Magic rally beats the Nets

March 6, 2009 7:40:28 PM PST
Dwight Howard had 26 points and 15 rebounds, and the Orlando Magic rallied to beat the New Jersey Nets 105-102 on Friday night. Rashard Lewis added 21 points, and Hedo Turkoglu scored 13 for the Magic, who won their third straight game and fourth in their last five.

Devin Harris had 25 points and nine assists, and Vince Carter had 19 points for the Nets, who went 1-for-8 over the last 6:16. Carter missed a potential tying 3-pointer from the top of the key as time expired to seal the Magic's win.

The Nets opened up a 95-87 lead on a 3-pointer by Jarvis Hayes with 7:26 to play, but their defense struggled to put the game away. The Magic went on a 14-3 run late, getting big shots from Lewis and Turkoglu that put them ahead 104-100.

Carter capped a 10-2 spurt to put the Nets ahead 79-72 midway through the third quarter. Carter had 12 points in the period, a back-and-forth shootout that saw seven lead changes.

Howard kept the Magic close, scoring seven points in the period - including coverting a powerful 3-point over Brook Lopez - that tightened New Jersey's lead to 86-83 after the third quarter.

Howard had 15 points and seven rebounds in the first quarter, going 9-for-9 on free throws and converting three 3-point plays.

With 5:03 left in the period, New Jersey's three big men - Lopez, Yi Jianlian and Sean Williams - all had two fouls. Williams was the only one not relegated to the bench, and he picked up his third foul with 1:21 left in the quarter.

Howard provided immediate energy. On one play early in the period, he missed a hook shot, ran downcourt and stole the ball from Lopez, then hustled back down on offense to beat his man for a dunk. Howard scored eight straight points during one stretch to help Orlando take a 32-29 lead after the opening period.

But things changed fast.

After sitting out the first five-plus minutes of the second quarter, Howard picked up three fouls in a little more than two minutes, the last coming with 4:39 remaining in the half on a nifty pump fake by Harris. New Jersey took a brief 40-37 lead, but couldn't contain the Magic's sharpshooting perimeter players.

The Nets found themselves trailing 60-59 at the half despite shooting an outstanding 58.3 percent from the floor and holding the Magic to 43.2 percent.

Notes: Tiger Woods, a central Florida resident and regular at Magic home games, was sitting at his usual courtside seat. Earlier Friday, it was announced that Woods would enter the CA Championship at Doral next week, which will be the first stroke-play event he has played since winning the U.S. Open in a playoff last June. ...

The Magic hosted Faith & Family night after the game, which included musical performances by Christian artists Angela Courte, Trent Monk and Shane & Shane. ... The Magic are 2-0 this season against the Nets. Both games were in Orlando. The teams meet for the final time in the regular season April 11 in New Jersey.