Magic down Sixers, end Philly's playoff hopesApr 15, 2007 - 4:01 AM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- The Orlando Magic know they control their postseason fate. Dwight Howard is doing something about it.
Howard scored 26 of his career-high 35 points in the first half as the Magic recorded a 104-87 victory over the Sixers, ending Philadelphia's chances of making the postseason.
With the win, Orlando (37-42) secured a two-game lead over Indiana (35-44) for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race and the right to meet Detroit in the first round. The Pacers meet New Jersey (38-41) on Sunday.
"We will make the playoffs," Magic guard Jameer Nelson said. "We've played on big stages before in our lives. Everybody on this team has been in some sort of a playoff atmosphere type of game. We have veterans on the team that can tell us about it (the playoffs). We just have to get out there and play hard."
Howard was nearly perfect from the field, missing only one of his 15 field-goal attempts. He also contributed 11 rebounds, five assists and three steals for the Magic, who have won three of their last four contests.
"They controlled the game from the beginning," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "Howard really controlled the game. They made an effort to give him the ball and score inside the paint, which he did. Our coverage in the second half was much better."
"Dwight was fantastic right from the beginning of the game, Magic coach Brian Hill said. "He had high energy. He was not only getting deep and scoring, but he was active on the glass with offensive and defensive boards. He did an excellent job defensively on their big guys. That's what All-Star players do."
The No. 1 overall pick in 2004 has registered five straight double-doubles, averaging 22 points and 13 rebounds during the stretch.
"Howard does a great job of using his body," Sixers forward Joe Smith said. "He is a pretty strong guy and is able to get himself into position to make plays."
Darko Milicic scored 14 points and Hedo Turkoglu added 13 for Orlando, which outscored Philadelphia in each quarter as they shot 53 percent (43-for-81) from the field for the game.
Leading, 57-48, with 38 seconds in the second quarter, Orlando outscored Philadelphia, 13-0, over the next 4:09 to open a 70-48 lead. The run was keyed by Nelson and Grant Hill, who combined for nine points in that stretch.
In a game the Magic never trailed, the Sixers could not edge any closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
Andre Miller tallied 18 points for the Sixers, who shot only 39 percent (29-for-74) from the field.
"It's very disappointing," Sixers forward Kyle Korver said. "Obviously, we would have liked to shoot better tonight. I thought our effort was there, but we didn't shoot very well. When you don't shoot the ball well and you have someone on the other team going 10 for 10 (Howard) to start off, it puts you into a little bit of a hole."
Cheeks was reflective in defeat, proud of the effort and character his team put forth this season.
"I'm very proud of our players," Cheeks said. "There was a stretch where we lost 12 games in a row. Having the type of character players that we have is the reason why we got to this point. We're not going to the playoffs, but I see a bright future with the players that we have.
We have Kyle Korver and Andre Iguodala who were hurt, but who wanted to come back and play and give us a chance to make the playoffs. That says a lot about the players that we have that made us able to get back to the point where we are today."
PHILADELPHIA 87 FINAL
Apr 14 5:24 PM
PHILADELPHIA 66 END, 3RD QTR
Apr 14 4:54 PM
PHILADELPHIA 48 HALFTIME
Apr 14 4:11 PM
END 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
ORLANDO 35 35
PHILADELPHIA 25 25 END 1ST QTR
HIGH SCORERS AFTER 1ST QUARTER
ORL - DWIGHT HOWARD 18, HEDO TURKOGLU 6, GRANT
PHI - ANDRE MILLER 6, ANDRE IGUODALA 6, STEVEN
Apr 14 3:41 PM
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