Hedo Turkoglu scored 23 points for Orlando on Monday night as Dwight Howard added 21 and J.J. Redick chipped in 20 to put the Magic in the win column for the first time this season in a 104-95 win over the Rockets.
Kyle Lowry had 20 for Houston. Luis Scola added 19, Courtney Lee had 15, Terrance Williams added 13 and Samuel Dalembert had 10 for Coach Kevin McHale’s club in his first game as head coach.
“I think it was across the board for our team tonight,” Redick said of the Magic earning their first win of the season following a Christmas night loss at Oklahoma City. “We just played better offensively…and when that happens it’s a little easier to get into somewhat of a rhythm.”
“Those guys gave us a lift, and then I thought that Glen (Davis) us a big left there when we were fighting for the lead.” said Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy, whose team takes on New Jersey Thursday to kick off a stretch of four games in five days. “We had some guys bounce back and have better games tonight and we had some other guys fall off.
“It’s tough right now. We haven’t had anybody in the first two games to have two good games. Hopefully, that consistency will come pretty quickly.”
“I went out there and got some minutes and kept it going,” Dalembert said. “That is what a team is all about…I like this group…This year we really have to emphasize on defense and then we can get extra possessions…If we can do that, we will be OK.”
“Mentally, we’re asking them to do a lot of different things with new coverages and a lot of different things with new calls and stuff like that,” McHale said. “Some of that was blown. Overall, I think this team will play hard. I think we’re feisty. I think when (Sam) gets in shape he’ll help us out a great deal.”
Howard hit 8 of his first 9 shots and led all scorers with 16 first half points. It was a welcome sign for the Magic fans who have gotten nothing but negativity from the big man since the playoffs ended a year ago. He had a wimpy 11 point performance on Christmas Night in Oklahoma City, but came out with some energy in Monday’s game.He also snared 7 rebounds in the game.
A jumper by Lowry had cut Orlando’s double-digit lead to 66-65 late in the third quarter when Howard rejected a shot by Luis Scola, igniting an 11-0 Magic run. The Rockets never again got within four.
Turkoglu and Redick combined for 5-of-6 shooting from three-point range in the fourth quarter.
The Rockets have lost five straight since last defeating the Magic on April 7, 2009, and it will be a while before they get another chance. They will not meet again this season.