ORLANDO, May 5- Showing no rust after an eight-day rest, the Orlando Magic routed Atlanta 114-71 on Tuesday in the opener of their NBA Eastern Conference second-round best-of-seven series.
Dwight Howard scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Vince Carter had 20 points for the Magic, who benefited from an extended break while the Hawks had barely had two days’ rest since eliminating Milwaukee in round one.
"The challenge is not to get carried away with the score," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "It was one of those nights where everything just snowballed."
It was the most lopsided playoff defeat in Atlanta Hawks history and the second-biggest playoff rout for the Magic, eclipsed only by a 47-point victory over Boston from the first round in 1995.
"It’s embarrassing," Hawks guard Mike Bibby said. "They embarrassed us."
The Magic outscored Atlanta 60-21 in the middle two quarters.
"We kind of stopped playing and we can’t do that," Atlanta’s Al Horford said. "It kind of got away from us."
Howard proved nearly unstoppable and rested in the fourth quarter as reserves finished off the Hawks.
"I didn’t allow anything to throw me off my game," Howard said. "That’s what I have to do the rest of the series, just not let things take me off my game, just stay free and clear."
A 17-0 Orlando run powered by Magic reserves gave the hosts a 44-27 lead with 4:40 remaining in the second quarter on the way to a 53-33 Magic lead at half-time. Howard scored a game-best 14 points in the first half.
"We’re trying to accomplish something," Carter said. "We wanted to come out sharp. We wanted to deliver the first blow at home. It was important for our intensity to be at a high level."
The lopsided showing continued in the second half, the Hawks unable to stop Orlando from pulling away to lead by as much as 46 points in an easy victory.
"It was an ugly game for us," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "I wish I knew what happened."
Josh Smith scored 14 points and Zaza Pachulia had 12 to pace Atlanta, which avoided matching the fewest points ever scored in a agme against Orlando by a 3-pointer in the final seconds.
"They made a run and they never looked back," Pachulia said.
The Magic will try to seize a 2-0 edge over the Hawks at home on Thursday.
"We’re hungry," Carter said. "Every game is important to us. This is great but we have to get ready for their adjustments and get ready for game two."
Van Gundy was ready to do some research to make sure the Magic do not enter game two lightly.
"I will have for them virtually every time in NBA playoff history that a team had a blowout win, came back and lost the next game," Van Gundy said. "You’ve got to forget what happened."