Dwight Howard, Magic Dominate Nets, 94-78

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Magic 94, Nets 78: Offense Still M.I.A. For New Jersey

Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - Dwight Howard recorded a double-double, scoring 16 points and pulling down 24 rebounds to lead the Magic to a 94-78 victory over the Nets.

Ryan Anderson scored a game-high 22, while Jason Richardson chipped in 16 for the Orlando, which moved to 2-1. Hedo Turkoglu netted 11 points and dished out seven assists, and J.J. Redick added 15 points off the bench.

"I thought through the first 19 minutes of the game, we played very well," Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy said. "The last five minutes of the half, we didn't defend, but I thought we were very consistent in the second half."

MarShon Brooks led New Jersey with 17 points and Deron Williams scored 10 and had seven assists, but went just 2-of-12 from the field.

The Magic jumped out to a 28-16 lead after the first quarter after shooting 55 percent from the field over the first 12 minutes.

The Nets used a 15-5 run to pull within five to close the second half. The run was sparked by a DeShawn Stevenson three, his third in the game at that point, while Brooks scored eight points over the stretch.

New Jersey was able to get within three after Mehmet Okur knocked down a trey with a little over nine minutes remaining in the third, but that would be as close as the Nets would come as Orlando raced to a 75-62 lead at the end of the third stanza.

The fourth quarter followed the same theme as Orlando continued to pad its lead, outscoring the Nets 19-16 over the final frame. The quarter was highlighted by a ferocious putback slam from Howard off a Redick miss.

Magic point guard Jameer Nelson left in the third quarter with neck spasms and did not return. he finished the game with five assists but failed to score.

Game Notes

The Magic have taken 12 of the last 13 with New Jersey...The Nets are winless in their last seven trips to Orlando...New Jersey's Stevenson and Kris Humphries each scored nine, while Humphries had 10 rebounds.


Final - 12.29.2011 1 2 3 4 Total
New Jersey Nets 16 28 18 16 78
Orlando Magic 28 22 25 19 94

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New Jersey Nets Send Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro To The Bench

New Jersey Nets head coach Avery Johnson wasn't planning on making any lineup changes after just two games, but he changed his mind before Thursday's game against the Orlando Magic.

Deron Williams, Damion James and Kris Humphries remain in the starting lineup, but they will have two new players lining up next to them. Backup point guard Sundiata Gaines will start at shooting guard next to Williams while recently acquired center Mehmet Okur takes the place of Johan Petro.

In both of the their two games this season, the Nets got off to awful starts and Johnson didn't want to give his original starting lineup a chance to make it three for three. Morrow has struggled more than any of the Nets starters, playing just 13 minutes against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday and shooting just 29 percent for the season, averaging 9.5 points per game.

Gaines, however, has been impressive during his time on the floor, shooting 46 percent from the floor and handing out eight assists to five turnovers. The Magic have already talked about doubling Williams, making it all that more important to have another ball handler in the back court.

Petro was pushed into the starting unit after Brook Lopez broke his foot in the final preseason game of the season. New Jersey traded for Okur to eventually slot into Lopez' spot, but the move was done quicker than expected after the ugly starts. Petro struggled against the Hawks, but had 11 points and five rebounds in 25 minutes against the Washington Wizards in the season opening victory.

Look for more changes to the starting lineup as the season goes along, especially if rookie MarShon Brooks continues to impress.

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Bitter Tracy McGrady Bashes Idea Of Dwight Howard To The Nets

All the talk around the NBA ever since "The Decision" has been about superstars joining forces to try and win a championship. After LeBron James and Dwyane Wade there was Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire and now there's talk about Deron Williams and Dwight Howard.

Long before it was hip to try and get to a title on the shoulders of two players, Tracy McGrady was a part of two past attempts. First with Grant Hill as a member of the Orlando Magic and then with Yao Ming in Houston with the Rockets. Unfortunately, much like his running mates, McGrady could never stay on the court and simply never proved to be a big enough star to carry a team by himself when he did manage to play.

Despite getting to the playoffs seven times, McGrady never got out of the first round.

Now that the former star has found a place in the NBA as a role player, he's waxing poetic about how to build a winner despite never being one himself.

Speaking to Adrian Wojnarowski after his Atlanta Hawks easily defeated the New Jersey Nets, McGrady said it wouldn't work with Williams and Howard in Brooklyn.

"If it's just Dwight and D-Will, he's better off just staying in Orlando," McGrady said. "You want to go to a team that's a championship caliber, and just him and D-Will won't get it done. There's got to be other pieces around to make it look sweet."

Since McGrady feels the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets wouldn't be allowed to sign or draft any players to build a winner around the two stars, he feels the two must join forces in Dallas with the Mavericks where they could create their own "Big Three".

"You've got Dirk Nowitzki there. They're going to have [cap space] there. That looks sweet. Dirk. D-Will. And then you get Dwight Howard. That's it, right there."

Never one accused of being a future GM, McGrady is clearly unaware it would be nearly impossible for all three players to fit under the cap with the Mavs. As a guy that always wanted the last penny in each contract -- who can blame him? -- McGrady should know it would take both Williams and Howard leaving $30 million on the table to sign with Dallas instead of whichever team they are with at the end of this season.

More than anything, it seems like McGrady is still bitter about never having what it takes to win a playoff series in his 14 year NBA career. Maybe he looks back and wishes he had found a way to add a third star so he could have hidden from his inability to be a clutch player. Since it didn't work for him, it won't work for Williams and Howard.

As for those two players that won't be able to anchor a team by themselves? Williams has been to a Conference Finals and Howard an NBA Finals, which is a whole lot more than McGrady -- never a winner -- will ever be able to say.

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