The Orlando Magic won game one in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks, dominating them with a win of 114-71 in Orlando.
Dwight Howard led Orlando in one of their largest playoff victories in Magic history with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks.
This was the Hawks worst loss of the season and lowest point total.
Josh Smith scored 14 points and Zaza Pachulia had 12 points and 7 rebounds for the Atlanta Hawks.
“It’s embarrassing,” Hawks point guard Mike Bibby said. “They embarrassed us.”
The result threw Hawks coach Mike Woodson for a loop, including how much Howard played in the first half (21 minutes).
“I didn’t expect Orlando to play Howard as long as they did,” he said. “We have to adjust to that Thursday and see how we play.”
The Hawks were held to 10 points in the second quarter, and just 11 points in the third. Howard and most of the Magic starters weren’t even needed in the fourth, and Atlanta players covered their heads with towels on the bench in the final minutes.
“The challenge is not to get carried away with the score,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “It’s one of those nights where things just snowballed. It’s one game.”
Dwight Howard was on fire and couldn’t be stopped.
“I didn’t allow anything to throw me off my game,” Howard said, adding that he made it a point not to engage officials about calls. “And I think that’s what I have to do the rest of the series, just not let things take me off my game, just stay free and clear.”
“It was an ugly game for us,” Hawks coach Mike Woodson said of the latest defeat. “I wish I knew what happened.”
The Magic wanted to make a statement: They’re intent on returning to the NBA Finals.
“We know what our goals are,” said guard Vince Carter, who had 20 points. “We’re not afraid to talk about it. We want to win a championship.”
Magic coach Stan Van Gundy knows he cannot let this win go to his team’s head. He is already thinking about how he can put this win behind them.
“I told them that (Wednesday) I will have for them virtually every time in NBA playoff history that a team had a blowout win, came back and lost the next game,” Van Gundy said. “You’ve got to forget what happened.”
Game 2 will take place Thursday, May 6 in Orlando.