Magic become first team to advance to second round
ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Magic clinched their first playoff series victory since 1996, with a 102-92 win over the Toronto Raptors on Monday night at Amway Arena.
Orlando will have to wait and see who it will play in the second round, as Philadelphia and Detroit are currently tied at two games apiece in their first round series.
The Magic were once again led by Dwight Howard, who scored 21 points and grabbed 21 rebounds while shooting 7-of-12 from the field and 7-for-10 at the free throw line.
Howard continues to emerge as one of the best players in the league, as he single-handedly took over the game late in the third quarter.
The Magic also put to rest the pre-playoff whispers about the advantage the Raptors point guards would have against Jameer Nelson and Keyon Dooling.
Dooling came off the bench to score nine points in just 14 minutes of play, while Nelson continued his impressive play in the series by scoring 19 points.
Nelson said he tries not to pay attention to what the prognosticators have to say, but coach Stan Van Gundy made it hard for him to ignore.
“It’s kind of hard when you have clips sitting on your locker when you come to shoot around,” Nelson said jokingly.
Orlando’s early season acquisition of Maurice Evans continues to pay off as well. Evans scored 12 points and did an excellent job on defense, which is one of the reasons the Magic acquired the swingman.
None of the Magic players would say who they’d rather face in the second round, but Nelson said no matter whom it is, they won’t be pushed around.
“You can say we’re soft all you want,” he said. “But I think we’re pretty tough.”
While the Magic were happy with their series victory, and Orlando’s sellout crowd was jubilant, Howard said the team’s work is far from done.
“We’re not satisfied,” said Howard, who was in elementary school the last time the Magic won a playoff series. “We’re still hungry; our goal is to win a championship.”