FINAL: ORLANDO MAGIC 95, NEW JERSEY NETS 85


GameNight Specifics
NBA Coverage: Game Info
Date: Friday, March 25
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Amway Center (ORLANDO, FL)
Radio: AM 580 WDBO, AM 1270 WRLZ
Television: FS Florida



PROJECTED MATCHUPS

LINEUPS MAY CHANGE BY GAME TIME


TEAM
PG
SG
C
PF
SF
R
R
NETS
Jordan Farmar

Anthony Morrow

Brook Lopez

Kris Humphries

Sasha Vujacic

Travis Outlaw

Stephen Graham
MAGIC
Jameer Nelson

Jason Richardson

Dwight Howard

Brandon Bass

Hedo Turkoglu

Ryan Anderson

Gilbert Arenas





















GAME RECAP


ORLANDO (AP) -- With 10 games left in the regular season, the Orlando Magic entered Friday night wanting nothing more than to keep showing signs of a team ready for the postseason.

A 95-85 victory over the ailing New Jersey Nets kept the Magic's momentum going. They still aren't quite where they want to be, but they may be slowly getting closer.

Dwight Howard had 21 points and 14 rebounds, and Hedo Turkoglu added 20 points and 13 assists to help the Magic hold off the Nets 95-85 on Friday night. Orlando won its fifth straight and completed a 4-0 season sweep of New Jersey. The Magic have also won 14 of their last 17 meetings overall against the Nets.

The Magic led by 10 at the half before giving up the lead early in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. They rallied and used a 13-0 run to put the game away. Turkoglu, who has scored at least 15 points in four of his last five games, said he is starting to find a late-season groove.

"Yeah, (Magic coach Stan Van Gundy) was telling me that before I was just trying to pass the ball first. I wasn't real aggressive," Turkoglu said. "Right now, I'm just trying to turn the corner."

Anthony Morrow had 19 points for the Nets, while Jordan Farmar added 15 points and 16 assists. New Jersey lost for the fifth time in six games. The pair led six Nets players in double figures.

"That's what really great playoff teams do," Nets coach Avery Johnson said of the Magic's decisive fourth-quarter run. "Perennial playoff teams and teams that are led by Howard ... put a lot of pressure on our defense. We couldn't score anymore.

"We had quite a few guys in double figures, but just couldn't get over the hump."

In decisive wins earlier this week over Cleveland and New York, the Magic did all the little things to please Van Gundy. They reduced turnovers, played cohesive team defense and pounded the ball inside to Howard.

Howard even shot over 80 percent from the free-throw line, while doing his usual damage scoring and rebounding underneath.

Early on, though, they took a few strides backward defensively and allowed a Nets team playing without starting point guard Deron Williams to stay close.

Also banged up itself entering Friday, Orlando may have added its point guard to the list. Starter Jameer Nelson left in the second quarter with a sprained knee after landing awkwardly while taking a charge. He didn't return and is day-to-day.

Van Gundy said he wasn't too pleased with his team's defense, but thought they did the best they could dealing with not only Nelson's injury, but the absence of reserves J.J. Redick and Quentin Richardson, who both were inactive Friday.

Chris Duhon and Gilbert Arenas filled in the gaps. Arenas struggled, going 1 for 12 from the field. Duhon was just 2 for 7, but hit a big 3-pointer late to help seal the win.

"Our rotation right now on the perimeter - guys are having to play big minutes," Van Gundy said. "I just thought we were a little out of sorts. I wasn't real happy with the way we guarded or anything, but I'm not overly concerned. I think we just played a bad third quarter and didn't defend on the perimeter well. But those kind of nights happen."

The Nets outscored the Magic 25-13 in the third quarter and trailed by just three - 66-63 - entering the fourth.

A 3-pointer by Sasha Vujacic in the opening minutes of the final period gave the Nets a 68-66 lead with 10:10 to play. But Ryan Anderson's 3-pointer on the Magic's next possession put them back up by a point and started a 13-0 run that made it 79-68 with 5:50 remaining.

The Nets trimmed the lead to 81-76 with 3:18 left. After a basket by Morrow made it 83-78 a few trips later, New Jersey began putting Howard on the foul line before the 2-minute mark. Howard hit two of his next four attempts and Duhon's 3 off a rebound pushed the Magic's lead back to 88-80 and helped put the game away.

Though Van Gundy wasn't too excited about his team's defense in the second half, there were some signs of improvement there. The Magic set a franchise-record for fewest fouls in a game, committing just seven. The previous low was nine, set in 1998 against Boston. The Nets also had just six free-throw attempts.

"Obviously that third quarter we didn't play well at all," Duhon said. "We didn't shoot the ball well, we let them creep back in the game. For us to be able to overcome all of that and get stops when we needed to get stops says something about us - that we're growing as a team and we're making the proper steps for us to make a championship run."

Notes: Redick (lower abdominal strain) was inactive for the eighth straight game. He was injured March 11 and had been making progress, but Van Gundy said he reaggravated it Thursday during a workout. "It's not anything that the MRI shows will need surgery or anything. It's just a matter of him taking the time," Van Gundy said, adding the team hopes to have Redick back by April 1. ... Richardson was out with back spasms. ... Johnson said Williams will likely miss at least two more games with a strained tendon in his right wrist. He is averaging 15 points and 13 assists with the Nets since being traded from Utah last month. ... Magic executive Pat Williams, who announced he had been diagnosed with blood disease last month, was in attendance.





DENTON'S ANALYSIS VS. NETS


ORLANDO – Having just celebrated his 32nd birthday last week, Orlando Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu was asked Friday night if he would have converted the dunk that he missed if he were younger. Playful and as happy-go-lucky as ever, Turkoglu had a perfect reply that elicited laughter about the botched dunk.

``I think I was too high,’’ Turkoglu said. ``I was looking down on the rim.’’

That’s certainly debatable after Turkoglu’s dunk attempt near the end of the third quarter hit the front of the rim and bounced away, but the Magic’s small forward did seem to turn back the clock Friday night and play with the aggression and precision of the player who helped Orlando get to the NBA Finals back in 2009.

Attacking more now than at any point since he was traded back to Orlando, Turkoglu scored 20 points, handed out 13 assists and incredibly didn’t have a turnover in 38 minutes as the Magic pulled away from New Jersey 95-85 at the Amway Center.

``Before, I was always looking to pass first, but now I’m turning the corner and looking for my shot,’’ Turkoglu said of how he’s fought his way out of a midseason slump and become Orlando’s best playmaker again. ``I can see Dwight (Howard) rolling down the lane and I’m being more aggressive and making the defense make a decision.’’

The Magic (47-26) won for a fifth consecutive time by going on a 13-0 spurt after the Nets (23-48) briefly took a 68-66 lead early in the fourth quarter. That run put Orlando ahead 79-68 and from there it coasted to the finish line by almost exclusively running pick-and-roll plays with Turkoglu and Hoiward.

Turkoglu had to shoulder much of the ball-handling because starting point guard Jameer Nelson went down with a sprained left knee just before halftime. Nelson couldn’t return after halftime and his availability for Sunday’s practice and Monday’s game in New York is uncertain for now.

``Hopefully he’s OK because I saw what happened and it looked kind of bad,’’ Howard said of Nelson, who was injured while attempting to take a charge. ``He was walking OK (after the game). He’s getting old and the older you get the harder it is to recover from minor injuries.’’

Howard had 21 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots, once again dominating his matchup against New Jersey’s Brook Lopez (10 points, two rebounds).

Jason Richardson scored 16 points and hit two 3-pointers, while Ryan Anderson added 15 points and five 3-pointers. Brandon Bass started well and finished with 14 points for a Magic team that shot 50.7 percent.

Here’s a look back at what went right, what went wrong and some final observations from Friday night’s game at the Amway Center:

READ REST OF ANALYSIS>>>





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