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Magic Vs. Hawks Predictions, 2011 NBA Playoffs

The 2011 NBA Playoffs begin on Saturday, with eight first-round series all playing their first game over the weekend. Who do we think will move on? Will there be any upsets? Which series will end quickly, and which will go the distance? SB Nation's trio of NBA writers -- Tom Ziller, Mike Prada and Andrew Sharp -- will be making their picks for each pick in this StoryStream. Next up: the Magic vs. Hawks series.

TOM ZILLER 

Magic in 4. Orlando has struggled a bit since February, but the Magic are so, so much better than the Hawks. Atlanta's offense has been a disaster this compared to last year, and facing Dwight Howard won't help. Jason Collins is a mirage who helps kill Atlanta's offense, and he won't make much of an impact, in my opinion.    

ANDREW SHARP (link)

If Dwight Howard leaves after next season, I feel comfortable saying that Lil Penny's still the best thing to ever come of the Orlando Magic franchise. It's not to downplay those two Finals appearances, either. It's just... It'd take A LOT to top the Lil Penny era. Like, it'd take Dwight Howard going into full-on Shaq mode one year, unleashing what we've always suspected lies somewhere within, and single-handedly destroying the league.

Until that happens... The Magic aren't much different from this Hawks team. The same Hawks team that's two months away from auctioning off Josh Smith and conceding that the current roster just isn't good enough to compete in the East. Orlando's got Dwight instead of Joe Johnson, so things don't appear quite as dire, but the pieces around Dwight are even worse than Atlanta's supporting cast. So, split the difference, I guess? The Pick: Orlando in 6.

MIKE PRADA

Dwight Howard is shooting just 43 percent from the field against the Hawks this season, so I actually think the Jason Collins-as-Dwight-stopper stuff is kind of legit. Dwight would be the kind of guy to stubbornly go at Collins in the post instead of exploiting him in the pick and roll. That said, I don't see how Atlanta can score on the Magic consistently, and I hate the way they ended the season. Stan Van Gundy vs. Larry Drew is also a massive coaching mismatch. Magic in 6.

Follow our Magic Vs. Hawks, NBA Playoffs section for all things Magic Vs. Hawks. For more on the Magic' playoff run, check out Orlando Pinstriped Post. For more on the Hawks, visit Peachtree Hoops and SB Nation Atlanta.