Heat
Magic
76 - 86 Final
  for this game

Balanced attack propels Magic past Heat

Jan 3, 2009 - 5:24 AM By Zach Chalifour PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- Rashard Lewis scored 17 points and Jameer Nelson added 16 to put the Orlando Magic back on the winning track with a 86-76 victory over the Miami Heat on Friday night.

Dwight Howard recorded another double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds and rookie Courtney Lee joined the others in double-figures with 10 points.

The effort was enough to overcome a stellar 33-point performance from Dwayne Wade, who received little support from his supporting cast against a tough Magic defense.

"It was a struggle the entire game. We did just enough on offense to win, and our defense was tremendous," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra echoed Van Gundy's sentiments about Orlando's defensive performance.

"Nobody talks about how good they are defensively. They can really turn it up, and they've got a lot of quickness and size. It's tough to get good looks."

The win was Orlando's 10th in a row over its in-state rival, dating to 2006. But this one was anything but easy.

There were 16 lead changes and 10 ties between the two teams, and no lead reached greater than five points until the Magic finally pulled away in the fourth quarter.

Holding a lead for most of the period but never quite pulling away, Orlando got two free throws from Lewis with 2:51 left to extend its lead to ten points. The home team held on from there.

Wade was on fire for the first three quarters, consistently knocking down long-range jumpers despite a strong defensive effort by the Magic that saw Wade battle countless double-teams. The perennial All-Star hit 16 of his first 22 shots from the field.

"Wade was tremendous," Van Gundy said. "We managed to keep him out of the paint and from getting off 3-pointers, but when he is hitting jump shots like he was, he is indefensible."

The Magic finally cooled off Wade when it counted - holding him scoreless in the fourth quarter. Wade missed his final seven shots down the stretch.

"I think it was a defensive battle for both teams," Wade said. "I couldn't get back into a rhythm because they were blitzing me off the ball and I wasn't going to force anything."

The most important change in the Magic's defensive game plan may have been assigning Lee to defend Wade midway through the third. Wade never did get a good look at a shot after that.

"Early on he was on fire, finding his spots and hitting the shots. I kind of got broken in against him in the preseason, and it was just a matter of sticking with him and trying to only give him bad shots or get the ball out of his hands," Lee said.

Only two teammates joined Wade in double-figures. Daequan Cook scored 10 points off the bench and Udonis Haslem added 12 for Miami.