Howard propels Magic to Round 2
By Travis Reed
ORLANDO, Fla. ó Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy saw something different about Dwight Howard heading into the playoffs.
The 22-year-old All-Star, usually the teamís biggest jokester, suddenly got serious. So did his already-impressive numbers.
Howard had 21 points, 21 rebounds and three blocks ó his third 20-20 game in the series ó and the Magic advanced to second round for the first time in 12 years by beating the Toronto Raptors 102-92 in Game 5 on Monday night.
iThere was a different demeanor from him,î Van Gundy said of his young center. iDwight is a fun-loving guy and he likes to fool around. There are a lot of times during the year, not bad, but a lot of times during the year where Iíve got to try to bring him back to being serious when weíre preparing.
iI did not have to say one word, from the start of preparation for this series all the way through.î
Howardís game said it all. And with Orlandoís usually steady 3-point shooting on the fritz, his inside power was enough to pull them through.
iHeís a phenom; heís the best center in the league,î said Raptors star Chris Bosh, who was guarded by Howard all game. iHeís probably the strongest guy in the league, and he knows how to use his body. It doesnít surprise me at all. Iíve seen him play this whole series, Iíve seen him play this season.î
Bosh, who posted career playoff highs of 39 points and 15 rebounds at Toronto on Saturday, had 16 points and nine rebounds Monday. Howard frustrated him down low into 7-of-19 shooting.
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