Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Howard, Magic soar past Hawks
By ESPN Stats & Info
After opening up the playoffs with a 46-point, 19-rebound performance and a loss, Dwight Howard put together another monster game scoring 33 points and grabbing 19 rebounds as the Orlando Magic defeated the Atlanta Hawks to even the series.
According to Elias, Howard is just the third different player since 1988 to have 75 points and 35 rebounds in the first two games of a postseason series. The only others to do so were Shaquille O'Neal, who did it twice (2000 vs Pacers, 2001 vs Kings) and Hakeem Olajuwon (1988 vs Mavericks).
It was Howard's fourth 30-point, 15-rebound game in the playoffs since 2007. That ties his with Tim Duncan for the most in the NBA during that span. In fact Dirk Nowitzki is the only other player to record multiple such games since 2007, having done so twice.
Howard started off tonight's game slowly. He had six touches in the post in the first quarter, but was only able to turn that into two points. Instead the Hawks interior pressure forced him into four turnovers.
Howard exploded in the second period scoring 20 points, his playoff career high for a quarter. He did most of his damage from the free throw line, making 10-of-13 attempts.
As Howard went Orlando went, as they turned a six-point first quarter deficit into a 12-point halftime lead. They were able to turn it around thanks to their dedication on the offensive glass which created opportunities on a night where they would shoot only 34.6 percent.
On the season the Magic ranked 16th out of 30 teams in offensive rebound percentage, grabbing 26.1 of its missed shots. On Tuesday, game tape showed the Magic grabbed 43.5 percent, their fourth highest mark of the season.
The scary thing for the Hawks, who will take the series back to Atlanta tied 1-1, is that the Magic have yet to make there three-point field goals.
Orlando, who attempted more three-pointers than any NBA team this season, was able to steal this game despite shooting only 21.7 percent from three-point range.
During the regular season Orlando was just 6-13 when shooting under 30 percent from three. Through the first two games of the series Orlando is shooting just 24.4 percent from three.
For a team that shot 36.6 percent from behind the arc on the season it can only get better from here, meaning the Hawks could be in for a long series.