Free NBA Picks: Atlanta Hawks at Orlando Magic, Game 2
by Alan Matthews - 5/6/2010
Anyone who thinks the Atlanta Hawks aren’t a bit of a group mental head case at times obviously had to change their minds after watching Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against Orlando.
The Magic, who hadn’t played in more than a week, won 114-71 (we told you here at Doc’s to take Orlando and give the points) for their second-largest margin of victory in a playoff game all-time and the second-largest margin of victory in NBA history in Game 1 of a best-of-seven series. It was the Hawks' worst loss in their postseason history (since moving to Atlanta). They set a franchise record-low with 10 points in the second quarter (followed by 11 in the third). Orlando won pretty much every statistic – my favorite being largest lead: Atlanta 3, Orlando 46.
"It's embarrassing," Hawks point guard Mike Bibby said. "They embarrassed us."
They should be embarrassed, and Orlando is a 10-point Bodog favorite for Game 2.
Not that the Magic really have to worry about fatigue with all that time off, but obviously they were able to rest most of their regulars for a large chunk of Tuesday’s game. And, frankly, the Hawks don’t seem to play well until they are motivated, although they have a history of stinking it up on the road in the postseason. They are now -11 on the road over the past three postseasons, and in only one of the losses (Game 4 in Milwaukee in these playoffs) have they loss by less than 19 points. That is truly astounding.
For what it’s worth, the 1995 Magic beat the Boston Celtics by 47 in a playoff opener (that’s the record), then lost in the next game by seven points. And Atlanta lost by 26 in Miami in Game 6 of a playoff series last year only to win Game 7 – albeit at home.
They haven't lost in over a month, their last defeat coming April 2 in San Antonio. Still, no team looks better than Orlando right now, which has won 11 games in a row overall and is 38-8 in its past 46. Point guard Jameer Nelson is playing at an All-Star level again – after averaging a team-high 23.8 points in the first-round sweep of Charlotte he had 19 on 8-for-12 shooting in Game 1. Nelson’s starting counterpart, Mike Bibby, had two points on 1-of-5 shooting.
And Orlando center Dwight Howard, who was saddled with foul trouble during the Bobcats’ series, had 21 points (four dunks), 12 rebounds and five blocks despite not playing anywhere near a full game because of the score – that was basically his average line against Atlanta this season. Against the Bobcats, Howard fouled out twice and averaged just 9.8 points and 9.3 rebounds in the series.
Free NBA Pick: I absolutely guarantee you that Orlando won’t win by 40 points tonight. But how about by 32? Atlanta has lost four in a row at Orlando by an average of nearly 32 points. It is also concerning that one of the few matchups at which Atlanta should have the advantage, shooting guard, might be an issue. That’s because All-Star Joe Johnson is shooting only 34 percent (22 of 65) over his past four games. In Game 1, Johnson, Bibby and Jamal Crawford combined to make six of 27 shots. Despite all this, I think 10 points is too many and that Atlanta will at least put up a fight but still lose. The total is at 190 on Bodog and it has gone ‘under’ in the past six meetings, so that’s a no-brainer.
Be sure to visit our homepage for daily exclusive NBA betting content, free NBA picks, updated odds, matchup reports, scores and predictions. Click Here. Doc’s Sports NBA picks have profited in four straight NBA seasons and we have a strong play for the Atlanta-Orlando Game 2 tonight.
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