With Dwight Howard in Los Angeles getting a second opinion on his back the Orlando Magic made a case that Howard should be the NBA MVP.
Jannero Pargo finished with 17 points, and Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Marvin Williams each scored 16 to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 109-89 win Friday night.
The Hawks have now won 6 straight regular season games against the Magic.
Atlanta shot 50% from the field Friday night, pushing their lead to 35 points at one point.
“We’ve been in situations this year where key players were out for the opposition and we haven’t come out and played with energy and intensity,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. “I thought we did that from start to finish. We stayed the course. I’m real proud of that.”
Von Wafer scored 16 points to go along with 8 rebounds off the bench for the Magic. Glen Davis also added 16 points as the Magic are now (3-7) in their last 10.
Dr. Robert Watkins diagnosed Howard with a herniated disk in his lower back. Orlando hasn’t announced a time table for his return.
The Magic players wouldn’t allow Dwight’s absence to be an excuse.
“We have to have a better mindset by going forward — no excuses,” said Magic guard J.J. Redick. “In order to be a lot better, we have to figure out defensively a way to play defense better. Because obviously we’re going to miss having Dwight on that end of the floor a lot.”
Howard will fly back to Orlando today and Coach Stan Van Gundy has said he isn’t sure if the three time defensive player of the year will suit up for Sundays game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With the loss Orlando is now the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference standings with the Hawks owning the tie breaker.