Magic 108, Nets 91
Dwight Howard aced his audition for the New Jersey Nets.
The Orlando center had 20 points and 17 rebounds, threw in a
couple of blocks and dunks and had Nets’ fans chanting his name
throughout the game in leading the Magic to a 108-91 victory on
Wednesday night in what was certainly a showcase for next month’s
Here’s the situation heading into the March 15 deadline. Howard
has asked to be traded and the Magic stand to lose the six-time All
Star and the leading vote getter in this year’s exhibition game
unless he signs an extension before becoming a free agent in
”Right now my only concern is winning games, playing as hard as
I can every night,” said Howard, who rocked the rim several times
with monster dunks in making 9 of 13 from the field.
”That’s the only thing I can control. I put all the other
thoughts aside. The only thing I can control is what I do on the
Many in the crowd of 15,364 did their best to recruit the
seven-year veteran for the Brooklyn-bound Nets.
He got the loudest cheers in the pre-game introductions and many
in the crowd had giants placards with his face on them, including
one next to a placard that had the face of Nets All-Star guard
”It’s a humbling experience,” Howard said. ”I wish more
people could see how it feels to go into another arena and have the
big faces, the posters. It’s a blessing and a whole new experience.
It feels good to have a great reception, not only here, but
everywhere I go.”
Howard didn’t disappoint the fans in leading the Magic to their
ninth straight win over the Nets, who proudly put posters of their
new arena in the hall leading to the Magic locker room.
Nets center Brook Lopez, who has been rumored to be part of the
package the Nets have dangled in front of Orlando, smiled when
asked how the fans reacted.
”It was interesting,” said Lopez, who had 15 points in his
second game back after surgery for a broken right foot. ”It was
definitely exciting. It brought great atmosphere to the game.”
Williams joked he was jealous about all the cheering for
”I might not re-sign here because of that,” said Williams, who
had 23 points, six rebounds and eight assists to lead New Jersey,
which headed into the All-Star break having lost 8 of 11.
Glen Davis, who hit his first seven shots, added 16 points for
Orlando, which won for the eighth time in 11 games.
Rookie MarShon Brooks had a career-high 24 points for New
Jersey, which basically lost the game in the opening 12
Orlando shot 62.5 percent in the opening quarter and jumped to a
34-17 lead. The final 4:16 were the key with the Magic closing the
quarter with a 13-2 spurt that came mostly with Howard sitting on
Davis hit all four of his shots and Jameer Nelson, who also had
eight points in the period, hit a 3-pointer, one of 13 on the night
Nets’ fans started chanting: ”We want Dwight” in the final
minute and it continued late in the game.
Orlando increased the lead to 22 points in the second quarter,
and the only time it was challenged was in the third quarter when
Williams put on a show for Howard, his good buddy, hitting three
straight 3-pointers and scoring 12 straight points to get the Nets
After New Jersey blew a couple of chances to get the lead under
double figures, Orlando closed the quarter with a 16-9 spurt to
take an 87-70 lead into the final quarter.
JJ Redick started and ended the run with 3-pointers and Chris
Duhon, who came off the bench to slow down Williams on the
defensive end, sandwiched two 3-pointers and a jumper in scoring
eight straight points for the Magic.
Howard only played five minutes in the fourth quarter and then
took in the adulation.
”Obviously people are excited over potential stuff,” said
Magic forward Ryan Anderson, who added 14 points. ”It’s something
that we don’t let bother us or get in our heads. It’s what we
expected. It’s going to happen at a lot of places because obviously
we have the best guy in the NBA right now.”
Redick had 12 and Hedo Turkoglu and Nelson had 10 apiece for
NOTES: Nets played without power forward Kris Humphries, who was
sidelined with a strained left calf. … Nets F Shawne Williams had
surgery earlier in the day to repair an old fracture and remove two
small bone fragments in his left foot. He will miss the rest of the
season. …With all the injuries, this was the Nets’ 17th starting
lineup. …Orlando is 15-1 when it scores more than 100 points. …
Williams’ streak of 25-point games ended at six, tied for second
best in Nets history.