The Orlando Magic aren’t ready for their season to end just yet.
Facing their first opening-round postseason exit since 2007, the Magic blew out the Atlanta Hawks, 101-76, last night in Orlando.
Jason Richardson scored 17 points and J.J. Redick added 14 off the bench to lead the Magic.
The win trims Atlanta’s series’ lead to 3-2 and keeps alive the Magic’s hopes of becoming the ninth team in NBA history to win a playoff series after trailing, 3-1. If they can win Game 6 tomorrow in Atlanta, they would host a decisive Game 7 Saturday.
Magic center Dwight Howard battled foul trouble throughout the night and had just one field goal, finishing with 8 points and eight rebounds. Orlando didn’t need his offense, though, as it broke out of a series-long shooting funk with 11 3-pointers.
“We’re a good shooting team,’’ Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “This is more of us than what we showed in the first four games . . . This isn’t an aberration.’’
Josh Smith scored 22 points to lead Atlanta, which shot below 40 percent for just the second time this series.
The Magic cruised in the second half, allowing Howard to log his first extended rest of the series in the fourth quarter as their lead crept above 30 points.
Bulls 116, Pacers 89 — Sitting on the bench with four fouls and his team struggling, Derrick Rose pleaded with his coach to put him back in the game. Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau took the risk and his All-Star guard responded, lifting the Bulls to the second round.
Rose scored 25 points, Luol Deng added 24 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds, and host Chicago finally played like a top seed, knocking off Indiana in Game 5 to wrap up its first-round playoff series.
“Speechless right now,’’ Rose said. “I really can’t believe it. It’s a great accomplishment.’’
Rose seemed just fine after spraining his left ankle in Game 4. He had it taped and acknowledged he was a bit apprehensive at first, but he wound up hitting 8 of 17 shots.
Danny Granger scored 20 for the Pacers and had some strong words afterward for Chicago’s Joakim Noah. He accused Noah of throwing elbows that ultimately led to a technical foul for A.J. Price after an altercation with Tyler Hansbrough and an ejection by Josh McRoberts later in the game. “He’s a dirty player, honestly,’’ Granger said.
Lakers 106, Hornets 90 — Kobe Bryant scored 19 points and threw down two stirring dunks on a sprained left ankle to help host Los Angeles take a 3-2 series lead and push New Orleans to the brink of first-round elimination. Andrew Bynum had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the two-time defending NBA champions.
Game 6 is tomorrow in New Orleans.