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The play started an 11-2 run that erased Atlanta's early nine-point lead and put the Magic ahead 62-59. The topsy-turvy starts by the two centers -- Howard had 18 points in the first, and Horford scored 14 points in the second -- were merely offsetting.
"He was shooting over our defense and making shots," Horford said. "I can live with that. He had to earn everything he got."
Jameer Nelson finished with 20 points and also made a 3-pointer as time expired in the third quarter, a demoralizing blow after Jamal Crawford's 3-pointer on the other end. It put the Magic ahead by one.
"That was a huge momentum boost for us," Van Gundy said.
Then they took off.
A flurry of Magic 3-pointers sent the Hawks packing with another loss to their Southeast Division rival, which has won eight of the last nine games in the series, including the playoffs. Carter, Lewis, Nelson and Mickael Pietrus all made one from beyond the arc during the big fourth-quarter spurt that put Orlando ahead by 19.
"We didn't play our best basketball in the first half but we were still within arm's reach," Carter said. "In the second half, we played like the Orlando Magic."
They had fun with it, too.
Magic players kept their arms in the air with every swish, teasing and pleasing the crowd in celebration. The run gave way to that all-too-familiar look on Atlanta's bench, with many players draping towels over their heads in shame.
Not even a near-perfect night on free throws for the Hawks (30 for 31) could prevent another loss in Orlando, which moved just two games away in the best-of-seven series from returning to the conference finals.
"I live for it," Carter said. "Having the opportunity to play for so much, I welcome it."
NOTES: It was the first time the Magic ever had four players score at least 20 points in a playoff game. ... Howard and Cleveland's LeBron James were the only unanimous choices the All-NBA Team announced Thursday. ... Howard also led the NBA first-team defense in voting.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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