Monster game from Howard propels Magic past PacersNov 30, 2008 - 4:20 AM By Zach Chalifour PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- The Orlando Magic keep on rolling even as injuries start to pile up.
Dwight Howard scored a season-high 32 points and grabbed a season-high 21 rebounds, leading the Magic to a 110-96 win over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday.
Anthony Johnson scored a season-high 16 points for Orlando, which shot 50 percent from the floor (38-of-75) en route to its fourth straight win. Anthony started a third straight game in place of Jameer Nelson, who is out with a hip flexor.
"You have to always be ready for opportunities to step up and play well," Johnson said. "I'm trying to take advantage of this chance and continue to play well and help me adjust to the team so that I can contribute even more when we get everyone healthy."
Aside from Nelson's injury, the Magic also found out earlier in the day that Mikael Pietrus will miss three to five weeks with a torn ligament in his thumb. With all the injuries, the pressure is on the trio of Howard, Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis to score.
The three did just that against the Pacers, combining for 78 points. Howard was the leader, hitting 11-of-15 shots. Lewis scored 24 and Turkoglu added 22.
Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy certainly didn't have anything else to be upset about other than the injury situation.
"My only problem is that I have nothing to complain about. I'll watch the tape and see what I can find. The only negative was that we have a little lull to start the fourth quarter, but we recovered well and finished it off."
Howard's performance was good for his fourth-career 30-point and 20-rebound game, and the MVP candidate dominated the Pacers' big men.
"Dwight is a first-team All Star and he will be that for the foreseeable future," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "He is just a great physical talent, and we had no answer. We don't have a dominating low-post game, and that was exploited."
Danny Granger scored 27 points for the Pacers, who have lost four of five. Marquis Daniels added 21 and Troy Murphy scored 13, but the Pacers simply couldn't keep up with Orlando's offensive weapons.
Lewis hit all four of his 3-point attempts and scored 13 of his 24 points in the third quarter, propelling the Magic to a 22-point lead, from which the Pacers never recovered.
"We need to dominate from the start like we did tonight," Howard said. "We have to let our opponent know right away what kind of game its going to be."
A runner by T.J. Ford cut the lead to eight points with 4:31 left, but that was the closest the Pacers got.
"We fought hard, but it was a big hole to come back from," said Ford, who had six points and five assists. "Dwight is a load, and when they have him performing like that, they are going to be a tough team to beat."
ORLANDO 110 FINAL
Nov 29 9:24 PM
ORLANDO 87 END, 3RD QTR
Nov 29 8:52 PM
ORLANDO 58 HALFTIME
Nov 29 8:09 PM
ORLANDO 27 END, 1ST QTR
Nov 29 7:39 PM
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