The Pistons held close throughout the first three quarters, but the Magic pulled away in the fourth. Orlando outscored Detroit 33-14 in the final frame.
Following an impressive performance in the All-Star game on Sunday night, Howard also wasted no time, continuing to assert himself as one of the premier players in the NBA.
Dwight posted a stat-line that would be the envy of any inside presence in the league. Howard scored 33 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, and dominated on defense with seven blocks against the Pistons.
It was obvious that the Magic and Stan Van Gundy were determined to ride Howard down the stretch. The ball continued to go in to Dwight possession after possession throughout the core of the fourth quarter, in an effort to take advantage of the undersized Jason Maxiell.
Vince Carter continued his improved play in February by posting 20 points. Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis chipped in with 14 and 13 points respectively. Meanwhile, Ryan Anderson led all bench scorers with 11 points.
On the other side of the court, the Magic had problems defending Richard Hamilton throughout the contest. Rip scored 36 points on the night and hit shots from all over the floor.
The win over Detroit moved the Magic to a 21-5 record on the year at home. Amway has been a tough place to play all year for the opposition, as only the Lakers and Cavaliers hold better record on their home floors.
Following the first of three home games for Orlando this week, the Magic will now look forward to taking on a revamped Mavericks squad Friday night on ESPN. Orlando will then face another tough test against the Cavaliers, this time at Amway and with both teams coming into the game with similar schedules.
The first two games against the Cavs have been the second of a back to back for Orlando, while Cleveland has had a few days rest. Maybe the amount rest will not play a factor, but that will remain to be seen this weekend.
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