Quick Recap: Magic – 110 Rockets – 92

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Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic did not get off to the start that would have liked to. Howard picked up two fouls in the first 22 seconds and left the game with nothing but a turnover to show for it. The Magic had trouble scoring in the early-going and trailed 14-11 almost eight minutes into the game, but then the Magic got it going. Matt Barnes hit a three-pointer that sparked a 10-0 Orlando run that saw them take a seven-point lead. Both teams had a lot of success getting into the paint and getting good looks. Quick Point Guard Aaron Brooks got himself inside for three layups, but couldn’t hit anything else and shot 3-of-8 from the field. Matt Barnes led the Magic with six points while Marcin Gortat scored 4 points, blocked a shot and grabbed 7 first quarter rebounds. Brooks and Shane Battier led the Rockets with 6 points each. The Magic went just 10-of-25 from the field in the opening quarter while the Rockets shot just 7-of-19. Orlando led Houston 23-18 at the end of the first quarter.

The Magic looked great in the second quarter, outscoring the Rockets 37-22. Dwight Howard came back into the game and did exactly what he should do against the undersized Rockets – he dominated. Howard played 10 minutes in the second half, scored 12 points on 4-of-4 shooting, grabbed 8 rebounds and blocked a shot. Rockets Rookie Chase Budinger used some smooth shooting to keep the Rockets in the game early in the second. The Rockets were within 4 with 6:20 to play at 33-29, but the Magic went on a 17-3 run to take a commanding 50-32 lead. Orlando pushed the lead to as large as 23 but Aaron Brooks’ late three-pointer cut the lead back to 60-40 at the half. The Magic shot 14-of-19 (74%) in the quarter while holding the Rockets to 9-of-22 shooting (41%). Jameer Nelson played a fantastic first half – he had 12 points, 4 assists and turned the ball over just once. Orlando’s bench was excellent – they combined to score 22 first half points. Aaron Brooks led all scorers with 15 points at the half.

The Magic came out quick in the third quarter. They scored the first seven points of the quarter, giving them a 69-42 advantage on a beautiful bounce pass from Vince Carter to Dwight Howard for a dunk. The Rockets began to slowly chip away at the lead as the Magic relaxed a bit. The Rockets closed the quarter on a 14-4 run and cut Orlando’s one-time 27-point lead to 85-74 on two Kevin Martin free throws. Orlando still managed to shoot 11-of-20 (55%) in the quarter, but they allowed the Rockets to shoot 11-of-19 and five of those 11 made shots were three-pointers. The Magic, on the other hand, were just 1-of-7 from downtown in the period. Kevin Martin, who scored just 2 points in the first half, had 14 points at the end of the quarter. Aaron Brooks had 21 points while Dwight Howard led all scorers with 24 points on a perfect 10-of-10 shooting. Dwight Howard also had 11 rebounds at the end of the quarter, giving him a franchise-record 19 consecutive double-doubles. Howard also picked up his 13th technical foul of the season.

Orlando pushed the lead to 14 on a Mickael Pietrus three-pointer. Kevin Martin continued to get to the basket, allowing the Rockets cut the lead back to 9 at the 5:30 mark. A Chase Budinger three-pointer cut a 97-85 lead back to 9, but Vince Carter answered with a three-pointer of his own. Jameer Nelson got to the basket and got a layup to push the lead back to 14 with 2:49 to play, effectively sealing the victory. The Magic played well down the stretch, ending the game on a 13-4 run to wrap up a 110-92 victory.

Dwight Howard led all scorers with 30 points on 11-of-11 shooting. He also grabbed 16 rebounds. Jameer Nelson scored 17 points and dished out 9 assists with just a single turnover. Vince Carter also had just one turnover, scored 16 points (on 6-of-9 shooting), dished out 7 assists and grabbed 5 boards.

Aaron Brooks led the Rockets with 24 points and 8 assists. Kevin Martin chipped in with 19 points.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).