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Howard powers Magic past Sonics

Nov 29, 2007 - 6:56 AM SEATTLE (Ticker) -- Dwight Howard overshadowed Rashard Lewis' homecoming.

Howard poured in a career-high 39 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead the Orlando Magic to a 110-94 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics.

While Lewis scored just nine points and 10 boards against his former team, Howard registered his league-high 14th double-double on 12-of-17 shooting to lift the Magic to their fourth straight victory.

"He was great tonight, he was fantastic, that's for sure," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said of Howard. "If we had been making more shots and they had to play more, honestly, who knows how many points he would have had."

Carlos Arroyo failed to score but handed out 14 assists for Orlando, which improved to an NBA-best 9-1 on the road while sending Seattle to its sixth consecutive defeat.

Rookie Kevin Durant scored 22 points and Wally Szczerbiak added 20 for the SuperSonics, who fell to a league-worst 0-7 at home. Seattle has lost 11 straight home games and has not won at Key Arena since beating Memphis on March 30.

"You've got to get over the hump and get it done," Szczerbiak said. "You've got to get wins on your court."

The loss drop the Sonics to 2-14, matching the 1967-68 team for the worst start in franchise history.

Seattle did not go quietly, erasing a 15-point deficit entering the fourth quarter and closing within 93-92 on two free throws by Szczerbiak with 4:35 to play. Durant scored 10 straight points in the quarter to rally the Sonics.

"The biggest thing is we stayed composed when they made their big run," Howard said. "Instead of pointing the finger and blaming it on each other, we settled down and played good defense."

Orlando's Keith Bogans answered with a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer to push the lead to 99-92 with 3:50 left. He later added another shot from the arc to boost the margin to 11 points and quell the comeback.

"We did a great job in the fourth quarter getting back in the game," Seattle coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "Dwight is awful tough to deal with. They made plays, they made big plays when it mattered."

Lewis was quiet in his return to the city where he played his first nine seasons.

Acquired by the Magic in a sign-and-trade deal during the offseason after opting out of the final two years of his contract, Lewis shot a miserable 3-of-19 from the floor, including 1-of-8 from 3-point range.

"I was a little hesitant all night," Lewis said. "I was reminiscing and looking around at everybody and talking but it was good to get the win, especially coming back here in this building."

Howard more than picked up the slack for Orlando, pouring in 20 points to go with nine rebounds in leading the Magic to a 57-45 halftime edge.

With Orlando leading, 43-37, Brian Cook scored five straight points and Howard added five on a pair of thunderous dunks to spark a 14-2 surge that pushed the margin to 57-39 with exactly a minute to play in the half.

"Point blank, he's the most dominant player in the game right now," Durant said of Howard. "He gets to the free-throw line, he's so athletic, he can block shots. He gives a team a new dimension as far as defense and we just have to adjust to it."

But Earl Watson and Szczerbiak hit 3-pointers to pull the Magic within 12 points at the intermission. Szczerbiak scored 10 points in the quarter.

Hedo Turkoglu also had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds for Orlando, which shot 33 percent (10-of-30) from the arc.

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