Magic makes Wolves' defense disappear in loss
By Antonio Gonzalez, Associated Press
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Dwight Howard had 18 points, 16 rebounds and eight blocked shots to help the Orlando Magic set a franchise record for most points in the first half in a 128-86 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.
Vince Carter had 20 points, Ryan An-derson scored 19 and the Magic shook up the starting lineup to score 78 points in the opening half for an easy win. Orlando started Anderson at power forward, moved Rashard Lewis to small forward and bumped Quentin Richardson out of the starting lineup.
The new-look lineup worked just fine.
Kevin Love had 22 points and Corey Brewer scored 12 for the Timberwolves, who lost on consecutive nights in Florida by 74 points. Minnesota fell by 32 a night earlier in Miami and has lost four of its first five games.
The well-rested Magic sure took out their frustrations.
With Howard doing his work on the inside, that freed up Orlando's shooters to hit 3-pointers at will. Anderson alone hit three straight 3-pointers on consecutive possessions, Car-ter had three 3-pointers and J.J. Redick and Chris Duhon combined to hit three more to give the Magic a 78-45 lead.
And that was just the first half.
The outpouring was the most points in a first half in franchise history, breaking the previous mark of 75 against Sacramento on Jan. 13, 2009. That was the same night Orlando set an NBA record with 23 made 3-pointers.
It was a strong showing -- albeit against one of the NBA's worst teams -- for Magic coach Stan Van Gundy's lineup swap. For the first time in years in a regular-season game, Orlando started Lewis down at small forward and moved Anderson into the lineup at power forward.
Of course, the Timberwolves didn't put up near the fight as LeBron James and the rival Miami Heat, who routed Orlando 96-70 in the Magic's last game Friday night. Minnesota was already playing short-handed with Michael Beasley nursing a sore left hip after he took a hard fall at Miami on Tuesday night.
The lengthy lineup exposed the Timberwolves' lack of depth, size and overall talent against one of the Eastern Conference's elite. The play was often embarrassing at times for Minnesota, too.
On one play in the third quarter, Love and Brewer inadvertently tipped a rebound in for a Magic basket. Wayne Ellington dribbled the ball off his leg earlier in the game for a backcourt violation, and Howard swatted Minnesota shots into the stands more than once.
The Timberwolves also had to contend with a Magic team that been simmering for five days since the Heat blew them away.
The layoff was prolonged because Orlando's game Tuesday night at the New York Knicks was postponed due to safety concerns at Madison Square Garden, where debris fell into the arena during overnight cleaning of asbestos-related materials.
NOTES: Howard was called for his second technical foul this season. He threw his arms in the air, then clapped his hands forcefully protesting his second foul in the first two minutes. Howard also had a technical foul against Miami. ... Love had a technical foul in the second half for arguing.