His tenure didn’t end on a high note, but center Dwight Howard remains arguably the greatest player in Orlando Magic franchise history.
On this day 10 years ago, Howard achieved franchise immortality. On the second night of a back-to-back, Howard finished with 14 points and nine rebounds to surpass Nick Anderson atop the all-time scoring list in Magic history in a 102-83 win over the Indiana Pacers.
The Magic had been held to a franchise-low 56 points and 16 field goals the night before in an 87-56 loss to the Boston Celtics. Howard however, had drawn to within seven points of Anderson as the team arrived at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Jan. 24, 2012.
Howard scored six of the first 11 points for Orlando, but it wouldn’t be until the third quarter before he broke Anderson’s record. Howard was held scoreless in the second period, but Orlando rallied from nine points down to tie the game at 45 at halftime.
The third quarter was two minutes old when Howard broke the record after dunking home a beautiful pass from Hedo Turkoglu to tie the game at 49. Howard’s next basketball was also a dunk that tied the game at 54 and began a 14-2 run that put the Magic ahead for good.
Orlando led 74-62 after three quarters and pushed the lead to 20 more than seven minutes into the final period. The Magic led by as many as 21 before cruising to victory.
On a night where Nick Anderson’s record went down, it was Ryan Anderson who paced Orlando offensively. After being held scoreless the night prior, Anderson led the Magic with 24 points.
In addition to Howard’s 14 points and team-high nine rebounds, JJ Redick and Glen Davis scored 15 and 13 points, respectively, off the Orlando bench. Turkoglu added 11 points and a game-high eight assists.
Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert each scored 16 points to lead the Pacers. Hibbert led all rebounders with 12. Indiana fell to 11-5 with the loss while Orlando improved to 12-5.
With Howard injured, Indianapolis would be the place where Howard’s tenure and the Magic’s season ultimately ended as the Pacers knocked Orlando out in five games in the first round of the playoffs. It was also the place where Howard became the franchise’s all-time leading scorer on this day a decade ago.