NBA: No Howard, no problem
PHILADELPHIA ó Dwight Howard can trade the keyboard for hitting the boards. Orlando’s big man will get to play again in the next round of the NBA playoffs.
On a night the suspended Howard recorded a double-double in blog and Twitter posts from his hotel room, the Magic advanced to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs by beating Philadelphia 114-89 in Game 6 on Thursday.
He wrote on a postgame blog, “im soo proud man. yall have no clue.” Thankfully for the Magic, their shooting was more accurate than Howard’s grammar.
“The only thing I said in the locker room before the game was, ‘Be great,’ ” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “They wanted to prove something. They have great appreciation in that we would be where we are without Dwight.”
Playing without Howard and injured guard Courtney Lee, the Magic thumped the Sixers from the start. For a game at least, Orlando didn’t need its Superman.
“They’re actually better without Dwight Howard,” Sixers guard Andre Miller said. “One of their players told me that they were better without Dwight Howard. They said the ball moves quicker. They’re not standing around a lot.”
Rashard Lewis scored 29 points and Rafer Alston had 21. The decisive run came when the Magic made 12 of its first 19 shots.
Alston hit two 3s during a fast start that put Orlando up 15. J.J. Redick made all three of his 3-point attempts in the half and finished with five in a 15-point performance.
The blog posts and tweets of Howard were infinitely more interesting than the game.
His happy recap:
n Howard expressed remorse for his errant elbows: “i wish i was playin. i never intended to hurt nebody or my team.”
n He proved he could pick the star player: “i told jj he was gonna have a big game this morning.”
n His first-half food order: “i had some french fries. pizza. and some wings. lol food for champs.”
Marcin Gortat, who had 11 points and 15 rebounds filling in for Howard, played until the final horn. Gortat asked for a prayer when he texted Howard before the game.”He said he was praying for the whole team,” Gortat said. “I’m 100 percent sure he was laughing during the game with everything that was going right for us.”
Rockets 92, Trail Blazers 76
HOUSTON ó For the first time in 12 years, the Rockets advanced in the playoffs.
Ron Artest scored 27 points, Yao Ming had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Shane Batter tied a career playoff-high with nine rebounds as the Rockets won for the first time in their last seven first-round series.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points for Portland, and Brandon Roy added 22.
Houston moves on to play the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night. The Lakers won all four meetings in the regular season.