Dwight Howard, Josh SmithConsidering we were fresh off of an embarrassing Playoff series with the Orlando Magic, losing by an average of 25 points, people predicted this game to be a heated battle for the Hawks to reclaim their credibility. Boy were they wrong. This nationally telivized game was no different than the playoffs with the Magic dominating the Hawks in a 102-73 beat down. 29 points… 29 POINTS!!! I don’t care if this is a playoff game or a preseason game, this game was a measuring stick to determine whether or not our team has turned the other cheek and improved mentally. They didn’t.

Dwight Howard drives on Zaza Pachulia and Josh SmithThe Magic did play their regular season rotation though while the Hawks (having a few players fighting for the last few positions) used this game to check how their new acquisitions (Josh Powell and Jason Collins) would match up to Dwight Howard. In 23 minutes, Dwight put up monster stats with 14 points, 13 rebounds, 1 block, and getting to the charity stripe 11 times. It is obvious, over the last few years, that Dwight has been our kryptonite due to his strength and size (who hasn’t had problems?). An undersized starting Center and an array of undersized backup Centers are not going to change this. The Hawks could have seriously used Shaquille O’Neal’s talents in this game. In 32 minutes, Jamal Crawford only had 6 points. I wonder if the contract extension drama is reflecting his gameplay. Pape Sy (back) and Jeff Teague (ankle sprain) did not play due to injury.

GOOD: TO (6), but this is expected against a poor defensive team. FT (22-29), Hawks shot a fantastic 76% from the charity stripe.

BAD: REB (Hawks 33 – Magic 50). This shows how outmatched we were in the paint. You won’t win many games getting outrebounded like that! Points in Paint (Hawks 24 – Magic 40). AST (15). What happened to BALL MOVEMENT!!! Coach Larry Drew better address this. FG% (30%) compared to Magic’s FG% (53%). 3PT% (19%) compared to  Magic’s (47%). Our shooting was HORRID! If there was ball movement, we would see these numbers rise. On top of that, our defense looked elementary against the Magic. The Hawks obviously have NO perimeter defense and when we are outmatched in the paint, we have no chance.

The Hawks have always had trouble matching up to the Magic. This game was not a fluke. Hopefully the Hawks can put this one behind them and maybe by the next meeting have a stronger mentality.

HIGHLIGHTS: 10/18 Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks.

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