Denton's Dish: Three Keys for Game 5

OrlandoMagic.com’s John Denton picks the three keys for the Orlando Magic to defeat the Atlanta Hawks in Game 5 of the playoffs Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Amway Center:

1. Make some shots. By now, the numbers have gotten so unsightly that Magic fans might want to avert their eyes. Orlando hit just two of 23 3-pointers on Sunday night. For the series, Orlando is hitting only 40.3 percent from the floor and 21.9 percent from the 3-point line. That kind of offensive inefficiency has put too much pressure on the defense and the Magic haven’t been able to sustain any sort of long runs in the series. Getting Jason Richardson back from suspension should help, and if Gilbert Arenas and Quentin Richardson continue their solid play off the bench of late they could take some of the pressure off others and ignite the offense.

2. Start strong. The Magic have had a habit lately of starting games with little energy, and as a result that has left them from playing out of a hole most of the night. The Magic trailed by as much as eight points in the first quarter of Game 1, they fell behind by 10 in the second quarter of Game 2, were down 14 in the first half of Game 3 and 16 midway through the second quarter of Sunday’s Game 4. Orlando’s offense simply isn’t playing well enough to spot the Hawks a big lead and hope to come back and win. Playing with more fire and desperation from the start could help the Magic get off to a much better start.

3. Take away one of Atlanta’s weapons. The fact that Jamal Crawford torched the Magic for 25 points and Joe Johnson had another 20 points wasn’t surprising that the two of them have had their way against Orlando. In this series, Crawford is averaging 24 points per game (9.8 above his regular-season average), while Johnson is scoring 20 points per game (1.8 above his regular-season average). The plan has to be to try and take one of those players away, but as Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said, they have to do it and not just talk about it. Because Johnson is the more stationary player, the Magic need to double-team him harder to get the ball out of his hands. The Magic have mostly allowed him to attack one-on-one, but hard double teams from Dwight Howard might do a better job of frustrating him. Orlando can’t keep allowing Johnson and Crawford to torch them. Crawford could just as well go cold with his questionable shot selection, and the Magic would be wise to double-team off Josh Smith, Marvin Williams and/or Jason Collins and dare those players to make open jump shots.