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Howard leads Magic to fourth straight victory

Nov 28, 2006 - 5:05 AM SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- The Orlando Magic put an end to the Utah Jazz's dominance at home this season.

Dwight Howard scored 21 points and had 16 rebounds to lead the Magic to their fourth straight win, an 88-75 victory over the Jazz.

Grant Hill scored 16 points for Orlando, which never trailed after the first 2 1/2 minutes, shot 39 percent (30-of-76) from the field and held a 45-36 advantage on the glass.

"I know one of the things I need to do to help my team is rebound," Howard said. "I tried to do the best I can. It's very important. It's the first game on our road trip, we just wanted to come out and play as hard as we can. We came out with a lot of energy."

After a tightly contested first half, the Magic went on a 9-1 run with 8:50 to go to increase their lead to 56-46. Jameer Nelson scored six points over that stretch.

"We started the third quarter kind of slow, but we called a timeout, regrouped, got up by 12 going into the fourth," Hill said. "We understand that teams are going to make runs. That's the name of the game. We didn't lose our composure, we just regrouped and played good D. Jammer (Jameer Nelson) hit some big shots for us in the third and we pulled it out.

A 16-6 run in the fourth quarter pushed Orlando's lead to 81-60, but Utah scored the next 13 points, capped by Andrei Kirilenko's dunk, to cut the deficit to 81-73 with 2:08 remaining. Hill hit three free throws over the final minute to put the game away.

"We were able to come out and jump on them early and just maintain the lead throughout the game, get up 20 in the fourth and kind of do what we had to do down the stretch to get the win," Hill said. "It was just a great overall team effort and a good confidence booster as we continue on this West Coast trip."

Carlos Boozer had 21 points to lead Utah, which shot 42 percent (29-of-68).

The Jazz lost their second consecutive contest and had their seven-game home win streak snapped.

"I don't think this team right now is mentally into the game," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "They had some success, and you see that happening at times after a little bit of success. Then you have to regroup and start all over. We need to start all over and find out who we really are."

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