Fast Breaks: Magic-Hawks, Game 4
The Magic completed the most lopsided sweep in NBA history by toppling Atlanta 98-84 on Monday. Orlando won its Eastern semifinals by a combined 101 points, as the Hawks proved incapable of, well, just about everything. Before the Magic greet the Cavs or Celtics in the East finals, or the Hawks set their team on fire this summer, let's consider why this series turned out the way it did and what it means for the future of both teams.
Would Milwaukee (which lost to Atlanta in the first round in seven games) have done worse than allowing Orlando to shoot 43.2 percent from three-point range as a road team in Game 4? Would Bucks center
Now that the Hawks have done that in unceremonious fashion, Sund needs to figure out if Woodson (who has no contract for next season) still has this team's ear. Or if Woodson is willing to revamp an offense whose one-on-one emphasis isn't effective against playoff teams with talent on par -- or better -- than Atlanta's. From the outside, those answers would be easier to ascertain than how to tweak a roster into a step forward next year without a major overhaul. A prediction? The Hawks look for someone who can coax the team from Point B to Point C.
Look, Orlando has played exquisitely through eight wins, but the Magic haven't exactly been tested, not against the overmatched Bobcats or the vacation-thirsty Hawks. Both Boston and Cleveland offer far more difficult matchups, from size in the middle to length on the wings to defense on the perimeter. Of course, none of those matchups will mean much if the Celtics or Cavs don't play with the discipline the Magic have demonstrated. Orlando's defensive rotations are crisp, rarely revealing an open opponent. The passing on offense is endless, the ball moving until it finds an open target. And the shooting is accurate, punishing double teams on other areas of the floor. In other words, it's going to take a combination of talent, effort and focus to beat the Magic.