88 - 110 Final
  for this game

Howard's 11th straight double-double propels Magic past Clippers

Mar 13, 2008 - 3:51 AM ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- All-Star Dwight Howard helped make quick work of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Howard scored 14 of his 22 points in the first quarter as the Orlando Magic routed the Clippers, 110-88, on Wednesday.

Rashard Lewis had 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists and Hedo Turkoglu scored 17 for Orlando (42-24), which has won two straight and five of six to close in on the Southeast Division title with 16 games remaining.

The Magic who entered this contest nine games in front of the Washington Wizards (31-32) for the division lead, are now 18 games over .500 for the first time since 1998-99.

"It feels good but we're not satisfied with where we are at right now," Howard said when he was told the win clinches his first winning season in his four-year NBA career. "We have a lot of stuff to work (on) for the playoffs."

"We controlled the game from the beginning," said Magic guard Jameer Nelson, who scored 12 points and handed out five assists. "We had to go out there with a sense of urgency, stay on top of things and not even give them a chance."

Trailing, 7-1, nearly three minutes into this contest, Orlando quickly went on a 17-5 burst to take all the life out of Los Angeles.

Howard, who also collected 13 rebounds, went 6-of-8 in the opening period to boost the Magic to a 32-19 advantage entering the second quarter. It was the All-Star's 11th straight double-double and 57th overall this season, which leads the NBA.

"I thought Dwight dominated the game inside," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "I thought he played extremely well."

The 22-year-old Howard did injure his right leg with 6:37 left in the final quarter and did not return to the game. He is listed as day-to-day.

"I just got hit in the thigh," said Howard, downplaying the injury. "It's a little sore. It was a knee to the thigh. I'll be all right."

Orlando, which led by 15 at the break, saw its lead cut to nine on Brevin Knight's jumper with 7:30 left in th third. However, the Magic went on an 18-6 burst capped by Maurice Evans' dunk with 2:55 left in the period to end the competitive phase of the game.

The Magic, who shot 52 percent (42-of-81), drilled 11 3-pointers to tie a club record of 622 overall for the season.

"It's just confidence," Howard said when asked about the huge improvement in 3-point shooting this year. "Everybody is shooting the ball well, and we're finding the open shooter. We're not hesitating, we're just letting them go. That's the biggest difference."

The Clippers, who shot just 41 percent (34-of-83) and made just 3-of-18 from the arc, were outrebounded, 46-38.

Corey Maggette had 22 points and nine rebounds and rookie Al Thornton scored 17 off the bench for Los Angeles, which has dropped nine of its last 11 games.

With All-Star Elton Brand and starting guard Shaun Livingston out for the season, the Clippers were shorthanded up front with the absence of Chris Kaman, who was sidelined for a second straight game with a sore back.

"Without Kaman to go against Dwight Howard, I knew it was going to be a pretty long night," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "(Dwight) just did what he wanted, using his size advantage early in the game. With his offensive rebounding ability, he almost had a double-double in the first quarter. He was just a nightmare match for us."

"If you have some of your guys out, you still have to keep playing," said Clippers guard Cuttino Mobley, who finished with 17 points and seven rebounds. "You have an owner and other people just thinking you're supposed to win all the time but, when you have so many guys that are gone, it's hard."

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