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List of Articles by Homer D. Sayson


 

Howard weaves magic as Orlando cools Heat

By Homer D. Sayson
PhilBoxing.com
14 Mar 2012



IMPERVIOUS to the trade rumors swirling around him, Dwight Howard fashioned out one of the most dominant performances of his young career by scoring 24 points and pulling down 25 rebounds as the Magic cooled the Miami Heat in overtime, 102-98, at the Amway Center in Orlando.

In Tuesday night's masterpiece, the 26-year old Howard dominated the paint with the cold efficiency of an assassin's heart. He shot 9-of-13 field goals, chalked three steals and an assist. And he also blocked two shots while altering a few others with his towering, intimidating presence.

Howard's only struggles were at the penalty stripe, where he missed 12 of 18 free throws. But that was conveniently overshadowed by the 6-foot-11 center's eighth 20/20 of the season and the 40th overall in his career.

After wins in Chicago and Indiana, the Magic are on a three-game win streak, prompting Howard to withdraw his very public trade request.

"I told (the Magic) that I want to finish this season out and give our team and our fans some hope for the future. I feel they have to roll the dice. It might be tough, but I feel like we have a great opportunity, they got to roll it," said the sometimes mercurial big man.

Miami led 61-48 at the 10:13 mark of the third quarter, but things went downhill from there as the Heat did not shoot a single free throw in the entire second half and beyond. The Heat also missed 9 of their 11 shots in overtime.

Dwyane Wade led Miami with a game-high 28 points. He sent to game into overtime with a triple in the final 38 seconds left to play. But he couldn't unbreak a 94-94 tie, missing a step-back jumper as time expired in regulation. LeBron James finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists.

It was a hard-fought triumph for Orlando, which committed 24 turnovers and watched the Heat go on a torrid 20-0 run. But the Magic roared back to life, thanks to 33 points off 11 three-pointers and a healthy 46-36 rebounding edge.

Jameer Nelson had some abracadabra moments, scoring 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting. The diminutive, barely 6-foot guard aggressively attacked Miami, drawing praise from Heat coach Eric Spoelstra who said " He created a lot of their opportunities, not only just making his shots but breaking sown the defense, getting into the paint repeatedly and doing it in different ways. That was probably the biggest back-breaker, his ability to break us down."

The 28-15 Magic solidified their hold of the No.3 spot in the East Conference's overall standings while the 31-10 Heat are at No.2 behind the league-leading 35-9 Bulls.

The Heat and Bulls battle it out Wednesday night at the United Center in Chicago.


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