Friday , Dec , 30 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Nelson leads Magic to victory

Orlando, FL (Sports Network) – Jameer Nelson scored 25 points off the bench
and Steve Francis added 21 to lead the Orlando Magic past the Minnesota
Timberwolves, 107-87, at TD WaterHouse Centre.

Dwight Howard added 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Magic, who won three
straight games at home for the second time this season. Grant Hill also had 17
points for the Magic.

“Any time you’re winning, you’re having fun,” said Nelson. “If you’re up by
20, you still go out there and help your team win.”

Kevin Garnett led the Timberwolves with 29 points and 11 rebounds as Minnesota
lost for the seventh time in its last nine games. Wally Szczerbiak netted 24
points with six assists in the loss.

“I thought we lost a lot of juice,” said Minnesota head coach Dwane Casey. “I
thought they were quicker than us tonight.”

The Magic shot 50 percent from the floor and 84.6 percent from the free-throw
line in the victory. In comparison, Minnesota shot 45.7 percent from the
floor, but hit only 69.2 percent of its free throws.

Orlando held a 32-22 edge after the first and looked like it would run away
with it in the second. The Magic opened up the second frame with an 11-3 run
to go ahead 43-25 with 7:39 left. Back-to-back three-pointers by Nelson later
staked Orlando to a 49-28 edge before the Timberwolves battled back.

“I think (Nelson) just settles our team down a little bit, gives them some
real good direction out there and he’s very difficult to guard in pick and
roll situations,” said Orlando head coach Brian Hill.

With the Magic ahead 57-37, Minnesota closed out the half on a 14-2 run,
capped by consecutive three-pointers by Richie Frahm and Trenton Hassell, to
pull to within 59-51 heading into the third.

An 8-0 run by the Timberwolves, capped by an Eddie Griffin three-pointer with
7:22 remaining in the third, pulled Minnesota to within one at 64-63 and Marko
Jaric’s jumper later put Minnesota ahead 67-66. However, the Magic responded
with an 11-0 run in which Orlando shot 7-of-8 from the free throw line, to go
ahead 77-67 with 2:18 remaining.

Orlando led 79-72 after the third period.

The Magic put the game away in the fourth, opening the stanza on a 7-0 run
with the first three points coming from Nelson. A 9-2 run by Orlando later
upped its lead to 95-77 with 6:07 left and the Timberwolves never recovered,
getting outscored in the frame 28-15.

Game Notes

Hassell ended with nine points, while Jaric chipped in seven…Hedo Turkoglu
added 11 points for the Magic…Orlando held the rebound edge, 42-25…Orlando
improved to 8-9 at home, while Minnesota dropped to 5-7 on the road…The
Magic have won 12 of the last 15 games in Orlando against Minnesota.