Orlando, FL (Sports Network) – Dwight Howard posted 24 points and 18 rebounds to lead the retooled Orlando Magic to a 112-103 victory over the slumping New York Knicks.
Howard grabbed nine offensive rebounds for the Magic, who have won five straight after losing the first two games with their new acquisitions.
Orlando, which pulled off multiple trades to acquire Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu, got a combined 36 points from the trio in its fourth straight victory over New York.
Amare Stoudemire registered a game-high 30 points, and Wilson Chandler added a season-high 29 points and nine rebounds for the Knicks, losers in five of seven.
“We did a good job of fighting back,” Stoudemire said. “Defensively, they got too many easy baskets on us.”
Orlando built its lead with 40 second-quarter points before holding on down the stretch.
Ryan Anderson hit a pair of threes in the opening minutes of the second quarter, with the last of them capping a 12-3 run that provided a 34-26 lead.
“We’re learning what each other can do, and we’re passing the ball,” Anderson said. “We’re just looking for each other’s shots and creating openings.”
Howard hit a pair of free throws midway through to place the margin at nine, and an emphatic dunk by the center put Orlando ahead, 50-36, with over three minutes remaining.
The Magic closed the half with seven of the final nine points to grab a seemingly comfortable 62-44 advantage at the break.
Chandler and Raymond Felton began New York’s second-half charge with consecutive threes to trim the deficit to 12. A Danilo Gallinari dunk made it a nine-point game before Chandler hit a 17-foot jumper for a six-point difference.
Orlando put itself back up by 11, 82-71, heading to the fourth, but the Knicks went on an 8-2 run to get to within two. Stoudemire’s three-point play with 4:11 left countered a Howard dunk for a 98-96 game, but New York couldn’t pull even.
Richardson answered with a three-pointer, and Turkoglu hit another moments later for a 104-97 Magic lead with 2:20 remaining. The Knicks didn’t get closer than six from there.
These two teams were scheduled to play in New York on November 2 before an asbestos problem forced the postponement of the contest until March 28…Howard received his 14th technical foul in the first quarter, leaving him two shy of an automatic one-game suspension…Stoudemire has 20 points in 17 straight games, the longest stretch in team history since Patrick Ewing did it for 17 straight in 1994.