Atlanta wins series 4-2 (Game 1 of 6)

Atlanta wins series 4-2

Game 1: Saturday, April 16th
Game 2: Tuesday, April 19th
Game 3: Friday, April 22nd
Game 4: Sunday, April 24th
Game 5: Tuesday, April 26th
Game 6: Thursday, April 28th

Hawks 103

(44-38, 20-21 away)

Magic 93

(52-30, 29-12 home)

    Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

    7:00 PM ET, April 16, 2011

    Amway Center, Orlando, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    ATL 17 38 30 18103
    ORL 19 29 23 2293

    Top Performers

    Atl: J. Johnson 25 Pts, 5 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

    Orl: D. Howard 46 Pts, 19 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Blk

    Hawks win Game 1 in Orlando despite Dwight Howard's 46 points

    Associated Press

    ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Atlanta Hawks' dominance over the Orlando Magic this year is not just a regular-season phenomenon.

    For now, it also includes the postseason.

    Joe Johnson scored 25 points, Jamal Crawford finished with 23 and Atlanta beat Orlando 103-93 in Game 1 of their playoff series on Saturday, overcoming a monster night by Dwight Howard.

    Atlanta was eliminated by Orlando in last year's playoffs in the most lopsided four-game sweep in NBA history, but this one was much different. The Hawks led by as many as 18 points while running multiple bodies at Howard all night, and the rest of the Magic failed to step up.

    "It's a seven-game series and anything can happen," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "All I wanted is to come in here and ... play hard and maintain our composure. ... I could tell our guys were ready for tonight's game."

    Howard tied a career high with 46 points, to go along with 19 rebounds. Jameer Nelson had 27 points but no other Orlando player reached double figures.

    The Hawks had five players with at least 13 points, earning their fourth straight victory against the Magic and erasing the sting of a six-game losing streak to close the regular season. Al Horford scored 16, Josh Smith had 15 points and eight rebounds and Kirk Hinrich added 13 points.

    Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night in Orlando.

    "I think we just had to be excited about where we were," Johnson said. "We understood that we played this team four times this year and we won three of them. We're a confident group. I think the last six games of the season people kinda looked down on us because we lost all six. But now we have a plan. It's coming to fruition and we just have to go out and play together."

    After shooting a dismal 36 percent in the first quarter, the Hawks connected on 30 of their final 52 attempts from the field. They also shot 6 of 14 from the 3-point line.

    "No question it's different [from last year]," Horford said. "We're a different team this year. This year we feel much more confident."

    Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said Atlanta's strong shooting was too much to overcome and will be the focus of his adjustments going forward, along with reducing turnovers. The Magic had 18 giveaways that led to 21 Atlanta points.

    The Hawks were in control throughout. They carried an 85-71 lead into the final period and caught a break when Howard was whistled for his fifth foul with 10:58 to play.

    But even with Howard playing less aggressively underneath on defense, Orlando put together a 10-1 run that cut it to 92-83 with 4:40 left.

    Howard banked in a hook shot with under two minutes remaining to make it 98-90. But a steal by Smith and 3-pointer by Crawford put the Magic back into scramble mode and Atlanta was able to play keepaway the rest of the game.

    The Magic came out with some renewed offensive spirit in the opening minutes of the third, cutting Atlanta's lead to 57-53. The Hawks responded with an 11-0 run, aided by a string of Orlando possessions that produced either fouls or turnovers.

    To compound matters, a few trips later Howard was hit with his fourth personal and a technical foul at the 5:37 mark for pulling Zaza Pachulia to the floor on a rebound attempt. Three straight free throws by the Hawks made it 71-54.

    Nelson kept the Magic close, scoring Orlando's next 15 points to trim the edge to 80-69 with under two minutes to play in the period. He said there are no quick fixes to their woes in Game 1.

    "I can't really put a finger on it right now," Nelson said.

    The Hawks took a 55-48 advantage into the break, relying on hot shooting to keep them out in front for most of the half. Atlanta shot 55 percent overall, including a 14 of 17 from the field in the second quarter alone.

    Howard went 16 for 23 from the field and 14 of 22 from the free throw line, but he also had eight turnovers. Howard and Nelson combined for 26 of Orlando's 34 field goals.

    Howard scored the Magic's first 12 points of the game and had 31 in the first half. His fellow starters and reserve Ryan Anderson combined to miss their first 10 field-goal attempts.

    Hedo Turkoglu finally broke the scoring drought for Howard's teammates with a free throw at the 1:20 mark in the first quarter. And J.J. Redick picked up the first non-Howard field goal of the night a few trips later, dropping in a reverse layup off a behind-the-back pass from Gilbert Arenas in transition.

    "It's frustrating that we lost," Howard said. "But it's the first game. ... We just need to keep playing."

    Game notes

    Howard's 31 points in the opening 24 minutes was a new first-half scoring high for the season. His previous best was 26 in the first half at Portland on Dec. 9, when the Magic lost 97-83. ... The 38 points the Magic gave up to the Hawks in the second quarter were the second-most points scored by an Orlando opponent in a half this season. ... During one stretch in the second and third quarters, Atlanta hit 18 of 24 shots from the field.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 103 93
    FGM-FGA 38-74 (.514) 34-75 (.453)
    3PM-3PA 6-14 (.429) 6-22 (.273)
    FTM-FTA 21-29 (.724) 19-30 (.633)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 5-29 13-40
    Assists 19 15
    Turnovers 10 18
    Steals 8 3
    Blocks 1 3
    Fast Break Points 11 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 28 (0/0) 24 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 18 4

    Top Performers

    Joe Johnson Johnson
    Points: 25
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Dwight Howard Howard
    Points: 46
    Reb: 19
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1

    Research Notes

    Dwight Howard becomes the 6th player since the NBA-ABA merger to score 46 points in a home playoff loss.
    While Dwight Howard had an incredible game, finishing with 46 points and 19 rebounds, it continued an ongoing trend for the Magic this season. Orlando is now just 10-13 including the regular season in games in which Howard takes at leastr 16 shots from the field. When he keeps those attempts to 10 or below, the Magic are 17-3.
    Dwight Howard scored 31 points in the first half against the Hawks on Saturday. His 31 points are now the franchise postseason record for points in a half. Tracy McGrady held the previous record, scoring 28 points in the second half against the Pistons during the 2003 playoffs.

    ESPN Stats & Information