Utah at Orlando

Howard's 20-20 effort helps Magic hand Jazz third loss in row

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Dwight Howard doesn't get mentioned very often in the talk about the NBA's MVP award. He might if the Utah Jazz had a vote.

Howard had 28 points and 20 rebounds, leading the Orlando Magic to their third straight victory, 105-87 victory over the weary Jazz on Sunday night.

"Howard was a monster," Utah forward Carlos Boozer said. "He is one of those guys that people don't appreciate like they should. He should be in the MVP talk, too. He cleans up everything and corrects any mistake they make."

The Magic (49-17) closed within a half-game of the Boston Celtics (50-17), who lost earlier in the day, for the No. 2 seed in the upcoming playoffs. They play at Cleveland (53-13) Tuesday night with a chance to get closer to No. 1.

Boozer had 23 points and 13 rebounds for the Jazz, coming off a triple-overtime loss in Miami a day earlier. The Magic got 16 points from point guard Rafer Alston and 14 from backup point guard Anthony Johnson.

The Magic built a 13-2 lead and never allowed the Jazz closer than nine points for the rest of the game. Utah dropped its third straight to close a five-game, eight-day Eastern swing.

It was obvious early the Jazz were in for a long night. Utah coach Jerry Sloan was ejected just 2:12 into the game after jawing with officials following a foul call against center Mehmet Okur.

Utah point guard Deron Williams, who finished with 11 points and nine assists, left the game in obvious pain with 5:05 remaining in the second quarter after banging knees with Howard. He returned in the second half but struggled to spark the Jazz.

Howard had 12 points and 11 rebounds in the first quarter, the third time this season he has had a double-double assured in the first 12 minutes. Howard has 52 double-double games this season (second most in the league).

"He was terrific," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "His effort lately, has been very, very good. He's coming out and playing with great energy and intensity. When he does that, it sets the tone."

Howard, who leads the league in both rebounding and blocked shots, made only eight of 17 free throws, his only negative of the night.

"Howard is awfully hard to deal with," Sloan said. "He took us out of our offense, and then you have to take pot luck out there, and that's usually not a good percentage shot."

The Magic led by as many as 20 midway in the second quarter and were ahead 57-43 at the half.The game could have been more lopsided, but the Magic struggled at the free throw line, making only 14 of 28 attempts.

Notes

  • Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games with tendinitis in his right foot.
  • Howard continues to make his case for the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year Award, vying to become just the fifth player in history to lead the league in both rebounding and blocked shots in the same season, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, Hakeem Olajuwon and Ben Wallace.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
 
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Dwight Howard motors ahead and finishes with 28 points and 20 rebounds.  (Getty Images)
Dwight Howard motors ahead and finishes with 28 points and 20 rebounds. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Utah (41-26) 2023242087
Orlando (49-17) «30272820105
UTA:C. Boozer 23 Pts
UTA:C. Boozer 13 Reb
UTA:D. Williams 9 Ast
ORL:D. Howard 28 Pts
ORL:D. Howard 20 Reb
ORL:H. Turkoglu 8 Ast
Players of the Game
OrlandoUtah

D. Howard

C. Boozer
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
2820123132
Utah
C. Boozer, PF3411-201-2132423
D. Williams, PG313-105-529211
R. Brewer, SG284-61-36119
C. Miles, SG274-82-252410
M. Okur, C130-73-42133
K. Korver, SF252-61-14106
P. Millsap, PF242-94-46148
A. Kirilenko, SF232-65-75129
M. Harpring, SF101-30-01022
R. Price, PG93-70-00016
B. Knight, PG80-20-00300
J. Collins, C80-20-00110
M. Almond, SGDid Not Play
K. Fesenko, CDid Not Play
K. Koufos, CDid Not Play
Totals 32-8622-2844222487
 37.2%78.6% 
Orlando
H. Turkoglu, SF374-100-048010
D. Howard, C3510-158-17201428
R. Lewis, SF302-91-26435
R. Alston, PG277-110-036316
C. Lee, SG152-60-02014
J. Redick, SG282-101-12236
A. Johnson, PG215-91-251214
T. Battie, PF182-60-06024
M. Pietrus, SF163-71-440310
M. Gortat, PF133-72-28028
T. Lue, PGDid Not Play
J. Nelson, PGDid Not Play
J. Richardson, SFDid Not Play
Totals 40-9014-28602223105
 44.4%50.0% 
Other Games
Ind 87 Final
Tor 110
Port 80 Final
Atl 98
Mem 89 Final
Det 84
Bos 77 Final
Mil 86
Mia 77 Final
Phi 85
Dal 100 Final
LAL 107
NY 93 Final
Cle 98
Sac 104 Final
Wash 106
Pho 154 Final
GS 130
NJ 105 Final
LAC 107