Magic trail only once as Howard powers win over Bulls

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Orlando Magic coach Brian Hill thought his
team had no chance against the Bulls Wednesday night after watching
Chicago rout the defending champion Miami Heat to open the season.

"They just drove the ball everywhere they wanted to go," Hill

Hill was happy to be wrong.

Dwight Howard had 27 points and 11 rebounds and Jameer Nelson
scored 21 points as the Magic surprised the Chicago Bulls 109-94
Wednesday night in Orlando's season opener.

The Bulls beat the Heat by 42 points the night before, but
couldn't find their stroke Wednesday. Howard took control, grabbing
lobs in the low post on fronting defenders and running the baseline
for backdoor dunks.

"Dwight's going to be one of those guys in this league that are
going to make it hard, make it tough for anyone who comes into this
building to get a win," Bulls center Ben Wallace said of the
third-year player.

Ben Gordon flashed a dazzling array of reverse layups, drives
and fadeaway jumpers on his way to 24 points that kept Chicago in
the game -- barely. Kirk Hinrich had 14 points and four assists and
Luol Deng scored 12 for the Bulls.

Grant Hill had 19 points on 5-of-7 shooting and Hedo Turkoglu
had 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

"This is obviously a real good way for us to start the season
against what I think is an excellent basketball team," Brian Hill

Orlando trailed only once -- by a point -- in the game's opening
minute. They won despite committing 23 turnovers to Chicago's 15,
outshooting the Bulls 59 percent to 45 percent from the field.

Nelson keyed a 13-2 Magic run in the third quarter with a
jumper, layup and 3-pointer, scoring seven points on consecutive
trips in 1:17. The spurt gave Orlando an 80-55 lead before Malik
Allen turned in a three-point play with 4:31 left in the quarter.

The Magic used a 17-6 second-quarter run over four minutes to
take a 63-45 lead at halftime. Six different players scored in the
span, including an alley-oop dunk and three-point play from Howard.

"Their length bothered us," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said.
"They got in some passing lanes early. We weren't able to complete
passes, so we just sort of dribbled around and shot the ball."

Hinrich drew a technical with 1:50 left in third quarter
reacting to his fifth foul. He picked it up defending Keyon
Dooling's baseline drive less than a minute after being whistled
for his fourth. He played limited minutes in the final quarter but
never fouled out.
^Notes:@ Grant Hill opened the game with a short speech at center
court. "This season we expect to be exciting, we expect to be
healthy, we expect to make the playoffs," he told the crowd. ...
Bulls Rookie Tyrus Thomas was not with the team after breaking his
nose going for a rebound in Tuesday's opener against Miami. ...
Before Wednesday the Magic had lost five straight to the Bulls at
home, last winning in 2003. ... Orlando sold out its first two home
games for the first time in nine years. ... Magic rookie J.J.
Redick was inactive.


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