Dwight Howard laughs at the idea his demeanor has changed dramatically.

"One year, I'm smiling too much," he said. "Now I'm the bad boy."

Orlando will take the good with the bad for now.

Howard had 24 points and 18 rebounds in a bruising battle with Amare Stoudemire, and the Magic beat the visiting New York Knicks, 112-103, last night for their fifth straight victory. Howard also picked up his NBA-leading 12th technical foul.

Stoudemire finished with 30 points.

In another game:

* At Dallas, Gary Neal had 21 points and the San Antonio Spurs downed the Mavericks, 99-90.


* Boston Celtics star Kevin Garnett could miss 2 weeks because of a strained right calf.

General manager Danny Ainge said an MRI exam and a thorough examination showed Garnett's injury Wednesday night was muscular and unrelated to a right knee injury that forced him to miss the 2009 playoffs and was surgically repaired.

Garnett was hurt Wednesday when he jumped for a dunk with 2:38 left in the first quarter of a 104-92 loss at the Detroit Pistons.

* Authorities in Dallas charged the 20-year-old son of former NBA player Nick Van Exel with capital murder. Nickey Maxwell Van Exel was arrested Wednesday night and jailed on $1 million bond in the killing of Bradley Bassey Eyo. Police say that the 23-year-old victim was shot Sunday at a residence in the Dallas suburb of Garland and that the body was moved to Lake Ray Hubbard.

* Portland All-Star guard Brandon Roy will be out "indefinitely" because of sore knees.

* Houston Rockets forward Chuck Hayes will miss 2 to 4 weeks after spraining his right ankle in practice. *