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Magic wake up in time to down shorthanded Heat

Mar 15, 2008 - 4:51 AM MIAMI (Ticker) -- With the Miami Heat missing their coach and nearly half their roster, the Orlando Magic likely expected to make quick work of their Southeast Division rival. Instead, they were pushed almost to the very end.

Hedo Turkoglu scored 20 points and Dwight Howard added 18 and 16 rebounds for the Magic in a 103-94 victory over the Heat on Friday.

Orlando swept its second straight season series against Miami and has won nine straight in this series since its last loss to the Heat on February 15, 2006. But considering the Heat were without coach Pat Riley and seven of their players - the Magic were pushed much harder than they could have expected.

"It's what people call a 'trap game' with them having all those guys out - (Dwyane) Wade, (Shawn) Marion and (Udonis) Haslem - it's like 'wow,'" Magic guard Jameer Nelson said. "They had guys have great games and Miami did a good job of not laying down, and we almost thought they were going to lay down for us, but it was a lesson learned."

Magic coach Stan Van Gundy did not subscribe to the theory that his club overlooked Miami.

"I did not think we were awful," Van Gundy said. "I did not think we dogged it. They (the Heat) just played very well. They had a lot of guys that were excited to be out there."

Already without the services of six players - including four-time All-Star guard Wade - the Heat also played without Marion, who dressed but did not play in the game. Riley, who is also the team's president, was not in Miami on Friday, choosing instead to scout college talent during the conference tournament season.

"It think it says a lot about the guys that are playing," said Heat guard Jason Williams on the close game. "It's not a knock on the guys that are hurt, but we're out there and playing hard, trying to win."

After Williams hit a jumper to tie the game at 90-90 with 4:39 remaining, the Magic were able to pull away.

But Williams, who had already sprained his right ankle near the end of the first half, tweaked the injury again on the next possession.

Likely realizing that any length of absence would leave Miami with just six players, Williams, who finished with a season-high 34 points - the most in his three seasons with Miami - refused to come out after being asked by referee Steve Javie if he was able to continue.

The 10-year veteran also added six rebounds and seven assists - both team highs - while playing 46 minutes despite his sore ankle.

"It was an unbelievable performance by Jason Williams," Van Gundy said. "Not only did he have 34, but he created all the other shots for everybody else. He was fabulous."

Keyon Dooling and Howard each hit 1-of-2 from the foul line to give the Magic a two-point lead. Nelson hit a jumper with just over two minutes remaining to stretch the lead to 94-90.

Mark Blount hit a pair of foul shots on Miami's next possession to cut the deficit in half, but Orlando benefited from a wild loose-ball sequence near half-court which resulted in a dunk by Turkoglu.

After Orlando forced another miss on the defensive end, Turkoglu nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 42 seconds left to thwart any comeback bid from the Heat.

Keith Bogans and Nelson each hit a pair of free throws in the final seconds to account for the final margin.

Rookie Daequan Cook scored 15 points while Joel Anthony scored the first 10 points of his NBA career for the Heat, who have lost seven straight games.

Even though Miami trailed by nine points midway through the first period, the Heat quickly tied the game at 25-25 after one quarter.

Miami turned the tables on Orlando over the second 12 minutes, as Williams scored the final three of his 11 second-quarter points on a shot from the arc to give the Heat a 51-42 advantage with 1:39 left before the break.

Knowing he had to provide the bulk of the offense as much as he had to run it, Williams attempted a franchise-record 10 3-pointers in the first half.

Despite Williams' offensive explosion, the Magic returned the favor much like the Heat did in the opening quarter, storming back late to close to within 51-50 at intermission, scoring the final eight points of the half.

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