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Howard, Magic end four-game slide

Feb 27, 2007 - 5:48 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic dug deep on the road.

Howard collected 21 points and 16 rebounds as the Magic stopped a four-game losing streak with a 94-87 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

Jameer Nelson scored 18 points and Grant Hill added 15 for Orlando, which also snapped a six-game slide on the road.

"This was big getting a win on the road and playing the right way," Hill said. "When you lose sometimes you can forget how to win; tonight we discovered again how to do it."

Due to their losing streak, the Magic (28-30) had fallen under .500 for the first time since early November.

But sparked by their All-Star forward who has averaged 24.3 points and 13.2 rebounds in his last nine games, the Magic regained sole possession of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, one-half game ahead of New Jersey in the first of four straight away contests against playoff contenders.

"We really needed this game and it's really big to start this trip well," Howard said.

"This is a big win for us in a tough place to win," Orlando center Darko Milicic added. "From now on we have to start playing better."

Milicic had 14 points and a season-high 16 rebounds for the Magic, who shot 44 percent (32-of-73) from the field and held a commanding 49-31 rebounding advantage.

"Darko was huge for us tonight, not just from scoring but his defensive energy and rebounding was really big," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "We don't win tonight without him."

"We got dominated on the glass and when you do that you won't win many games," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "When you get worked like that on the glass it normally means a bad ending."

Ben Gordon scored 32 points and Luol Deng added 23, six rebounds and six assists for Chicago, which lost its second straight game.

"We didn't play well and they wanted it more than we did," Deng said. "We were slow the whole game but I am not taking anything away from Orlando, they came in here and got a win."

The weary Bulls completed a stretch of four games in five nights.

Gordon had little help from backcourt mate Kirk Hinrich, who scored 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting.

Chicago shot just 39.5 percent (32-of-81).

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