Dwight Howard. (3) assists and (1) turnover. He was strong and was the emotional difference in the second quarter when he checked back in---and is the hope for the Hawks to win a game against Orlando.

Also: The Hawks were better offensively than they've been this season against Orlando, but they fizzled big time in the fourth quarter, where they went from playing the Magic nearly even (1.25 ppp to 1.24) to allowing an unofficial 1.33/.71 fourth quarter. Too bad. The Hawks were angry and aggressive until the passive fourth quarter, where Woodson had his explanation for the team's falloff.

"We had some good looks...I don't know if fatigue set in or what but....We couldn't make a shot and we couldn't get stops. We got away from what we were doing. We got to put (4) quarters together to beat this team."

We Saw It:

The Hawks gave way on both ends in the fourth quarter in Game Two, amassing (2) whole assists in the quarter versus (2) turnovers. They allowed the Magic to control the pace and tempo of the game and stopped attacking on their own offensive end.

When the offense stalls, the lack of a fourth quarter point guard hurts the team. Jamal Crawford shot well, but does not help when he can't guard a player like Jameer Nelson (20 points, 6 assists) and can't run a team like Mike Bibby. The fourth quarter needs a QB. Point guards are floor generals and the Hawks don't have a long term answer for this key position.

Johnson: "Mike's our general, man...we kind of go as he goes. He keeps us in good sets..he knows when to run and when to run it...and he's very vocal. We really needed Mike to keep the floor balanced."

Woodson: "We haven't gone that route very often (not having Bibby in at all in the fourth)--I let things go that route tonight. Mike will be back in on Saturday...Jamal was playing pretty well...we just didn't play well in the fourth."

Horford: "I think that we weren't in the right places at the right time..and our spacing wasn't too good in the fourth...I felt there were a lot of times in the fourth we were all in one area."

Josh Smith had as frustrating a game that a man who put 18 points, 9 boards, and 3 assists could have. Jump shots, lapses of effort, and (5) turnovers gave fans the usual rainbow of characteristics one has witnessed from J-Smoove. To his credit, it was Smoove who corrected me when I asked him about his (4) turnovers.

"We stopped being aggressive and attacking the rim in the fourth quarter," said Smith. "We need to make our cuts harder, setting screens harder, and just keep playing aggressive."

Regarding the turnovers: "Five. I felt I kept it down until I had some careless turnovers in the second half.....I gotta be able to take my time more in the second half."

Dwight Howard shot (18) free throws and made (13)--for a (72) percent clip. Maybe the Hawks should have deployed a Hack-a-Pietrus strategy (3-8).  Howard also grabbed (17) rebounds. The Hawks did force (4) turnovers from Howard--and (5) personal fouls. They bloodied the big man's nose to the point where they used a couple of plugs in his nose to stop the bleeding, rendering Superman to resemble the Magic's mascot, Stuff the Magic Dragon.

Known Hawk Hater Vince Carter, who auditions for a post-career role with a network (TNT, ESPN) with his Q&A sessions after the games, scored 24 points and even got 7 rebounds, part of a quartet of Magic players who scored (20) or more, with Rashard Lewis completing the team.

Almost a We Can't Believe winner, the Hawks had a mere (4) fast break points--all on free throws.

We Can't Believe We Saw It:

It happened with 1:27 left in the first quarter. Between saving Al Horford from getting his second foul in a game called tightly by the officials, (Woody told us pre-game that, unlike Game One, he would wait to see how the game was being called before he decided on his big rotation), Zaza Pachulia having (2) fouls, Jason Collins having THREE fouls, there was little Woodson could do except turn to the one man that could keep Mario West away from his (10) seconds of playing time--Randolph Morris. Morris checked in and became the fourth Hawks center of the quarter. Amazing.

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