A strong second quarter by the Orlando Magic and a dominant game by Dwight Howard was enough to even the series as the Magic dropped the Hawks in Game 2 of their NBA playoff series, 88-82. The Magic fell behind by six right out of the gate, but came storming back in the second, outscoring the Hawks 32-20 to take a six-point halftime lead. With a slight lead, the Magic widened the gap in the third before holding off an Atlanta run to seal the game over the final 12 minutes.
Dwight Howard was a force inside for the Magic, finishing with a game-high 33 points and 19 rebounds. Howard was 9-12 from the field and 15-19 from the free throw line as he bullied the Hawks in the paint as Orlando evened the series. His contributions were needed as Orlando struggled to find a scoring rhythm, shooting just 34.6 percent from the field and 21.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Jamal Crawford came off the bench to score a team-high 25 points for Atlanta. Josh Smith added 17 points and Joe Johnson had 14, but it wasn’t enough to climb out of the hole and counter Howard’s outstanding performance. Al Horford had a double-double for the Hawks with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The win evens the series at one heading into Game 3. With the split, the Magic head to Atlanta for a three-game set beginning on Friday at 8 p.m.