Nelson pushes Magic past Nets
Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - Jameer Nelson scored 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter to lead Orlando to a key 90-82 victory over New Jersey.
Grant Hill scored 12 points and Hedo Turkoglu added 11 points and seven rebounds for the Magic, who leap-frogged the Nets for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Indiana also won on Friday to move into a virtual tie with the Magic, leaving New Jersey currently a half game out of the playoffs.
The Nets held Dwight Howard in check for most of the game, but the all-star was still a force with 10 points and 16 rebounds for Orlando, which had dropped five of their last seven contests.
Vince Carter posted 27 points, seven boards and five assists for the Nets, who have lost eight of their last 11 contests.
With the score 71-69 in favor of New Jersey early in the fourth quarter, Trevor Ariza's putback tied it and Nelson followed with a layup to give Orlando the lead with just under seven minutes to play.
A pair of Carter free throws tied it, but Nelson put the Magic back in front for good with another layup before hitting a jumper to give Orlando a 77-73 lead with just under five minutes remaining.
Richard Jefferson's slam made it a one possession game, 80-77, with just over three minutes to play, but Bostjan Nachbar missed a three that would have tied it and Turkoglu made two from the charity stripe to push Orlando's lead to four with two minutes to play.
Carter hit another pair of free throws with 1:06 left to make it 84-80, but Nelson answered with a shot clock-beating jumper and the Magic hit their free throws down the stretch to ice the game. In the final four minutes, Orlando was an impressive 11-of-12 from the charity stripe.
"When it gets down to the stretch of the game, you are going to go to the line and you have to knock them down," said Orlando head coach Brian Hill. "Our guys did a real good job of that tonight."
The score was knotted at 21-21 after the opening 12 minutes and the Nets took a slim 41-37 advantage into the locker room.
New Jersey led by as much as nine in the third quarter, but the Magic battled back, scoring the last five points of the quarter to tie the game at 59-59 heading into the fourth.
"We let them get to the free throw line a lot," said Carter. "We let them get points with the clock stopped. They were getting stops and limiting us to one shot."
Jefferson finished with 19 points for New Jersey while center Mikki Moore added 12. Jason Kidd, who struggled through a 3-of-10 shooting night, had eight points, nine assists and eight rebounds...Orlando outrebounded New Jersey, 37-23.NJN ORL