Orlando 97, Miami 68

ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 30 (AP) -- Wherever you are, Dwyane Wade, your defending champion Miami Heat need you.

Miami lost again without Wade and his 27 points per game, putting in two of its worst quarters of the season in a 97-68 loss to the Orlando Magic on Saturday night.

Dwight Howard had 18 points and 10 rebounds, helping Orlando own the paint with Shaquille O'Neal also out. The Magic outscored Miami inside 50-14, and commanded the game for all but the opening minutes.

"They don't want to admit it in there, but we just got manhandled, absolutely manhandled on the boards, in the paint,'' Heat coach Pat Riley said. "Defensively, they were up and into us and we could never really get anything going at all.''

Orlando snapped a four-game losing streak and extended the Heat's skid to three games. Wade is resting a strained right wrist he injured Wednesday against the Chicago Bulls, and O'Neal has missed more than 20 games with a knee injury.

Neither traveled to Orlando, and Jason Williams didn't play because he was resting from the Friday game against the Nets.

Riley said he'd know more about Wade's status Sunday. Miami is 0-4 this season without him.

Jason Kapono had 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting for the Heat, while Dorell Wright scored 12. Wright came off the bench after starting 18 straight games.

The Heat scored a season-low 10 second-quarter points, and went nearly eight minutes without a point in the period. The Magic scored only 12 in that span, but it was enough to help them take a 48-37 halftime lead. Miami scored only 11 points in the fourth, and had season lows in field goals (23) and shooting percentage (34 percent).

"Teams know that we don't have a loaded gun and they are taking advantage of that,'' Alonzo Mourning said. "They are really sticking it to us. I am not going to forget it and my teammates are sure not going to forget it. We are going to see them again.''

Trevor Ariza had 16 points and 10 rebounds, including an impressive dunk over Mourning in the third quarter. Tony Battie had 12 points and six rebounds, Hedo Turkoglu scored 11 points and Jameer Nelson had seven assists.

The Magic were without Grant Hill, who sometimes rests the second of back-to-back games, and Keyon Dooling, who scored 20 points Friday night. Magic coach Brian Hill said neither injury was serious.

Orlando's win came a night after the Magic lost the Southeast Division lead to Washington in Friday's one-point defeat to the Wizards. Orlando, which previously had one of the East's best records, improved to 18-14, while Miami fell to 13-17.

"The first thing Coach said in the meeting today was that you've got to stop it right here. We came out today with the energy and the focus to get it done,'' Howard said.

Notes: Magic rookie J.J. Redick entered the game to loud applause in the third quarter. He had nine points in 12 minutes. ... Orlando had another dismal night from the 3-point line. The Magic were 4-for-13, compared with 7-for-16 for Miami.


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