ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 22: Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic lays in a basket against Zaza Pachulia #27 and Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 22, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Magic Vs. Hawks, Game 3: Hawks Win, 88-84, After Fight, Sloppy 3rd Quarter

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6 Total Updates since April 22, 2011
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Hawks Vs. Magic Score: Fight In Final Moments As Hawks Hold On

Even when it was not a portrait of how to play basketball, the third game of the Hawks-Magic first-round playoff series was always intriguing. And, for a moment, it looked like ESPN2 might not have to air a boxing match for its Friday fight.

Oh yeah, and Atlanta won. The Hawks now hold a 2-1 lead in the series with two games left in Atlanta.

Yes, the fight requirement was almost fulfilled by a scuffle between the two teams late in the fourth quarter. As Dwight Howard drove to the basket, he was fouled by Atlanta's Zaza Pachulia. As they came back down to the floor, Howard alerted Pachulia to his displeasure by placing his forearm in Pachulia's face.

Pachulia apparently used words to alert the Magic to his displeasure, irritating Jason Richardson. Both of them shared their displeasure with each other in a more physical way, Pachulia with a quasi-head butt to Richardson and Richardson with a slap/shove to Pachulia's face.

Richardson and Pachulia were both ejected, the Hawks were given a free shot for Howard's technical foul (the forearm thing) and Howard was given two free shots for the personal foul from Pachulia that started the whole thing. After all that, the score stood at 81-80.

The teams then traded the lead four times before a three-point shot from Jamal Crawford with 5.7 seconds left gave the Hawks their final margin of victory.

Crawford led the Hawks with 23 points, followed by Joe Johnson with 21 and Josh Smith with 15. Al Horford, who disappeared from the box score for a long stretch starting in the first quarter, chipped in 13.

Dwight Howard was the leading scorer for the Magic, with 21. Richardson had 13 before his abrupt departure, Jameer Nelson had 13 and Brandon Bass added 10.

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Hawks Vs. Magic Score: Atlanta Forgets How To Shoot, Somehow Keeps Lead

It's difficult to explain why, exactly, Atlanta is still leading the third game of the Hawks' playoff game against the Magic. Atlanta started the third quarter shooting 3-of-16, which, for those of you who don't do division in your head, is less than 20 percent.

Joe Johnson (19), Josh Smith (15) and Jamaal Crawford (11) are all scoring in double digits for the Hawks at the end of the third quarter. Dwight Howard had 15 to lead the Magic, while Jason Richardson chipped in 14.

Orlando was still shooting a subpar 28.6 percent from three-point territory, but the inability of Atlanta to make shots from almost anywhere allowed the Magic to draw ever closer. Orlando eventually cut the Hawks' lead in half and then some, going from a nine-point deficit at the half to a four-point gap after the third quarter.

Follow along with this StoryStream for updates. And for more on these teams, check out SB Nation's Hawks blog, Peachtree Hoops, and our Magic blog, Orlando Pinstriped Post.

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Hawks Vs. Magic Score: Atlanta Takes Control Behind Joe Johnson's 17 Points

After taking a modest early lead and watching the Magic eventually tie it in the first quarter, the Hawks decided to take control of the game in the second. Atlanta took a 14-point lead on an 11-3 run starting about midway through the quarter and were still holding a nine-point advantage at the half.

Orlando's three-point shooting has been less than stellar, with the Magic making just four of their 14 attempts (28.6 percent). Jameer Nelson has missed all four of his shots from behind the arc. Hedo Turkoglu is 0-for-3 on the night from deep.

Jason Richardson leads the Magic so far with 11 points. Dwight Howard has scored only nine at the half. No other Orlando player has seven or more points, a mark matched by four Hawks: Joe Johnson (17), Kirk Hinrich (eight), Josh Smith (eight) and Al Horford (seven).

Atlanta, for its part, has shot 54.8 percent from the field and four of its seven shots behind the arc. But the Hawks have also rung up 15 fouls, which could make it tricky to manage things in the second half, particularly given Larry Drew's handling of those issues.

Follow along with this StoryStream for updates. And for more on these teams, check out SB Nation's Hawks blog, Peachtree Hoops, and our Magic blog, Orlando Pinstriped Post.

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Hawks Vs. Magic Score: Atlanta, Orlando Tied After Seesaw First Quarter

It started off as an all-Atlanta game: The Hawks took a 5-0 lead early and never trailed in the first half. The first tie came with 17 seconds left in the quarter, and it stuck until end of the half, the upshot of a 10-3 run by the Magic to close out the half.

The Magic spread the work around for their 25 points: six players scored in the quarter, with Dwight Howard topping the list with seven. The same number of players scored for the Hawks, though most of the points came from Joe Johnson (nine) and Al Horford (seven).

Atlanta foul update, because the Hawks' strategies for dealing with these things has come under some scrutiny: Kirk Hinrich got into foul trouble with about 6:30 left in the quarter -- he already had two fouls -- and spent the rest of the time on the bench. Jason Collins also had two fouls in the quarter.

Follow along with this StoryStream for updates. And for more on these teams, check out SB Nation's Hawks blog, Peachtree Hoops, and our Magic blog, Orlando Pinstriped Post.

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