Turkoglu, Howard lead surging Magic over Suns
Orlando, FL (Sports Network) – Hedo Turkoglu poured in a season-high 30
points and Dwight Howard recorded 22 points and 12 rebounds, as the streaking
Orlando Magic defeated the Phoenix Suns 111-102 at TD Waterhouse Centre.
Steve Francis compiled 15 points, six rebounds and six assists and DeShawn
Stevenson added 12 points in Orlando’s fourth straight win. The Magic also won
their seventh in a row at home.
“This was obviously a real good win for us tonight,” Orlando head coach Brian
Hill said. “I thought we just really got excellent contributions from
everybody at some point and time during the course of the game.”
Shawn Marion led Phoenix with 26 points and 16 rebounds, while Steve Nash
also posted a double-double with 22 points and 12 assists in the loss.
Leandro Barbosa tallied 15 points and Raja Bell added 10 for the Suns, who
lost their second straight contest.
Orlando opened an 80-73 advantage late in the third quarter before Phoenix ran
off a 10-4 spurt to pull within one after three periods.
The game went back and forth during most of the fourth stanza and Boris Diaw’s
layup with 4:49 left pulled Phoenix within one at 101-100.
The Magic then scored the next eight points to put the contest out of reach.
Howard made two free throws, Turkoglu buried a jumper, then Francis made four
in a row from the charity stripe to give Orlando a 109-100 lead with 18 ticks
Phoenix missed eight straight shots during that stretch and didn’t score again
until Nash’s lay-in with only 11 seconds left.
“I don’t think we can blame it on anything but lack of intensity,” said Nash.
“I thought we were pretty passive to start the game and never got any sort of
determination going against a team that has been playing well.”
Orlando didn’t commit a turnover in the first 16:45 of the contest and used a
balanced offense to post a 58-53 halftime edge.
The Suns held a slim 26-25 lead after one stanza.
Orlando guard Keyon Dooling returned from a five-game suspension for fighting
with Seattle guard Ray Allen on January 11. Dooling scored 10 points in just
over 25 minutes of action…Orlando played without four players including
Jameer Nelson, who missed his second straight contest with a foot injury…The
Magic improved to 12-9 at home this season…Phoenix fell to 10-8 on the
road…The Suns have still won five of the last seven meetings between the
clubs…Nash, who had missed 10 free throws all season entering the contest,
finished 2-of-5 from the line.