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 Howard scores 24 in Magic win over San Antonio

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PostSubject: Howard scores 24 in Magic win over San Antonio   Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:54 pm

SAN ANTONIO(AP) Now that they look at the
standings and see they stack up favorably with recent NBA finalists,
the young Orlando Magic feel they've done some growing up lately.Dwight
Howard scored 24 points, Jameer Nelson had eight of his 22 in the final
two minutes, and the Magic beat the San Antonio Spurs 105-98 on Sunday
night.Hedo Turkoglu added 21 points for the Magic (30-Cool, who
are tied with the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers for the NBA
lead in victories. Orlando has won four straight and 13 of 15 games."It
feels good,'' Howard said. "We've been playing great basketball, but to
come here and beat a great San Antonio team says a lot about our growth
and maturity.''The Celtics beat the Lakers in last season's
finals, and the Spurs won the title two years ago. The Magic won both
meetings with the Spurs this season.The Magic were 14-of-22 from 3-point territory."They
did a great job from the 3-point line and really knocked them down,''
said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, whose team has the best 3-point
percentage in the NBA this season but was 3-of-13 on Sunday. "Some
nights we don't shoot as well or get as many shots. That's just the way
it is, and that was the difference.''Tony Parker scored 31
points for the Spurs (24-12), but missed a pair of layups in the final
two minutes as San Antonio closed the game by missing six of seven
shots."We knew the team that made the stops toward the end was
going to win,'' Howard said. "We came up with some good stops and got a
good win.''In the matchup against Howard, Tim Duncan had 18
points, hitting 7-of-14 from the floor and all four foul shots along
with 10 rebounds. Howard was 9-of-12, going 6-of-7 on free throws and
grabbed 14 rebounds.The Spurs had won four straight. They next
meet Los Angeles on Wednesday for the first time since the Lakers'
five-game victory in the Western Conference finals.Like they did
last year against the Lakers, the Spurs had little left late in the
game. It was tied when Manu Ginobili made a layup with three minutes
left. But the Spurs made only one more shot from the floor the rest of
the night.The Magic went up 100-96 with 1:56 to go when they
sandwiched 3-pointers from Nelson and J.J. Redick around a pair of free
throws by Ginobili.It was 102-96 when Nelson connected from 16
feet with 1:27 left, but the Spurs were down only 102-98 when Matt
Bonner hit a jumper on the next trip down the court. It was the last
shot the Spurs would hit, going 0-for-5 in the final minute.Parker's missed shots, both on his familiar teardrop runners from inside 6 feet, could have tied the game."That's my shot,'' Parker said. "The teardrop is my shot, and it didn't go in.''The
Magic took a 74-72 lead to the fourth quarter when Turkoglu made two
free throws after a hand-check foul was called against the Spurs' Bruce
Bowen.The Spurs went ahead 77-74 on Ginobili's 3-pointer less
than two minutes into the fourth quarter, but the Magic rallied to grab
a three-point lead after consecutive 3-pointers from Keith Bogans, who
had just checked into the game for the first time, and Lewis.It was the first shot Lewis made since the first quarter after missing seven in a row.Nelson made it 82-79 with 8:22 to go when he drew a shooting foul on Parker and made both free throws.The
Magic were 8-of-11 on 3-pointers in the first half, including one that
had Popovich doubling over at midcourt after he watched Ginobili fail
to get past a screen and defend Nelson.Nelson hit the 24-footer
with a second left for a 55-50 halftime lead, right after Parker had
cut through the lane for a tough layup to make it a two-point game with
less than 10 seconds left.Parker provided most of San Antonio's
second-quarter offense. He was 5-of-6 from the floor for 10 points, and
at halftime he had 18 points and six assists.Lewis was 0-for-4
in the second quarter, but he got Orlando started off on the right foot
with a 4-for-4 first quarter. He and Howard combined to open the game
by hitting eight of their first nine.Notes: The 34 first-quarter
points scored by Orlando were the second-most the Spurs have given up
in a quarter behind the 35 points Oklahoma City scored in the fourth
quarter of a 109-104 loss to San Antonio on Dec. 14. ... Magic coach
Stan Van Gundy was whistled for a technical foul while arguing in the
third quarter. ... Duncan was called for a delay-of-game warning after
his offensive rebound off Ginobili's miss was called a loose-ball foul
during a one-point game late in the third quarter. ... After the Spurs
play the Lakers at home on Wednesday, they will play three straight and
14 of their next 17 games on the road.

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