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Orlando at Houston

Howard has 22 and 14, Magic shoot down Rockets

CBSSports.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy has seen opponents try just about everything to defend Dwight Howard and the sharp-shooting Magic.

The Houston Rockets couldn't do anything to stop them on Saturday night.

Dwight Howard had 22 points and 14 rebounds, Hedo Turkoglu added 21 points and the Magic built a big first-half lead on their way to an easy 118-104 win over the Rockets.

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Jason Richardson hit four 3-pointers and scored 18 points for the Magic, who went 13-for-32 from 3-point range. Orlando came in leading the league in 3-pointers made and attempted.

"We have a lot of offensive guys who can do a lot of good stuff," said Turkoglu, who went 8-for-11 from the field. "When we move the ball inside out and play unselfishly, we're really hard to guard."

Especially for the Rockets, who've allowed at least 110 points in seven of their past 15 games.

"Against a team like this, you've got to keep your concentration," Houston coach Rick Adelman said. "If they burn you once, you've got to try to make sure it doesn't happen again. We lost our concentration, and they pretty much toyed with us after they got a 20-point lead."

Chase Budinger scored 19 points and Kevin Martin added 18 to lead the Rockets, who shot 39 percent (37-of-95).

The Magic pulled away in the second quarter, and led 68-51 at the break. Orlando shot 59 percent (26-of-44), went 8-for-17 from 3-point range and outrebounded the Rockets 27-18 in the first half.

All five Orlando starters made more than half their shots and reached double figures.

Both teams flew to Houston after games on Friday night, and the Magic seemed much more energized from the beginning. While Orlando was coming off a 112-72 win over Toronto, the Rockets arrived after a 115-110 loss in Memphis.

"We came out with better energy," Howard said. "We moved the ball around, we got open shots."

Houston's Chuck Hayes, the league's shortest starting center at 6-foot-6, flustered Howard for a while, forcing two early turnovers. Turkoglu flipped an alley-oop pass to Howard for a dunk, his first field goal, with 4:34 left in the opening quarter.

"He's a little tree stump," Howard said of Hayes. "You've just got to shoot over the top of him."

By then, the Magic had already found their touch from long range.

They hit their first five 3-point attempts and led 34-26 by the start of the second. Ryan Anderson and Richardson then swished 3s early in a decisive 16-4 spurt.

Orlando hit 17 of its first 24 shots, while the Rockets made only 10 of their first 29. Howard cheered from the sideline as the Magic pushed the lead over 20 in the second quarter, scoring many of their points on layups and dunks.

"They hit shots, and our heads went down," Hayes said. "The game is so long that anything can happen. But once they got the lead, they got comfortable. If you fall behind them, very seldom will they let go of a big lead."

Howard returned, and Hayes sparked a mild Houston rally by twice knocking the ball away from him.

But Turkoglu made a pull-up jumper, Richardson scored in the lane and Orlando regained control.

Howard spun around Hayes for a reverse dunk five minutes into the third quarter as Orlando stayed comfortably ahead. Luis Scola scored 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting for Houston in the quarter -- the rest of the Rockets went 6-for-19.

Orlando led 100-76 after three quarters and hordes of fans started filing out of the arena. Howard, Turkoglu and Nelson sat out the fourth quarter.

The Magic shot 53 percent (46-of-87) for the game.

Notes

  • Howard has at least 10 rebounds and two blocks in 24 games this season.
  • The Magic are 50-1 since the start of the 2008-09 season when shooting 50 percent or better.
  • Orlando's 68 first-half points were a season-high for a Houston opponent.
  • Rockets C Brad Miller missed his seventh straight game with soreness in his left knee, and coach Rick Adelman wasn't sure when the 7-footer might return to the lineup. "His knee just hasn't responded, so I really don't know," Adelman said. "We thought he might play this week, but so far, no."
  • Hall of Fame centers Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing, who faced off in the 1994 NBA finals, watched the game at opposite ends of the court -- Olajuwon from a midcourt seat and Ewing, now a Magic assistant, from the Orlando bench.
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 and the four other Magic starters all shoot more than 50 percent and reach double figures. (Getty Images)
Dwight Howard and the four other Magic starters all shoot more than 50 percent and reach double figures. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Orlando (29-15) «34343218118
Houston (20-25)26252528104
ORL:D. Howard 22 Pts
ORL:D. Howard 14 Reb
ORL:J. Nelson 9 Ast
HOU:C. Budinger 19 Pts
HOU:L. Scola 9 Reb
HOU:C. Hayes 4 Ast
Players of the Game
OrlandoHouston

Dwight Howard

Chase Budinger
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
221421952
Orlando
J. Richardson, SG337-120-031318
D. Howard, C307-118-13142122
H. Turkoglu, SF298-113-335221
B. Bass, PF299-130-070318
J. Nelson, PG243-52-239110
R. Anderson, PF305-150-060312
J. Redick, SG295-120-023013
G. Arenas, PG202-40-15554
E. Clark, SF70-20-02010
Q. Richardson, SG60-20-01000
C. Duhon, PG30-00-00100
J. Williams, PGDid Not Play
M. Allen, PFDid Not Play
D. Orton, CDid Not Play
Totals 46-8713-19462619118
 52.9%68.4% 
Houston
L. Scola, PF315-115-692215
K. Lowry, PG274-93-313212
K. Martin, SG265-186-701118
S. Battier, SF201-60-07143
C. Hayes, PF204-72-374410
C. Budinger, SF338-110-052119
C. Lee, SG215-112-231013
J. Hill, PF202-72-26256
A. Brooks, PG162-110-01024
P. Patterson, PF120-20-04000
T. Williams, SG81-12-23304
J. Jeffries, PF60-10-01000
B. Miller, CDid Not Play
Y. Ming, CDid Not Play
I. Smith, PGDid Not Play
Totals 37-9522-25471921104
 38.9%88.0% 
Other Games
Dal 87 Final
NJ 86
Bos 83 Final
Wash 85
Atl 103 Final
Char 87
Pho 74 Final
Det 75
Tor 103 Final
Mia 120
Utah 85 Final
Phi 96
SA 72 Final
NO 96
Cle 79 Final
Chi 92
NY 98 Final
OKC 101
Mem 94 Final
Mil 81
Ind 92 Final
Port 97
GS 109 Final
LAC 113