Orlando Magic Blog

Group Blog talking about the NBA 2009 Eastern Conference Champions. Due to the amazing success of the 2009 playoff run comments are now frequently deleted to kill offensive comments, incoherence, or asininity. Comments can no longer be anonymous and require either a Blogger or OpenID account.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Great start to season by Atlanta puts them as favorite to win SE over Magic

With the Atlanta Hawks latest win, a 113-108 victory over Chicago on Tuesday, the Hawks are now 6-0 (one of two unbeaten teams left) and 2 1/2 games ahead of the Magic. Power forward Al Horford had a Dwight Howard-like night with 27 points, 17 rebounds, and 6 blocks. Former Magic starting guard Maurice Evans came off the bench to score 17 points on 7 of 9 field goals, including 3 of 4 three pointers.

Though the season is only two weeks old, Atlanta has shown that they are the best team in the SE division, without question. They have beaten four teams that made the playoffs last season, including impressive wins at Orlando, at New Orleans, and at home against Toronto, and are outscoring their opponents by an average of 98.8 to 89.5.

It's not easy to say this, but the Atlanta roster is superior to the Magic roster, at least right now, the way the two teams are playing. The Hawks have six players who average in double figures, and their bench depth is far superior to the Magic. The Hawks are without one of their best players in forward Josh Smith, who is out with an ankle sprain, but they haven't missed a beat, thanks to the other guys picking up the slack and their depth.

Let's compare the current team statistics for the Magic and Atlanta:

FG%: ORL 45.0% ATL 44.8%
3 PT FG%: ATL 39.5% ORL 31.3%
FT%: ATL 70.1% ORL 67.9%
REB: ATL 44.7 ORL 44.3
AST/TO: ATL 21.2/12.3 ORL 17.7/14.1
STEALS: ATL 8.0 ORL 7.3
BLOCKS: ATL 6.3 ORL 6.3
POINTS AGAINST: ATL 89.5 ORL 93.7
POINTS FOR: ATL 98.8 ORL 98.4

Those statistics illustrate how much better the Hawks are doing than the Magic. The Magic have a very slight advantage in only one category, FG%, and are tied in blocked shots. Atlanta has the advantage in every other category, including a distinct advantage in 3 pt%, FT%, assist/turnover ratio, and defense. I still think the Magic can have a good season, but all the guys need to step up and play like they're capable of playing (Rashard Lewis...hello??), be more consistent, and SVG needs to do a better job of coaching. If they don't, the SE division will be won by the Hawks easily, and the Magic will probably be a 5th or 6th seed (if that) in the playoffs.

That would be a far cry from the 50+ wins and a solid playoff run most of us were predicting before the season started.

Coach Mike Woodson deserves a lot of credit along with the players for the Hawks' dominant start, proving that taking Boston to a Game 7 last season in the first round was no fluke.

The Magic start a three game road trip tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder. All three games on this trip are winnable; I think it's imperative for the Magic to win two out of the three games at least.

For a complete preview of tonight's game, click here

7 Comments:

  • At 6:29 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Cant argue with anything said in that post. If the magic dont win the next three games i'll be surprised. This is the time to start playing well and guys like jameer and rashard arent being aggressive enough going to the basket,when they get to the rim they make outside shots.

     
  • At 6:36 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Tonight against memphis i'd like to see jameer looking for his offense early. When he gets into the lane everything opens up for our outside shooters. If jameer is a bystander the magic will let the thunder hang around and will lose to a team they shouldve beaten.

     
  • At 7:16 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Good for the Hawks. They deserve something to cheer about in Atlanta. But 6-0 is just that, 6-0... Teams have started better, only to finish average or worse. I honestly can't imagine Atlanta finishing ahead of Orlando.

    To date, Orlando hasn't played great ball, yet they're still in the mix. When Lewis and company get in gear, I think we'll be okay.

    With that said…

    One area we are hurting in right now is our bench. Bogans has been the only consistent. While only playing real minutes in 2 games, Redick has once again disappointed. I've liked what I've seen out of Lee, but he's a rookie, and you can tell he's still shaking off the nerves. Battie has been solid, but you can never expect offense out of him. Johnson has been decent, but I think Dooling and Arroyo had bigger impacts on random games. Gortat and Cook are in the doghouse. Personally, I think SVG needs to let Cook play. I don't care if he thinks he's out of shape. Play him into shape! The fact of the matter is, we need more production off the bench, and Cook could give us some points, fat or not. Hell, 3-D used to waddle up and down the court, but he’d still knock down 3’s. Put Cook on the floor for a few minutes; let him chuck up some 3's. He'll give you 6-9 points a night.

    I've said it before, and I'm saying it again; I'm nervous for this coming off season. This team relies on Turk far more than Lewis. Turk delivers and does far more than in all aspects of the game. Lewis gets paid for what Turk is doing. Turk is playing for his pay day. With the history of this franchise, I just can't see them going over the cap to pay Turk. I know the topic is a broken record, but it worries me... Much of the offense runs through Turk. He dishes the ball. He can handle the ball. He attacks the basket. He takes over offensively. He’s multidimensional; whereas Lewis has looked very one-dimensional.

    To cut Lewis a break; some of the blame is on SVG. He really should be putting Lewis in the post more often.

    MAGIC WIN TONIGHT...

     
  • At 9:30 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    That's more like it... a 29 point halftime lead against a team we should be blowing out.

    Gotta play with this much focus and intensity the rest of the season to overtake the Hawks.

     
  • At 11:01 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    The manner in which Atlanta played Boston (a last-second 103-102 win by the Celtics) shows that the Magic and everyone else better take Atlanta seriously.

     
  • At 6:27 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    They took the Celtics to 7 games in the playoffs. They play physical, and matchup with the Celtics well. So while I agree that the Hawks should be taken "seriously", I do not consider them contenders yet.

     
  • At 7:03 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    The Magic don't play the Hawks again until back-to-back games on January 7th and 9th. By that time, we'll be more than two months into the season, and after those games, we should have a better idea of the direction the Magic are going in the rest of the way.

     

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