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Howard leads balanced attack as Magic top SuperSonics

Nov 30, 2006 - 5:45 AM SEATTLE (Ticker) -- Dwight Howard dominated but not without a little help from his friends.

Howard had 24 points and 12 rebounds and the Orlando Magic received a spark from their reserves in a 94-84 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics for their fifth straight win.

In just 24 minutes, Jameer Nelson collected nine points and six assists for the Magic, who shot 51 percent (34-of-67) from the field and held a 40-35 rebounding advantage.

"I thought in the second half, our second unit came in and did a great job," Orlando coach Brian Hill said. "They changed the whole complexion of the game with their defensive intensity. They just gave us a really big lift."

The NBA's leading rebounder, Howard also entered Wednesday's contest pacing Orlando in scoring at 16.7 points per game. The 6-11 center showed his complete game against Seattle, shooting a perfect 8-of-8 from the floor and 8-of-12 from the free-throw line.

"We're just having fun," Howard said. "When you're having fun, you're out there playing hard."

However, the 20-year-old star didn't do it alone. The Magic bench outscored Seattle's reserves, 48-17. Carlos Arroyo had 16 points and Darko Milicic added 14.

"Our bench has been doing a good job all year, whether it's the scoring or defensively," Hill said. "Usually, they give us a big lift on the defensive end of the floor."

In just 26 minutes, reserve forward Trevor Ariza scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds, but his most impressive feat was shutting down one of Seattle's top offensive threats.

"I'm glad we got the win," Howard said. "That's the biggest thing. We came out a little slow but we picked it up. Ariza came off the bench and played some great defense on Rashard Lewis."

Leading by three points entering the fourth quarter, Orlando took control with a 14-4 run, capped by Arroyo's three-point play to make it 82-69 with 5:53 remaining. Arroyo had five points during the spurt.

Wednesday's contest was the second on a six-game road trip for Orlando, which beat league-leading Utah (13-3) on Monday.

"Anytime you can win on the road in this league, it's big," Hill said. "Last year, we didn't have a lot of success so to start out with the first two games on this trip gives our guys a big confidence boost."

Allen scored 21 points and Lewis added 18 for the Sonics, which shot 39 percent (31-of-80).

Sonics coach Bob Hill was happy with his team's effort but lauded Orlando's frontline.

"I thought their length really hurt us," Hill said. "Even on our offensive rebounds, they adjusted a lot of our second shots. Howard was spectacular. We couldn't even get floaters over the top of him. I thought Milicic was just as good. I thought their interior defense was spectacular. We couldn't get into the paint but we couldn't do anything."






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