NBA Game Summary - New Orleans at Orlando
(Thursday, December 25th)
Final Score: Orlando 88, New Orleans 68
Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - Dwight Howard scored 12 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, and the Orlando Magic dominated the New Orleans Hornets, 88-68, in the first of five Christmas Day NBA contests.
Hedo Turkoglu had 20 points for the Magic, who have won eight straight home games for the first time since winning 12 from March 10-April 15, 2006. Rashard Lewis added 18 points in Orlando's sixth straight victory, as the team matched a franchise-best 23-6 start from the 1994-95 season, which was also the only time the Magic have appeared in the NBA Finals.
"It was fun; we were glad we got a chance to play on Christmas Day and on a national stage," Howard said. "Our team responded well, we played good basketball, shooting the ball well and playing) good defense on a good point guard, Chris Paul."
Jameer Nelson contributed 14 points, as the Magic shot 40.5 percent (30-of-74) overall from the field.
"I think that we're playing with a lot of confidence right now," Nelson said. "We're shooting the ball well, and we're definitely playing great defense. We're holding teams to low field goal percentages and the key players on certain teams -- we're just trying to take them out of their rhythm. As a team, we've been doing a great job."
David West recorded 13 points and seven rebounds for the Hornets, who have dropped two straight after a four-game win streak. Chris Paul had 12 points but did not record a steal, ending his NBA-record streak at 108 consecutive games with at least one swipe.
"I didn't even know it ended tonight," Paul said of his streak being halted. "Half of the time when I got a steal, I didn't even know; so it was going to end at some point. Why not on Christmas? I got the record now, but I think (Boston Celtics guard) Rajon Rondo is next, so he has a crack at it."
New Orleans shot a dismal 33.3 percent (28-of-84) from the field and allowed 61 first-half points, a season-high.
"I don't think we came out flat," West said. "I think we played with enough energy. We held them to 88 points and 40 percent (shooting) from the field. We have just been having a problem adjusting to how teams are defending us. I think they really packed their defense in. They forced us to keep the ball on one side."
The Magic got off to a quick start. Orlando jumped out to an 8-0 lead, as Nelson's contested three-pointer capped the run just 2 1/2 minutes in.
The hosts kept pouring it on in the opening minutes, as Howard's free throw with 6:18 left made it a 16-4 game. Howard, the league leader in blocks with 3.7 per game, turned away three shots in the first quarter.
Lewis had a game-high 11 points in the opening 12 minutes, and Orlando held a 29-14 lead.
Devin Brown made it as close as 12 on a layup with 7:20 left in the half, but the Magic embarked on a 22-4 run, shooting 4-for-5 from three-point range over the burst to make it 59-29 on Howard's 15-foot bank shot with 2:25 to go.
Turkoglu was the leading scorer at halftime with 15, and Orlando held a commanding 61-31 edge at the break.
"Offensively, we had our best of the year in the first half," Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy said. "I thought we were crisp, making shots, great energy up and down the floor."
The Hornets outscored the Magic 24-13 in the third quarter to trim the deficit to 19, 74-55, heading into the fourth, but Orlando quickly scored the first six points of the final frame to extend its lead to 25, and the Magic ran away with the victory.
New Orleans played without Peja Stojakovic (back) for a fourth straight game and without Antonio Daniels (knee)...Orlando is now 13-3 at home overall and has beaten the Hornets in six of the last nine meetings...Orlando's Mickael Pietrus had 11 points in the win...The Magic shot 13-of-28 from three-point range, while New Orleans shot only 4-of-16...Turkoglu also had six rebounds and five assists...Brown had 12 points for the Hornets...The Magic are now 4-0 at home all-time on Christmas Day...Rondo has recorded a steal in 25 consecutive games.
12/25 16:29:48 ET