Orlando Holds On To Defeat Knicks

Published on: 8th March, 2009

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New York — Hedo Turkoglu led the way with 33 points while Dwight Howard continued his beastly way through the NBA with another monstrous game (24 points, 21 rebounds, 4 blocked shots, and 8 of 9 from the free throw line) to pace the Magic to a 114-109 win over the home team Knicks.

It was a good win for Orlando, particular as they were coming off a poor performance last night against the Chicago Bulls, an 18 point loss after which Magic head coach, Stan Van Gundy exploded about the team’s lack of hustle, heart, and defensive skill. Tonight was a different story for Van Gundy.

“It was a good win for us after last night,” he said. “I thought we played very hard and played very well defensively for three quarters. In the fourth quarter, we didn’t play good defense but we were able to hold on.”

His main man, Howard, has quickly evolved into the league’s most dominant center, truly a freak of an athlete in his chiseled 6’10”, 245 pound frame.

“Dwight came out with great energy and I don’t know if he was tired towards the end of the game,” Van Gundy said. “He stayed on the glass all night.”

Orlando moved it’s record to 42-15, good for third best in the Eastern Conference behind Cleveland and Boston. This is clearly a team on the come but are they ready to contend for a league championship?

“We’re a pretty good team but we want to be a great team,” Howard said. “We’re taking little steps to become great but we understand we want to be like a Boston or a Cleveland or the Lakers but we understand we have to start from the bottom and work our way to the top.”

Something tells me the young man is playing a little possum. His Magic team, despite what could have been the devastating loss of their point guard, Jameer Nelson to a season-ending knee injury, is coming on strong on this road trip with their 3-1 record. Their recent acquisition of veteran point guard Rafer Alston from the Houston Rockets has eased the pain of Nelson’s loss.

Since the NBA Slam Dunk competition two weeks ago, in which Howard and the Knicks’ Nate Robinson waged a battle for the dunking championship, there has developed a nice, little mutual respect from both players.

“Krypton-Nate kept throwing his krypton at us down the stretch,” Howard said. “It’s a good thing my teammates provided a shield to protect me from Krypton-Nate.” Howard was laughing as he said that.

Knick Notes: David Lee recorded his 21st consecutive double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, tying Jerry Lucas (1972) for the second longest streak in franchise history. Walt Bellamy had 35 doubles in a row in 1965. Nate Robinson passed 30 points for the second consecutive game and the fifth time in seven games. He’s averaging 29.2 points per game since the All-Star break. Howard and Lee remain tied for the NBA lead in double doubles.

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