Denton's Dish: Three Keys for Game 3

OrlandoMagic.com’s John Denton picks the three keys for the Orlando Magic to defeat the Atlanta Hawks in Game 3 of the playoffs Friday night at 8 p.m. at Philips Arena:

1. Make shots. The Magic’s offense has been a mess so far as the team has shot just 39.9 percent from the floor and 24.4 percent from the 3-point line. Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and J.J. Redick are struggling to make jump shots and the Magic will likely need one of them to help out Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson on the offensive end to be successful. Richardson is using a lot of his energy on the defensive end guarding Joe Johnson, but he still has to be aggressive offensively. Turkoglu was looking for his shots more in Game 2, but he needs to better his selection and take on-balanced shots. The Magic are a plus-24 in scoring so far with Redick on the floor, and that’s with him making three of 12 shots and missing all five 3-point attempts.

2. Keep Dwight Howard fresh. The burning question in this series is this: How long can Dwight Howard keep it up by barely resting? Howard played 46 minutes in Game 1 and became just the third Magic player in playoff history to play all 48 minutes in Tuesday’s Game 2. The Hawks are hoping that the pounding that Howard is taking inside from Jason Collins, Zaza Pachulia, Josh Powell and Hilton Armstrong will take a toll on him. And naturally the Magic are hoping that Howard can continue to average 39.5 points and 19 rebounds. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said he hopes to not have to play Howard all 48 minutes on Friday, but the game circumstances will ultimately be the determining factor.

3. Continue to play desperate, gritty basketball. Down as many as 10 points in the second quarter on Tuesday, the Magic ratcheted up the intensity and played hard enough to get a win that basically saved their season. Their willingness to dive on the floor, take charges, play without rest and defend led to a victory and the Magic must continue that in Game 3 against a Hawks team that will be fired up. Atlanta shot 51 percent in Game 1, but that percentage dipped to 39.5 percent in Game 2 because of the Magic’s aggression defensively. Van Gundy’s ploy of putting Turkoglu on Johnson was a nice adjustment because the added size bothered the Atlanta shooting guard. The guess here is that if the Magic play as hard as they did Tuesday night and make a few shots on Friday that they will win again.