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magic hawks playoffs game

Tip-off: Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. EDT

Line: Orlando -8.5 Total: 183.5

This past Saturday Orlando Magic offense man Dwight Howard showed the NBA and his fans just world how good an offensive force he can be when he is at the top of his game, as he scored 46 of his team’s 93 points, tying his career high. He proved everyone just how good he is at defense too on Monday, as he was named NBA defensive player of the year for the third straight season. In spite of his awards and mentions, if the Magic cannot show what type of supporting cast they can be this evening, Orlando could be looking down the barrel of an 0-2 hole if they’re not careful.

The Atlanta Hawks defeated Orlando 103-93 in Game 1 of this series even though they let Dwight Howard score 46 points and Jameer Nelson score 27—the team shut down the rest of the Magic shooters, as no other Orlando player had more than six points. In truth, the Hanks’ Jamal Crawford came off the bench to score 23 points for Atlanta, and by himself outscored the rest of the Magic squad, 23-20. Howard and Nelson combined to shoot 26-for-41 (63%) from the field, the rest of the team shot 8-for-34 (24%). The Hanks were led by Joe Johnson’s 25 points.

Saturday was a big game for an Atlanta team that lost its final six games of the regular season. In between the losing streak the Hawks were looking like the team that got swept by the Magic in last year’s Eastern Conference semifinals by an average margin of more than 25 points.

An important piece of the puzzle for Atlanta’s success when defeating Orlando this year has been on the defensive end of the floor. In the three regular NBA season wins over the Magic the Hawks suffocated Stan Van Gundy’s team, holding them to 41.6%, 35.2% and 37.8% shooting from the floor. Also in those victories, the Hawks held an overall +15 rebounding advantage in the three games, being out rebounded only once.

However, YouWager.com suggests the NBA free pick is Orlando to bounce back at home in what’s close to a must-win situation, and end the team’s four game losing streak to the Hawks:

Play On – Home teams (ORLANDO) – off an upset loss by 10 points or more as a favorite, playing with 2 days rest.

(51-21 over the last 5 seasons.) (70.8%, +27.9 units. Rating = 3*)

Play On – Home favorites of 3.5 to 9.5 points (ORLANDO) – double revenge – 2 straight losses vs. opponent against opponent off an upset win over a division rival as an underdog.

(39-14 since 1996.) (73.6%, +23.6 units. Rating = 2*)