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Magic tops Hawks, stays alive Howard fails to hit double-digits

Jason Richardson scored 17 points and J.J. Redick added 14 to help the Orlando Magic stay alive in the playoffs with a 101-76 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night.

The win kept alive the Magic's hopes of becoming the ninth team in NBA history to win a playoff series after trailing 3-1. If they can win Game Six Thursday in Atlanta, they would host the decisive Game Seven on Saturday.

Magic center Dwight Howard battled foul trouble throughout the night and had just one field goal, finishing with 8 points and 8 rebounds. Orlando didn't need his offense, though, as it broke out of a series-long shooting slump with 11 three-pointers.

Josh Smith scored 22 points to lead Atlanta, which shot below 40 percent for just the second time this series.

The Magic cruised in the second half, allowing Howard to log his first extended rest of the series as their lead crept above 30 points early in the fourth quarter.

They were able to coast, though, based on what they did much earlier in the game.

Orlando put together easily its best half of the series in building a 58-35 halftime lead.

Everyone was involved as the Magic, who led by as many as 24 points in the half, moved the ball in the half court to open up great looks from the perimeter. Following another cold start, Orlando picked things up in the second quarter and finished the half shooting 45 percent and 46 percent from beyond the arc (6 for 13).

Richardson had 12 by the break.

Smith paced Atlanta with 11 first-half points, but the Hawks struggled on offense, going 13 for 38 (34 percent) -- making just two threes. They also had eight turnovers that led to nine of Orlando's points.

The Magic were leading 10-8 when Howard picked up his second personal foul of the night with 5:40 left in the first, but Orlando closed with a 16-5 run without him. Redick had the hot hand, going 5 for 5 in the period and scoring the Magic's last 11 points.

Atlanta was just 3 for 19 in the first quarter.


Bulls wrap it up

CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose scored 25 points, Luol Deng added 24 and the Chicago Bulls finally played like a top seed, knocking off the Indiana Pacers, 116-89, in Game Five to wrap up their first-round playoff series.

The top-seeded Bulls can breathe a little easier after getting a dominant performance by their MVP candidate and an emphatic win that came on the heels of four dramatic games.

They can also turn their attention to the Eastern Conference semifinals, where they'll meet Atlanta or Orlando.

Rose seemed just fine after spraining his left ankle in Game Four, hitting 8 of 17 shots. He dominated in the early going and came up big in the third after the Pacers pulled within four. He scored 10 points over the final six minutes, and Chicago ended the quarter on a 23-8 run to blow the game open.


Spurs on the brink?

SAN ANTONIO -- So is this how the San Antonio Spurs' dynasty might end?

Not with Tim Duncan hoisting a fifth NBA championship trophy -- a scenario that seemed wholly realistic just a month ago -- but with the top-seeded Spurs ousted in the first round by the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies, a franchise that previously had never won a playoff game?

"We put ourselves in this position," Duncan said. "We gotta stay alive."

The Grizzlies, up 3-1 in the series, could put the series away tonight and make the Spurs just the second No. 1 seed in NBA history to lose a best-of-seven series in the first round.

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