NBA: Magic

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 25, 2008

Associated Press
ORLANDO, Fla. ó First, Stan Van Gundy praised the Orlando Magic after their latest win. Then, he criticized them for a lackluster second half.
Hedo Turkoglu scored 20 points to lead the Magic to an 88-68 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Thursday in a matchup of division leaders.
“Our first half was our best offensive half of the year,” the Orlando coach said. “The second half was easily our worst.”
However, Van Gundy said he understood how his team could build a 61-31 halftime lead and then shoot 23 percent in the second half.
“When my wife wants me to do things around the house I do just good enough of a job to not get yelled at,” he said. “That’s human nature.”
Dwight Howard had 12 points and 15 rebounds in Southeast-leading Orlando’s sixth-straight win. Rashard Lewis added 18 points and Jameer Nelson 14.
The Magic’s only loss in their last 11 games was by one point at Phoenix back on Dec. 13.
David West had 13 points for New Orleans. Chris Paul and Devin Brown each added 12.
Paul, the NBA steals leader (3.7 average), snapped his league-record string of 108 games with at least one.
“Half the time when I got a steal I didn’t even know it,” said Paul, who was unaware his streak ended until after the game. “It was going to end at some point so why not Christmas?”
The Magic led by as many as 31 points early in the third quarter. The Hornets did not get closer than 19 points the rest of the game.
“You don’t want to give the championship already, but they played well tonight,” Paul said. “They got us.”