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Hawks eliminate Magic
spt ap Hawks eliminate Magic
Atlanta forward Josh Smith, left, leans on Orlando forward Hedo Turkoglu (15) during the first quarter of Game 6 of a first-round NBA Playoffs series in Atlanta on Thursday. - photo by AP Photo

ATLANTA (AP) — Joe Johnson gave the Hawks a more expected offensive spark. His biggest play, though, was getting a hand on a missed shot.
Johnson scored 23 points and came up with a huge offensive rebound, leading Atlanta to an 84-81 victory in Game 6 on Thursday night, knocking the Orlando Magic out of the playoffs.
The Hawks, who won the series 4-2, advanced to the second round for the third straight year, this time against top-seeded Chicago.
Orlando, which routed Atlanta a year ago in the most lopsided four-game sweep in NBA history, heads into an uncertain offseason after its earliest playoff ouster since 2007.
With Atlanta clinging to a one-point lead and the clock running down, Marvin Williams missed a clinching 3-pointer. But Johnson swatted the rebound to Jamal Crawford, who was fouled and made both free throws with 8.2 seconds left.
“I just wanted to make a play,” said Johnson, who bounced back from a dismal 5-point effort in Game 5. “The play was a pick-and-roll for Al (Horford) and Jamal, but we didn’t come up with what we wanted. I just crashed the glass and tried to somehow get a hand on it. I did.”
The Magic had two chances to force overtime. J.J. Redick missed an open 3, then Jason Richardson had a desperation shot from the corner blocked by Josh Smith.
Redick came off a screen for a clear view of the basket, a play that couldn’t have been drawn up any better. The shot rimmed out, though it went out of bounds off an Atlanta player to provide the Magic with one more shot. After his team called another timeout, Redick walked to the bench with his hands on his head.
That would be their last chance to extend the series. Orlando inbounded from the baseline to Richardson, but he didn’t have much room to work in the corner. Smith extended a hand to finish off the Magic.
Hedo Turkoglu kicked the ball off the scoreboard hanging above the court in frustration as streamers fell from the ceiling, the sellout crowd celebrating the series winner.
The Magic was beaten off the glass 38-31, giving up 14 boards at the offensive end.
“The biggest thing was the rebounding,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “It’s sort of fitting we couldn’t get a rebound on the last stop.”
Next up for Atlanta: the Bulls. Game 1 is Monday night in Chicago.
But the Hawks will take a little time to celebrate this win, which is especially sweet after the way they played in last year’s second-round blowout.
“When you lose to a team by an average of 25 points a game, you’re looking for redemption,” Crawford said. “We were up to the challenge.”
After not having much of an impact in Orlando’s 25-point win in Game 5, Dwight Howard led the Magic with 25 points and 15 rebounds. But, falling into a familiar pattern from the first four games, the big center didn’t get much help from his teammates.
Crawford scored 19 points, including consecutive 3s that gave Atlanta its biggest lead, 71-59, with just over 9 minutes left. The Magic fought back with an 8-0 spurt, and Ryan Anderson had a chance to give the Magic their first lead since the opening minutes with an open look from outside the stripe.
He missed, and the Magic never caught up with Atlanta after playing from behind nearly the entire game. Williams gave Atlanta’s struggling offense a boost with 10 points, hitting a couple of big 3s.
Kirk Hinrich scored on a drive with just over 3 minutes to go, somehow getting the shot over Howard. But the Atlanta guard went up so high, he came down awkwardly on his right knee. He struggled back down the court, but collapsed after Gilbert Arenas was clobbered on a drive to the basket.
Hinrich was carried to the locker room, his arms draped around two Atlanta trainers so he didn’t put any pressure on his leg. The Hawks said he had a strained hamstring and would undergo an MRI on Friday to determine to extent of the injury.
The Hawks were up 42-36 at halftime, but the lead should have been a lot bigger. Josh Smith was 3 of 12 shooting with three turnovers. Crawford hit only 3 of 11, Johnson just 4 of 12.
But Atlanta turned up its defensive pressure at the arc, holding the Magic to just 5 of 19 from long range.
Things got rough in the third quarter, the desperation apparent for both teams. Orlando was trying to keep its season going. The Hawks had no desire to return to Florida for a decisive Game 7.
Turkoglu was whistled for a flagrant foul when he wrapped up Zaza Pachulia before he could get off a shot under the hoop. On the ensuing possession, Howard had the ball in close and was hacked by Pachulia, who received a flagrant violation as well.

Notes — Hinrich kept dropping back to double-team Howard in the first half, stripping the ball away twice and tying him up another time, setting up quite a mismatch on the jump ball. Howard is 6-foot-11 and 265 pounds — 7 inches taller and 75 pounds heavier than Hinrich. The Atlanta guard didn’t even bother jumping, and Howard tipped the ball to an Atlanta player. ... The Hawks won seven out of 10 against the Magic this season. ... Orlando, which made the finals two years ago, hasn’t been sent home this early since a four-game sweep by Detroit in the opening round in 2007.