Magic rally in 2nd half, down Nets 100-93

Orlando coach Scott Skiles is hoping to build a defense-first mindset that will carry the Magic when they struggle to score.

Wednesday was one of those nights, and his young team answered the challenge.

Nik Vucevic had 20 points and nine rebounds, and the Magic rallied for a 100-93 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

Evan Fournier added 17 points and five assists for Orlando, which has won seven of nine. The Magic held the Nets to just 20 points in the final 12 minutes and overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half.

"Our defense was very good on the last several possessions of the game. That was the game right there," Skiles said. "We needed multiple stops in a row. ... We didn't play very well but still came out with a win."

Orlando's Elfrid Payton, who has been hampered by a sprained right ankle, started at point guard, but he played just five minutes in the first half. Shabazz Napier started the second half and Payton sat out the remainder of the game.

Without their primary ballhandler, the Magic struggled at times to find a rhythm on offense.

Orlando tried several different lineups while searching for some cohesion, with 12 of the 13 active players seeing action.

The Magic trailed for most of the second half, but used a 9-0 run late in the third quarter to cut into what had been a double-digit deficit. Then they outscored the Nets 32-20 in the final period.

"There were a lot of situations tonight when we lacked some ball movement, but luckily we were able to get it back at the end, and get baskets and stops," said Tobias Harris, who had 12 points and eight rebounds for Orlando. "We were there for each other, we were scrappy defensively."

Brooklyn led by as many as 13 but fell part down the stretch, going 3 for 20 from the 3-point line.

Brook Lopez led the Nets with 24 point and 15 rebounds. Bojan Bogdanovic added 20 points.

Trailing 93-90, Orlando scored on back-to-back layups by Vucevic and Harris to take a 94-93 lead with 45 seconds to play.

The Nets struggled to find an open shot on their ensuing trip and Jarrett Jack missed a rushed 20-footer off the front of the rim as the shot clock wound down.

Victor Oladipo then was fouled and connected on two free throws on the other end.

"We just couldn't get a good shot in the fourth quarter," Nets coach Lionel Hollins said. "Their defense was pretty good and it got away from us. ... Executing under pressure is important and I don't think we handled the pressure well."


Nets: Scored 20 points off 17 Magic turnovers. ... Brooklyn was outrebounded 50-37. ... The Nets had six steals in the first half.

Magic: Vucevic has scored 20 or more points in seven straight games. ...Orlando's 13-5 record since Nov. 25 is the best in the Eastern Conference. ... The Magic improved to 16-7 this season when scoring 100 or more points.


Wednesday marked the 25th anniversary of Skiles setting an NBA record with 30 assists in Orlando's 155-116 victory over the Denver Nuggets in 1990.


One of the beneficiaries of the Magic's recent rotation changes has been fourth-year forward Andrew Nicholson. He is averaging career highs in points (8.0), rebounds (4.3) and minutes per game (18.3) this season. Skiles said one of the key things that has helped him the most this season is trying to be really sound in the Magic's team defense.


Nets: Finish their three-game road trip at Boston on Saturday.

Magic: Begin a three-game road trip at Washington on Friday.


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