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Harrington, Pacers top Magic to snap skid

Dec 7, 2006 - 2:45 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Dwight Howard's dominance was derailed by Al Harrington and the Indiana Pacers.

Harrington and Stephen Jackson scored 26 points each as the Pacers controlled Howard and routed the Orlando Magic, 94-80, to snap a three-game losing streak.

Jeff Foster collected eight points and a career-high 18 rebounds and Jermaine O'Neal added 11 and 11 for the Pacers, who held a 48-34 advantage on the glass.

"We came out well from the beginning," O'Neal said. "Stephen and Al carried us and Jeff really picked us up on the boards. He pulled out the win for us. We needed someone to step up and those guys did."

The NBA's leading rebounder at 13.5 per game, Howard is an early MVP candidate with Orlando off to a surprising 14-6 start. On Wednesday, however, Howard was limited to eight rebounds by a concerted effort from Indiana's frontcourt.

"They were doing a lot of stuff; they were holding, pushing, just doing a lot different things," Howard said. "We play them one more time. I'm just going to have to play more physical next time. The Pacers went with a big lineup against us, compared to before."

"As long as we get the win, I'm not worried (about rebounds). I'm just glad we held on and got the win," Foster said. "(Howard) plays the right way and he plays hard. I've got to take advantage of him as much as I can."

At the other end, Harrington shot 10-of-15 from the field. He made 2-of-4 from the arc and also dominated the interior with an array of low-post moves.

"I'm always confident in my shot, whether it's going in for me or not," Harrington said. "I don't think about shooting as much, especially from 3-point range. Last year, I'd think about where I was and how high I'd have to shoot it. Now, it's more like a flick of the wrist because I have that confidence."

Leading, 67-59, with 2:03 remaining in the third period, Indiana closed the quarter period with a 9-0 run fueled by five points from Harrington.

Jackson made 11-of-17 shots en route to a season high in points. He helped the Pacers shoot 48 percent (37-of-77), including 7-of-16 on 3-pointers.

"I played good and was able to hit some shots," Jackson said. "I just wanted to come out and be aggressive. As a team, we wanted to start defending our home court and get some wins."

After going 2-4 on a six-game road trip, Indiana was happy to be on its home floor.

"Coming back from the road trip, you try a lot of different things," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "It's hard, but fortunately Orlando was on the last game of a six-game road trip."

Howard scored 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting and Grant Hill added 16 for the Magic, who shot just 41 percent (30-of-73) and completed a 4-2 road swing.

"We have had the same trip as Indiana has had, so we can't blame it on the trip," Orlando coach Brian Hill said. "The Pacers had a lot of energy. They are always a huge problem on the glass for us. We were not real smart on offense and we need to work to do better offensively."

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