Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis Lead Orlando Magic to Three Big Wins

Kevin StanleyContributor IFebruary 1, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18:  (L-R) Rashard Lewis #9, J.J. Redick #7, Jameer Nelson #14, Matt Barnes #22 and Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic stand on the court in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers during the game on January 18, 2010 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

After a couple weeks of inconsistent, less than stellar play, the Orlando Magic have just completed an impressive three game weekend stretch. They managed to take two wins from Eastern Conference powers Atlanta and Boston, then squeezed out a close victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

At the top of the stat line for the Magic was the man in the middle. Dwight Howard put up major numbers, averaging 22 points and 15 rebounds for the three game stretch, including an impressive 31 point, 19 rebound performance against division rival Atlanta.

Another bright spot in the stretch of games was the improved play of Rashard Lewis. He led the team with 23 points against the Boston Celtics, including a game winning layup, following a drive past Kevin Garnett.

Lewis' play was versatile and tough throughout the three games this weekend. He managed to mix drives into the paint, hanging floaters, and some smooth three point shooting.

There is no doubt that Lewis is an all star caliber player when he's playing the right game and using his full skill set. However he's had a tough time adjusting to the lineup this year following his ten game suspension, camping out on the three point line in many of the games. Hopefully his performances this past week are a sign of things to come.

One potential problem on the stretch was a couple injuries to Jameer Nelson (knee) and Mickael Pietrus (ankle) against the Pistons. Hopefully neither injury is too serious as the team was just starting to get used to playing with a full roster of healthy players.

With the three wins this weekend, the Magic took back the Southeast division lead from the Atlanta Hawks and garnered the number two spot in the conference, behind the first place Cleveland Cavaliers.

With the win over the Pistons comes the news that Stan Van Gundy will lead the Eastern Conference as head coach in the All Star Game in Dallas. Van Gundy will coach the squad for the second time, as he also held the honor during his stint in Miami. It should be interesting to see how Van Gundy adjusts to the free flowing, fun atmosphere of the game, with his intense mindset.

The Magic will be at home for two games this week against Milwaukee and Washington in games they should win, however we know nothing is certain this year with Orlando. They will end the week with a Super Bowl Sunday battle against Boston in another crucial game for Eastern Conference positioning.