“You never want to see a guy struggle the way Dwight did, but if he does, we’ve got no choice but to step up and contribute a little more,” added Lewis.
Howard, who was on a run of 20 straight games where he had double-figure points and rebounds, scored only seven points on one of seven shooting. He tied a season low with five rebounds and played only 24 minutes.
“Dwight has been doing yeoman’s work and we needed to step up and help him when he was having a frustrating night,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “Virtually everyone who played in the game played well and we were able to get a solid win.”
The Heat welcomed back Dwyane Wade(notes), who missed four games with a strained calf muscle, but he ran out of gas in the second half. Wade had 17 of his 21 points in the first half. He hit only one of five shots from the field in the second half.
“It felt good to be out there, but I’m not where I want to be,” Wade said. “I was a little rusty, but I was just trying to get back in the swing of things. I did some things that were positive and I’ll move forward from there.”
“There were some opportunities for us to make a move and we didn’t capitalize,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We were just not poised enough when the game could swing one way or another.”
Wade and O’Neal combined to get Howard in foul trouble, but Miami couldn’t do much when the Magic’s All-Star center went to the bench. He went to the bench with his fifth foul with 7:07 left and Orlando ahead 80-70. The Magic quickly built the lead to 85-70 on Redick’s 3-pointer and Jason Williams’(notes) 18-footer.
Miami got the deficit under 10 only once the rest of the game—when Rafer Alston hit back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 88-80 with 2:06 to play.
However, Redick responded with another 3-pointer and Lewis followed with his second 3-pointer to put the game away.
Howard picked up his fourth foul with 8:53 left in the third period, hammering Wade on a drive to the basket. Wade made both free throws and O’Neal knocked down three straight shots as Miami cut it to 59-58 with 5:34 left in quarter.
However, with Howard on the bench, the Magic finished the quarter on a 17-6 run. Carter and Lewis hit 3-pointers, Redick added four free throws and Orlando scored the final nine points of the quarter to take a 76-64 lead into the fourth period.
Howard played only 12 minutes in the first half. He missed all four of his field-goal attempts and had three points and two rebounds.
Lewis, Carter and Nelson picked him up, hitting 11 of 16 shots between them and combining for 32 points.
NOTES: Howard averaged 28 points, 15 rebounds and shot 64.5 percent (51 of 79) in his previous five games. … Miami’s reserves, averaging 38.8 points on 47-percent shooting in the last eight games, had only 23 points on 9-of-25 shooting.