For what its worth, we were right about the Hawks. They were beyond awful last night. Granted, as Charles Barkley said, it only counts for one game. But that is all the Hawks have going for them.
This is the argument someone makes when they say that it isn’t a good thing that Joe Johnson and Josh Smith are your best players, with all due respect to Al Horford, who put up a stellar 4-6-1 game last night against Mr. Howard. The Hawks are subject to motivation, which is not a good thing when all the Magic had to do the past week was study Atlanta, a team they know well enough all ready, and for Howard to learn he isn’t going up against multiple 7-footers.
This wasn’t a playoff game last night. Sure, these types of games will pop up every few years or so and the Hawks will rebound this series (not win, mind you, at least not the series). But this is the 2nd round, this is were the Hawks were supposed to show improvement from last season. This is regression, not progression.
Nobody on the Hawks roster had a +/- that was positive; all Magic players were on the positive side. Bottom line, this made the Boston-Cleveland game look competitive. Seriously though, the Magic have done nothing all season besides proving that they are legitimate title contenders and possibly better than last season.
Every game that passes, Orlando looks like the best team in the league. Not Cleveland. Not Boston. Not Los Angeles. Orlando, with the most dominant defensive presence in the league and improved play by Jameer Nelson in the playoffs for the first time in his career, why isn’t Orlando the best team. Effective shooting nights by Lewis, or Carter, or Pietrus, or Barnes (who is capable of guarding the other’s best), or Anderson, or Redick, or Williams, do you get the point? Orlando, as the Octagon said, may have the deepest team in the league.
Again, just to clarify, this isn’t over yet and teams have made miraculous turnarounds before, but this was a stomping of epic proportions.