for this game

Howard, fast start fuels Magic in Game One

Apr 20, 2008 - 9:36 PM ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- Due to exceptional first-quarter 3-point shooting, the Orlando Magic gave Dwight Howard plenty of room to operate inside.

Howard had 25 points, 22 rebounds and five blocks as the Magic never trailed en route to a 114-100 victory over the Toronto Raptors in Game One of their Eastern Conference first-round series Sunday.

It was the fourth 20-20 game in the Magic's playoff history, with the last one coming by Horace Grant in 1996.

"I thought Dwight was incredible," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We did not do a good job of getting him the ball and (Howard) still had 25 (points), 22 (rebounds) and five blocks. He did it on his own".

"It was an amazing feeling for me," Howard said when asked to comment on his first postseason victory. "I am happy to finally get a playoff win under my belt. We've worked so hard for this moment, but it's just the first game. We know we have a long way to go."

Jameer Nelson scored 24 points and Hedo Turkoglu added 21, six rebounds and six assists for Orlando, which hosts Game Two on Tuesday.

Orlando tied an NBA playoff record with nine 3-pointers in the first quarter, ending the opening period on an 18-6 run to take a 43-23 bulge. Overall, the Magic shot 80 percent (16-of-20) during the opening 12 minutes and four players made multiple shots from the arc.

"It was incredible, couldn't ask for a better start," said Magic guard Keyon Dooling, who made a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter. "I think we were focused, they were focused. But all we did was take care of home court."

Toronto trailed by as many as 24 in the second quarter but closed within 60-47 at intermission with a 14-3 run to end the period.

"We just wanted to stay in the game," said Raptors superstar forward Chris Bosh, who scored 21 points on just 4-of-11 shots from the field. "They were making shots and shooting the ball unbelievably."

Orlando maintained its double-digit lead, taking an 85-75 advantage into the fourth quarter on Turkoglu's jumper.

"The NBA is a funny thing," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "We understood that the game was not going to be over in the first quarter. A lot of times in the NBA teams get up 20 (points). If you can cut it to 10 by half or in the third quarter cut it to single digits, you still have an excellent opportunity to win."

Toronto cut into its deficit early in the fourth, using an 8-1 run - keyed by a pair of 3-pointers from Jason Kapono - to close to 88-83 with 10:17 remaining.

But that would be as close as it could get as Howard keyed a 10-0 burst with six points to help Orlando take a 98-83 bulge with 7 1/2 minutes left to play.

"We did make our run, but it takes a lot out of you," Raptors forward Anthony Parker said. "Every time we did make a run they made plays that put it back to 10 or 12. We just never got over that hump."

For the contest, all five Magic starters scored at least 13 points and Orlando finished the game 13-of-29 from the arc after missing just two of its first 11 3-pointers.

"The thing about us is (we need) to keep our composure," Turkoglu said. "We knew they were going to make their run, and they did come to within five points. But we've a good team and we can create for ourselves and we pulled the game out."

Behind Howard's monster effort, Orlando outrebounded Toronto, 42-35, and outscored the Raptors, 40-26, in points in the paint.

Parker scored 24 points and Kapono netted 18 for the Raptors, who made 27-of-28 free throws.

Guards T.J. Ford and Jose Calderon combined for just 14 points on 4-of-20 shooting from the floor.

    TORONTO 100

    Apr 20 3:11 PM

    TORONTO 75

    Apr 20 2:33 PM

    TORONTO 47

    Apr 20 1:38 PM

    TORONTO 23

    Apr 20 1:03 PM