"We've got some guys in our locker room who have never had a winning season and I think you've got to appreciate some of the things you accomplish during a season," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "The next goal is to wrap up a playoff spot and then win our division and secure home-court for the playoffs."
Howard, playing on a winning team for the first time in his four-year career, got his league-high 57th double-double this season. He also had plenty of help.
Dwight Howard had 22 points and 13 rebounds in Orlando's win against the Clippers. Those are modest totals when you consider that Howard had 14 points and nine rebounds by the end of the first quarter. Howard was only the second player in the last six seasons (since 2002-03) to post numbers like that in the first quarter of a game. On Feb. 10, 2004, Kevin Garnett had a 14-point, 9-rebound first period, also against the Clippers, and finished with 31 points and 16 boards.
Rashard Lewis had 19 points and nine rebounds and Hedo Turkoglu added 17 points for the Magic, who put all five starters in double figures by the end of the third quarter. Carlos Arroyo had 13 points off the bench.
"It feels good to have a winning season, but we're not satisfied," Howard said. "We've got a lot of stuff to work on for the playoffs. We want to be great so you've got to push to get better."
The Magic's other noteworthy accomplishment was hitting 11 3-pointers to give them a league-leading 622 this season, which ties a club record for a single season.
Seven of the 3s came in the third period, including four straight when the Clippers had pulled within nine points. Hedo Turkoglu hit three 3-pointers in that run as the Magic lead grew to 19 and they coasted home from there.
"They were staying back in the paint and leaving us wide open so you've got to take those shots," Van Gundy said. "We usually hit a stretch where enough of them drop and we're in pretty good shape."
"I knew it was going to be a pretty long night against Dwight [Howard] without Chris," Los Angeles coach Mike Dunleavy said. "Dwight was just a nightmare matchup for us. We had to collapse and double team him and they have too many good shooters. Sooner or later someone is going to catch fire."
Trailing by 15 at halftime, the Clippers pulled to 69-60 with 7:48 to play in the third quarter. However, Jameer Nelson hit a 3-pointer and Turkoglu added three straight 3s to spark a 14-4 run that pushed the Magic's lead to 83-64.
Howard had 14 points and nine rebounds in the first quarter against the outmanned Clippers. His slam dunk gave the Magic a 13-2 lead with 6:36 left in the quarter and Orlando never trailed again.
Lewis and Arroyo had eight points apiece in the second quarter when the Magic shot 61 percent from the field and opened up a 63-48 halftime advantage. Maggete had 20 points in the first half, including 10 of 12 from the free throw line, but there was little help as the rest of the Clippers hit only 11 of 33 shots.
Clippers players have missed a league-high 221 games this season because of injuries. ... Lewis shooting 50.1 percent (83 of 164) since the All-Star break and averaging 19.6 points. ... The Clippers are 2-13 in the second game of back-to-back games this season.