for this game

Howard dominates Knicks in Magic rout

Mar 2, 2008 - 5:25 AM By James Rickenbacker PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) - With the Orlando Magic coming off one of their worst offensive performances of the season, Dwight Howard delivered one of his strongest games.

Howard dominated the lowly New York Knicks, posting his second 20-20 game of the season against them as the Magic coasted to a 118-92 victory on Saturday night.

The win was the fourth straight against the Knicks for the Magic, who shot just 40.5 percent from the floor and were held scoreless for a 10-minute stretch during a 101-89 setback to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.

Howard made certain there would be no repeat performance of Wednesday's struggle, as he scored 26 points and hauled down 22 rebounds. It was Howard's seventh 20-point, 20-rebound performance this season.

"I'm just trying to dominate both ends of the floor," Howard said. "I was a little upset at the beginning of the game and was aggressive after that and got my team going."

"For the most part, I really thought we dug in defensively and then our offensive energy was tremendous," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We got the ball up and down the floor, got the ball into Dwight and attacked the basket. I liked the energy we put into the game today."

Howard had already posted a 22-point, 20-rebound performance against the Knicks on November 9, and became the first player with two 20-20 games against the Knicks in the same season since Kevin Willis did it with Atlanta during the 1991-92 campaign.

Orlando's big three of Howard, Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis scored 44 first-half points as the Magic scored a season-high 68 points to open up a 14-point advantage at the break.

Howard scored six of his 15 first-half points in a 13-0 run that broke a 49-49 game wide open.

"We picked up our energy on both of ends of the court," Howard said. "And we understand that our goal is to get ready and prepare for the playoffs."

"He (Howard) is a good player and we definitely had a tough time with him tonight," Knicks center Eddy Curry said. "We kind of held him in check for a little bit at the beginning of the game, but he kind of got loose and got into a rhythm."

Turkoglu scored 25 points and had 10 assists while Lewis finished with 22 points for Orlando, which has won four of its last five games.

"I think Hedo has the advantage of size so he can see over everything," Van Gundy said. "I think he takes advantage of that very well."

Jamal Crawford scored 23 points and Quentin Richardson added 16 for New York.

The Knicks played without Zach Randolph, who took a couple of warm-up shots before the game but never played. Although he was coming off a 29-point, 17-rebound performance at Atlanta on Friday night, he sat out with a sore right foot.

"I thought that we lost our composure a little bit and started rushing, making a couple of quick shots which, consequently, let them get out into transition," Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said. "Before you knew it a five-point lead turned into a 14-point game."

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