The Orlando Magic trounced the Atlanta Hawks last Thursday night by the score of 112-98. Dwight Howard, the Magic centre, led the way with a stellar performance, netting 29 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. Howard made eight of nine shots from the field. "He was shooting over our defence and making shots." said Al Horford, the Hawks' centre. "I can live with that. He had to earn everything he got."
After a sub-par first round series against the Charlotte Bobcats, Howard has come back with a vengeance. Shaking off a habit of getting into foul trouble, he has completely dominated the Hawks' smaller interior defenders. He is also making his free throws at a fairly significant clip; something he has failed to do for most of his career. In Game 2, he finished 13-18 from the free-throw line. In Game 1 of the series, Howard finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds in only 29 minutes of play.
He also shot a sparkling 80 per cent from the field in a game where his team went on to win by 43 points. It was one of the largest margins of victory in the history of the Magic's franchise. It was the sort of performance by Howard that Magic fans have become accustomed to, and which gives them hope that this year the Magic will not only make the NBA Finals, but win the championship. His supporting cast has also been solid. They will need to play a significant role if the team goes on to enjoy prolonged success in the play-offs.
In Game 2, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson all finished with 20 or more points. The next two games are in Atlanta, where the Hawks must turn the tables if they are to salvage anything. firstname.lastname@example.org