Orlando beats Bobcats 99-90 to complete sweepCHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Dwight Howard kept collecting fouls, and all the Orlando Magic did was become the first team to advance in the NBA playoffs. Vince Carter scored 21 points, Jameer Nelson added 18 and the Magic showcased their depth and pressure shot-making in a 99-90 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night to complete a sweep of their first-round series.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Dwight Howard kept collecting fouls, and all the Orlando Magic did was become the first team to advance in the NBA playoffs.
Vince Carter scored 21 points, Jameer Nelson added 18 and the Magic showcased their depth and pressure shot-making in a 99-90 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night to complete a sweep of their first-round series.
Howard was held to six points in his fourth straight game in foul trouble, but the Magic never flinched to accomplish their first four-game sweep in franchise history. Orlando will face the Atlanta-Milwaukee winner in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Tyrus Thomas scored a career playoff-high 21 points for the Bobcats, whose focus will now almost immediately turn to nomadic coach Larry Brown’s future with the team.
Howard did grab 13 rebounds, but was limited to 23 minutes before fouling out for the second straight game. The Magic, though, got key contributions and big shots from others.
Rashard Lewis scored 17 points, Matt Barnes added 14 and Orlando held Stephen Jackson to 2-of-11 shooting to make sure Charlotte would be the only team not to win a first-round game.
After Charlotte cut Orlando’s lead to one on Tyson Chandler’s two free throws, Mickael Pietrus hit consecutive 3-pointers directly across the floor from Bobcats owner Michael Jordan’s seat to put the Magic ahead 83-76 with 5:47 left.
Nelson’s 3-pointer less than a minute later — after Gerald Wallace missed two free throws — put it away for the Magic, whose only previous playoff sweep was a 3-0 victory over Detroit in 1996.
They made quick work of the Bobcats, whose first playoff appearance turned into a miserable offensive exhibition. Charlotte couldn’t take advantage of Howard’s long stints on the bench — and now has to wonder if its coach will be back.
Brown, in the second season of his 13th head coaching job in college and the pros, said two weeks ago that Jordan is “the only guy I’m going to coach for.” But Jordan said last month he wouldn’t hold the 69-year-old Brown to his contract if he wanted to leave for family reasons.
Brown’s wife and children live in Philadelphia, and Brown could hold true to his word if he left for a job such as team president with the 76ers and hired his own coach.
Asked during his pregame media availability if this series could help the team in the future, a cranky Brown snapped it would be “stupid” to think about next season, while he continued to bash Charlotte’s deficiencies.
They were magnified by Howard’s absence.
The four-time All-Star’s endless foul trouble entering the game made him the focus of ribbing in the morning shootaround. Teammates told him instead of Superman, his nickname was now “Foul on You.” Howard played along in raising his arm and clenching his fist as if to call a foul.
Bucks 111, Hawks 104
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Carlos Delfino scored 22 points with six 3-pointers and the Milwaukee Bucks pulled off their second straight playoff surprise, beating the Atlanta Hawks 111-104 Monday night to draw even in the first-round series.
Brandon Jennings scored 23 points and John Salmons added 22 for the Bucks, who survived a fourth-quarter surge led by Atlanta stars Joe Johnson and Josh Smith. Now the Hawks head home for Game 5, desperately needing a win to stave off a surprising challenge by a team missing its best player, injured center Andrew Bogut.
Johnson scored 29 points, reserve Jamal Crawford had 21, and Smith had 20 points and nine rebounds.
The Bucks finally started getting to the free throw line and the made the most of it, hitting 28 of 32.