for this game

Magic look to take back home court from 76ers

Apr 23, 2009 - 9:58 PM Orlando at Philadelphia, Eastern Conference first round, series tied 1-1, 8 p.m. EDT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- By splitting the first two games in Orlando, the Philadelphia 76ers grabbed the home-court edge in their first-round playoff series against the Magic.

Don't be too quick to call it an advantage.

Orlando tied Cleveland and Boston for the second-best road record in the NBA this season at 27-14, just two games behind the Lakers. The Magic played better on the road than the Sixers did at home (24-17).

Orlando also won both meetings in Philadelphia.

So while the Sixers certainly got Orlando's attention with a 100-98 victory in Game 1, the third-seeded Magic struck a tone of respect and determination after evening the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series with a 96-87 win in Game 2 on Wednesday.

Philadelphia, seeded sixth, hosts Game 3 at 8 p.m. Friday.

"It's going to be tough," Orlando forward Dwight Howard said. "Philly's been playing great basketball at home. They've been playing great all series. We just have to weather the storm, knowing that they're going to be amped up. We just have to find ways to win."

Orlando did that on Wednesday night after finding a way to lose the series opener. Orlando built 18-point leads in both games, but let Philadelphia steal victory in Game 1 on a 22-foot jumper by Andre Iguodala with 2.2 seconds remaining.

In Game 2, the sixth-seeded Sixers closed within five points and fouled out Howard, but the Magic kept Philadelphia at bay with some clutch scoring by Rashard Lewis and rookie Courtney Lee.

Despite the difficulty in closing games, the Magic enter Game 3 as confident visitors.

"We're a good road team, so it's a matter of just going out there," Magic guard Anthony Johnson said. "We haven't shot the ball well, either, so hopefully our shooting will come around and we'll just step up and play well and just get rolling on all cylinders here soon."

Philadelphia has focused its defense on Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu on the perimeter, forcing other players to take shots. Lee, drafted by the Magic with the 22nd overall pick from Western Kentucky in last year's NBA draft, has contributed 42 points in two games. He scored a career-high 24 points on Wednesday.

"He's been playing great," Lewis said of Lee. "They're taking me away. They're not leaving me on the wing. They're double-teaming Dwight. They're blitzing Turk on the pick-and-rolls and they're leaving Courtney mostly. Andre Miller is just kind of running around double-teaming everybody and getting strips and Courtney made them pay. I'm sure they'll pay a lot more attention to him next game."

The same goes for Howard, who had only 11 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out in Game 2. Foul trouble limited him to only 12 second-half minutes.

"When you see Dwight go out of the game, you know you've got to step up," Lewis said. "You've got to rebound. You've got to get some baskets because he's our bread and butter. He's the guy we go to. When he fouls out of the game, you have no choice but to go to the next option and that's me and Hedo. Some way, somehow, we've got to get the job done."

Coming off his big shot in Game 1, Iguodala continued his consistent play with 21 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in 45 minutes in Game 2 -- after he had only one point at halftime.

Iguodala is 17-for-37 from the field for 41 points in two playoff games.

"I think the biggest thing is that he's confident," Miller said. "He's playing with a lot of confidence and you can see it on the court."

Miller was outstanding in Game 2, leading all scorers with 30 points, one shy of his playoff career high.

The Sixers built their offense around Miller, Iguodala and forward Thaddeus Young, but they don't particularly care who puts the points up.

"We have to keep playing as a unit," said Young, who had 20 points in Game 2. "We have to move the basketball and play unselfish. It's not about who scores. We have to rebound and defend."

What the Magic want to do is do what they've done all year: Win on the road.

"We're now in a five-game series and they have the home court," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. "That's what you're up against. We're obviously going to have to go up there and win."

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