The Orlando Magic ended a poor run of form by surging to a 123-101 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, the stunning triumph snapping the visiting team’s 10-game winning streak.
The Magic outscored the Spurs 30-2 on fast-break points to win for the first time in five games and for just the second time in their last 10 contests.
“It just feels good to see everybody on the same page,” Orlando’s Dwight Howard told reporters. “Knowing that this is the way we have to play to be successful and for us to try and do it for 48 minutes.”
Howard led the Magic with 29 points and 14 rebounds, while forward Brandon Bass and reserve guard J.J. Reddick each added 17 points.
Howard, a four-time All-Star, sank 11-of-13 shots from the floor, 7-of-12 from the line, and had three blocks.
Newly acquired Gilbert Arenas led the team with nine assists and added 14 points, including seven in the second quarter.
“What it does is, I think, it shows us what’s possible,” said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, who left a note at Arenas’ locker before the game urging him: “Go out there and play your game. Just push the ball.”
“I thought he [Arenas] made probably the biggest difference, scoring a bunch of points,” Spurs center Tim Duncan said. “He came in and shot the ball well and extended that lead for them.”
Point guards Tony Parker and Gary Neal had 16 points apiece for the Spurs, who lost heavily despite having eight players score in double digits.
Orlando led by just two at the end of the first quarter but outscored San Antonio by 19 over the middle two periods on the strength of 20 points by Howard to take command of the game.
The Magic hit 60 percent of their shots, including 13-of-25 from beyond the arc.
Arenas said things could get even better.
“For a team that hasn’t practiced yet, really, to go out there and perform the way we did just shows how much talent we have in this room,” Arenas said. “A month from now, we should be dangerous.”
HEAT 95, SUNS 83
In Phoenix, Arizona, LeBron James scored 36 points to lead Miami over Phoenix and set up a Christmas Day showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Chris Bosh had 23 points and 11 rebounds as he and James made up for the absence of injured star guard Dwayne Wade.
Phoenix debuted most of their refurbished lineup, missing only Vince Carter due to a sore left knee. Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus had only six combined points. Jared Dudley scored 33 points to lead the Suns.
BUCKS 84, KINGS 79
In Sacramento, California, Earl Boykins scored nine of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, rallying Milwaukee to a victory over skidding Sacramento.
The win was the second straight for the Bucks without starting point guard Brandon Jennings, who will miss four to six weeks with a foot injury.
Andrew Bogut had 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Bucks, who outscored the Kings 22-15 in the fourth period.
It was the seventh consecutive loss for the Kings, who shot 36 percent, committed 25 turnovers and squandered a fourth-quarter lead for the third straight game. They have lost 21 of 23 and own the NBA’s worst record (5-22).