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Howard, Lewis shine as Magic down Cavaliers

Mar 18, 2008 - 3:33 AM ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic are looking like they did at the start of the season.

Howard collected 23 points and 13 rebounds to lead a balanced attack in the Magic's 104-90 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night.

With Rashard Lewis coming over from Seattle as a free agent in the offseason, Orlando opened the 2007-08 campaign as one of the hottest teams in the league with just four losses over its first 20 games.

After cooling off from December to February, the Magic (45-24) have seemed to catch lighting in a bottle once again by winning 13 of their last 16 games to pull within 4 1/2 games of the Detroit Pistons (48-18) for second place in the East.

"We're going to continue to play ball," Lewis said. "We know that we easily can get back into the game as well as teams can get back into the game if we get a lead on them. We've just got to keep playing basketball."

"We were scrambling, blocking out, doing all the little things that we've been talking about during the course of the season," Magic guard Jameer Nelson said. "It showed that we could do it even though people are counting us out.

"They want to talk about Boston, Detroit, and then skip over us and go to Cleveland. It shows that we are a good team, and we can beat good teams."

Lewis scored 21 points and Hedo Turkoglu chipped in 18 and seven boards for the Magic, who shot a blistering 43 percent (14-of-32) from 3-point range.

With only a one-point lead to start the fourth, Howard poured in six points during an 11-2 surge to help Orlando extend its advantage to 84-76 at the 9:14 mark.

"No matter when you play (Howard) he is a handful," Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas said. "It is not a one-man job. It is hard to stop him by yourself."

Sasha Pavlovic's shot from the arc sliced Cleveland's deficit to 91-84 with 3:51 remaining. But the Magic went on a 13-6 burst to close out the game.

"They made shots that they didn't make in the first half," Cleveland forward LeBron James said. "They are a team that shoots the ball very well. They hit a lot of 3-pointers and, when they do that, it is tough to come back. We just never recovered from that."

It was Cleveland's sixth loss in its last seven road games.

James continued his MVP push with 30 points, nine boards and six assists for the Cavs, who were outscored, 31-18, in the fourth.

"Giving up 64 points in a half on the road, especially with the crowd that the Magic have, it's going to be tough for us to get a win," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "You have to give them a ton of credit."

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