Howard's 21 points, 23 boards help Magic silence Thunder

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Dwight Howard had to settle for only a double-double this time against Oklahoma City. The Orlando Magic had to settle for an ugly win.

Howard had 21 points and 23 rebounds and the Magic overcame poor early shooting and turnovers to beat the Thunder 98-89 on Friday night.

"Dwight was terrific, again," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said of his All-Star center, who had his first career triple-double in the teams' first meeting last month,. "We didn't put much into the game and it was frustrating, from a mental standpoint and an energy standpoint."

Jameer Nelson added 15 points for Southeast Division-leading Orlando, set to open a five-game West Coast trip on Monday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Russell Westbrook had 19 points for Oklahoma City, and Kevin Durant added 16. The Thunder are 2-18, and the Magic did not take them seriously.

"This isn't a game we'll look fondly on at the end of the year," Magic guard J.J. Redick said. "Stan talked to us about losing our minds. We have to find our minds."

Nelson stole a pass and passed to Howard for a fast-break dunk with just under 5 minutes left to give the Magic their first double-digit lead, 90-79.

Rashard Lewis scored five of his 11 points, and Hedo Turkoglu had seven of his 13 in the final quarter to help the 15-5 Magic hold on.

"They started collapsing around Dwight on the pick and roll, that opened up the outside and we made our shots," Van Gundy said.

"You have to pick your poison and take it out of his hands and you're going to have to give up something," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.

The Magic made 10 of 16 3s in the second half.

Lewis made only two of his first nine shots and finished 5-of-14. Turkoglu made one of his first 11 shots -- including a layup that stuck between the rim and backboard -- and ended up 5-of-17. He also had seven assists.

"It wasn't just their shooting," Van Gundy said. "The bigger problem is they had eight turnovers between them. They just can't play like that and have us win very many nights."

Maybe Howard can help with that, too.

The last time the teams played, in Oklahoma City on Nov. 12, Howard had his first career triple-double, with 30 points, 19 rebounds and 10 blocks. On Friday, he had his 16th game with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds.

"He's one of the best players in the league, not just the best big man," Brooks said. "He had a bad game -- he only had six blocks. What can you say?"

Howard had 12 points and 10 rebounds in the first quarter -- matching the output of the Thunder starters.

"Dwight grabs pretty much all the defensive rebounds for their team," Westbrook said. "You can only do so much."

Nelson, who missed five games with a strained hip flexor, had seven assists in his first game back. His driving and dishing also helped open up the outside for the Magic shooters.

"Good to see little Mighty Mouse back out there," Howard said.

Durant, the reigning NBA rookie of the year who missed the first game because of a sore ankle, added 10 rebounds.

"We see ourselves getting closer," Durant said. "To lose a game like this and know that we could have won it tough."

The Magic, who made only three of their first 11 threes, heated up from behind the arc in the third quarter. They made four of seven attempts but still couldn't pull away, leading 70-66 entering the final period.

Game notes
Orlando reserve center Marcin Gortat was put on the injured list because of a sprained ankle. ... Orlando has missed 37 player games to injury.