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Orlando all set to slam door

Orlando’s Jameer Nelson, who scored 14, shoots over Hawks guard Mike Bibby in the third quarter.

Associated Press

Orlando’s Jameer Nelson, who scored 14, shoots over Hawks guard Mike Bibby in the third quarter.

Magic 28 24 27 26 105
Hawks 18 15 22 20 75
Magic leads series 3-0

ATLANTA — The Magic kept up its dominating romp through the playoffs, and the Hawks can't do anything to stop it.

Orlando made it seven straight postseason wins, a franchise record, with a 105-75 blowout Saturday, showing off all its weapons beyond Superman while handing Atlanta its worst home playoff loss in franchise history.

Dwight Howard put up his usual stout numbers — 21 points and 16 rebounds — but didn't stand out playing in his hometown. No one on the Magic really did, the real beauty of a team playing better than anyone at the most crucial time of year.

Rashard Lewis scored 22 and knocked down four 3-pointers. Jameer Nelson chipped in with 14 points and four assists. Mickael Pietrus added 13 points, hitting three shots beyond the arc. Marcin Gortat grabbed six rebounds in less than 10 minutes relieving Howard. Matt Barnes had 11 points.

"We understand that for us to win we have to play together," Howard said. "We have a lot of shooters, and we try to feed off that."

All 10 Orlando players who got on the court scored, and the Magic worked even harder on defense. Atlanta made a measly 35 percent from the field, getting only eight points from star Joe Johnson on 3-of-15 shooting.

The Hawks have been battered in three straight games, losing by an average of 29 to a team that finished just ahead of them in the Eastern Conference standings. Their previous worst playoff defeat at home was a 107-83 rout by Philadelphia in 1980.

"A tough, ugly loss," Johnson said. "Embarrassing."

Orlando, which has won 13 straight dating to the regular season, will try to wrap up its second straight sweep of a best-of-seven series Monday. The Magic has seven straight postseason wins, surpassing its run in 1996.

Johnson, who'll be part of what could be the greatest free agent class in NBA history, might be costing himself millions with his playoff performances. He's shooting 29 percent against the Magic, averaging 12.3 points. Over the past six postseason games, he's averaging 13.3 points on 31 percent shooting.

"Guys look to me for guidance," Johnson said. "When I'm playing like that, it's almost impossible for us to win."

At this point, the Hawks are playing for nothing but pride, hoping to avoid getting swept in the second round for the second year in a row. Last year, a rash of injuries left them feeling as though they didn't get a fair shot against LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

No such excuses this year. Atlanta is at full strength and Saturday was playing at home, where it went 34-7 during the regular season.

"It's just not there," former Florida star Al Horford said. "The guys know what we have to do. It's just frustrating when the effort isn't there."

Atlanta never led in this one and was trailing 24-16 when Howard picked up his second foul with 1:45 left in the first quarter. Even with its big man on the bench, Orlando just kept adding to the lead. By the time Howard returned with just less than seven minutes left in the first half, Orlando was comfortably ahead 38-24.

Showing his frustration at halftime, Josh Smith pushed away a cameraman who was attempting to follow him off the court.

In the second half, the crowd took out its frustration on Johnson as he kept missing the mark.

"That doesn't bother me," he said. "I couldn't care less if they showed up or not."

ORLANDO (105): Barnes 5-9 0-0 11, Lewis 8-13 2-2 22, Howard 6-8 9-18 21, Nelson 4-9 5-6 14, Carter 2-5 3-3 7, Gortat 1-2 0-0 2, Redick 3-7 1-2 8, Pietrus 4-10 2-2 13, J.Williams 1-2 0-0 2, Anderson 2-6 1-1 5. Totals 36-71 23-34 105.

ATLANTA (75): M.Williams 2-7 2-2 6, Jos.Smith 7-17 1-4 15, Horford 5-13 1-1 11, Bibby 3-7 0-0 7, J.Johnson 3-15 2-3 8, Crawford 6-13 7-9 22, Pachulia 1-3 0-0 2, Evans 0-3 0-0 0, Teague 2-5 0-0 4, Morris 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-83 13-19 75.

3-Point GoalsOrlando 10-29 (Lewis 4-7, Pietrus 3-7, Redick 1-3, Barnes 1-3, Nelson 1-4, J.Williams 0-1, Carter 0-1, Anderson 0-3), Atlanta 4-15 (Crawford 3-5, Bibby 1-3, Evans 0-1, Teague 0-1, Jos.Smith 0-1, M.Williams 0-1, J.Johnson 0-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsOrlando 62 (Howard 16), Atlanta 44 (Jos.Smith 11). AssistsOrlando 21 (Nelson 4), Atlanta 9 (Horford 3). Total FoulsOrlando 16, Atlanta 24. TechnicalsBarnes, Orlando Coach Van Gundy, Jos.Smith. A18,729 (18,729).

Lakers also get within one victory of sweep

Lakers 17 33 32 29 111
Jazz 22 32 26 30 110
Lakers lead series 3-0

SALT LAKE CITY — Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher hit back-to-back 3-pointers during an 8-2 run in the final minute and the Lakers held on for a 111-110 victory over the Jazz that put them on the verge of clinching the second-round Western Conference series.

The fourth quarter featured 12 lead changes.

"It was fun basketball to watch, I'm sure," Bryant said. "Guys just coming down making big shot after big shot and big play after big play. It was certainly fun to be a part of."

The Jazz had two chances to win it in the final four seconds. But Deron Williams missed from the top of the key, and Wesley Matthews' tip just before the buzzer bounced off the rim.

"It's a tough loss, period," said Williams, who scored 28. "We were again in the game and had a chance to win the game. And things aren't going our way."

Bryant finished with 35 points and Fisher scored 20 for the Lakers, who can close out the four-game sweep with a win Monday night. Pau Gasol added 14 points and 17 rebounds for Los Angeles.

This is the third consecutive playoffs the Lakers and Jazz have met. Los Angeles had lost Game 3 in Utah in the previous two.

More Lakers-Jazz: Lakers coach Phil Jackson said he and Ron Artest have patched things up after he fined the forward last week. Artest posted comments on Twitter complaining because he felt Jackson went to the media to talk about him without talking to him first. And Jazz center Mehmet Okur, who had surgery last month, said he might miss training camp and the preseason while recovering from a ruptured Achilles' tendon.

L.A. LAKERS (111): Artest 7-13 2-2 20, Gasol 6-12 2-2 14, Bynum 0-1 0-0 0, Fisher 7-13 3-3 20, Bryant 13-24 6-8 35, Odom 2-6 3-4 8, Brown 4-12 0-0 9, Farmar 2-6 0-0 5, Powell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 41-87 16-19 111.

UTAH (110): Miles 4-7 1-1 11, Boozer 7-16 0-2 14, Fesenko 1-3 0-0 2, Williams 6-13 13-14 28, Matthews 2-11 5-6 9, Kirilenko 4-7 0-0 8, Millsap 3-6 7-8 13, Korver 9-10 0-0 23, Price 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 37-77 26-31 110.

3-Point GoalsL.A. Lakers 13-29 (Artest 4-7, Bryant 3-7, Fisher 3-7, Farmar 1-2, Brown 1-3, Odom 1-3), Utah 10-22 (Korver 5-5, Williams 3-6, Miles 2-3, Price 0-2, Matthews 0-6). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsL.A. Lakers 44 (Gasol 17), Utah 50 (Boozer 14). AssistsL.A. Lakers 18 (Bryant 7), Utah 23 (Williams 9). Total FoulsL.A. Lakers 25, Utah 21. A19,911 (19,911).

Orlando all set to slam door 05/08/10 [Last modified: Sunday, May 9, 2010 12:26am]
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