Magic power past TimberwolvesDec 28, 2008 - 4:39 AM By James Beilby PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- It took a while for the Orlando Magic's frontline to wear down the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday.
Rashard Lewis, Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu combined for 67 points as the Magic raced away from the Timberwolves, 118-94.
Orlando outscored Minnesota, 39-20, in the final quarter to turn a tight game into a blowout.
"We started playing better defense," Jameer Nelson said. "We started playing better when it counted and made some big shots."
Back-to-back threes by Rashad McCants and Rodney Carney helped Minnesota tie the game at 82-82 with 10:14 to play in the game. Orlando then went on a 20-5 run that saw Turkoglu score seven of his 26 points.
"In the fourth quarter you've got to step up and make some shots," Al Jefferson said. "Against a good team, you can't play only three quarters. We did what we wanted to do in the first three quarters, but in the fourth, I don't know what the heck that was."
The Timberwolves' frontline accounted for 35 points as Orlando dominated up front.
"They are a tough cover for us," Minnesota coach Kevin McHale said. "We tried to get Al to the free-throw line and get Howard out of the game, but that didn't work."
McCants scored 21 points off the bench for Minnesota, which snapped a 13-game losing streak with a victory over the New York Knicks on Friday.
Nelson chipped in with 20 for the Magic.
"Jameer hit a couple of threes at the end of the game that hurt us," McHale said. "But Turkoglu and Lewis really hurt us in the entire game."
Orlando had been winning with defense, holding its opponents to 87.0 points per game and 38 percent shooting from the field. Against the T-Wolves, however, the Magic won with offense, shooting 54 percent from the floor (43-of-80) and 50 from beyond the arc (12-of-24).
Eleven first-quarter points from Howard helped fuel a 15-point lead for Orlando.
"It's a little dangerous to get off to that start against a team that's only won five games," Stan Van Gundy said. "You get off to a great start and then you think you're going to blow them out. They did a nice job. They're shooting the ball better now which is going to make them dangerous."
With Howard on the bench, Minnesota fought back, taking the lead 41-40 midway through the second quarter, a stretch that saw Orlando go 2-of-18 from the floor.
"That second quarter was about as good as we've been," Randy Foye said. "Too bad we didn't keep it going."
Minnesota held a 55-53 lead going into the half and extended that lead to seven early in the third quarter only to see Orlando go on a 16-1 run and take a 69-61 advantage.
"We just kept ourselves in the game all night," Turkoglu said. "We were just waiting to get hot and it was in the fourth quarter when we got hot and then that was the end."
Both teams came into this game after notching a win. While Minnesota snapped a skid with a win Friday in New York, Orlando came into the game as winners of 10 of its last 11 - all against Western Conference foes.
Minnesota defeated the Knicks behind hot shooting from beyond the arc Friday. Against the Magic, they shot 8-of-13, with McCants following up his 7-of-9 3-point shooting performance with a 4-of-7 effort.
NBA ORLANDO 118
MINNESOTA 94 FINAL
Dec 27 10:31 PM
MINNESOTA 74 END, 3RD QTR
Dec 27 9:53 PM
MINNESOTA 55 HALFTIME
Dec 27 9:11 PM
MINNESOTA 22 END, 1ST QTR
Dec 27 8:38 PM
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