Again, Magic surge in the fourth quarter
Magic 105, Nets 102 That’s now three straight games that the Magic have trailed most of the game and elevated their play in the fourth quarter to steal a victory. The Magic stepped up the defense in the final period and defeated the Nets 105-102. The Nets scored 16 points in the fourth and went 1-for-8 in the final 6:16. The victory came after the Magic overcame fourth-quarter deficits against the Suns on Tuesday and the Sixers on Saturday. Orlando has outscored opponents 91-54 during the fourth quarter of the past three games. Devin Harris continued to expose the Magic’s lack of defense at the point guard position, earning 25 points and nine assists. He had 17 points at halftime, and a lot of his second-half quietness was due to Vince Carter trying to get his shot back (throwing up brick after brick). It was a homecoming for Carter - he went to Mainland High in Daytona Beach - who missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded. I never thought I'd say this, but the Magic miss Jameer Nelson on the defensive end. Rafer Alston is getting abused game after game. Derrick Rose, Steve Nash, Andre Miller, Rodney Stucky - all of these guys have made it look easy against Alston. Here’s a quick look at Friday night’s contest: Magic’s best: Mickael Pietrus, who was the Magic’s worst on Tuesday night against the Suns, provided a spark off the bench, finishing with 14 points and seven boards. He also contributed to Vince Carter’s struggles from the field (8 for 22, 19 points). The performance prompted Stan Van Gundy to tell the press that the starting shooting guard position is still up in the air come playoff time. Magic’s worst: It’s not that he played terribly, but the Magic need more out of Hedo Turkoglu. Hidayet had eight points in a crucial fourth-quarter run, but his struggles in the first three quarters were a big reason the Magic trailed most of the game. Turkoglu was 4-of-14 from the field with two turnovers. He finished with 13 points. Telling stat: The Magic outrebounded the Nets 48-33, which helped offset the fact that New Jersey shot 49.4 percent while the Magic shot 42.7 percent. And not to be ignored, Dwight Howard made 12 of his 14 free throw attempts. That’s a career-high percentage when he’s put up at least 12 free throws. Defending Dwight: After the entire Nets frontcourt received multiple fouls in the first quarter, the Nets went to the instant double team. They really had no choice, as Brook Lopez and Sean Williams really couldn’t do anything to stop Dwight. If it wasn’t for some foul trouble, Dwight would’ve had a truly memorable game (He had 15 and 7 in the first quarter). The Nets mostly double-teamed with Vince Carter, and that’s a big reason Pietrus was able to open up for several 3-pointers.