Sat, Mar 05, 2011 - Page 20 News List

NBA: Magic overcome deficit to shock Heat

VICTORY ROLL:The surprise 99-96 win was the fourth straight for Orlando, who now trail Miami by just three-and-a-half games in the Southeast Division standings

Agencies, MIAMI

The Orlando Magic stormed back from a 24-point deficit in the third quarter en route to a 99-96 shock victory over the Miami Heat on Thursday at the American Airlines Arena.

Jason Richardson powered the rally with 24 points, including six three pointers, for Orlando who orchestrated their biggest comeback of the season.

Dwight Howard finished with 14 points and 18 rebounds and Jameer Nelson scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half for the Magic who used an 18-0 run to chip away at the Miami lead.

LeBron James missed a potential game-tying three point shot in the closing seconds for the Heat who dominated the first half and looked on course for an easy win as they held a 73-49 early in the third.

“Well, that defies explanation,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said.

“Even six minutes into the second half, we just looked down and out. We didn’t have any way to stop ’em,” he said.

“It was a great comeback. It’s probably one of those games that I’ll remember 10 years from now. When I’ve forgotten everything else except all the losses. This is one win I might remember,” Van Gundy said.

The win was the fourth straight for the Magic who are now just three-and-a-half games behind Miami in the Southeast Division standings.

The Heat are now two games behind the Boston Celtics for the top record in the Eastern Conference.

The last time the Heat and Magic met, Orlando almost came back from a 23-point hole but missed a potential game-tying shot in the final seconds to allow Miami to escape.

This time the outcome was different as the Heat missed seven of eight free throws during Orlando’s fourth-quarter run. Ryan Anderson scored 15 points and Gilbert Arenas added 11, including a pair of key three-pointers in the fourth.

James finished with 29 points and Dwyane Wade had 28 for the Heat, who fell behind 97-96 with nine seconds left.

Both Chris Bosh and James missed three pointers in the closing moments.

“We’re being measured right now. We need to keep on pushing through,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “There’s no other way to say it. The tide turned.”

The Magic win also results in a split in the four-game season series between the Eastern Conference rivals.

Miami are making a habit lately of blowing big leads. They were coming off Sunday’s 91-86 loss to the New York Knicks.

They led by as much as 15 points in that one, but lost to the Knicks after scoring 35 points in the second half.

NUGGETS 103, JAZZ 101

At Salt Lake City, Aaron Afflalo shook off a sore ankle to score 19 points, including a 3-pointer with 11.4 seconds to play to help Denver hold on against Utah.

Ty Lawson scored 22 points, and Nene and Chris Andersen each added 13 to give the Nuggets their fifth win in six games since the deal that sent Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups to New York.

The Jazz had an unlikely chance to send the game into overtime, but Andrei Kirilenko fumbled the ball away as the buzzer sounded.

C.J. Miles had 22 points, and Devin Harris had 21 points and nine assists for Utah, who lost their seventh straight at home — the team’s worst home skid since 1982.

The Jazz fell to 1-6 under new coach Ty Corbin.

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