ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Magic showed they could survive with Dwight Howard in chronic foul trouble. With him on the floor, they looked dominant.
Howard had 21 points and 12 rebounds in one of the most crushing wins in Magic history, a 114-71 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal.
Howard added five blocks and avoided the fouls and frustration that overwhelmed him in the first round, helping the Magic go ahead by as many as 46 points. Vince Carter finished with 20 as Orlando showed no signs of rust after an eight-day layoff.
Josh Smith scored 14 points and Zaza Pachulia had 12 for a Hawks team that had little playoff poise. Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Thursday in Orlando.