The Magic and the Hawks started their semifinals series yesterday night, in a game where Orlando crushed Atlanta by an outstanding 114-71, and where Dwight Howard was finally able to overcome the series of fouls that had him performing quite poorly during the quarterfinals against the Bobcats, finishing the match with 21 points and twelve rebounds.
In the game, the Magic leaded by as many as 46 points, with Vince Carter helping the team with twenty points, in a playoff game that meant the best one so far in the history of the franchise, and where Orlando did not showed any significant signs of tiredness since they had 8 days off before the first game of the semis against the Hawks.
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For Atlanta, Josh Smith finished with fourteen points while teammate Zaza Pachulia scored twelve, but such contributions were clearly not enough for an Atlanta team that looked quite dominated and even paralyzed in front of the Magic, whom still hold court advantage as game 2 comes in Thursday at Amway Arena.
Nothing could excite fans of the Magic more than watching Superman snatching a layup by Smith, to then throwing the ball to veteran Jason Williams, who then threw it again to Mickaël Piétrus, who dunked the ball for two points that were part of the 17 straight by Orlando in the second period.
The roaring in the arena was so loud at a certain point that players continued to play even when officials were using their whistle to call a timeout by the Hawks.
Atlanta was able to score only ten points in the second quarter and just a low eleven points in the 3rd. Superman and other starters were not even needed in the 4th period, while benched Hawks players could be seen with towels around their heads in the final minutes of the game to avoid the embarrassment.
It is clear that Dwight Howard was able to play better as he remained clear of rival players, which allowed him to be free of fouls during the whole match, and that is something the Hawks need to pay attention to if they want to come up with a road win against Orlando to then fly to Atlanta for games 3 an 4.
The Magic was quite superior to the Hawks during their regular season games, as they won six straight matches against them before their only defeat that came in their last meeting thanks to a dunk by Josh Smith.
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