Dwight Howard scores 27 to power Magic past Pacers

INDIANAPOLIS -- Shut out of a hotel by the Super Bowl, the Orlando Magic had to fly in from Cincinnati on Saturday before the game.

It didn't produce much in the way of attractive basketball, though the Magic could have done worse. Their ugly win could have been an ugly loss.

Dwight Howard had 27 points and eight rebounds to lead the Orlando Magic to an 85-81 win over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

"It's not a game day I've ever had before," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "Our original plan was just to stay at home last night and fly in here the day of the game, which would have been a lot easier on us, but the NBA wouldn't allow that. So instead they made us do the double flight. It would have been easier the other way, but what was easier was not what the NBA was interested in."

Danny Granger had 19 points and seven rebounds and Tyler Hansbrough had 17 points and seven rebounds for the Pacers, who have lost two of three to the Magic in less than two weeks.

"This is one of the games where shots didn't fall," Hansbrough said. "I think the defense was pretty good and I'm not worried about my shooting. I think it will come."

Jason Richardson scored 17 points and Ryan Anderson scored 12 for the Magic, who have won three straight.

Granger made a 3-pointer to make it 83-81, but Granger was called for a foul on the Magic's next trip down the floor and Anderson went to the line with 4.2 seconds left.

The Pacers had the chance to tie the game earlier. Granger scored to make it 80-77, then the Magic missed a shot and Granger missed a 3-pointer that would have tied the game.

On the rebound, Granger fouled Hedo Turkoglu and Turkoglu was then called for a technical when he tossed the ball down the floor and into the stands. Granger made his shot, but Turkoglu made one of his two to make it 81-78.

The Magic climbed to a 12-point lead midway through the third quarter, but nearly gave it all back.

"We have to talk on Monday," Van Gundy said. "We did some mentally dumb things and we have to change that."

A slight scuffle broke out late in the third quarter. Granger was getting ready to inbound the ball in front of the Magic's bench when Quentin Richardson, who was in the game at the time, appeared to confront Granger.

It escalated when Richardson shoved Granger and Hansbrough and Clark exchanged shoves. Technicals were called on Granger and Richardson, then two more on Hansbrough and Clark.

Richardson was then ejected from the game after picking up a second technical.

"Yeah, it was a really physical game," Howard said. "Both teams played hard end to end. It was a good battle with a good time."

The Magic played without Jameer Nelson for the fifth straight game. Nelson didn't travel with the team to Indianapolis and is listed as day to day with concussion-like symptoms.

Game notes
Pacers C Jeff Foster didn't play for the eleventh straight game because of a sore lower back. Pacers G George Hill was out with a chip fracture on his left ankle. ... With the Super Bowl in Indianapolis this weekend, actor Adam Sandler and rapper 50 Cent were in attendance Saturday night.

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