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Crawford's big 3 gives Hawks win over Orlando

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

ATLANTA -- Jamal Crawford banked in a 3-pointer with 5.7 seconds left to cap a brilliant second half, leading the Atlanta Hawks to an 88-84 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday night and a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series.

The Hawks led most of the game, but things got close and testy in the final minutes.

Zaza Pachulia of Atlanta and Jason Richardson of Orlando were both ejected with 2:22 remaining after a confrontation under the basket. The teams swapped the lead four times after that near-brawl until Al Horford put the Hawks ahead for good with 46.6 seconds remaining.

But Crawford, who scored 18 of his 23 points after halftime, hit the biggest shot of all. With the shot clock winding down, he put up a jumper over Jameer Nelson that struck high on the backboard and went in.

Game 4 is Sunday night.

The physical game turned ugly when Dwight Howard drove the lane and was hammered by Pachulia, who took on the thankless job of guarding Orlando's big man after Jason Collins went out with a back injury in the first half.

Howard swung a forearm, Pachulia flung an elbow, then Richardson charged into Pachulia's face. As they jawed, Pachulia appeared to deliver at least one headbutt to Richardson, who responded by slapping Pachulia in the jaw with his left hand.