Quantcast 2011 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs: Round One - Orlando vs Atlanta

 

2011 NBA Playoff Preview – Eastern Conference First Round

Eastern Conference First Round Game 2 - Orlando 88, Atlanta 82 – Series tied, 1-1

 

 

It was ugly, inelegant and choppy. The final minute of regulation took 14 minutes and 36 seconds of real-world clock time to play. No matter: The Orlando Magic won a must-have game and earned a home-court split in this series with the Atlanta Hawks.

Orlando, under fire after an embarrassing Game 1 performance on Saturday night, was able to take the series to Georgia with a 1-all tie, avoiding an 0-2 series deficit that would have given the Hawks a chance to pull off a sizable upset. Let it be said that the Magic were not on top of their game; however, this is a bottom-line business, and on Tuesday in the Sunshine State, the Magic were able to tend to the only piece of business that mattered: getting on the board in this best-of-seven battle that has become more contentious than a lot of experts expected.

Neither team could shoot the ball well from the field. Both shot under 40 percent on the night.  Atlanta went over five minutes in the first quarter without a basket, yet the game was tied at 14. That stumbling start set the tone for the rest of the evening, but Orlando was able to do more in the midst of its struggles than Atlanta was.

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Orlando superstar Dwight Howard had just four points at the end of the first quarter. The Hawks led 22-16. Howard, though, was able to play through his frustrations and regain focus. He posted 20 points in the second quarter en route to 24 first-half points on Tuesday night. It wasn’t quite the 31 first-half points he amassed in Game 1, but Howard did more than enough to give ballast to the Magic’s attack. His scoring surge flipped a 32-22 Atlanta lead at the 10:07 mark of the second quarter to a 48-42 Orlando advantage at halftime.

Both teams struggled in the third quarter, scoring a combined 29 points. The Magic took a 65-54 lead into the fourth quarter in a contest that put fans to sleep… but also put the Hawks to bed as well. Orlando owned a 78-68 lead as time ticked under four minutes to play. Atlanta then mounted one last rally. Back-to-back Joe Johnson jumpers cut the lead to four and a fast-break dunk from Al Horford trimmed the Magic advantage to 78-76 with 2:14 to play.

That’s when Orlando made its stand.

 

 

A Hedo Turkoglu layup and Jason Richardson three-pointer pushed the lead back to seven, at 83-76, in just over a minute of scoreboard clock time. The Magic made a handful of free throws down the stretch to even the series.

Dwight Howard finished with 33 points 19 rebounds. The struggling troika of Turkoglu, Richardson, and Jameer Nelson combined to shoot 11-of-43 from the field. Orlando outrebounded Atlanta, 52-39, which mattered given the abundance of missed shots in Game 2.

Jamal Crawford led Atlanta with 25 points while Josh Smith chipped in with 17.

 

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By: Matt Zemek
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer


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