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Howard's big night fuels Magic win over struggling T'wolves

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Sports Network
3/26/2010 10:07:12 PM
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Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - Dwight Howard poured in 24 points, and added 19 rebounds and four blocks, as Orlando beat Minnesota, 106-97, sending the Timberwolves to their 15th straight loss, one shy of a club record.

Ryan Anderson added 19 points as the Magic moved 4 1/2 games clear of the second-place Hawks in the Southeast Division. Orlando bounced back from an 86-84 loss at Atlanta on Wednesday when Josh Smith beat the buzzer with a soaring one-handed put-back jam.

J.J. Redick had 14 points and Vince Carter, 13 for Orlando, which won for the 12th time in its last 14 games.

Al Jefferson tallied 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who are mired in their second 15-game skid this season. They also lost 15 straight, October 30 - November 27. Their franchise-record 16-game skid occurred twice, spanning from April 8 - November 12, 1994 and in a single season from February 29 - March 29, 1993.

Darko Milicic, Corey Brewer, Jonny Flynn and Kevin Love each had 14 points in defeat.

Orlando was ahead by five points at the half and won despite shooting just 12-of-37 from the floor over the final 24 minutes. Flynn's three-point play pulled the Timberwolves within 61-57 with 9:55 left in the third quarter, but Orlando then embarked on a 13-2 run to take control. Jameer Nelson and Carter buried three-pointers to end the spurt.

Minnesota was within 82-73 after three quarters, but Redick opened the fourth by canning a pair of three-balls. Orlando eventually built the lead to as high as 21 before coasting down the stretch.

"I thought in the second half we made a much better effort defensively," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "I thought we could've really put it away earlier if we could've taken care of the ball."

The Timberwolves led by as many as seven in the first quarter, but Orlando closed the gap to 29-27 after one period. It was a back-and-forth battle for most of the second, but Matt Barnes drained a three-pointer for the Magic with 19.4 seconds left, giving the hosts a 59-54 edge at the intermission.

"They made their run (in the third quarter," Jefferson said. "They have too many great shooters around. It is like picking your poison. you try and maintain Dwight and double him, they have too many guys that shoot the three ball."

Game Notes

Orlando has won four straight meetings...The Magic's next four games are also against Western Conference opponents - Denver, Dallas, San Antonio and Memphis...The Timberwolves will try to avoid tying the franchise record skid when they host Phoenix Sunday night...Orlando finished 13-of-36 from three- point range...Howard was 6-of-7 from the field and 12-of-16 at the foul line...Minnesota held a 48-32 advantage in points in the paint, but was outrebounded, 51-39.

Dwight Howard (Photo: Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty Images)
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