The Atlanta Hawks are dominating the Orlando Magic in all but two categories: free throws and turnovers. As a result, this game is way closer than it should be at the break.
Jamal Crawford netted 14 and Kirk Hinrich added 10 to post the Hawks to a 46-37 edge over the Magic at halftime in Game 4 of the best-of-seven series on Sunday night at Philips Arena.
Joe Johnson had eight points and Al Horford had six points and eight boards for Atlanta, which shot 53-percent (20-for-38) from the field. The Hawks are also 4-for-7 from behind the arc, have also dished 13 assists and have a 26-22 edge on the glass.
The Hawks are controlling the offense and forcing the Magic to take bad shots on the other side of the floor. Dwight Howard has pretty much been a non-factor, siting for half of the first quarter after picking up two quick fouls. Josh Smith has also dunked and blocked a shot from his former AAU-teammate.
Even though Howard has just one field goal and five points and the Magic are shooting 28-percent (12-for-43) from the field and are 1-for-14 from behind the arc in the first half, the Hawks still took just a nine point lead into the break.
It's simple. Atlanta turned the ball over 10 times and the Magic have gone to the line 17 times in the first 24 minutes of the game. They have also looked sloppy at times when up by double-digits, jacking up jumpers instead of going inside-out.
The Hawks need to simply get back to the formula that helped them take control in this one -- challenging Howard in the paint and passing the ball for the best uncontested look. They also need to take better care of the basketball. If they do that, they should go down to the soon-to-be Tragic Kingdom up 3-1.
Also keep an eye on Howard. He picked up foul No. 3 with 1.1 left in the second quarter and could easily spend some time on the bench if he gets into foul trouble early in the third.
Brandon Bass had seven points and Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas (yes, Gilbert Arenas) had six each for Orlando, which is 12-for-17 from the free throw line.