The Magic look to win their seventh straight against the Hawks and stop their Southeast Division rivals from securing a postseason berth Wednesday night.
Orlando (50-21) beat Philadelphia 109-93 on Monday night to notch three straight 50-win seasons for the first time since 1993-96.
With 11 wins in 12 games and five straight road victories, Orlando is in second place in the Eastern Conference, leading Boston and Atlanta (45-25) by 4 1/2 games as it tunes up for the postseason.
The Hawks are a win or a Chicago loss away from securing their third straight playoff appearance, but they are in danger of being swept in a four-game series with Orlando for the first time. The Magic have held the Hawks to 82.4 points over the last five games of their six-game run in the series.
Orlando shot 53.2 percent while averaging 108.5 points in the last two matchups.
Howard, a native of Atlanta, had 31 points and 19 rebounds in a 104-86 win over the Hawks on Jan. 30, the teams’ last meeting. He averaged 19.6 rebounds in his last three games at Atlanta.
Against the 76ers, Howard had 23 points and 15 boards for his league-leading 55th double-double. The sixth-year center scored 19 points over his previous two games.
Howard has been getting consistent help from a revitalized Vince Carter(notes), who struggled early in the season. Carter has averaged 19.1 points over his last 23 games after being held to single digits in 10 of the previous 13 contests.
Carter, in his 12th season, is on a 50-win team for the first time.
“It’s pretty cool,” Carter said. “I’m thinking of the bigger picture. I want to win a championship.”
Orlando shot 16 of 31 from beyond the arc and has made 42.7 percent (56 for 131) over its last five games.
Atlanta lost 98-95 to Milwaukee on Monday night despite shooting 52.6 percent from the field.
The Hawks had won five of six, including their last two in overtime. Atlanta has taken six straight at Philips Arena, where four of its last seven games have gone past regulation.
Atlanta continues to get strong play off the bench from Jamal Crawford(notes), who has averaged 21.3 points in 12 games this month. His season average of 17.9 ranks first among players who have not started a game.
With the Hawks on the verge of making the postseason, the 10-year veteran should get to play in his first playoff game. No current player has gone longer without a postseason trip.
Crawford has had a tough stretch versus the Magic, averaging 14.0 points and shooting 30.6 percent in his last six games against them.