The Orlando Magic showed they could survive with Dwight Howard in chronic foul trouble. With him on the floor, they were dominant.
Howard had 21 points and 12 rebounds in one of the most crushing playoff wins in Magic history, a 114-71 victory over the Atlanta Hawks last night in Orlando, Fla., in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal.
Howard added five blocks and avoided the fouls and frustration that overwhelmed him in the first round, helping the Magic go ahead by 46 points. Vince Carter finished with 20 points as Orlando showed no signs of rust after an eight-day layoff.
“I think the challenge is not to get carried away with the score,’’ Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “It was one of those nights where everything just snowballed.’’
Did it ever.
Josh Smith scored 14 points and Zaza Pachulia had 12 for a Hawks team that had little playoff poise. Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is tomorrow night in Orlando, and Atlanta will have to find some way to rally from an embarrassing defeat.
“I wish I knew what happened,’’ Hawks coach Mike Woodson said.
Only a 47-point win in the first round against Boston in 1995 was a larger margin of victory in a playoff game for Orlando.
Lakers 111, Jazz 103 — Kobe Bryant scored 30 points, Pau Gasol added 22 points and 15 rebounds, and host Los Angeles methodically pounded the ball inside for a no-nonsense victory and a 2-0 lead over Utah in their second-round playoff series.
Andrew Bynum had 17 points and 14 rebounds for the defending NBA champions, who exploited their height advantage throughout the second half of a disjointed, foul-choked game that lasted nearly three hours.