Howard's 20-20 game powers Magic past Bobcats
CHARLOTTE — Dwight Howard had 20 points and 24 rebounds, Ryan Anderson scored 23 points, and the Orlando Magic beat the Charlotte Bobcats 100-79 on Friday night for their third straight victory.
Orlando jumped to an 11-0 lead and never trailed, eventually leading 56-43 at halftime and building the lead up to as many as 21 in the second half. Charlotte never got closer than nine points in the second half.
Anderson was 5 of 12 from 3-point range, as the Magic shot 43 percent from beyond the arc. Howard also had four blocked shots and four assists. The Magic also got 16 points from Jason Richardson, 15 from Hedo Turkoglu and 11 from J.J. Redick.
Corey Maggette led Charlotte (1-2) with 20 points.
The Bobcats also got 14 points from D.J. Augustin, 12 from Byron Mullens and 10 from Boris Diaw. But Gerald Henderson struggled through a 4-for-13 shooting night and the Bobcats, forced to settle for jump shots all night because of Howard's presence, shot just 36 percent from the field.
The 6-foot-11 Howard was imposing inside from the start, often going up against Diaw, 6-8, and Charlotte's backup centers. The only flaw in his performance was a 6-of-14 night from the free throw line.
Howard set the tone immediately with a follow shot on Orlando's first possession. Richardson made a jumper and a 3-pointer, Howard hit a hook, and Richardson scored on a fast break to give the Magic their quick 11-0 lead.
It was the second straight night that Howard had more than 20 rebounds. He had 16 points and 24 rebounds in a win over New Jersey on Thursday night.
Charlotte came into the game leading the NBA in rebound margin, but the Magic won the rebound battle 49-41 and limited the Bobcats to only 20 points in the paint.
Orlando played without point guard Jameer Nelson, who sat out with neck spasms. Tyrus Thomas missed his third straight game for Charlotte because of a sprained left ankle.