Magic sweep into Eastern finals


ATLANTA, May 11 – The Orlando Magic swept into the NBA Eastern Conference finals Monday, finishing off a lopsided series against Atlanta with a 98-84 victory on the Hawks' home floor.Vince Carter scored 22 points to lead another dominant performance by the Magic, who won the four games by an average of 25 points.

Orlando, who lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in last year’s NBA Finals, have won 14 games in a row – the last eight of them in the playoffs as they posted back-to-back series sweeps.

Next up for the Magic will be either Boston or Cleveland – the team they upset in the conference finals last year to reach the championship series. Boston and Cleveland were tied at two games apiece with the Cavs to host game five on Tuesday.

Atlanta held Dwight Howard to 13 points and eight rebounds, but Orlando showed they have other ways to score.

Jameer Nelson used his quickness to stymie the Hawks, finishing with 16 points and nine assists.

Rashard Lewis scored 17 points, knocking down four three-pointers, while Mickael Pietrus’ 12 points all came from three-point range.

Atlanta’s Joe Johnson completed a dismal series by scoring 14 points.

He was booed by the home crowd at the start of the game and again when he went to the bench with less than four minutes remaining.

Hawks fans were irked when a frustrated Johnson reacted to heckling in Saturday’s blowlout defeat by saying he didn’t care if they "showed up or not".

The Hawks managed to trim a 17-point deficit to 75-66 by the end of the third quarter, but the Magic made sure there was no rally.