ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 24: A fan dressed in neon green holding a green sign with the words "Kryptonite" on it heckles Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic during a free throw against the Atlanta Hawks during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 24, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Magic Vs. Hawks, Game 4: Crawford, Atlanta Holds On For Wild 86-83 Victory, Leads Series 3-1

Jamal Crawford scores 25 and Hedo Turkoglu misses a potential game-tying three at the buzzer as the Hawks edge the Magic 86-83 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.

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Magic vs. Hawks, Game 4: Atlanta Keeps Winning In Spite Of Themselves

The Hawks bent, but never broke, snuffing every spark of an Orlando comeback. Their reward? As many as three chances to eliminate the Magic.

Jamal Crawford had 25 points off the bench and Joe Johnson scored 10 straight at the end of the game, leading Atlanta to an 88-85 victory over Orlando on Sunday for a 3-1 series lead in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Atlanta blog Peachtree Hoops says the Hawks' gameplan is still working., despite their best efforts to thwart it themselves.

Sure the Hawks fizzled out after a strong start--again--but once again they did enough against a team they overmatch on the whole to gain victory. 3 games to 1, Atlanta lead series. It's nice to see in any context.

Last season, Orlando recorded the largest margin of victory in a four-game sweep in NBA playoff history, beating the Hawks by a total of 101 points.

What a difference a year makes.

For more on the Magic, visit Orlando Pinstriped Post. For more on the Hawks, visit Peachtree Hoops and SB Nation Atlanta.

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Magic vs. Hawks Final Score: Johnson Scored Atlanta's Final Ten, Helps Hawks To 86-83 Win

Joe Johnson scored Atlanta’s final 10 points, including four free throws in the final seconds as the Hawks held on to beat Orlando 88-85 and take a 3-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.

Orlando had a chance to tie it, but Hedo Turkoglu was stripped by Al Horford and missed a three-pointer in tight defense at the buzzer.

Atlanta made only 12 of 20 free throws on the night but Johnson came through when the Magic were forced to foul.

Johnson ended with 20 points and Jamal Crawford scored 25 off the bench to lead Atlanta, which can close out the best-of-seven Eastern Conference set with a Game 5 win in Orlando on Tuesday.

Dwight Howard led the Magic with 29 points and 17 rebounds in the losing effort.

For more on the Magic, visit Orlando Pinstriped Post. For more on the Hawks, visit Peachtree Hoops and SB Nation Atlanta.

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Magic vs. Hawks Score: Dwight Howard Keeping Orlando In Game As Third Ends

Dwight Howard started to get going in the third quarter and the Orlando Magic got back into the game.

Howard scored 13 of his 18 points in the third frame as the Magic closed the gap, but the Atlanta Hawks will go into the fourth quarter with a 66-61 lead in Game 4 of the best-of-seven series at Philips Arena on Sunday.

Jamal Crawford posted 20 points and Al Horford and Kirk Hinrich had 12 each for Atlanta, which shot 50-percent (28-for-56) through three frames.

If the Magic come back in this one, they will have to thank Howard and former Hawks-killer Gilbert Arenas. “Agent Zero,” who sat for Game 3 on Friday night here, has 11 points through the first 36 minutes. They will also stage a comeback without much of a perimeter game. Orlando has connected on just 1-of-18 from behind the arc in this one.

For more on the Magic, visit Orlando Pinstriped Post. For more on the Hawks, visit Peachtree Hoops and SB Nation Atlanta.

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Magic Vs. Hawks Score: Despite Ten Turnovers, Atlanta Leads At The Half

The Atlanta Hawks are dominating the Orlando Magic in all but two categories: free throws and turnovers. As a result, this game is way closer than it should be at the break.

Jamal Crawford netted 14 and Kirk Hinrich added 10 to post the Hawks to a 46-37 edge over the Magic at halftime in Game 4 of the best-of-seven series on Sunday night at Philips Arena.

Joe Johnson had eight points and Al Horford had six points and eight boards for Atlanta, which shot 53-percent (20-for-38) from the field. The Hawks are also 4-for-7 from behind the arc, have also dished 13 assists and have a 26-22 edge on the glass.

The Hawks are controlling the offense and forcing the Magic to take bad shots on the other side of the floor. Dwight Howard has pretty much been a non-factor, siting for half of the first quarter after picking up two quick fouls. Josh Smith has also dunked and blocked a shot from his former AAU-teammate.

For more on the Magic, visit Orlando Pinstriped Post. For more on the Hawks, visit Peachtree Hoops and SB Nation Atlanta.

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Magic Vs. Hawks Score: Atlanta Comes Out Hot At Home In First Quarter

With each quarter of excellence, it looks less like a fluke: the Hawks team that the Magic dominated in the 2010 playoffs is better than the Magic team the Hawks are beating in the 2011 playoffs. And after the first quarter of Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series, Atlanta's up 25-17.

The Hawks shot 58% as a team for the quarter, making 11 of 19 field goals, and neutralized Orlando's most reliable player: Dwight Howard had three turnovers and two fouls in the first quarter, and made zero field goals. If that's an indication of things to come, it's a good bet that Atlanta's going to have a 3-1 series lead at the end of the night.

The Hawks also got balanced scoring in the first period, with Al Horford, Joe Johnson, Kirk Hinrich, and Jamal Crawford all contributing at least four points each. The Magic had less luck: Brandon Bass led Orlando in scoring for the quarter with seven points.

Be sure to check out our Magic vs. Hawks hub for full series coverage. For more on the Magic, visit Orlando Pinstriped Post. For more on the Hawks, visit Peachtree Hoops and SB Nation Atlanta.

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Magic Vs. Hawks, Game 4: Jamal Crawford Keeps Atlanta Buzzing, Orlando Reeling

Jamal Crawford has been something else in the NBA Playoffs, averaging almost 24 points a game in the Atlanta Hawks' 2-1 series lead over the Orlando Magic. With Al Horford struggling to make a big impact on the scoreboard and Dwight Howard continuing to dominate the paint, Atlanta needed superlative performance from its guards to survive this series. The Hawks have gotten just that; Crawford has led the way from the bench, shooting almost 60 percent from long-range and scoring a point for every 75 seconds on the floor. Joe Johnson has been great, too, averaging 20 points, 5.7 rebounds and five assists a game.

And somehow, some way, a team that lost four straight to the Magic by an average of 25 points last year is up 2-1, with a real chance to win this series.

It's a magical turn of events, though the Magic would describe it as nightmarish. It's hard to pin the reversal on just a couple factors, but the shooting of Crawford and Johnson sure matter. Each shot well below 40 percent in last year's postseason, which included a grueling first-round series against the Bucks. Orlando's perimeter defense has certainly suffered due to trades and free agency; Mickael Pietrus and Matt Barnes, in particular, were vital pieces in Stan Van Gundy's rotation, each contributing much more than, say, Jason Richardson, Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu on defense. The moves to shed Rashard Lewis and Vince Carter are coming home to roost for Orlando, a little earlier than expected.

But that's only part of it. Atlanta's defense has shut down Orlando's three-point shooting; the Magic have hit just 19-of-99 from long-range. Given how many threes the Magic put up, this is untenable. The Hawks have made a point to stay at home on Orlando's top gunners, and it's working. Howard is averaging 33 points per game on 67 percent shooting, sure. But the Magic are shooting 19 percent from long-range. That trade-off is working beautifully.

Better shooting, better three-point prevention -- is it that simple? Are we underrating Larry Drew's impact? Is Kirk Hinrich's defense on Jameer Nelson -- as compared to that of Mike Bibby last year -- the difference-maker? The Atlanta Hawks have created a very long list of questions!

If they win again on Sunday, the questions will shift to Orlando, along with the series. This is not a good time for the Magic to crumble, not with the abhorrent rumors about Dwight's future already hanging like a bad stench. The Magic need to pull something from up their sleeves to reverse this series and get back on track.

Be sure to check out our Magic vs. Hawks hub for full series coverage. For more on the Magic, visit Orlando Pinstriped Post. For more on the Hawks, visit Peachtree Hoops and SB Nation Atlanta.

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