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Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011

Cavaliers lose 20th consecutive game

ORLANDO (AP) Following Orlando's morning walkthrough Sunday, center Dwight Howard said his biggest fear entering the Magic's matchup with Cleveland was being the team that allowed the Cavaliers to end their long losing streak.

News photo
Magic man: Magic guard Jason Richardson puts up a shot in front of Cavaliers forward Samardo Samuels on Sunday in Orlando. AP PHOTO

Turns out, he had little to worry about. And the main reason had everything to do with him.

Howard had 20 points and 20 rebounds in three quarters of work, Ryan Anderson added 23 points and 16 rebounds and the Magic handed the Cavaliers their franchise single-season record 20th straight loss and 30th in 31 games, 103-87 on Sunday night.

Howard had his 36th double-double of the season by halftime in a game that was never in doubt for the Magic. J.J. Redick added 17 points, and Brandon Bass and Jason Richardson had 12 apiece.

But for a high-powered offensive team that is struggling to find consistency defensively, blowing out the team with the league's worst record isn't enough for coach Stan Van Gundy. There's still much to work on.

"We had a great first quarter and then it was dead even after that," Van Gundy said. "I thought we came out with really good energy. We didn't shoot the ball well other than Dwight, J.J. and Ryan. . . . I just want us to establish some habits. . . . As the game went on, we weren't quite as sharp defensively."

Cleveland coach Byron Scott attempted to inject some life in his club by starting guard Manny Harris in place of Daniel Gibson, but it had little effect. Harris led the Cavs with 20 points, but was the only starter in double figures. Samardo Samuels had 16 points and Ryan Hollins 11 points for the Cavs off the bench.

Scott said that old habits must be revamped for the streak to end.

"We can't allow ourselves to get down by 16 or 17 points and then expect to try to come back," Scott said. "The first quarter was killer. . . . We've just got to figure out a way to stay closer the first half of the game and hopefully we can make a run the second half."

Cavaliers forward Antawn Jamison said the players are equally aware of what needs to be fixed.

"We can ill-afford to have any kind of mental lapses like we've been having of late," he said. "We're playing with a lot of effort, but we're also learning a lot on the go as well. Still, you have to go out there and play."

Celtics 109 Lakers 96

In Los Angeles, Paul Pierce scored 32 points, and Kevin Garnett had 18 points and 13 rebounds with a large bandage over a cut on his head, as Boston won its NBA Finals rematch with the Lakers on Sunday, overcoming Kobe Bryant's 41 points.

Heat 108, Thunder 103

In Oklahoma City, Dwyane Wade scored 32 points and Eddie House hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 22.2 seconds.

76ers 110, Nuggets 99

In Philadelphia, Andre Iguodala scored 24 points and Thaddeus Young had 21 as the Sixers beat Denver.

Knicks 124, Pistons 106

In New York, Amare Stoudemire scored 33 points despite a sprained right knee and rookie Timofey Mozgov had career highs of 23 points and 14 rebounds in his first appearance in three weeks.

Suns 104, Hornets 102

In Phoenix, backup center Marcin Gortat scored a career-high 25 points and Phoenix beat a team with a winning record for the fourth straight time.

Warriors 96, Jazz 81

In Oakland, Stephen Curry had 27 points and seven assists as Golden State overcame scoring leader Monta Ellis' horrendous shooting performance to beat Utah.



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