All Dwight on the night
Dwight Howard leads Orlando Magic to win over champs Celtics as Lakers down Rockets.
Last Modified: 09 May 2009 11:15 GMT

Howard puts the block on [GALLO/GETTY]
Dwight Howard produced a defensive masterclass as Orlando Magic thumped defending NBA champs Boston Celtics 117-96 to take a 2-1 lead in their semi-final series.

Rashard Lewis scored a game-high 28 points and Hedo Turkoglu shot 24 to help the Magic put away the visitors.

Howard's powerful defensive performance led Orlando's game on Friday as he left with stats of 17 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks.

"The whole team stepped up the defensive intensity," said Howard, the NBA's defensive player of the year.

"It starts with me. I have to do that every night if we want to be successful."

Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 27 points after a paltry three-point return in game two of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series.

Lakers douse rockets

In Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant top-scored with 33 points to help the LA Lakers take control of their Western Conference semi-final series with a 108-94 victory over Houston Rockets

Bryant sunk a three-pointer to put the Lakers up 11 points with 2:20 left, and snuff out any hope of a snatched victory for the Rockets, who now trail 2-1.

"That three, I had to pull the string on that one and it went in for me," Bryant said.

"We had to get stops. I thought at the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth quarter we did a good job of getting stops and slowing them down."

Lamar Odom added 16 points and 13 rebounds and Jordan Farmer recorded 12 points and seven assists in place of regular starting point guard Derek Fisher, who was suspended for an altercation with Houston's Luis Scola in game two.

Ron Artest had a team-high 25 points for the Rockets but was ejected for a second straight game after committing a flagrant foul on Lakers' big man Pau Gasol with 43 seconds remaining.

Yao Ming finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds before leaving the game in the final minutes with a lower leg injury, which may cloud Houston's preparations when they return home for game four on Sunday.

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