Timberwolves Remain Winless

Give this one to Dwight Howard -- barely.

In a matchup of two of the best young power forwards in the game, Howard edged his classmate Al Jefferson, scoring 28 points and grabbing 16 rebounds in Orlando's 111-103 victory over winless Minnesota on Tuesday night.

Carlos Arroyo had 18 points and six assists in place of an injured Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis scored nine of his 27 points in the fourth quarter for the Magic to stave off the hard-charging Timberwolves.

Jefferson was quiet for the first three quarters, managing just 13 points and four rebounds, but he scored 12 points in the fourth to help the Timberwolves make things interesting.

The Wolves trailed 92-76 with 10:32 to play in the game before Jefferson took over, scoring eight points in a 14-0 run that cut Orlando's lead to 92-90.

But Lewis came right back, hitting three straight 3-pointers to push the lead back to 101-95 and Minnesota never got closer than four the rest of the way.

Marko Jaric had 10 points and 10 assists and Greg Buckner scored 18 points for the Timberwolves, who missed Rashad McCants' offensive skills down the stretch. McCants went out in the first quarter with a sprained ankle.

Jefferson and Howard have quite a history, and they went at each other hard all night.

Howard dominated Jefferson for the first three quarters, scoring 26 points and grabbing 14 points to give the Magic a 14-point cushion.

But he managed just two points in the fourth, and got plenty of help from Lewis to keep his buddy Jefferson down.

Both were high school All-Americans from the South -- Howard from Atlanta and Jefferson from Mississippi -- who decided to skip college in 2004 and go straight for the pros. Howard was the No. 1 overall pick who signed a five-year, $80 million contract extension in July after being an All Star last year.

Jefferson was picked 15th by the Celtics and came to Minnesota in the Kevin Garnett trade at the end of July. He signed a five year, $65 million extension last week.

Since Lewis came to Orlando in the offseason, new coach Stan Van Gundy has been playing Howard at center often this season.

That was the case on Tuesday night, and with Wolves center Theo Ratliff out with the flu, Jefferson slid over to start the game at center and matchup against Howard.

Hedo Turkoglu had 14 points, six rebounds and four assists for Orlando and shook off a nasty fall in the third quarter to finish the game.


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