for this game

Magic cruise past Warriors without Howard

Dec 16, 2008 - 7:14 AM By Ryan Leong PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- Even without Dwight Howard in the lineup, the Golden State Warriors still had no chance against the Orlando Magic.

Jameer Nelson tied a career high with 32 points to lead five players in double figures as the Magic posted a 109-98 victory over the Warriors on Monday.

Nelson made 13-of-25 shots from the field, including five 3-pointers, and Rashard Lewis added 21 points for the Magic, who were without Howard for a second straight game after the All-Star center suffered a left knee injury during Friday's loss to Phoenix.

"(The win) means a lot because it shows the toughness that we have," Nelson said. "It shows the type of players we have and the caliber of team that we are, even without Dwight.

"When he comes back, we should have that much more confidence in our game and we should be that much more dominant because he is the most dominant player in the NBA."

Marcin Gortat started in place of Howard and set career highs with 16 points and 13 rebounds.

"I'm not going to lie, I was excited I could play starting the game," Gortat said. "I'm really happy that we won and competing for 27 minutes against Andris Biedrins was really exciting too. He's a very good player, the second-best rebounder in the league. I think I was fighting pretty well and I'm happy I could help the team to win the game."

Biedrins had 23 points and nine rebounds while Marco Belinelli contributed 19 points off the bench for the Warriors, who endured their third straight loss and 12th in the last 14 games.

"Hopefully, we can take care of business on the road," Warriors guard Jamal Crawford said of the team's upcoming five-game road trip.

"Right now, we just have to get back on track. We had a couple of wins and then lost three in a row. But I really think this road trip could be good for us to get away, go bond and get some wins."

Captain Stephen Jackson, who continues to play despite a sore left hand, made 3-of-14 shots and finished with 12 points.

"What matters to me is my teammates," Jackson said. "Nobody made a big deal out of my toe when I played in the playoffs so I'm not going to make a big deal about my hand. It happened but I'm going to keep rolling."

Golden State made only 42 percent (38-of-91) of its shots from the field, including 5-of-18 from beyond the arc.

"I thought we played the game very, very hard and very, very well," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. "To hold (Golden State) under 100 (points) and in the low 40s percentage-wise, a very good offensive team, I thought that was a great accomplishment. We had a lot of great performances and with Dwight out, that's what we need, and it closed out a very good trip."

Despite shooting 31 percent from the floor in the first half, the Warriors only trailed 46-40 entering the locker rooms.

Golden State narrowed the deficit to two points with 9:30 remaining in the third quarter after a mid-range jumper by Crawford. C.J. Watson tied the game, 53-53, with a pair of free throws 42 seconds later.

But Nelson scored 15 points in the frame and hit a trio of 3-pointers during a 24-14 run that gave the Magic a 10-point lead entering the fourth quarter.

"I have no idea how many shots it was, I was just kept shooting," Nelson said. "I tell people all the time, if the shot's there I'm going to take them. I missed a ton of easy shots in the first half and they were good shots. They were shots that were given to me so I just continued to take them in the second half."

A nice alley-oop dunk to Biedrins brought the crowd to its feet as the Warriors trailed 85-76 with 8:39 to go in the game.

The momentum was short-lived as Courtney Lee drained a wide-open 3-pointer and Nelson made another triple from the corner after a nice pass from Gortat, pushing the advantage to 15 points midway through the quarter.

The Magic went up by 16 points after a give-and-go from Hedo Turkoglu to Nelson. Although Nelson missed the shot, Turkoglu got the easy tip-in with 2:21 to play, forcing Golden State to take a timeout, during which many fans streamed for the exits.