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NBA Matchup: Orlando Magic @ Atlanta Hawks
Game Date/Time: Friday, April 22, 2011 @ 8:05 ET
Location: Philips Arena – Atlanta, Georgia
NBA Odds: Orlando -1.5
Over/Under Odds: 181
Game Analysis: Of all the picks I have made so far for the playoffs this one is the strongest of them all. I loved Atlanta in game one and not only picked them to cover the spread but to win the game outright which they did. Orlando bounced back in game two but still failed to cover winning 88-82 laying 9 points. This year’s Orlando team is not even close to a shadow of their past playoff teams. In this series the only real scoring threat for Orlando has been Dwight Howard, and Atlanta has done an excellent job on defending his supporting cast. If Orlando doesn’t start to find some offense elsewhere they are in for big trouble in this series. The crowd should be in rare form tonight considering the fans certainly didn’t forget last year’s disappointment and the severe beating the Hawks got at home against Orlando in the conference semi-finals. Revenge is usually not a factor in the NBA, but I can see it in the Hawks play that they were completely embarrassed last year and made a commitment this year to revenge that loss. Orlando is the perfect team to face in this situation having made late season moves that are questionable at best and not playing nearly as well this year as they have in the past few years. Dwight Howard did all he can do in the first two games and the Magic were really lucky to gain a split at home If you ask me Orlando’s run of dominance in the early rounds of the Eastern Conference Playoffs will come to an abrupt end this year at the hands of Atlanta. A win in Game three is a very important step for the Hawks to take to exercise last year’s demons and regain respectability.
Free NBA Playoff Pick: Atlanta +1.5