The Atlanta Hawks had all they could handle against the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs as Brandon Jennings and company were able to take them the full seven games, but round two will be a seriously tough uphill battle against the defending Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic.
The Orlando Magic on the other hand had it pretty easy is in the first round as they were able to pull off the sweep and knock out the Charlotte Bobcats in just four games. The Bobcats were able to make it to the playoffs for the first time in the franchise’s history, but they just didn’t stand a chance against a more experienced and a very talented Magic squad led by superstar center Dwight Howard.
Heading into the second round of the NBA playoffs, these two Southeast division rivals have a lot of experience playing against one another, which could make for a very competitive series.
During the regular NBA season, the Orlando Magic dominated their season series with the Atlanta Hawks as they were able to get the best of Joe Johnson and company three out of the four times.
This season the Atlanta Hawks have been able to take it to another level as they have gone from just another good team in the league to great team. Not only have Al Horford, Josh Smith and All-Star Joe Johnson matured considerably over the past season, but they also benefited from the addition of Jamal Crawford off the bench.
The one thing that the Atlanta Hawks have been sorely lacking over the past is a legitimate closer/scorer, who could help put up the points when the team needs it the most. With Jamal Crawford coming off the bench, the Hawks got their closer and dominant scorer and he has been just that for this team all season long.
Despite coming into their first round playoff series with the Milwaukee Bucks as the overwhelming favorites, the up and coming Bucks led by rookie point guard Brandon Jennings were able to put the fear of another early round exit into Hawks.
Over the past couple of seasons, the Atlanta Hawks have been no stranger to playing in a playoff series that goes a full seven games. Two years ago they took the Boston Celtics to the limit in seven games and last season they went the distance with the Miami Heat, but this time around they were facing a young team will almost no playoff experience and were still taken to seven games.
Fortunately, Joe Johnson and company just dominated in game seven and were able to advance to the second round against the Orlando Magic.
In my opinion, the Orlando Magic are by far the better team coming into this series as they outmatch the Atlanta Hawks in every which way and at all positions.
The one match up that will be intriguing coming into this playoff series will be the Atlanta Hawks frontcourt trying to contain Dwight Howard in the paint. Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford will be a handful for the Magic to handle, but in the end the Defensive Player of the Year will be the difference.
Series Prediction: 4-2 Orlando Magic