for this game

Magic on fire from long range, down Spurs

Jan 12, 2009 - 5:25 AM By Brian Guerra PA SportsTicker COntributing Writer

SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- The Orlando Magic showed why they're the best road team in the league, finishing off the San Antonio Spurs late en route to a 105-98 win on Sunday.

Dwight Howard was efficient with his 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting and 14 rebounds and Jameer Nelson added 22 points while Hedo Turkoglu chipped in 21 for the Magic, who knocked down 14-of-22 3-points attempts in the contest.

It was the most an opponent has made against the Spurs this season.

"I gave a couple of guys some pointers before the game," Howard said jokingly. "A couple of guys got hot, and when the first few go down, sometimes the confidence stays up there."

Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said his team's long-distance shooting was the deciding factor.

"We shot the heck out of the three, and that was the difference tonight," Van Gundy said. "Across the board, it was pretty even for both teams, but the threes decided it."

Coming into the game, the Spurs were hitting over 40 percent of their 3-pointers, the best in the league, but were just 3-of-13 against Orlando.

"Some nights we don't shoot as well or get as many shots," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "That's just the way it is, and that was the difference."

With the game tied, 94-94, with 2:33 left in the fourth quarter, Howard found an open J.J. Redick, who hit a 3-pointer for Orlando as the shot clock was expiring.

"They have a great player in the paint you have to pay attention to, and then four shooters who will punish you if you give them a couple of feet," Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said.

Nelson then scored all eight points for the Magic as part of an 8-2 run that finished off the Spurs, who were swept in the series against Orlando this season.

"We knew that the team who had the stops late would probably win, and we got the stops," Howard said. "It feels great to win here against a great team, and I think it says a lot about our growth and maturity."

Neither team pulled away when they had the chance.

Ginobili hit a corner 3-pointer with 10:31 in the fourth that gave the Spurs a 77-74 edge, but Orlando responded with two straight 3-pointers of its own to retake the lead.

Howard hit a free throw to complete a three-point play with 7:38 left in the game, and the Magic led 85-79.

But the Spurs put together a 7-0 run that started with four straight from Tim Duncan. Roger Mason then hit a 3-pointer from the wing to give the Spurs an 86-85 lead.

Tony Parker, who scored 18 in the first half, had a chance to cut the lead to two points with 53 seconds left but missed a floater on the fast break. He missed a layup on the next possession.

"I don't think we did anything differently (to Tony), and I don't think we stopped him," Van Gundy said. "He probably got tired from scoring so much."

Parker hit a floater over Howard that tied the game, 57-57, with 7:53 in the third. Parker then followed it with a 17-footer that gave the Spurs their first lead since 26-25 in the first quarter.

Howard threw down a forceful two-handed dunk that gave Orlando a 69-68 lead with 2:48 left in the third. A minute later, Redick hit a 3-pointer that gave the Magic a four-point advantage.

"We tried not to give them any easy baskets in the paint, and they would just knock it down from the 3-point line," Parker said.

Parker hit a layup with the clock winding down in the second quarter, but Nelson came back down and nailed a 3-pointer with one second left in the first half that gave Orlando a 55-50 lead at intermission.

Parker guided the Spurs with 31 points, and Duncan added 18 and 10 rebounds.