This series is going to be a battle of the three-point line and, if it goes like the regular season, the Magic are in trouble. The Magic were a dreadful 19-for-84 from beyond the arc and followed it up with a poor free-throw experience as well. They made 67 out of 101 attempts in four games.

Atlanta was just a tad better making 21 out of 60 attempts from three-point land and struggled at the line (54 for 70), but they held the Magic to 82 points a game. That’s 17 below their season’s average.

The Magic did make an in-season trade and they definitely struggled, but it also allowed a team like Atlanta, whom they dominated in last year's playoffs, to gain some confidence.

All that said, the Magic has more shot makers and I don’t imagine them shooting this poorly in the series. The Hawks are not the efficient offensive team they were last year and that has affected their best player – Joe Johnson.

This series will be one the best in the first round and home-court advantage will probably be the deciding factor.

The Magic are also a volatile team, leading the league in technical fouls. If I am Atlanta, I would try to light that fuse with physical play in this series. I suspect they will.

KEYS

The Magic will win if...

- Dwight Howard stays out of foul trouble and gets consistent touches.

- Three of these four players (Hedo Turkoglu, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson and Ryan Anderson) score 15-plus points a game in the series.

- Keep Joe Johnson out of sync and make Hawks shoot from perimeter.

The Hawks will win if...

- They keep Dwight Howard on the bench in foul trouble.

- Defend the three-point line like they did during the regular season.

- Al Horford, Joe Johnson and Josh Smith average 55 to 60 points combined.

PREDICTION

- Orlando 4, Atlanta 2.

REST OF SERIES: CHI - IND / MIA - PHIBOS - NYK / SAS - MEM / LAL - NOH / DAL - POR / OKC - DEN

SCHEDULE: April 16, April 19, April 22, April 24, April 26, April 28 and April 30 / Atlanta won the regular season series 3-1.

4. ORLANDO MAGIC

5. ATLANTA HAWKS

35

Malik Allen

F

Data

C-F

Hilton Armstrong

31

33

Ryan Anderson

F

C

Jason Collins

34

1

Gilbert Arenas

G

99.2

Points scored

95.0

G

Jamal Crawford

11

30

Brandon Bass

F

93.7

Points allowed

95.8

G

Kirk Hinrich

6

3

Earl Clark

F

46.1

Field Goal %

46.2

C-F

Al Horford

15

25

Chris Duhon

G

36.6

3 pt. FG %

35.2

G

Joe Johnson

2

12

Dwight Howard

C

69.2

Free Throw %

77.9

C

Zaza Pachulia

27

14

Jameer Nelson

G

43.2

Rebounds

39.3

F

Josh Powell

12

21

Daniel Orton

C

20.0

Assists

22.0

F

Josh Smith

5

7

JJ Redick

G

4.7

Blocks

4.2

F

Jeff Teague

0

23

Jason Richardson

G

6.7

Steals

6.1

C

Etan Thomas

36

5

Quentin Richardson

F

14.9

Turnovers

13.6

G-F

Damien Wilkins

3

15

Hidayet Turkoglu

F

349

Accumulated playoff games

358

F

Marvin Williams

24

TEAM LEADERS

Dwight Howard

22.9

Points

18.2

Joe Johnson

Dwight Howard

14.1

Rebounds

9.3

Al Horford

Jameer Nelson

6.0

Assists

4.7

Joe Johnson

Dwight Howard

2.4

Blocks

1.5

Josh Smith

Dwight Howard

1.3

Steals

1.3

Josh Smith