ORLANDO, FL - MAY 04: Zaza Pachulia #27 of the Atlanta Hawks battles for a rebound with Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Amway Arena on May 4, 2010 in Orlando, Florida. The Magic defeated the Hawks 114-71. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
After a dominant performance in Game 1, the Orlando Magic try to avoid a letdown tonight when they host the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy has stressed the importance of maintaining intensity even after a 43-point win, and distributed a detailed report about previous teams' performances the game after a blowout playoff win to each Magic player. He also believes the Hawks will play much better. Hawks coach Mike Woodson is also being diplomatic, and he doesn't foresee the Magic letting up tonight. I looked at some adjustments the Hawks can make here, and John Hollinger of ESPN Insider says new evidence suggests isolation-heavy offenses, like the Hawks', work in the regular season, but not in the postseason.
|2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals|
|Orlando Leads, 1-0|
|May 6th, 2010|
|Mike Bibby||PG||Jameer Nelson|
|Joe Johnson||SG||Vince Carter|
|Marvin Williams||SF||Matt Barnes|
|Josh Smith||PF||Rashard Lewis|
|Al Horford||C||Dwight Howard|
|May 4th: Magic 114, Hawks 71|
And on D? Tom Haberstroh of ESPN Insider writes Atlanta's best shot at winning this series is to stop double-teaming Dwight Howard and to instead trust Al Horford to cover him one-on-one. We'll certainly see how both teams respond; my belief is Atlanta will vary its coverage of Howard, and will also assign shooting guard Joe Johnson to cover point guard Jameer Nelson. Johnson's 7-inch height advantage would certainly disrupt Nelson and, in turn, the precision of Orlando's offense.
UPDATE: Scratch that. Shaun Powell of NBA.com reports that Mike Bibby will guard Nelson.