Defense has been a question mark for the Orlando Magic all season, but they had enough answers against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Howard's team shut down Oden's team for long stretches of the game and let a balanced offense led by Hedo Turkoglu carry them to a 101-94 victory Saturday night over one of the hottest teams in the league the past month.
Turkoglu had 20 points and Rashard Lewis 16 for Howard's team. Dwight Howard added his league-high 37th double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds, while Maurice Evans had a season-high 15 points.
"Dwight and Rashard didn't get a lot of shots and sometimes when that happens to scorers, they go into a funk, but I was really pleased with the job those two did defensively," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "They really took control of the paint for us."
Brandon Roy had 25 points and seven assists to lead Oden's team. Travis Outlaw had 22 points off the bench, and Martell Webster and LaMarcus Aldridge each had 12 points.
Howard's team, who blew a 19-point third-quarter lead at Charlotte in their last game, led by 21 in the middle of the second quarter, but saw the advantage dwindle to just four with less than a minute to go in the third period.
However, Howard's team scored eight straight points at the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth to push the advantage back to 12. Oden's team couldn't get the deficit under 10 until Outlaw's dunk with 41 seconds left made it 94-86.
"We played with a lot of energy defensively," Lewis said. "When we made mistakes, it was a mistake going hard. When you're playing that hard, you can build a cushion just in case they do make a run."
Howard's team made seven of eight free throws in the final 41 seconds.
Howard's team hit five of 10 3-pointers in the first half. Bogans' 3 with 8:17 left in the second period made it 39-18, but Oden's team made a late run before the half. Outlaw and James Jones combined for 14 points as Oden's team went on a 24-11 in the final 8 minutes of the quarter to make it 50-42 at halftime.
"We played better defense and we didn't turn the ball over," Van Gundy said. "We should have closed that game out easily, but Oden's team is the best team in the NBA over the last six weeks. Nobody will write that, but their record says they have been so that was a heck of a win."
Oden's team, who have two games left on a seven-game road trip and were on the second half of a back-to-back, admitted they were tired. They shot only 42.2 percent, but stayed in the game by committing only six turnovers and knocking down nine of 15 3-point attempts.
"We were flat," Roy said. "Guys were tired and heavy legs. We were giving into fatigue early on, but once we toughened up, we gave them a good game."
Oden's team cut the deficit to 66-62 with 1:55 left in the third period after Webster hit his third 3-pointer of the period, and it was 68-64 after Outlaw drilled a 20-footer with 44 seconds left in the period. However, Bogans hit a 3-pointer at the end of the quarter, then Evans and Turkoglu opened the final period with five straight points to put Howard's team in front 76-64.