Dwight Howard stayed out of foul trouble for the first time this postseason, spelling bad news for the Hawks in their Game 1 with the Magic last night. Atlanta was overwhelmed Tuesday night, as the Magic outscored the Hawks 60-21 in the second and third quarters combined, on their way to a 114-71 win. It marked the second-largest margin of victory in any Game 1 in NBA playoff history (47 points had been the previous high), as the Magic moved to 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS this postseason. Howard had 21 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks (now 25 through five games!) while Carter added 21 and Nelson 19.
The Hawks are now a woeful 2-11 SU and ATS on the playoff road the past three postseasons and will need much better play from Johnson (4-of-11 FGs for 10 points), Crawford (1-of-11 FGs with five points) and Horford (1-of-7 FGs for four points and six rebounds), to have any chance on Thursday. The Magic held Atlanta to just 34.6 percent from the floor, including 2-of-13 on threes. The Magic have allowed just 82.6 PPG through their first five playoff games, while allowing opponents to make just 21-of-81 three-pointers (25.9 percent).
Nothing changed much last night at Staples Center, as the Jazz lost their 16th consecutive game in LA (8th straight in the postseason), 111-103. Williams (4-of-16 FGs) had just 15 points (nine assists) but Millsap (26-11) and Boozer (20-12) both had solid games. However, the Lakers outrebounded the Jazz 58-40 and outscored them in the paint, 65-50. Kobe had 30 or more points for the third straight game (30-5-8) while Gasol followed his Game 1 performance of 25-12 with 22 and 15 (how good has this guy become?). Bynum chipped in 17 and 14 plus Odom had his best game of the postseason with 11 points and 15 rebounds. Artest had 16 points but again I ask, why can't Jackson get him to stop taking threes? Artest is 7-of-42 (16.7 percent) behind the arc and 25-of-45 (55.6 percent) inside of it this postseason!
The Lakers own a 2-0 series lead and all five teams which did that in the opening round, went on to win their respective series. So what else is new? The record for teams taking 2-0 leads in a best-of-seven series is 214-14 all-time, almost 95 percent (94.9). The Lakers have done their share in contributing to that mark, as the franchise is 40-1 all-time after taking a 2-0 series lead. The Suns will try and go up 2-0 vs the Spurs tonight in Phoenix (9:05 ET on TNT) and are favored by 2 1/2 or three points (total is 205). The Suns are 17-3 SU and 15-4-1 ATS at home since the All Star break but the Spurs have 'owned' the Suns since 2003, winning playoff series in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2008 against Phoenix. Something's gotta give.
Both home teams won and covered last night, making home teams 5-1 SU and and 4-2 ATS in the second round. They are 37-14 (.725) and 33-18 ATS (64.7 percent) since the beginning of the playoffs. There have been four overs and two unders after six games of the second round, with 24 overs, 25 unders and two pushes since the start of play (April 17). Those following the Zig Zag theory lost last night with the Jazz and are 1-1 in the second round, 20-19 ATS in the postseason to-date.