Howard powers Magic past KingsNov 2, 2008 - 3:11 AM By Benjamin Millar PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- If the Sacramento Kings learned anything from Friday night, it was to hold onto to the basketball.
While the Kings took care of the ball Saturday, they were no match for big man Dwight Howard as the Orlando Magic captured their first win of the season with a 121-103 triumph.
"Dwight's our No. 1 option," Magic guard Rashard Lewis said. "When he stays strong under the basket, the defense will attack. This helps let us guys get the open shots out deep. Our goal was to move the ball around from side-to-side and make the defense work. I think we did that and Dwight stepped up big for us."
After turning the ball over 25 times in a blowout loss to Miami, Sacramento cut the giveaways to 12 against Orlando.
Sacramento coach Reggie Theus said it was a combination of things that prevented his team from getting its first victory of the season.
"It's a tough game to come back from after playing so poorly last night," Theus said. "They made their threes. They made five in the fourth quarter and up until that point we had held them down from three-point shooting and that was an important aspect of the game."
The Kings were much more efficient offensively against the Magic, dishing out 21 assists and knocking down 53 percent (39-74) of their field-goal attempts.
The trouble Saturday was on the defensive end.
Howard finished with 29 points on 11-of-14 shooting, 15 rebounds, and five blocks while feasting on rookie Spencer Hawes, who was starting in place of suspended center Brad Miller.
Rashard Lewis added 26 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Magic.
Kevin Martin led all scorers with 31 points while John Salmons and Jason Thompson added 12 apiece for Sacramento, which remained winless following the third of a four-game road trip to start the season. The Kings now have lost six of their last eight visits to Orlando.
"They were very determined, especially Dwight Howard," Martin said. "You could just tell by the way he was posting up. Their coach was fired up, and so were their players. They have 79 more games just like us, so 0-2 is not going to kill them."
Theus made it evident tonight that the pressure will be on Martin this season to keep putting up big numbers.
"I don't think he has a choice. He has to take the leadership role. He's put in that position and I think he's ready," Theus said.
Hedo Turkoglu scored 21 points and Mickael Pietrus added 20 for Orlando, which again received a sub-par performance from the bench as it was outscored, 29-13, on the night. The Magic's reserves have totaled just 39 points while allowing 81.
J.J. Redick, who signed a contract extension at the beginning of this season, now has two points and five rebounds in 39 minutes so far this season.
"I thought we played well overall, but our defense still needs to get better, and it is not just him (Redick)," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "All he needs is one real good shot to fall and I think he will be fine. He worked very hard in the offseason. He just needs to relax."
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