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Howard scores 29, grabs 14 rebounds for Magic in victory over Kings

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Orlando Magic were one of the best offensive teams in the NBA last season and one of the worst the first two games this season.

Things could be back to normal after a rousing 121-103 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night that featured four Magic starters scoring 20 or more points.

Dwight Howard led the way for Orlando with 29 points and 14 rebounds, but he had plenty of help. Rashard Lewis scored 26 points, Hedo Turkoglu had 21 and Mickael Pietrus added 20 as the Magic shot 55 percent from the field in their best offensive game of the season.

It was the first time this season the Magic went over 100 points in a game. They averaged only 84.5 points in their first two games, second worst in the NBA.

"This was good for our confidence," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "People don't realize how fragile confidence can be. They think when you hit the major league level, confidence is a given because you have so much success, but a couple of bad nights and all the sudden you're pressing. We're still a long way from where we want to be, but I like what I saw tonight."

What he mostly saw was Howard dominating a trio of Sacramento big men Mikki Moore, Spencer Hawes and rookie Jason Thompson -- who did not have enough strength to keep the Magic center away from the basket. Howard hit 11 of 14 shots from the field, despite getting hacked nearly every time he came in the lane.

The Kings' three big men combined for 14 fouls in the game, even with double-team help from teammates. The collapsing defense made it easy for the Magic perimeter players to get open shots, especially beyond the 3-point line.

"Dwight's a dominant force," said Lewis, who had three 3-pointers. "When we get him going down low, the defense collapses and it gives us wide-open shots. We just got to knock those down to help Dwight keep rolling."

Sacramento, which has lost three straight games to start the season for the second year in a row, did have one thing to celebrate. Kevin Martin, who was just 7-of-29 from the field in the first two games, broke out of the slump with 31 points on 11-of-20 shooting. Martin drilled three 3-pointers, almost single-handedly keeping his team close for the first three quarters.

Hawes contributed 14 points, and John Salmons and Thompson added 12 apiece for Sacramento.

"I thought we had a much better effort tonight," said Sacramento coach Reggie Theus, whose team got routed 103-77 at Miami on Friday. "I thought Kevin [Martin] did a good job of letting the game come to him and at the same time being aggressive about getting the ball inside. The focus and energy were there and that's what I was looking for tonight."

Game notes
Howard shot 81 percent (21-for-26) against Sacramento last season. Rookie Thompson has come off the bench and scored in double figures in all three games this season. J.J. Redick, the first player off the Magic bench, is 0-for-8 from the field in 39 minutes of action this season. The Kings have lost three straight to start the season for the second year in a row. The Magic bench has contributed only 39 points in the first three games. Sacramento's bench outscored Orlando 29-13.