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Howard, Turkoglu help Magic end drought at Pacers

Feb 3, 2008 - 5:10 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- All-Star Dwight Howard had 24 points and 12 rebounds and Hedo Turkoglu scored 23 as the Orlando Magic posted a 121-115 triumph over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

Rashard Lewis poured in 19 points before fouling out late and Maurice Evans and Keith Bogans chipped in 16 apiece to help the Magic earn their first win at Conseco Fieldhouse since January 15, 2005.

It was the sixth consecutive loss for Indiana, which was outscored by 11 points in the decisive third quarter.

"Offensively, we've played good two nights in a row," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "Defensively, we've really struggled, but we did show very good resolve. It was our offense that carried us to these to wins on the road, and that concerns me a little bit."

After trailing by just two points at intermission, Orlando took control in the third on the shoulders of Turkoglu, who netted 11 points to forge a 94-85 lead heading into the fourth.

"It's good, whenever we can get separation like that," Magic guard Carlos Arroyo said. "It's been hard this year for us to close out teams, get that lead and keep the momentum. We need to get better at that. That third quarter was good for us, but we need to get better at closing teams out."

The Magic shot a blistering 72 percent (13-of-18) in the period en route to a 36-25 advantage.

The 6-10 Turkoglu has been hitting on all cylinders of late, scoring at least 20 points in eight straight games - his longest stretch of the season.

"Turkoglu is one (heck) of a basketball player," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "A couple of times, we were draped all over him, and he made great shots. They shot the lights out, and we didn't do enough defensively to stop a great offensive team."

Turkoglu's 3-pointer extended the Magic's lead to 105-93 at the 8:23 mark. But Indiana fought back behind a 12-5 surge to slice the deficit to 110-105 with 3:20 remaining.

"I loosened up in the second half," Turkoglu said. "I took my time and tried to let the game come to me, instead of rushing it. When you do those things, it leads to mistakes, so I took my time and started hitting some shots."

However, Howard converted a three-point play with 1:27 left to create a 113-105 cushion to seal the deal and put an end to the Magic's four-game slide here.

"We really want to be kind of greedy going into the All-Star break," Howard said. "We want to get as many wins as we can. Some teams (let down) before the All-Star Game or just after, so if we steal some games, that will put us in a good position for after the break."

While Orlando ended its slump in the series, Indiana continues to stumble without the services of injured center Jermaine O'Neal (knee).

Danny Granger scored 29 points and Mike Dunleavy added 19 and seven boards for the Pacers, who fell to 1-7 since O'Neal went down on January 16.

"(Saturday) was no different than any other NBA game," Dunleavy said. "Whenever you give up 120 points, it's not a good defensive effort."

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