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Magic take advantage of injuries to defeat Heat

Dec 31, 2006 - 5:26 AM ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- The Orlando Magic took advantage of the Miami Heat's injury woes to snap their four-game losing streak.

Dwight Howard scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Trevor Ariza added 16 and 10 off the bench to lead the Magic to a 97-68 pounding of the Heat, who were without Dwyane Wade for the second consecutive night.

"It was great, we needed a victory," Howard said. "We seemed to be stuck on 17 (wins) for like forever. We really needed this one."

Leading, 32-31, with 10:21 in the second quarter, Orlando went on a 16-6 run to close out the half and take a 48-37 lead.

The Magic held the Heat scoreless for over seven minutes during the quarter before finally breaking the drought on two free throws by Earl Barron with 2:48 to play. Miami scored a season-low 10 points in the second quarter.

Wade, the NBA Finals MVP, did not play due to a right wrist injury and Jason Williams sat out due to quadriceps fatigue.

"We know what type of team we are when Shaq (Shaquille O'Neal) is on the floor or D-Wade is on the floor, or when J-Will is healthy," Heat center Alonzo Mourning said. "They know what type of team we are. They are taking advantage of the moment right now. Hey, championships aren't won in November and December."

Tony Battie scored 12 points for the Magic, who held the Heat to their second-lowest output of the season. Miami scored just 66 points against the Chicago Bulls on opening night.

"We made a conscious effort that we had to win two areas that were an absolute must, and that was the free-throw line and the rebound game," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "I thought our guys were attacking the basket and we made a conscious effort to get the ball into Dwight (Howard) as much as we could."

Jason Kapono scored 15 points and Dorell Wright netted 12 for Miami, which shot 34 percent (23-of-67) from the floor.

"We just got manhandled tonight," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "Eleven out of their 12 buckets were in the paint in the first half - no 15 out of 16. They only made one jump shot."

Orlando outscored Miami, 50-14, in the paint and held a 46-33 advantage on the boards.

"Our bigs basically were dominated from a rebounding and scoring standpoint," Riley said. "Sometimes it comes down to just ... there are times, but not much, but just individual pride and a sense of urgency. I don't care how depleted you are, we just didn't show any of that tonight at all."

The Magic enjoyed their biggest margin of victory so far this season, surpassing the previous high of 19 against the Atlanta Hawks on November 26.

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