Howard, Magic hold off Pistons 110-103Nov 7, 2009 - 4:47 AM ORLANDO, Fla.(AP) -- Dwight Howard made up for a miserable performance against the Pistons three nights earlier.
Even so, he was still irked by what happened in the fourth quarter.
Howard's 22 points and 12 rebounds were enough to help the Orlando Magic hold off Charlie Villanueva and Detroit 110-103 Friday night, but the win was soured by the Pistons' 35-point fourth quarter.
"We haven't played good enough defense to be a great team," Howard said. "We have to try and be great every night, and that's just not happening yet. Sometimes you have ugly games, and tonight the fourth quarter was ugly, but we still got a good win."
Villanueva scored 22 of his 28 points in the quarter, but it wasn't enough to get past the defending Eastern Conference champs, who led by 19 early and never trailed at all.
"Charlie was great. He gave us a chance in the fourth, but you can't rely on one guy to try and bring you back," Ben Gordon said. "We dug ourselves a hole and just couldn't get over the hump."
Three nights after fouling out with eight points in 17 minutes, Howard was nearly perfect. He made 7 of 8 field goals and 8 of 9 free throws and didn't commit a foul until after halftime.
Matt Barnes had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Magic and Jameer Nelson also scored 18, with eight assists.
Orlando had lost 20 of 25 regular season games to the Pistons, including one earlier in the week.
The closest Detroit came on Friday night was 96-90 after a shot by Villanueva with about three minutes to play.
Rodney Stuckey scored 20 points and Gordon finished with 19 for the Pistons.
"We're not playing smart enough. We didn't play enough defense and for too many minutes we were just hanging on to win a regular-season game," coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We aren't making the push to be great. I don't know if we will. We'll have to see."
NOTES: The Magic were already without Vince Carter (sprained left ankle) and Rashard Lewis (10-game suspension) before losing lost starting power forward Ryan Anderson to a sprained right ankle in the third quarter. ... Detroit was without starters Rip Hamilton (right ankle sprain) and Tayshaun Prince (lower back strain). ... The Magic shot 30 of 35 overall from the line. ... The Pistons were staying at a downtown hotel less than mile from where a gunman opened fire and killed one person and wounded five others late Friday morning, causing a shutdown of city streets during a search for the assailant. They had to detour returning to the team hotel after the morning practice.
FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
DETROIT 23 20 25 35 103
ORLANDO 40 18 24 28 110 FINAL
HIGH SCORERS: DET - CHARLIE VILLANUEVA 28, RODNEY STUCKEY
20, BEN GORDON 19
ORL - DWIGHT HOWARD 22, MATT BARNES 18,
JAMEER NELSON 18
Nov 6 9:51 PM
END 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
DETROIT 23 20 25 68
ORLANDO 40 18 24 82 END 3RD QTR
HIGH SCORERS AFTER 3RD QUARTER
DET - RODNEY STUCKEY 17, BEN GORDON 15,
AUSTIN DAYE 11
ORL - DWIGHT HOWARD 20, THREE PLAYERS WITH 11
Nov 6 9:07 PM
ORLANDO 58 HALFTIME
Nov 6 8:15 PM
ORLANDO 40 END, 1ST QTR
Nov 6 7:39 PM
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