Howard’s Big Night Carries Magic Past Bobcats
Posted Nov 18 2006 11:32PM
Orlando 97, Charlotte 83
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)-- Give another round to Dwight Howard in the debate over who should have been the No. 1 pick in 2004.
Howard posted his second 20-20 game this season with 24 points and 21 rebounds, and the Orlando Magic ran away from the Charlotte Bobcats 97-83 Saturday night.
It was the fourth time in his career that Howard had 20 points and 20 rebounds, and the second against Emeka Okafor, taken one spot behind Howard with the No. 2 pick in '04. Howard was 7-of-12 from the field and 10-of-13 from the line in just 30 minutes.
``Dwight was trying to attack the basket and with 21 rebounds, he obviously was being very aggressive,'' Magic coach Brian Hill said. ``I especially like the fact he shot 13 free throws and hit 10 of them. That's a great sign of things for us.''
Okafor hit 13 of 15 shots from the field for 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds, but received very little support. Sean May had 12 points for the Bobcats and rookie Adam Morrison 10, but Morrison was held scoreless in the second half.
Howard and the Magic controlled the game almost from the outset. Orlando led by 10 nine minutes into the game when Hill finished a fast break off a pass from Jameer Nelson to make it 20-10. That was a sign of things to come as Orlando scored 14 points off the break and another 15 on second-chance opportunities in taking a 57-43 halftime advantage.
``When I play against someone like Emeka, I try to play as hard as I can,'' Howard said. ``That's something I've got to start doing every night, not just against the top players.''
Charlotte got much of its offense from Okafor and Morrison in the first two periods. They hit 12 of 16 shots between them for 24 of the Bobcats' 43 points.
Okafor added 12 more in the third quarter, but had even less help as Morrison went 0-for-7 from the field in the second half. A 15-foot jumper by Okafor got Charlotte within 60-53 with 7:37 left in the third quarter, but that was as close as the Bobcats would come.
``Emeka was tremendous against Dwight, but no one else did much to help,'' May said. ``We did some good things, but it was the last game of a long road trip and we just had heavy legs.''
Howard, who had 11 points and 12 rebounds in the third quarter, scored on a three-point play to start a run of six straight Magic points that pushed their advantage to 66-53.
Charlotte never cut the deficit under 10 the rest of the game as Orlando built a 21-point lead before coasting the last five minutes of the game.
Milicic also had four blocked shots as the Magic built a 90-69 lead with seven minutes to play and coasted to the finish.
``It's nice to have another post presence, especially when Dwight comes out of the game,'' Brian Hill said. ``That could end up being a big boost for us.''
Notes: Charlotte PG Brevin Knight didn't play because of a knee injury. He's listed as day-to-day. ... Howard has led the Magic in rebounding in every game this season. ... Two of Howard's four career 20-20 games (scoring-rebounding) have come against Charlotte. ... Okafor, the leading shot-blocker in the NBA this season, didn't block a shot against the Magic. ... Orlando was the first team to outshoot Charlotte from the field this season. ... Bobcats C Primoz Brezec played for the first time this season after sitting out eight games with exhaustion.
Copyright 2006 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited