It wasn't exactly a warm welcome home for Hedo Turkoglu.
Dwight Howard had 18 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks, and the Magic spoiled Turkoglu's return to Orlando with a 118-99 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.
Turkoglu was showered with a mix of cheers and boos and scored 14 points in the arena where he was a fan favourite before parting ways in the off-season. Turkoglu also had four rebounds and four assists, not nearly enough to prevent the Raptors from losing for the fourth time in five games.
"I wish I could go back to Toronto with a better result," he said. "We tried to be aggressive, but he's a shot blocker. We have to take better shots and not let (Howard) have eight blocks."
It was the first time Turkoglu played in Orlando since opting out of the final year of his contract with the Magic, who acquired Carter in a trade with New Jersey just prior. Orlando then sent Turkoglu to Toronto in a sign-and-trade deal, parting ways with a popular player who teammates called "Mr. Fourth Quarter" for his late-game heroics.
Turkoglu got a big ovation during introductions, but for most of the game, the boos drowned out the cheers.
"Anybody who's booing him really can't be a Magic fan," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We wouldn't have gotten to where we got to last year without him."
Elsewhere in the NBA it was: Cleveland 108 Philadelphia 101; Atlanta 110 Memphis 97; Utah 108 New Jersey 92; Indiana 101 Charlotte 98; Los Angeles Lakers 107 Milwaukee 106 (OT); Los Angeles Clippers 120 Minnesota 85; Denver 111 Houston 101; Dallas 100 Oklahoma City 86; New Orleans 95 Detroit 87; San Antonio 103 Golden State 91; and Sacramento 112 Washington 109.
At Orlando, Fla., Howard's blocks had fans dodging balls in the stands at near the rate of the burritos being chucked into seats with pressurized guns between timeouts by the arena's entertainment crew.
"You pay to sit that close, beware," Howard joked.
Rashard Lewis added 21 points and Matt Barnes had 20 to help the Magic cruise to their second straight win with some potent three-point shooting. Orlando was 14-for-30 from beyond the arc.
The Raptors had a tough time even getting shots near the rim.
"I thought he might have popped the ball one time when he blocked somebody's shot," Barnes said of Howard. "It sounded like the ball was going to pop, he blocked the ball so hard.".
Led by their big man, the Magic turned things into a high-flying affair.
They had a series of slams and blocks, with Howard starting things in the first quarter with a two-handed, alley-oop dunk from Vince Carter that took Toronto players crowded around the rim by surprise. Howard had another high-flying slam in the second quarter that started a three-point play on a pass Anthony Johnson just lobbed up for grabs, letting his big man finish over Amir Johnson.
There were plenty more highlights on the other end.
Some of Howard's swats went so far, so fast that teammates started to ask their centre to catch the ball or tap it in-bounds. Howard said he's working on that but, he admits, big-time rejections are much more fun.
"It sounds better. And the crowd, I think their reaction is better when you block one and it hits somebody in the front row," Howard said.
There was a familiar face that kept things close early.
Not quite the pick-and-roll point forward who led the Magic in scoring in the NBA finals last season, Turkoglu still managed to get things done for Toronto. He was potent from outside and clever at drawing fouls - 8-for-8 from the line in the first half - to help the Raptors trim the deficit to five.
But a pair of three-pointers by Lewis late in the half capped a Magic run that made Turkoglu's efforts disappear, going ahead 66-54 at intermission behind Howard's defensive play.
"He blocked shots, and he just changed so many," Raptors coach Jay Triano said. "He took a lot of our stuff away."
Before the Raptors could mount any kind of rally, the Magic threw in a few more acrobatics.
Howard and Carter hooked up again in the third quarter, when Orlando's do-it-all centre cut down the baseline, skied high to take the pass and finished with a one-handed slam that pushed the Magic's lead to 81-64. And the rout was on. But even with the pair of alley-oops they teamed up for, Carter said the most impressive highlights were Howard's blocks.
"Two of them went over my head," Carter said. "After that, I don't know what happened."
Cavaliers 108 76ers 101
At Philadelphia, LeBron James hit two clutch threes in the fourth quarter and scored 36 points to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a victory over the 76ers with the Phillies' newly acquired ace Roy Halladay watching from a suite.
Hawks 110 Grizzlies 97
At Atlanta, Joe Johnson scored 26 points and the Hawks pulled away in the second half for their fifth straight win.
Jazz 108 Nets 92
At East Rutherford, N.J., Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer recorded double-doubles, and Utah added to hapless New Jersey's woes.
Pacers 101 Bobcats 98
At Indianapolis, Troy Murphy had 26 points and 15 rebounds, leading Indiana over Charlotte.
Lakers 107 Bucks 106 (OT)
At Milwaukee, Kobe Bryant hit a 15-footer as time expired and scored the game's final seven points over the last 1:18 of overtime to lift Los Angeles to a victory over the Bucks.
Clippers 120 Timberwolves 95
At Minneapolis, Chris Kaman had 23 points and 10 rebounds, Marcus Camby had 10 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks, and Los Angeles won for the seventh time in 11 games.
Nuggets 111 Rockets 101
At Denver, Carmelo Anthony scored 38 points, his fifth straight 30-plus point performance, as the Nuggets overcame the loss of star guard Chauncey Billups to a groin injury to beat Houston.
Mavericks 100 Thunder 86
At Oklahoma City, Dirk Nowitzki had 35 points and 11 rebounds, and Dallas used a late surge to spoil the debut of Kevin Durant's new bright orange sneakers and beat the Thunder.
Hornets 95 Pistons 87
At New Orleans, David West had a season-high 32 points and 12 rebounds, helping the Hornets overcome a 16-point deficit and beat Detroit.
Spurs 103 Warriors 91
At Oakland, Calif., Tim Duncan had 27 points and 15 rebounds, Richard Jefferson scored 17 points, and San Antonio picked up a rare win on the road this season.
Kings 112 Wizards 109
At Sacramento, Calif., Tyreke Evans scored 26 points, fellow rookie Omri Casspi had a season-high 22, and the Kings held on to beat Washington.
Howard throws a block party in Hedo Turkoglus return, Magic top Raptors 118-99
It wasn't exactly a warm welcome home for Hedo Turkoglu.
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