Dwight Howard displayed his loyalty to the Orlando Magic by leading a balanced attack to a comfortable 86-70 win over an understrength New Jersey Nets to the delight of an appreciative home crowd at the Amway Center on Friday.
In his first game after committing to the Magic through next season, Howard bagged 18 points and the Magic (29-16) had six players return double-digit scores as they pulled away after emerging with a 22-18 lead from a tight first quarter.
They extended their advantage by as many as 20 points in the third before coasting to victory.
The Nets (15-30) were led by reserve Gerald Green's 14 points and DeShawn Stevenson was the only New Jersey starter to reach double figures with 11 points.
New Jersey, however, were missing top scorer Deron Williams for the fourth consecutive game with a strained calf muscle while Gerald Wallace, acquired on trade deadline day, is expected to join the team on Saturday.
Ryan Anderson had a double-double with 11 rebounds and 12 points and Jameer Nelson and Glen Davis each scored 13 points for Orlando.
(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; Editing by John O'Brien)