Magic 107 - 104 Heat
  for this game

Hill, Howard lead Magic past slumping Heat

Nov 25, 2006 - 3:34 AM MIAMI (Ticker) -- As long as Grant Hill remains healthy, the Orlando Magic will be tough to beat.

Hill scored 24 points and Dwight Howard added 23 and 12 rebounds as the Magic posted a 107-104 victory over the slumping Miami Heat.

Hill shot 9-of-15 from the field and scored 12 points in the fourth quarter as the Magic (9-4) maintained the best record in the Southeast Division, which has been controlled by the Heat the last two seasons.

"We are happy with our record and happy to be leading the division, but we realize that it is very early," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "There are a lot of challenges left, but it certainly beats the alternative."

With 28 seconds left, Hill made a corner jumper off a pass from Howard to give Orlando a 105-102 lead.

"That was a regular motion," Hill said. "Usually Dwight likes to come to Jameer's (point guard Jameer Nelson) side, but I think when he did the dribble handoff he came to my side and I was open. I just caught it and shot it. It was a good call, because it didn't allow Miami to load up."

Following two free throws by Dwyane Wade, Hill made 1-of-2 from the line to give the Magic a 106-104 advantage.

Wade, who had 33 points and a career-high 15 assists, had a chance to tie the game, but his fadeaway from the elbow with Keith Bogans in his face barely drew rim, allowing Howard to gather his final rebound.

"(The losses) are all bad, but I took this one pretty hard," Wade said. "I made a couple of mistakes down the stretch that I normally do not make. I took this one harder than anyone because I was in the driver's seat and did not run it right."

Nelson added 14 points and five assists for the Magic, who shot 42 percent (36-of-85) and sent the Heat to their sixth loss in seven games.

Miami coach Pat Riley decided to shake up his lineup, inserting third-year guard Dorell Wright and forward Jason Kapono for Gary Payton and Antoine Walker.

Wright had 12 points and a caeer-high 13 rebounds and Kapono scored 15 points, making 3-of-3 3-pointers. Payton was scoreless and Walker had four points and five rebounds. "I just threw it against the wall," Riley said. "I was looking for energy. We needed some shooting with Jason. It was nothing else other than to change. (Saturday) night may be different. It is like the American free enterprise system now - everybody has an opportunity."

"We've been trying to get a win," Wright said. "I think we played good. We grinded it out to the end and it just didn't go our way."

Hill who missed 61 games with a sports hernia last season, has scored 20-plus points four times this season.

Howard, the first overall pick in the 2004 draft, had his eighth double-double this season and 100th career.

"I think I could have played a lot better offensively," said Howard, who made just 6-of-19 shots. "I was rushing my shot a little bit and made just six shots, but I hit some big free throws. Hopefully the next time we play them, I'll learn from the mistakes I made."

Udonis Haslem scored 19 points and Wright added 12 and a career-high 13 boards for the Heat, which shot 46 percent (37-of-81) in its fourth straight home loss.

"We have not played well here at home, but we need to keep moving in the right direction," Riley said.

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