Game 1: Following the Plan
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The Hawks didn't have a 30-point scorer on Saturday night. They didn't have anyone with double-digit rebounds. For 24 minutes they didn't have a way to slow down Dwight Howard. What they did have, was a game-plan. And now what they do have, is a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The gameplan was to use all of the big bodies on the roster to defend Howard one-on-one as much as possible. This was done to limit the Magic's perimeter players on offense.
Did the Hawks players buy in to the gameplan? Check out these numbers from the first half and decide for yourself:
- Dwight Howard: 31 pts, 8 reb, 11/16 FGs, 9/11 FTs
- Rest of Magic: 17 pts, 9 reb, 6/23 FGs, 3/6 FTs
- Collins/Pachulia/Thomas/Powell: 9 fouls, 2 points, 2 rebounds
- NOTE: No Magic player other than Howard made a field goal until Redick scored on a breakaway with 44 seconds left in the period.
Oh yes, one more thing, the Hawks were leading 55-48 at the break.
The second half saw Atlanta use a similar gameplan against a worn out Howard, leading to the 103-93 victory.
The Hawks got strong performances from nearly every position on the court, and we will break them all down in more detail HERE on the blog.
- The Atlanta Hawks rolled into a hostile environment in Orlando and came away with their first game 1 road win since 1996, downing the Magic, 103-93, at Amway Center on Saturday ... After being swept by the Magic in embarassing fashion in the second round last year, the Hawks beat Orlando for the fourth time in five tries this season.
- Joe Johnson (25) and Jamal Crawford (23) led a balanced Atlanta attack, aided by Al Horford (16), Josh Smith (15) and Kirk Hinrich (13).
- Dwight Howard was terrific in defeat, scoring 31 of his 46 points in the opening half and adding 19 rebounds, but also committing 8 turnovers ... Jameer Nelson added 27, including 20 in the third quarter.
- Atlanta rode an early 9-0 run to take a 13-5 lead, but the Magic came back to snag a 19-17 advantage after one ... The Hawks caught fire in the second quarter, hitting 14-18 FGs (.778), and scoring 38 points ... Dwight Howard was virtually unstoppable in the half, scoring Orlando's first 12 points, and 31 total at the midway point, a Magic playoff record.
- In the third quarter, Atlanta put together a 13-1 run to push the lead to as many as 17 at 71-54 as Zaza Paculia converted 2 FTs ... Jameer Nelson came alive for the Magic, scoring 20 pts in the third quarter (only had 1 at the half), also a team mark, but the Hawks still led 85-71 entering the fourth ... Atlanta pushed the advantage up to 18 and hung on late, hitting clutch shots and making the stops they needed.
- Atlanta's 38 and 30 pts (in the 2nd and 3rd) was their first back-to-back 30-pt quarters since Jan. 28 vs. NY, game #47 for Atlanta.
- The Hawks look to take a firm grip on the series in Game 2 on Tuesday in Orlando (7:30 pm, Fox Sports South HD/NBA TV/99X).