Howard leads Magic past struggling NetsFeb 3, 2007 - 5:19 AM ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- The Orlando Magic didn't miss a beat without Grant Hill.
Hedo Turkoglu scored 22 points to lead seven players in double figures as the hot-shooting Magic posted a 119-86 pounding of the New Jersey Nets.
Howard scored 19 points, Darko Milicic netted 14 and rookie J.J. Redick added 13 for Orlando, which shot 63 percent (45-of-72), including 7-of-14 from 3-point range.
That more than offset the loss of Hill, who did not play and will miss up to three weeks with a sprained left knee.
"Me, Turk, and Jameer (Nelson) had a little talk this morning at the shootaround," Howard said. "We've got to step up, us three guys, because the leader of this team is out and (we need) to be aggressive, going to the basket."
Orlando closed the first quarter on an 18-6 run, capped by Nelson's jumper with two seconds remaining, for a 29-15 lead. The Magic continued the onslaught in the second period, using a 16-7 run highlighted by a 3-pointer from Nelson for a 50-30 edge with three minutes left. The Nets never threatened thereafter.
"We just wanted to attack early," Howard said. "The last games we lost, we didn't attack on them and they attacked us. We were down by a lot of points and its tough coming back from a lot of points in this league."
It was a promising start to the month for the the Magic, who finished January with a 6-8 record after being near the top of the Eastern Conference for most of the season.
"We look at the situation where certain games and probably the last two games that we weren't coming out aggressive like we were early on," Nelson said. "This and the last game, we came out with a lot more energy, a lot more focus."
Howard bounced back after struggling over the last six games where averaged only 12.3 points per game. He scored a career-low one point against the Nets on January 20.
"In the (prior) New Jersey game I was really trying to battle with those guys," Howard said. "But tonight I wasn't trying to battle. I was trying to use my other skills to beat them. My teammates did a great job of finding me where I was able to go right up and score instead of having to pound the ball at them."
Vince Carter led the way with 25 points for New Jersey, which shot 45 percent (33-of-74) but converted just 14-of-26 free throws. Nets All-Star guard Jason Kidd was held scoreless for the first time since March 15, 2006 against the Portland Trail Blazers.
"We have to quickly return to who we want to be," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "It doesn't matter who you play - obviously Orlando is a very, very good team, a very well-coached team - but if you don't come to play every single night, you are going to get beat.
"That is why there is parity in this league. Early, when we had a little energy, we rushed too much in the half court offensively. For 48 minutes, we just got outplayed."
NEW JERSEY 86
ORLANDO 119 FINAL
Feb 2 10:29 PM
NEW JERSEY 61
ORLANDO 92 END, 3RD QTR
Feb 2 9:58 PM
NEW JERSEY 37
ORLANDO 59 HALFTIME
Feb 2 9:06 PM
NEW JERSEY 15
ORLANDO 29 END, 1ST QTR
Feb 2 8:32 PM
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