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Magic head north to face Celtics

Despite persistent trade rumors surrounding superstar up Boston team.

The Magic arrive in Beantown leading the very competitive Southeast Division, percentage points above Atlanta and one-half game clear of Miami after finishing up a three-game homestand on a winning note by vanquishing Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, 92-80, on Friday.

Howard had 21 points and 23 rebounds in that one while Jameer Nelson added 17 points and nine assists for the Magic, winners of six of their last seven overall. J.J. Redick added 15 points, while Ryan Anderson finished with 13 and eight boards.

It was the second straight 20-20 game for Howard and his fifth this season as the big man continued to approach Orlando's all-time franchise scoring record.

"I just think we came out and were aggressive from the beginning of the game," said Howard. "We did a good job on our defensive assignments. Everybody played great."

Howard now needs just 26 points to surpass Nick Anderson's 10,650 and become the Magic's all-time leading scorer.

On the injury front, Orlando has played the last two games without forward Hedo Turkoglu (back spasms) and the Turkish sharpshooter is listed as questionable for tonight.

Boston, meanwhile, has struggled mightily this season but has won two of three after Paul Pierce led the short-handed Celtics with a season-high 34 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds on Sunday, as Boston held off a late charge from the Washington Wizards to win, 100-94, at the Verizon Center.

Kevin Garnett added 17 points for the Celtics, who notched their sixth victory of the season -- half of them against the lowly Wizards -- despite playing without point guard Rajon Rondo (sore right wrist) and losing shooting guard Ray Allen to a sprained left ankle in the second quarter.

Allen wasn't sure after the game if he would play Monday and coach Doc Rivers expects to be very conservative with Rondo so his status remains up in the air.

Tonight's game will also feature the return of the popular Glen Davis to Boston. Big Baby was traded in the offseason to Orlando, along with Von Wafer, for Brandon Bass.

Boston is a dismal 0-6 against teams with a winning record this season but the C's won two of three over the Magic back in 2010-11.

These two teams will meet again in Orlando on Thursday.