Portland (35-27) at Orlando (40-23)

By MATT BECKER, STATS Senior Writer Sunday, Mar 6, 2011 Tipoff: 7:00 pm EST Mon Mar 7, 2011

Dwight Howard(notes) had one of his best games of the season against the Portland Trail Blazers three months ago, and Orlando still suffered a lopsided loss. The Magic won’t even have their star center available as they try to avoid a season sweep.

After picking up his NBA-high 16th technical foul, Howard will serve a one-game suspension when the Magic host the Trail Blazers on Monday night.

Howard leads all centers with 23.1 points and 13.9 rebounds per game while ranking second with 2.3 blocked shots. The five-time All-Star let his emotions get the best of him, however, in an 89-81 loss to Chicago on Friday - Orlando’s first defeat in five games.

Late in the first half, Howard came down with an offensive rebound and was hit on the top of his head by Kyle Korver(notes), who was whistled for a foul. Korver then took a swipe at the ball and Howard retaliated by swinging his elbows at Korver. That earned him the technical and an automatic suspension.

“I’ve just got to try to not get so emotional,” said Howard, who had team highs of 20 points and 10 rebounds, his 39th game with at least 20 points and 10 boards this season.

The Magic (40-23) split a pair of games against lowly Detroit and Milwaukee in December when Howard sat out with a stomach virus, but surviving without him this time seems a bit more daunting.

Orlando lost at Portland 97-83 on Dec. 9 despite 39 points and 15 rebounds from Howard. The rest of the Magic scored 44 points and shot 17 of 51 (33.3 percent), with Jameer Nelson(notes) going 4 of 14 and finishing with 10 points.

Orlando was outrebounded 47-40 by the Trail Blazers, and the Magic are 12-12 when their opponent pulls down more boards. Even with Howard on Friday, Orlando was beaten 50-30 on the glass by the Bulls as it established its season low in rebounds.

Portland (35-27) isn’t a particularly strong rebounding team, averaging 39.5 per game, but it seems likely to do better on the boards without Howard to worry about.

Andre Miller(notes) led the Blazers with 22 points in the first meeting with the Magic, while Wesley Matthews(notes) scored 20 and LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) added 14.

Portland arrives in Orlando to open a four-game road trip after beating Charlotte 93-69 on Saturday. Aldridge had 26 points for the Blazers, who trailed 45-42 with 7:37 to play in the third quarter before outscoring the Bobcats 51-24 the rest of the way.

The Blazers are playing well on the road, reeling off a season-best five straight victories there after winning five of their previous 18 away from the Rose Garden. That success, however, has come against some weak competition.

Portland, which hasn’t won six consecutive road games since Feb. 18-March 2, 2002, has defeated Cleveland, Toronto, Detroit, Minnesota and Sacramento on its road winning streak. The Blazers haven’t fared as well away from home against tougher teams, going 5-13 versus opponents at .500 or better.

Portland has lost in four of its last five trips to Orlando, and it’s going to have a couple more opportunities against winning teams this week. It visits Miami on Tuesday and concludes the trip Saturday against Atlanta.

Related Articles

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists

Scoreboard

Monday, Mar 7