Chicago twice overcame double-digit deficits and led 91-89 with 2:56 to play after Derrick Rose passed to Carlos Boozer for a jumper.
Orlando responded with an 8-1 run started by Jameer Nelson's lob to Howard for a dunk. Ryan Anderson hit a three and a pair of free throws in the deciding rally.
The Magic bounced back from a 100-84 loss at Charlotte, beating the league-best Bulls two nights after losing to the last-place Bobcats.
Boozer led the Bulls with 26 points. Rose added 17 points and nine assists, but shot just 6 for 22 from the field.
Jason Richardson scored 18 points and hit four three-pointers for the Magic.
Suns 96, Mavericks 94
PHOENIX (AP) — Jared Dudley scored 12 of his 18 points in a third-quarter comeback and Phoenix held on to beat Dallas 96-94 on Thursday night, the Suns' first victory over the Mavericks in nine tries.
Grant Hill scored 10 of his 15 points in the second half for Phoenix, but missed two free throws with 15.4 seconds left. Dallas had two chances after that, but Rodrique Beauboi missed a driving layup, then couldn't hit an 18-foot jumper at the buzzer.
Marcin Gortat added 16 points and 12 rebounds as the Suns won their fourth straight home game, their longest streak in nearly two years. Victoria's Steve Nash had 11 points and 11 assists.
Vince Carter and Dirk Nowitzki had 18 points apiece for Dallas in the Mavericks' fifth road loss in a row.