With the Thunder still awaiting the appearance of the new weapons they collected in a blockbuster trade, Howard roughed them up with 40 points and 15 rebounds. Howard's point total equaled his season's best and he also blocked six shots. He hit 16-of-20 shots from the field.
Oklahoma City hopes to counter the inside presence of players such as Howard with center Kendrick Perkins, who was obtained in a deal with Boston this week.
Perkins is expected to be in uniform Sunday when Oklahoma City hosts the Los Angeles Lakers.
Jason Richardson had 17 points for the Magic, J.J. Redick had 16 and Jameer Nelson 14.
Oklahoma City lost its second straight and has not dropped three in a row this season.
Kevin Durant had 23 points for the Thunder, who made just 33 percent of their field goal attempts. Russell Westbrook added 16.