Game 3: Orlando Magic AT Atlanta Hawks
April 22, 2011 at 8 PM EST
Series Tied 1-1
Opening Line: ORL -2
Current Line: ORL -1.5
Opening Moneyline: ORL -330, ATL +280
Current Moneyline: ORL -125, ATL +105
Opening Total: 181
Current Total: 180.5
Game two went to the Magic. Their suffocating defense forced the Hawks into taking a lot of late shot clock shots, some of which went in (in the first half Atlanta sank three threes at the end of shot clocks). It seemed there was a definite momentum shift in the second quarter when Magic guard J.J. Redick stole the ball, dove on the floor, then flipped it over his shoulder to a breaking away Jameer Nelson for the layup. From that point onward, the Magic went from 5 down to leading by 6 at the half. Magic TV Analyst Pat Garrity said after the steal, “Those are the kind of plays that can change a series.” We’ll see if that’s the case tonight, as the Magic are still narrow favorites despite being on the road.
Of all teams above .500, Atlanta had the second worst home record in the league. A lot of it could be said to be due to the lack of fan participation in Atlanta, and that’s fair enough, but a team has to defend its homecourt. Atlanta has never been relevant, but a lot of cities go for decades between Finals appearances.
Dwight Howard has been absolutely show-stoppingly dominant so far in this series. Howard played the entire game on Tuesday and played all but 2 minutes in the opener. He is 25 of 35 from the field (71.4%), 70.7% from the free throw line (!), averaging 39.5 points per game, and 19 rebounds per game, as well. He has turned it over 15 times in two games, but a lot of that is simply due to how much he has the ball. He’ll eventually learn to make very wise decisions, but it took Shaq a while before he became the great passer he is.
Jameer Nelson is really the only other Magic player providing much. Jason Richardson is averaging 6 points per game and went 3 of 12 from the floor last game. The Magic as a team shot 5 of 23 from three, against the Hawks, a team that was the 4th best in the league at defending the three. Hedo Turkoglu is also performing horribly. He put up 25 shots in the first two games and sank only 6 (24%). He’s 2 of 11 from three point range. The only positive from Turk is the distribution of his assists, as he has 10 assists and only 2 turnovers, but his shot selection must improve and he must capitalize on the open threes he does get.
Some betting trends:
The total has gone UNDER in 12 of Orlando’s last 18 games and the Magic are 5-2 SU in their last 7 games. The Magic are 6-16 ATS in their last 22 games and the total has gone OVER In 4 of their last 6 on the road. Orlando is 3-6 ATS in their last 9 games on the road and they are 12-5 SU In their last 17 against Atlanta. Orlando is 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games against the Hawks and the total has gone UNDER In 7 of their last 8 against Atlanta. Orlando is 1-4 SU in their last 5 games against the Hawks and the Magic are 6-3 SU In their last 9 on the road against Atlanta. The total has gone UNDER in all 5 of the Magic’s last 5 games on the road in Atlanta.
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Atlanta’s last 5 games and the Hawks are 1-7 SU in their last 8 games. Atlanta is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games and the total has gone UNDER in all 5 of their last 5 games at home. The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Atlanta’s last 8 games against the Magic and the Hawks are 5-12 SU in their last 17 games against the Magic. Atlanta is 4-1 SU in their last 5 games against Orlando and the total has gone UNDER In 5 of Atlanta’s last 5 games at home against the Magic. Atlanta is 3-6 SU in their last 9 games at home against Orlando and the Hawks are 3-6 ATS in their last 9 games at home against the Magic.
The Hawks have had no answer for Howard this series, but they have kept the Magic from getting hot from three. That takes away a huge part of the Orlando offense, and more than anything else that is what has kept the Hawks in this series. The Magic are going to need the role players to step up more than they have, though, or an upset is entirely possible. And at -2 pointspread, it wouldn’t be a huge upset in the eyes of Vegas Oddsmakers, anyway.