Magic ground Hawks

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ORLANDO, Fla. – Dwight Howard scored 20 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to help the Orlando Magic beat the Atlanta Hawks 105-88 and keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

Howard tied his career high with six assists as the Magic won for the ninth time in their last 10 games. Jameer Nelson added 17 points and Hedo Turkoglu had 16 for the Magic, who shot 52.6 percent from the field.

Orlando (33-44) is in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, three games behind Philadelphia for the final playoff spot. The Magic have five games remaining.

Al Harrington led the Hawks with 19 points. Atlanta had six players reach double figures, but only shot 43 percent from the field. The Hawks were 2-for-13 on 3-pointers.

Atlanta had trimmed a 14-point deficit to 83-78 with 6:32 left in the game before the Magic went on a 16-2 run to put the game away. Howard capped the run with a three-point play that made it 99-80 with 1:39 left in game.

Harrington had 15 points as the Hawks sprinted out to a 40-31 lead with under 7 minutes to play in the first half, but the Magic answered with a 21-7 run to take a 52-47 halftime lead.

The Magic scored the first six points of the third quarter to push the lead to 58-47, but it was their defense that carried them through the period. Atlanta shot only 29.4 percent as Orlando pushed the lead to 78-65 by the end of the quarter.

The Hawks scored nine straight points in the middle of the fourth period to cut the deficit to 83-78. Marvin Williams missed a breakaway layup on Atlanta’s next possession that could have made it a three-point game.

Orlando scored on six of its next seven possessions to put the game away.

Notes: Magic F Darko Milicic tied his season high with 13 points. … Magic PG Carlos Arroyo was put on the inactive list for the first time since joining the team because of a hamstring injury. … Hawks C Zaza Pachulia sat out the game with a sore Achilles’. … The Magic are shooting 53.9 percent from the field and averaging 103 points a game during their nine-game home winning streak. … Hawks G Joe Johnson has played in 353 straight games, second among active players to Toronto’s Morris Petersen. … Magic F Stacey Augmon played for the first time since March 15. It was the 1,000th game of his career

AP-ES-04-10-06 2211EDT

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