<
>

Howard powers Magic past short-handed Sonics

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Some of the newest members of the Orlando
Magic made a good first impression on their hometown fans.

Carlos Arroyo and Darko Milicic provided strong support for
stars Dwight Howard and Grant Hill in Orlando's 102-89 victory over
the Seattle SuperSonics on Friday night that snapped an eight-game
losing streak.

Howard had 23 points and 16 rebounds and Hill had 19 points on
8-of-11 shooting, but it was Arroyo and Milicic, the second pick in
the 2003 NBA draft, who lifted the Magic out of their latest slump.

Playing in Magic uniforms in front of their home fans for the
first time since being acquired from Detroit a week ago, Arroyo had
a season-high 18 points and four assists and Milicic had eight
points and five rebounds in 22 minutes, all season highs.

"I thought Carlos and Darko both executed our offense well and
made no mistakes as far as where they were supposed to be on the
floor," coach Brian Hill said. "Carlos is experienced enough that
he's going to get the ball to the right people and I was very
pleased with Darko. He has a really good feel for the game."

Damien Wilkins led Seattle with 21 points and Chris Wilcox had a
season-high 20. Rashard Lewis added 14 for the Sonics, who played
just seven players.

The Sonics were short-handed after taking part in a four-team
trade Thursday and making another deal with Cleveland.

Neither Earl Watson, obtained from Denver, nor Mike Wilks,
brought over from Cleveland, were available yet and forward Nick
Collison was back in Seattle awaiting the birth of his child.

All-Star guard Ray Allen was on the Sonics bench at the start of
the game so Seattle could meet the league-mandated rule of eight
players in uniform. Allen returned to the locker room as soon as
the game began because of stomach flu, and did not play.

"I don't think we could have done much more than we did,"
Seattle coach Bob Hill said. "I thought they just wore us out with
their depth."

Nevertheless, the Sonics were able to stay with the Magic into
the fourth quarter. They trailed just 78-76 after a 3-pointer by
Lewis with 10:36 left in the game.

However, the Magic responded with an 11-2 run to push their lead
to 89-78. Arroyo capped the run with a 3-pointer. The Magic lead
never dipped under 10 the rest of the game.

Game notes
Rick Brunson and Mikki Moore, who had played a total of
three games between them this season, were the Sonics' only
available substitutes in the game. ... Hill's last start was Jan.
15 at Sacramento. ... Magic F Hedo Turkoglu missed his second
straight game with a sprained ankle. ... The Magic outrebounded
Seattle 45-31.