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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Magic finish off Bobcats

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) As the final seconds ticked down, Dwight Howard was back in his familiar spot on the bench and coach Stan Van Gundy was steamed at his superstar for fouling out again.

News photo
Take a seat: Milwaukee's Jerry Stackhouse falls into the crowd while pursuing a loose ball against Atlanta in Game 4 on Monday night. The Bucks won 111-104 to tie the series 2-2. AP PHOTO

Then the buzzer sounded and the Orlando Magic became the first team to advance in the NBA playoffs.

Who needs Howard?

Not these deep Magic — at least not in the first round.

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.

"If you would have told me that he would have averaged well under 30 minutes for the series and we would sweep, I would have said you're crazy," Van Gundy said. "I think it's a testament to our other guys."

Howard did grab 13 rebounds, but was limited to 23 minutes before fouling out. 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 overcome Howard's 22 fouls in the series.

Tyrus Thomas scored a career playoff-high 21 points for the Bobcats, whose focus will now immediately turn to nomadic coach Larry Brown's future with the team.

Brown, who has had 13 pro and college coaching jobs, continues to be the focus of reports for openings around the NBA, including Philadelphia, where his wife and kids live.

But he repeated that he'll only coach for Bobcats owner Michael Jordan.

"I'm not coaching anywhere but Charlotte," Brown said. "Now am I going to go home and talk to my wife and kids? I'll be 70 years old with two young kids. Am I going to talk to them and find out what I need to do and am I going to talk to Michael? Yeah, absolutely."

Bucks 111, Hawks 104

In Milwaukee, Carlos Delfino scored 22 points with six 3-pointers and the Bucks pulled off their second straight playoff surprise, beating Atlanta to level their series.

Brandon Jennings scored 23 points and John Salmons added 22 for Milwaukee, which survived a fourth-quarter surge led by Hawks stars Joe Johnson and Josh Smith.

Johnson scored 29 points, reserve Jamal Crawford had 21, and Smith had 20 points and nine rebounds.

Suns 107, Blazers 88

In Phoenix, Channing Frye and Jared Dudley broke out of their series-long shooting slumps with 20 and 19 points, respectively, as the Suns overcame an early 14-point deficit to beat Portland and take a 3-2 lead in their series.

Amare Stoudemire scored 19, and Steve Nash had 14 points and 10 assists for Phoenix.

Andre Miller scored 21, while LaMarcus Aldridge and Jerryd Bayless had 17 apiece for the Trail Blazers.

Restani passes away

MILWAUKEE (AP) Former Bucks power forward Kevin Restani died in San Francisco after returning from Milwaukee where he had attended Game 3 between the Bucks and Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night. He was 58.

The Bucks didn't say how Restani died on Sunday night. While in Milwaukee, he had participated in the North American Association of Club Athletic Directors basketball tournament.

Restani was playing for a team representing the Olympic Club of San Francisco.

The 206-cm Restani was nicknamed "Big Bird" by then Bucks play-by-play man Eddie Doucette and played in Milwaukee from 1974-79. He averaged six points and 4.6 rebounds per game with the Bucks and played eight total seasons in the NBA, making stops in Kansas City, San Antonio and Cleveland.

Restani played collegiately at the University of San Francisco.

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