Magic cushion holds up

Magic guard Vince Carter beats the Bobcats’ Nazr Mohammed to the glass during his 19-point night. Orlando holds a 2-0 edge.

Associated Press

Magic guard Vince Carter beats the Bobcats’ Nazr Mohammed to the glass during his 19-point night. Orlando holds a 2-0 edge.

Magic 18 23 34 17 92
Bobcats 14 16 25 22 77
Magic leads series 2-0

ORLANDO — Dwight Howard said go ahead, rub the top of his head. Feel them?

Two little lumps.

"I got two horns," Howard said Wednesday night, not pleased in the least.

Bumps and bruises aside, Howard and the Magic also have a 2-0 lead against the Bobcats after throttling them 92-77 in Game 2. The Eastern Conference quarter­final series heads to Charlotte, N.C., for Game 3 on Saturday.

On Wednesday, the physical play picked up, not to hockey level, but there was enough chippiness to go around.

"I love it," Magic small forward Matt Barnes said. "That's what the playoffs are all about."

Like in Game 1, Howard again battled through foul trouble, held to another 28-minute night.

But the Magic is throwing much more at the Bobcats than Superman, a.k.a. Howard. His Super Friends are everywhere.

The Magic got balanced scoring as all their starters finished in double figures, led by Vince Carter's 19 points. Howard had 15 points and nine rebounds. Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson each scored 13, and Barnes added 11 points, six rebounds and four assists.

Orlando played solid defense, especially early, and wound up forcing Charlotte into 21 turnovers for 16 points. The Magic took a 20-point lead into the fourth quarter, but the Bobcats cut the deficit to eight with a little more than three minutes remaining.

Carter, coming off a 4-for-19 Game 1 shooting nightmare, hit a jumper and Lewis made a steal to interrupt the Bobcats' rally.

Bobcats coach Larry Brown said the Magic "didn't get to where they are with just one guy," and Orlando weathered the stretches in which Howard was out.

"I just don't see the other great players in this league on the bench all the time with foul trouble, especially on marginal calls. I just don't," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "But you're sitting there and going, 'Wow, really? That's a foul?' "

Howard said: "It's tough. I really try to keep my head."

Howard and the Bobcats' Gerald Wallace tangled underneath in the final quarter. Frustrated by the in-fighting, Howard took a swipe at Wallace's head, making contact. No foul was called.

Before the game, Van Gundy lobbied for fewer days between playoff games. While saying he understands the lucrative television deals the league has with networks, he suggested back-to-back games in each city, then allow for a day off for travel. He said the first-round schedule throws teams off from the regular season.

"Baseball gets their whole playoffs and World Series done in like three weeks," he said. "Us, it takes us the first round to go three weeks."

CHARLOTTE (77): Wallace 3-7 8-10 15, Diaw 2-6 0-0 5, Ratliff 0-3 0-0 0, Felton 2-6 0-0 4, Jackson 10-20 5-7 27, Mohammed 5-6 0-0 10, Hughes 0-3 0-0 0, Chandler 3-4 0-1 6, Augustin 2-3 0-0 6, Thomas 1-4 0-0 2, Graham 0-3 0-0 0, Brown 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 29-66 13-18 77.

ORLANDO (92): Barnes 4-6 2-2 11, Lewis 5-12 0-0 13, Howard 5-10 5-12 15, Nelson 4-11 4-5 13, Carter 5-10 9-11 19, Anderson 2-4 0-0 6, Pietrus 3-6 0-0 9, Redick 0-1 2-3 2, Williams 0-2 2-2 2, Gortat 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 29-64 24-35 92.

3-Point GoalsCharlotte 6-14 (Augustin 2-2, Jackson 2-5, Wallace 1-2, Diaw 1-2, Felton 0-1, Hughes 0-2), Orlando 10-27 (Pietrus 3-4, Lewis 3-7, Anderson 2-3, Barnes 1-2, Nelson 1-5, Redick 0-1, Williams 0-2, Carter 0-3). Fouled OutChandler. ReboundsCharlotte 46 (Diaw 7), Orlando 42 (Howard 9). AssistsCharlotte 18 (Diaw, Felton 4), Orlando 17 (Nelson 5). Total FoulsCharlotte 29, Orlando 22. TechnicalsCharlotte Coach Brown, Orlando Coach Van Gundy, Orlando defensive three second. A17,461.

Spurs 24 34 24 20 102
Mavs 20 26 26 16 88
Series tied 1-1

DALLAS — Richard Jefferson rebounded from a miserable performance in the opener to score 19, helping the Spurs beat the Mavericks to tie their first-round series at one game apiece.

Jefferson responded just how coach Gregg Popovich was hoping when he said, "We had a lot of guys that played like dogs" in the opener. Jefferson matched his Game 1 points in the opening minutes and had 17 by halftime, several coming during a 12-1 surge that broke it open.

Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki missed six of his first seven shots, and even missed a free throw after having made 88 in a row. He scored 24, down from 36 in the opener.

SAN ANTONIO (102): Jefferson 7-12 4-4 19, Duncan 11-19 3-7 25, McDyess 2-5 0-0 4, Hill 2-7 2-4 7, Ginobili 8-13 3-3 23, Parker 7-16 2-4 16, Bonner 3-6 0-0 8, Blair 0-4 0-0 0, Mason 0-1 0-0 0, Temple 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 40-83 14-22 102.

DALLAS (88): Marion 2-7 2-2 6, Nowitzki 9-24 5-6 24, Dampier 0-1 0-0 0, Kidd 1-7 2-2 5, Butler 6-17 4-4 17, Najera 1-3 0-0 2, Terry 9-19 6-6 27, Haywood 1-3 0-0 2, Barea 2-4 0-0 5. Totals 31-85 19-20 88.

3-Point GoalsSan Antonio 8-15 (Ginobili 4-6, Bonner 2-5, Hill 1-1, Jefferson 1-2, Mason 0-1), Dallas 7-19 (Terry 3-7, Nowitzki 1-1, Barea 1-1, Butler 1-4, Kidd 1-4, Najera 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsSan Antonio 58 (Duncan 17), Dallas 48 (Nowitzki 10). AssistsSan Antonio 18 (Parker 8), Dallas 19 (Kidd 8). Total FoulsSan Antonio 15, Dallas 18. TechnicalsNowitzki. A20,728 (19,200).

Turnaround nets honor: The Thunder's Scott Brooks was named coach of the year after engineering the league's best turnaround. The Thunder won 27 more games than it did a year ago, going 50-32 and earning the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs with the NBA's youngest roster.

Lakers-Thunder: Who said Kobe Bryant was done?

Playing with a broken finger, sore knee and bum ankle, Bryant scored 39 in a 95-92 victory late Tuesday, carrying the Lakers in the fourth quarter when they lost the lead three times. He was 13-for-15 from the free-throw line with his dad, Joe, watching.

Los Angeles takes a 2-0 series lead into tonight's game at Oklahoma City.

"What did Mark Twain say? Rumors of my demise or whatever," said Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who predicted Bryant would return to form before Game 2.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Magic cushion holds up 04/22/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 22, 2010 1:38am]

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