After a huge blizzard bludgeoned the tri-state area, the Orlando Magic continued the pounding as they defeated the New Jersey Nets 104-88 at the Prudential Center in Newark.
The last time these teams met, Jameer Nelson hit a tough angle, fade-away jumper to give the Magic the win in the final seconds. However, Orlando put this one away much earlier and has now won all three games against the Nets this year.
The new-look Magic have played well since their recent acquisitions of Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas, who has been coming off the bench for Orlando. They have now won three straight games.
The game opened with some back-and-forth play but different styles from each team. The Nets looked great around the basket and in the paint, especially Devin Harris, who weaved through the Magic defense to hit some easy lay-ups. Harris finished the first quarter with nine points.
The Magic, on the other hand, lit up the basket from the outside. Brandon Bass, who played for Avery Johnson in Dallas, had his outside shot working early and knocked in six points.
Maybe it had to do with their bus breaking down on the way to the arena, but Orlando had their tempers flaring early as they were flagged with two technical fouls in the first quarter, one by Dwight Howard and the other by Turkoglu.
The first quarter was fast paced, but the second quarter was even faster with scoring on both ends. The Magic took the lead and displayed all their offensive weapons. Even former Net Ryan Anderson contributed nicely off the bench for Orlando with eight points and eight rebounds in the first half.
Howard found himself in foul trouble, which allowed Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries to clean up on the glass.
The game was tied at 39, but the Magic went on a 7-0 run late in the half and took a 51-44 at the break. Harris scored 14 in the half, while Lopez scored 12. J.J. Redick led the Magic in the half with 11 points.
New Jersey started the second half off hot and tied the game at 54. But Orlando answered right back with an 8-0 run as Howard started getting more involved in the offense.
The lead became 12 to close out the third quarter as the Magic continued to knock down big shots from three-point land. Every time the Nets hit a clutch three, someone from the Magic would immediately hit a three at the other end to maintain the lead.
The Magic pulled away in the fourth quarter, opening a 23-point lead. Though he started off slow, Howard recorded a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Turkoglu was deadly from the outside all night and had 20 points. Anderson also had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Harris had a big game in a losing effort for New Jersey, scoring 24 points. Lopez finished with 20.
The Nets travel to Oklahoma City on Wednesday to take on Russell Westbrook and the Thunder. These teams engaged in a triple-overtime thriller the last time they met.
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