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Magic Win Game Two 88-82 To Tie Series Against Hawks


Dwight Howard scores 33 points in Orlando Magic win in Game Two of the First Round versus the Atlanta Hawks. Daylife via Getty Images

ORLANDO, Fla. — Despite a lackluster shooting effort from the Orlando Magic, they came out on top Tuesday night at the Amway Center.

Orlando took down the Atlanta Hawks 88-82 to even up the series at 1-1. The Hawks, who were successful with their medium-range shots in Game One, found it more difficult to get them to count in Game Two.

Atlanta went 32-of-81 from the field, taking seven more shots but making six fewer baskets than it did on Saturday. Credit the Magic defense for making it tougher on the Hawks’ perimeter shooting.

Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Quentin Richardson did well containing Joe Johnson throughout the night. Johnson scored 14 points on 6-of-15 shooting. He was held to 11 points below his Game One performance, down 16 percent shooting.

Al Horford also struggled from the field, shooting 4-of-11, but saw limited action after picking up two fouls early in the first quarter. He lasted 2 minutes and 10 seconds in the first before Larry Drew took him out. Horford saw no action in the second period and played nearly 19 minutes less than he did Saturday. In that game, he had 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting.

The Magic, on the other hand, is a puzzling one. Their field goal percentage was below their season average and they were dreadful from the behind the arc, but still played a better team game that led to the team’s first victory of the 2011 postseason.

The major difference here was that Orlando made big shots to put them in a position to win the game. At one point, down by 10, the Magic had a resurgence, perhaps fueled by the hustle of J.J. Redick. Fighting for the loose ball with Kirk Hinrich, Redick was able to pass it forward to Jameer Nelson, who then put it up for an easy lay up.

Orlando went on to close out the first half with a 14-3 run and a thunderous roar from the partisan crowd.

While the three-point shot failed to go in the bucket in the first half, it found life in the final 24-miuntes. The Magic shot 5-of-17 from behind the line, with Jason Richardson and Ryan Anderson each making two.

Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said he liked the shots his team took in the second half.

“We took a couple that were bad, where we didn’t execute stuff, but I thought for the most part, I liked our shots,” he said.

Dwight Howard, who was presented his Defensive Player of the Year hardware again before tipoff, followed up a spectacular performance with 33 points and 19 rebounds. While he was accurate with his field goals (9-of-12), most of his success came from the free throw line, making 15-of-19 attempts.

The team as a whole went to the line 36 times, which was six more attempts than in Game One, but also added 10 points to the scoreboard.

Van Gundy praised the play of his big man, Howard. Stating that with his presence, “that’s what a guy like Dwight does.”

“He was phenomenal tonight,” said Van Gundy. “Just the energy itself that he put into the game.”

Howard played all 48 minutes. Good thing for Howard, they have two days before Game Three at Phillips Arena on Friday night.