Dwight Howard was dominant in leading the Orlando Magic to an easy 111-88 win over an undermanned Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday.
“There’s got to be a consistency to what we do,” Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy told reporters. “We’ve got to try to be that team every night.”
Despite shooting just 36 percent through the first three quarters, the Thunder trailed by only 10 points on the strength of Kevin Durant’s 20 points.
The Magic held Durant to three points in the final period to finally pull away.
“Their defense was smothering,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “They made us take tough shots and it seemed like every shot was contested.”
The Thunder were without Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson, who were acquired from the Boston Celtics, as well as Nazr Mohammed from Charlotte, and were unable to keep pace with the Magic in the fourth quarter.
Howard tied a season high with 40 points, 10 in each quarter, while pulling down 15 rebounds and blocking six shots.
“I actually left him in to get 40,” Van Gundy said. “It may be the first time I’ve ever done that, but he was so close and I said we’ll give him one more possession.”
Jason Richardson hit five three pointers and scored 17 points for the Magic and J.J. Redick scored 16 points off the bench including nine points in the fourth quarter.
Russell Westbrook scored 18 points for the Thunder and James Harden added 17.
CAVALIERS 115, KNICKS 109
In Cleveland, Ohio, Carmelo Anthony scored 27 points but missed a key free throw late in the game as the New York Knicks were beaten by the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers.
Anthony, acquired earlier this week from Denver in a highly anticipated trade, missed a foul shot with 25 seconds left that would have brought New York within two.
Amare Stoudemire had 31 points and Chauncey Billups, the other player brought from Denver in the Anthony deal, scored 20 of his 26 in the fourth quarter to try to rally the Knicks.
Antawn Jamison scored 28, J.J. Hickson 24 and Ramon Sessions 22 for the Cavaliers, who have beaten New York twice this season but are just 11-47 overall.
TRAIL BLAZERS 107, NUGGETS 106
In Portland, Oregon, Brandon Roy hit a 3-pointer with 5.8 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime as Portland won for the seventh time in eight games.
Roy finished with 18 points in just his second game since coming back from arthroscopic surgery on both knees. LaMarcus Aldridge led the Trail Blazers with 24 points and 14 rebounds.
LAKERS 108, CLIPPERS 95
In Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant scored 18 of his 24 points in the third quarter as the Lakers beat the weary Clippers.
Pau Gasol added 22 points and Andrew Bynum had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who had lost three straight.
Randy Foye scored 24 points and Blake Griffin had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers, who were coming off an 11-game road trip that included nine losses.
HEAT 121, WIZARDS 113
In Miami, Florida, Dwyane Wade scored 41 points and LeBron James added 25 points, nine rebounds and seven assists as Miami pulled away in the fourth quarter.
Chris Bosh scored 15 points and Mario Chalmers finished with 14 for the Heat, who have won a season-best seven straight at home.
Nick Young scored 38 points and John Wall added 24 points and 12 assists for the Wizards, who fell to 1-28 on the road.
SPURS 106, NETS 96
In San Antonio, Texas, Manu Ginobili scored 26 points and DeJuan Blair and Tim Duncan finished with 17 points apiece to rally San Antonio past New Jersey.