LIVE BLOG: Can Hawks make it two straight over Orlando?

What's your guess on how the scoreboard will read in the end? Let's hear your predictions below.

What's your guess on how the scoreboard will read in the end? Let's hear your predictions below.

ORLANDO — Funny moment at a local restaurant and watering hole that Michael Cunningham and I visited Monday night. It was trivia night, and one of the players named their team, “Tomorrow is Dwight’s Last Home Game.”

And you thought you were cynical about the Hawks. How bad is it when an Orlando Magic fan not only assumes the Hawks — your Hawks! — would sweep this playoff series, but that Dwight Howard will try to force a trade out of town before the next NBA season? (Howard can opt out of his contract after one more season.)

Hawks players expect Orlando will come out desperate tonight. The question is: How do the Hawks respond? No predictions here. As has been stated repeatedly, this has been a strange season where logic seldom applies. But imagine the euphoria surrounding this team if it sweeps two in Orlando.

Here are a few subplots going into the game:

Heavyweights: Howard vs. Collins: Comments from Hawks center Jason Collins that Dwight Howard is “going to get hit” every time he runs into the lane or in transition was just one more thing to get under his skin and irritate Stan Van Gundy. Both struggled to hold their tongue on the comments and the Hawks’ tactics following their shoot-around, as you can read by clicking here.

Of course, this all comes a day after Howard’s comments that he hates losing, adding with seeming disdain, “especially to the Hawks,” as Hoops Cunningham reported here. (FYI, one lineup change tonight: Hilton Armstrong is active and Etan Thomas is out.)

Time off: I’m not a fan of two days off after one game, especially with no travel needed. I think most fans agree. But Hawks coach Larry Drew actually welcomed having the last two days off for his banged up team. (FYI: Josh Smith says his sore elbow is fine.)

“Certainly with our club the two days off helps because it allowed some of our guys to mend,” Drew said before the morning practice. “We’ve got some guys who are nicked up, banged up, bruised. It allows them to take an extra day to heal. For the psyche, particularly after winning game one, it does us some good. It gives us more time to reflect on the game, taking more time to break down and study the film. I just think for my team in particular, the two days off really does us some good.”

Adjustments: Few would’ve expected that Orlando, not the Hawks, would be scrambling for answers after one game, but MC breaks it down here. One key tonight is whether Jason Richardson can do a better job defending Joe Johnson (who led the Hawks with 25 points in game one). The Hawks also expect Orlando to try to get Hedo Turkoglu (2 for 9 with only six points in the opener) more involved in the offense.

Van Gundy also believes just cutting down on turnovers would make a difference. Orlando had 18 the other night (the Hawks only nine), and that includes four three-second calls on Howard.

By Jeff Schultz

Last few Hawks blogs

Collins’ comments get attention of Van Gundy, Howard

Hawks’ Collins ready for game 2 (round 2?) against Howard

Van Gundy: Hawks’ Hinrich deal better than Carmelo trade

Playoff win shows Hawks haven’t quit on Larry Drew

Hawks surprise us again — this time by stunning Magic

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

338 comments Add your comment

51WTGW50

April 19th, 2011
6:24 pm

85-76 the Magic win and Hawk fans still buy playoff tickets.

51WTGW50

April 19th, 2011
6:26 pm

The Hawks can win the series if they make Howard get a few Technical Fouls.
I have to say I am interested and will watch tonight. I just am not buying the Hawks just yet.

Delbert D.

April 19th, 2011
6:32 pm

Just grab Howard in the lane and throw him over at Gundy.

Buddy C

April 19th, 2011
6:38 pm

Keep doing what you are doing Hawks…Don’t care if Dwight gets 50 every game, use 18 fouls on him and make him earn it!!! They cannot match up with us defensively, especially on the perimeter.

Steve

April 19th, 2011
6:42 pm

Orlando is favored by 9.5 points tonight. That’s a lot. Obviously Vegas expects Orlando to come out desperate and to dominate. As funny as it sounds, I say either the Hawks win by a few or Orlando wins by 15+

Ben

April 19th, 2011
6:46 pm

It’s time to step up and win this crucial game 2 in Orlando. Come on Hawks! Show us you want to win for once!

51WTGW50

April 19th, 2011
6:54 pm

Maybe the Hawks can give NeNe Leaks a uniform and let her go against Howard in this game. If she can’t stop him with her body and looks, then I bet her mouth will wear him out before the 1st half is finished.

51WTGW50

April 19th, 2011
7:01 pm

The terrible thing is Howard could not be as Rich but probably have a NCAA Championship if he had gone to college for 2 years.

Jeff Schultz

April 19th, 2011
7:02 pm

Bodog has Hawks as 9-point underdogs to Magic tonight. Straight-up odds are roughly 11-to-2.

51WTGW50

April 19th, 2011
7:04 pm

That is just for Entertainment purposes only right Jeff Schultz?

Steve

April 19th, 2011
7:11 pm

Tempting Jeff! I guess on both sides?

Jeff Schultz

April 19th, 2011
7:11 pm

51WTGW50 — Yes. Entertainment. Or betting, which also can be entertaining, unless you lose, in which case it’s FIXED!

kevkat

April 19th, 2011
7:15 pm

Hey, is this game online? Just wanted to know if i’m gonna have to go to the sports bar to see it.

Beast from the East

April 19th, 2011
7:22 pm

Can’t see the Hawks taking two in Orlando. Just hope they play hard and keep it close so they are still in it mentally when they return to the ATL. I hope they win, but just don’t see it happening. Prove all of us maysayers wrong will ya guys?

soldierman

April 19th, 2011
7:34 pm

And here we go, been away for awhile did I miss anything good?

Najeh Davenpoop

April 19th, 2011
7:43 pm

The Hawks’ defensive blueprint against Orlando is sound. They may still have a game or two where they make their shots from the outside despite the Hawks contesting them aggressively, but over the course of a series their outside shooting is going to be neutralized.

The key for the Hawks will be on offense. The Magic are going to aggressively double Joe in this game, if SVG’s comments are any indication. If Aggressive Joe shows up against and Passive Joe stays at home, the Hawks have a shot at winning. If Passive Joe shows up and both he and the rest of the Hawks start throwing up prayers at the end of the shot clock, the Magic are going to even up this series.

Jeff Schultz

April 19th, 2011
7:46 pm

Nice move by Josh to hoop.

Jeff Schultz

April 19th, 2011
7:47 pm

Don’t know about that call, and neither did Horford.

Jeff Schultz

April 19th, 2011
7:49 pm

See how Hawks play minus Horford. (Powell obviously big dropoff).

tremaine

April 19th, 2011
7:50 pm

“GIVE TEAGUE A CHANCE!”

Jeff Schultz

April 19th, 2011
7:50 pm

That’s six straight pts for Nelson

J.J.M.

April 19th, 2011
7:51 pm

we need to drive the ball and get to the line cant rely on jumpshots all night

Balla-4-Ever

April 19th, 2011
7:53 pm

What’s wrong wiff Horford ?

Jeff Schultz

April 19th, 2011
7:54 pm

Nice little 31 footer by Joe.

Beast from the East

April 19th, 2011
7:54 pm

Nice prayer answered for Joe!

Jeff Schultz

April 19th, 2011
7:54 pm

Just prior to that, Collins had two good defensive plays on consecutive possessions by Magic: took a charge from Bass and knocked ball away from Howard.

Balla-4-Ever

April 19th, 2011
7:55 pm

JJ scroked a tre from da M

Beast from the East

April 19th, 2011
7:56 pm

@Balla,
Horford picked up two quick fouls. I’m sure he’s done for the remainder of the 1st.

Jeff Schultz

April 19th, 2011
7:56 pm

Balla-4-Ever — 2 early fouls by Horford (one of them suspect).

Sleepy

April 19th, 2011
7:56 pm

Josh needs to rebound ………

I point back to my post in the other thread about does josh understand what he needs to do in order for this team to win and is willing to give 100% to it all the time .

Having Twin guard Dwight does no good if he is not gonna rebound.

Balla-4-Ever

April 19th, 2011
7:57 pm

Toss a rattlin traps an Bass will foller it !

soldierman

April 19th, 2011
7:57 pm

seems like the magic are really going to test our ability to play team offense this game. Also think that the strategy for them is to ground and pound later in the game after the hawks bigs have acquired trivial fouls.

Jeff Schultz

April 19th, 2011
7:57 pm

Howard with first points. Slightly behind 46 point pace of game 1.

Beast from the East

April 19th, 2011
7:57 pm

And they’re complaining about the Hawks fouling? He just bulldozed Joe.

"Chef" Tim Dix

April 19th, 2011
7:58 pm

this game is about neither ATL or ORL…. It’s about thr Ref’s.

Balla-4-Ever

April 19th, 2011
7:58 pm

Ok. Thanks homeys.

"Chef" Tim Dix

April 19th, 2011
7:59 pm

I’m taking the ref’s and the over.

jay

April 19th, 2011
7:59 pm

they need to make their move now while their in DH’s head.

Sleepy

April 19th, 2011
8:00 pm

As I said before Josh has yet to grab a rebound what is he doing ?

Beast from the East

April 19th, 2011
8:01 pm

Looks like Stan and Dwight cried enough the past two days to get every call so far. Divas!

Balla-4-Ever

April 19th, 2011
8:01 pm

Turkoglue coulds be a bricks mason on a day jobbed.

J.J.M.

April 19th, 2011
8:01 pm

NBA refs hasnt done a great job in all playoff games it seems

Jeff Schultz

April 19th, 2011
8:02 pm

Hawks definitely trying to go inside more than last game. Pretty physical game so far.

Balla-4-Ever

April 19th, 2011
8:02 pm

Turkoglue miss the arena on a shots

O'Brien

April 19th, 2011
8:02 pm

Hawks started slow last game too, but they picked it up as the game went on.

Can we do the same thing tonight?

Jeff Schultz

April 19th, 2011
8:03 pm

Magic shooting 4 for 16. Hawks 5 for 13.

Jeff Schultz

April 19th, 2011
8:03 pm

Turkoglu and Richardson are combined 1 for 9. Two guys Magic wanted to score more this game.

Beast from the East

April 19th, 2011
8:04 pm

I’m more worried about the fouls piling up. The Magic are gonna end up living at the line if this keeps up.

Sleepy

April 19th, 2011
8:04 pm

12-5 rebounding edge Orlando

Balla-4-Ever

April 19th, 2011
8:04 pm

U see Turkoglue banks da right side da rim ? Brick mason !