Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - Dwight Howard scored 29 points and pulled down 17 rebounds, and the Magic pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 112-98 win over Atlanta in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Although the outcome was the same as the opener, the Magic used a much later rally than Tuesday to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. In Game 1, the Magic outscored the Hawks, 60-21, over the middle two quarters to win going away, 114-71. Orlando held a 63-41 advantage in the second half Thursday, including 28-15 in the last quarter.
Vince Carter scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half for the Magic, who have won 12 straight contests, including their four-game sweep of Charlotte in the first round.
Jameer Nelson had 16 of his 20 points in the second half and Rashard Lewis also finished with 20 for Orlando, which shot a sizzling 61.8 percent (21-of-34) over the final 24 minutes. The Magic used a 19-2 spurt in the final quarter to seal the win.
The Hawks missed just one of their 31 foul shots for the game, but were hurt by going 12-of-33 from the field in the second half. That included a dismal 5-of-21 clip in the fourth quarter. They also turned the ball over eight times in the final two quarters, leading to 17 Orlando points.
Al Horford had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawks, who are a dismal 0-13 all-time in conference semifinal series since the round was renamed as such in 1971. Additionally, Atlanta has lost 13 straight conference semifinal games dating back to 1997.
Game 3 is Saturday in Atlanta.
Horford made two free throws for an 88-87 Hawks deficit 1 1/2 minutes into the final quarter. Orlando then used its dominating push to send the Hawks to another rough defeat. Howard started the spurt with a pair of foul shots and Carter hit a three-pointer for a 93-87 margin. Mickael Pietrus added one from beyond the arc, and Lewis and Nelson each sank long-distance jumpers for a 107-89 cushion with 4:29 to play.
"We were better tonight in terms of our overall play," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "I like how we came out and started the game and going in at halftime was great. We just have to finish up, put four solid quarters together to beat this team."
Howard went 8-of-9 from the field and 13-of-18 at the charity stripe. He also had at least five fouls for the fifth time in these playoffs. He scored 18 points in the first quarter, helping the Magic take a 32-27 lead after 12 minutes.
"He took some very hard hits on the offensive end of the floor," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "A lot of times that led to a lot of frustration and at times retaliation from him. He really kept his head tonight."
The Hawks scored 11 in a row during the second quarter for a 40-34 lead and they carried a 57-49 lead into the half. Orlando then scored nine in a row to start the third quarter, gaining the lead on Nelson's jumper. It was a back- and-forth contest the rest of the period, with some dramatics at the end. Crawford hit a three-pointer in the waning seconds, but Nelson banked in one from beyond the arc at the buzzer for an 84-83 Magic edge.
Atlanta has lost 19 of his last 21 road playoff games...Marvin Williams had nine points and 11 rebounds...Orlando finished 55.9 percent from the field, compared to 41.3 for Atlanta.