Orlando set a franchise record with 74 first-half points on 61% shooting in a 123-112 beating of Atlanta, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Dwight Howard took a pre-game talk with coach Stan Van Gundy to heart, as he posted 26 points and 16 rebounds, while teammate Hedo Turkoglu had his second-ever triple double with 23 points, 13 assists, and 10 rebounds.
The Magic is firmly entrenched as Southeast Division leaders, and sits third in the Eastern Conference at 41-24, after totaling only 40 victories all last season. Atlanta, at 11 games under .500, remains eighth in the East, though that position is at best tenuous: a Nets loss will leave New Jersey a half-game back, with the Bulls another half-game behind them. Joe Johnson had 27 points while Mike Bibby added 23 for the losing squad.