NBA Game Summary - New York at Orlando
(Wednesday, March 22nd)
Final Score: Orlando 111, New York 87
Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - Dwight Howard didn't start for the first time in his young career, but that didn't stop him from dropping 23 points in Orlando's 111-87 thrashing of the New York Knicks at TD Waterhouse Centre.
Howard, who also had seven boards, missed a team shootaround and was penalized with a reserve role by head coach Brian Hill. He had started 149 straight games.
"Yeah, I was a couple of minutes late and so [Hill] had to do what he had to do," said Howard. "Situation's over with. We won the game, and looking forward to beating the 76ers.
"Traffic is traffic. But it's no excuse for me to be late. I'm a leader for the team and I can't be late for shootaround or anything. So it's my fault."
Hedo Turkoglu added 16 points for the Magic, who ended a two-game slide. Jameer Nelson tallied 13 points, six rebounds and six assists and Darko Milicic had 13 points and seven boards for Orlando, which won its fifth straight home contest.
Steve Francis started for the Knicks in his first trip to Orlando since last month's trade, but finished with just two points in only 11 minutes -- all in the first quarter.
"I don't know man," said Francis on why he didn't play past the first quarter. "That is coach's decision. That is way beyond my control."
Eddy Curry had 15 points to lead New York, which dropped its third straight contest.
Orlando began pulling away in the first quarter. With the game tied at 15-15, Howard sparked a 14-2 run to end the stanza with 10 points, as the Magic took a 29-17 lead into the second.
The Magic increased their lead to 39-21 on a Howard bucket just over two minutes into the second and coasted into the locker room with a 59-47 cushion.
The lead ballooned to as many as 25 points, 74-49, when Nelson ended a 15-2 spurt that started the half with a three-pointer 4:04 into the frame. New York could only get within 19 points in the third, 86-67, when Nate Robinson hit a pair of free throws.
The fourth saw much of the same, with the lead reaching its largest for the Magic on a Howard bucket at the 10:52 mark for a 96-69 cushion.
Keyon Dooling had 11 points and nine assists and DeShawn Stevenson and Trevor Ariza each had 10 points for the Magic.
Ariza came to Orlando in the Francis trade.
The Knicks learned prior to the game that rookie forward Channing Frye is going to miss the remainder of the season with a sprained knee...Stephon Marbury, Jamal Crawford and Robinson each finished with 12 points for the Knicks...David Lee had 10 points for New York...The Magic won the season series 3-1...Orlando improved to 19-14 at home...New York fell to 6-27 on the road, going just 2-14 in its last 16 as the visitor...Prior to the game, Orlando announced the re-signing of forward Tony Battie.
03/23 01:13:55 ET