for this game

Howard comes alive in fourth in Magic win

Mar 5, 2008 - 5:03 AM ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- The Orlando Magic figured a game against the Chris Bosh-less Toronto Raptors may take some of the stress off their defense. For three quarters, they didn't see much of their own franchise player.

Hedo Turkoglu had 24 points, eight assists and seven rebounds and Dwight Howard overcame early foul trouble to post 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Magic en route to a 102-87 victory over the Raptors on Tuesday.

Rashard Lewis added 22 points for the Magic, who have won five of their last six contests. They outscored the Raptors, 31-19, in the final period to pull away in this one.

"(Toronto) is a good team," Turkoglu said. "We knew that without Chris Bosh playing, they were going to come out hard because it's a good opportunity to show themselves what they can do without their All-Star player. And they did a good job until the fourth quarter."

Toronto, which fell to 2-4 with Bosh, was playing its second straight game without its franchise player, who has tortured Orlando since joining the Raptors in 2003. Bosh has recorded two of his five career 40-point games against the Magic.

"It is tough (being without Bosh)," Raptors guard T.J. Ford said. "We have to find a way to establish some type of flow and stay consistent throughout the whole game. The last two games our first halves have been pretty decent - especially the first quarter was great. We have to maintain that good shooting for 48 minutes."

Orlando led by as many as 10 points early in the third quarter, but Toronto erased the deficit toward the end of the period on a jumper by rookie Jamario Moon, who gave his team a 64-63 advantage.

The Magic reclaimed the lead for good on a dunk by Adonal Foyle and 3-pointers by Turkoglu and Jameer Nelson on successive possessions, leaving the Magic ahead 71-68 after three quarters.

"Turkoglu and Lewis are always a tough matchup for us," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "They are both guys who can put the ball on the floor, post-up and shoot the open shot. Those two are just a tough matchup."

Howard, who was held to three points in just 18 minutes as he battled foul trouble for most of the game, came alive in the final quarter.

"Overall, I thought for Dwight that was a great game for him because in the past when he's had games like that with foul trouble, not getting the ball - he's had trouble really staying into the game," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "And tonight, he was fabulous. I thought that (the fourth quarter) was a very, very big step forward for him."

"(Assistant coach) Patrick (Ewing) talked with me during the game," Howard said. "We had one game earlier in the season where I was really frustrated, and it took me out of the whole game and he told me he didn't want to see that again."

His seven-foot jumper on the first possession of the fourth quarter keyed a stretch where he scored 10 of the next 16 points for Orlando to give it a 92-81 advantage with 5:43 remaining. Howard scored 16 points in the final period.

The league leader in dunks, Howard finished with four in the fourth quarter alone after being held to one field goal through three quarters.

"Howard can shoot jumpers; we just had to try to stop him from getting dunks," Mitchell said. "He leads the league in dunks by five to one. You just can't give him dunks, especially in transition.

"It's a load for the guys who are guarding him. For us to get him in foul trouble gave us the chance to focus on other players."

With their All-Star center back on track, the Magic shot 75 percent (12-for-16) over the last 12 minutes.

Not to be outdone, Ford did his best to keep the Raptors in the game, attempting their first eight shots over the first 6 1/2 minutes of the fourth and scoring 13 of his 20 points in the final period.

However, Ford committed four of his seven turnovers in the quarter, allowing the Magic pull away in the end.

"I am just trying to go out there and just play," Ford said. "I am taking whatever the defense gives me. I just try and stay aggressive. At some points of the game, I think I got too aggressive and made some bad decisions."

The Raptors got to within seven points at 94-87 with 3:35 remaining but could get no closer as they missed their final five shots. In the meantime, Turkoglu, Lewis and Howard scored the final eight points for the Magic.

Anthony Parker finished with 19 points and nine boards for Toronto, which lost its third straight game despite outrebounding Orlando, 47-41.

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