Dwight Howard reached a new high with the Orlando Magic.
Howard had 14 points to become the Magic’s all-time leading scorer in Orlando’s 102-83 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night.
”It’s a humbling experience,” said Howard, who began the game needing just eight points to break Nick Anderson’s mark. ”It does mean a lot. Not too many players in this league can say that they were their franchise’s leading scorer.”
Howard, fifth in the league in scoring with 20.1 points per game, picked up his third foul early in the second quarter and sat for most of the first half, before breaking the mark early in the third.
Ryan Anderson had 24 points and eight rebounds to lead the Magic. He shot shot 8 for 14 from the field, including 5 for 7 on 3-pointers.
”I just wanted to come in with a lot of energy tonight,” Anderson said. ”We just took open shots. Getting key rebounds and being physical and getting fast break points, those are big for us.”
Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert scored 16 points each and Hibbert also had 12 rebounds for the Pacers, who returned home after winning two of three on a West Coast trip.
”We had poor offensive execution the whole game,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. ”We know how to play. We’ve played good basketball all year and we didn’t tonight.”
Indiana shot just 32 percent in the second half and Orlando shot 49 percent.
JJ Redick added 15 points and Glen Davis had 13 points and five rebounds for the Magic.
”Our effort was great,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. ”Our energy was good and a lot of guys had a lot to do with us winning.”
Howard was two points away from breaking the scoring record before he picked up his second foul and went to the bench midway through the first quarter.
It was a tough stretch for Howard who turned the ball over, missed a shot and then got called for a foul.
The Pacers were in the middle of a 10-0 run when Howard went to the bench. Granger made two 3s and Hibbert – wearing a mast to protect a broken nose suffered Sunday against the Lakers – had the other two baskets.
Howard didn’t enter the game again until the start of the second quarter, but was pulled just 24 seconds into the period after he was called for his third foul.
Davis scored seven points in the first half in Howard’s place, but the Pacers built a 10-point lead and the Magic had a tough time regaining the advantage. They did it late in the second quarter when the Magic went on a 10-0 run of their own and took the lead on a 3-pointer by Anderson.
”When Dwight went out they raised their energy level,” Vogel said.
Darren Collison answered Anderson’s 3 with a jumper to tie the score at 41. Earl Clark scored on a dunk, then Indiana’s David West tied it again on a jumper.
Clark scored again, then Hibbert tied the game on a putback.
The score was tied at 45 at halftime.
Howard finally became the Magic’s all-time leading scorer on a dunk at the 10:05 mark in the third quarter.
The Magic went on to build a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter. They led by 12 at the end of the third after Orlando went on an 8-0 run midway through the period to take a 60-54 lead.
Indiana got back within four, but then the Magic went on a 7-0 run to extend the lead again.
”Our intensity picked up at the defensive end, we did a great job of moving the ball on offense,” Howard said. ”It was a really good win for us. It shows a lot for us to be able to bounce back from last night.”
Orlando lost to Boston on Monday, 87-56.
For the Pacers, things won’t get much easier. They go on the road to play Chicago, Boston and then Orlando, all within four days.
”We just have to take this loss and move on,” Pacers forward Paul George said. ”It’s a long season. We must continue to grow and help each other.”
Notes: Pacers C Jeff Foster was out for the fourth straight game with a sore back. … AJ Price wasn’t with the Pacers because of strep throat. … Vogel isn’t surprised by Hibbert playing through his injury. ”He’s a hard-nosed guy,” Vogel said before the game. ”He’s a tough guy and he’s a determined guy.” … Orlando’s 46 percent shootings is the first time that a Pacers’ home opponent shot better than 40 percent this season. … The Magic blocked a season-high nine shots and Earl Clark rejected a season-high four shots.