Raptors-Magic Preview

The Associated Press

While much of the NBA is adjusting to a compact schedule, it doesn't seem to be affecting Dwight Howard.

That may inevitably speed up his exit from Orlando.

Howard and the Magic look to win their fourth straight Sunday when they host the Toronto Raptors.

As Howard's contract saga - which caused the superstar center to request a trade - continues to drag on, he's seemingly increasing his trade value by the game. After recording 16 points and 24 rebounds in a win over New Jersey on Thursday, Howard showed no signs of fatigue in Orlando's 100-79 victory at Charlotte on Friday, finishing with 24 boards again to go with 20 points and a season-high four blocks.

It was the 33rd career 20-20 game for Howard, who stayed on the court for the entire second half despite having played the previous night and the lopsided score.

"Dwight played very well out of the post," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "He tried to score when he was one on one, he threw the ball out when he was double-covered, he just made solid basketball plays."

Orlando (3-1) is also receiving solid play from Ryan Anderson, who had 23 points and eight rebounds Friday - his third game with at least 22 points out of four this season. He is 16 of 37 from 3-point range.

Now a member of the starting lineup, Anderson averaged 10.6 points last season while primarily coming off the bench.

Although Howard averaged 29.0 points and 12.0 rebounds in three meetings with Toronto (1-2) last season, Orlando lost two of those games including a home defeat.

DeMar DeRozan totaled 50 points in the Raptors' two wins over the Magic in 2010-11.

DeRozan wasn't a significant factor in Friday's 99-86 loss to Dallas, finishing with 11 points. Andrea Bargnani scored 30 for the Raptors, but Toronto wasn't able to overcome 17 turnovers leading to 22 Mavericks points, letting a seven-point lead evaporate in the second half.

The Raptors have turned the ball over 36 times in their last two games and are sending opponents to the line an average of 29.3 times per game. The Mavericks attempted 38 free throws Friday, more than double Toronto's 18 attempts from the charity stripe.

"In crunch time we just have to make better decisions," coach Dwayne Casey said. "Read the passing lanes, cut harder, v-cut to help the passer, all those little things that when you're a championship team you make those plays and we have to learn to do that. I can't fault the effort, but again we have to make better decisions and play smarter."

Toronto could be without reserve guard Jerryd Bayless, who twisted his ankle Friday. He had 23 points in the season's first two games but left the game at Dallas after playing less than seven minutes.

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