Howard's big night leads Magic past Cavs 102-94
ORLANDO, Fla. – Dwight Howard scored 19 points, had 16 rebounds and blocked eight shots as the Orlando Magic outlasted the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-94 on Friday night.
Jason Richardson also added 19 points in his first action in two games after resting a sore knee. Hedo Turkoglu added 18 points and Ryan Anderson chipped in 17.
The Magic won their seventh straight over the Cavaliers, despite playing without injured starting point guard Jameer Nelson and suspended reserve big man Glen Davis.
Orlando continues a stretch of nine games in 13 days Saturday at Indiana.
Alonzo Gee led Cleveland with 20 points, followed by Kyrie Irving with 18.
The Cavs have now lost three of their last four. Cleveland returns home to host Dallas on Saturday and head to Miami Tuesday.
The Magic, who came in averaging 15.5 turnovers per game, had just five against the Cavs and opened up a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter.
The Cavs got it down to 95-90 with 2:12 to play using the "Hack-a-Howard" strategy — fouling Howard intentionally and sending him to the free-throw line.
Howard missed four straight attempts from the line during one stretch before sinking a pair to give the Magic a seven-point cushion and help close it out.
Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy had to make some pregame adjustments to his rotation after Davis was suspended for two games prior to tip-off Friday for conduct detrimental to the team. He'll also miss the Indiana game.
Van Gundy acknowledged before the game that he and Davis were involved in a verbal incident during the morning walkthrough, but said nothing physical took place. He didn't elaborate further, though added he said he didn't expect the suspension to go beyond two games.
Nelson continues to deal with concussion symptoms. Without a true third point guard behind Chris Duhon, the team released Larry Hughes following Wednesday's win over Washington and signed free agent Ish Smith Thursday.
Smith had two early assists, including one on a dunk by Earl Clark, but also had three fouls in just five minutes of action early. He finished with four assists in nine minutes of action.
Despite the missing bodies, the Magic managed to take a nine-point advantage into the break, building their cushion hitting six first-half 3s. Richardson also hit five of his six attempts from the field for 11 points.
Cleveland also helped out, connecting on only 29 percent of its field goals (14 for 48). Jamison kept the Cavs close with an 11-point, 10 rebound effort in the half.
Notes: Van Gundy said Nelson, who sat out his fourth straight game with concussion symptoms, did do some limited, off-court physical activity Friday and has a chance of returning Monday against the L.A. Clippers. ... The Cavs played without G Daniel Gibson (soft tissue infection in neck), G Anthony Parker (back strain) and F Tristan Thompson (ankle sprain).