Dwight Howard earned yet another double-double with 22 points and 17 rebounds, leading his Orlando Magic past the Atlanta Hawks 93-76 last night at Philips Arena. The Hawks were coasting until the third quarter when Orlando proceeded to double their point total for the block with 28. From there the Magic continued on, dominating with 26 more fourth quarter points to their 11.
“I came out in the second half and just trusted my teammates,” said Howard. “They made some open shots and I tried to dominate the paint. It doesn’t matter if we’re down 20, we’re going to continue to fight.”
The Magic just barely stand alone on top of the Eastern Conference with a 12-4 regular season record. Atlanta along with the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers fall right behind at 11-4. Despite the recent disappointing loss, the Hawks have seemed to improve year by year with their core group of guys still intact led by Joe Johnson, Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford. In 2008 they finished 37-45 and took the Celtics to seven games in the opening round. Last season they advanced to the Semifinals and were swept by Cleveland.
After another year of playoff experience, this now veteran squad will look to play spoiler against the big market teams in the playoffs. They have definitely entered their way into the discussion in regards to who will come out on top of the East.