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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Magic Lose to Nets 93-96



From Sportsline.com:

Playing without Francis and with Jameer Nelson (sprained right foot), Hedo Turkoglu (sprained left ankle) and Grant Hill (lower abdominal strain) sidelined, the Magic outhustled the Nets in the first two quarters and led by as many as 13 points in the third quarter.

"I don't know if it was the trade, but we were more focused," said DeShawn Stevenson, who had 14 points. "Everybody went out there and played together as a team."

Dwight Howard scored 17 for the Magic.

Kidd, Carter and Jefferson scored nine straight points to help New Jersey trail by one going into the fourth.

Dooling, Arroyo and Stevenson combined for 36 points on 15-for-20 shooting in the first half before New Jersey made adjustments at halftime and held them to just 14 points in the second half.

"In our mind we felt they were going to play even harder because they were undermanned," Carter said. "But the effort in the first half was not what we wanted."

Carter drew Dooling's fifth foul and Kidd scored on a driving left-handed layup to give the Nets an 85-80 lead with under four minutes to play. But Pat Garrity rattled in a 3-pointer and Dooling, left alone 18 feet from the basket, sank a jumper to tie the game.

Kidd responded with his 3-pointer and, after Dooling missed a jumper, a drive down the right side for another score to restore the lead to five points. Garrity sank another 3-pointer to cut the lead to 94-92 with 27 seconds left, and Carter missed a foul shot after an intentional foul. On the ensuing possession, Kidd made two free throws with 18 seconds left to push the lead to 96-92.

Orlando outshot New Jersey 53 percent (36-for-68) to 42 percent (33-for-78) but missed 12 free throws and attempted only six 3-pointers, making two. Coach Brian Hill was impressed with his team's effort.

"I'm proud of the way they played," Hill said. "I told them to keep two things in mind: if we play as hard as we did tonight and we play as unselfishly sharing the ball, we'll win our share of games down the stretch."

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