Howard, fast start enough as Magic clip NetsFeb 9, 2009 - 3:26 AM ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- Dwight Howard collected 30 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Orlando Magic to a 101-84 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Sunday.
Mickael Pietrus added 17 points and was 4-of-5 from the arc for Orlando, which outscored New Jersey, 32-18, in the first quarter and hung on from there.
The Magic now have won five of their last six meetings with the Nets.
"One of the keys to the game was that we came out with a great start," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We came out of the gates with a lot of energy and that's what made the difference."
Devin Harris had 28 points and 12 assists for the Nets, but was just 9-of-25 from the field. New Jersey needed a big game from Harris as it was without swingman Vince Carter, who missed the game with a sore right elbow.
"I think when you're minus 22 points like we were (playing without Vince Carter), the realization is we've still got enough to win," New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank said. "But defensively the margin's very flat, so had to be a lot sharper than we were in that first half giving up 59 points. Obviously that first quarter was the difference maker the rest of way."
Hedo Turkoglu added 15 points for Orlando, which improved to 2-1 since All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson suffered a shoulder injury. Nelson continues to debate the options of having season-ending surgery or attempting to rehab his shoulder and play again this season.
Brook Lopez had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Nets, who had their four-game win streak snapped.
Lopez also had the unenviable task of guarding Howard most of the game.
"He (Howard) is a great challenge obviously," Lopez said. "He is one of the top three centers in the league. It was a great learning experience for me. You can't let the guy get deep post. We were trying to foul him and take away the easy baskets."
"I love playing against Brook Lopez," Howard said. "He's a challenge, and I think his has some potential."
The Magic jumped on the Nets early in the first, highlighted by an 11-0 run that Rashard capped with a four-point play.
Howard gave New Jersey trouble all game en route to his 16th consecutive double-double. He scored seven straight points in the second quarter as Orlando grabbed a 59-45 lead at the break.
"We came out great tonight and it definitely showed in the end," Howard said. "It always helps when you have a good start. You've got to play hard like that every game."
Harris scored 18 of his points in the first half for New Jersey.
"It was a little bit tougher (without Carter). The court wasn't as spaced out with us missing a shooter on the court," Harris said. "That is one less guy that you have to pay attention to. Therefore, it made it tougher to get things that we got the last couple of years."
NEW JERSEY 84
ORLANDO 101 FINAL
Feb 8 8:27 PM
NEW JERSEY 65
ORLANDO 79 END, 3RD QTR
Feb 8 7:55 PM
NEW JERSEY 45
ORLANDO 59 HALFTIME
Feb 8 7:11 PM
NEW JERSEY 18
ORLANDO 32 END, 1ST QTR
Feb 8 6:37 PM
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