Orlando at Minnesota

Turkoglu's fourth-quarter run pushes Magic past Timberwolves

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu made sure there would be no letdown for the Orlando Magic.

Turkoglu scored 11 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, Nelson returned with an injured toe to score 12 in the final frame, and the Magic slowly pulled away to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 118-94 on Saturday night.

Rashard Lewis added 24 points, Nelson 20 and Dwight Howard 17 for the Magic, who won their seventh straight and 11th in 12 games - all against the Western Conference. The last time Orlando won seven straight was March 31-April 15, 2006, when the team won eight in a row.

"In order to be a great team, you can't let up," Howard said. "I like the way we came back. We held together and came out with a good win."

Turkoglu had seven points, including a 3-pointer, and Nelson six during a 20-5 run that gave Orlando a 102-87 lead midway through the final quarter. Turkoglu later made a long jumper and Nelson sank a pair of 3-pointers for a 114-92 cushion.

"(Turkoglu) should be in the 3-point contest," Howard said. "He presents a lot problems for the defense. When he's hot he's tough to stop, especially late. Fourth quarter is 'Hedo Time."'

It was also Nelson Time.

Nelson left early in the third quarter with a jammed toe on his right foot. X-rays were negative, and he returned early in the fourth.

"I just kept my poise and made the plays when we needed them," he said. "We started playing better defense when we needed it, when it counted. And we made our shots."

With his right foot in a bucket of ice, Nelson said he'll play Monday in Detroit.

Coach Stan Van Gundy said that Nelson, who missed five games Nov. 26 to Dec. 3, is playing as well as any point guard in the league. Sitting next to Nelson in the locker room was Howard who, while raising his thumb, indicated and mouthed that Nelson is playing the best.

"He's just been terrific scoring, passing, taking care of the ball and playing with good energy," Van Gundy said. "The last 10 minutes tonight he was great."

Averaging 23.1 points in his last six games, Nelson had 27 last Saturday against the Lakers, and was 9-for-9 from field in a 22-point effort against Golden State on Monday.

"I'm just playing with a lot of confidence right now. I'm just trying to make the right plays," Nelson said. "With me drawing so much attention, it helps the rest of our offensively and defensively."

Rashad McCants scored 21 points for Minnesota, which ended a 13-game losing streak Friday in New York. Al Jefferson had 16 points and Ryan Gomes 14 for the Timberwolves, who have lost nine straight at home.

"We've got to be able to lock in for 48 minutes. Everybody has to do their jobs. ... It's just going to be an ongoing process that they've got to get better at," said coach Kevin McHale. "We almost feel sorry for ourselves. We're missing easy shots, missing free throws, missing a lot of stuff. That is part of the game. That shouldn't affect your defense. We've got to get past that."

Minnesota played Friday in New York, while Orlando was resting in Minnesota.

"I'm not going to say we lost focus. I just feel like we gave up. I think we felt a little fatigued and we just gave up on it," Jefferson said.

With the Magic trailing by seven early in the third quarter, Howard capped a 14-0 run by converting an alley-oop pass from Turkoglu for a 69-61 lead. He also dunked on a pass from Keith Bogans during the stretch.

Orlando, which led by 30 at halftime Thursday against New Orleans, again dominated play early.

Turkoglu hit a 3-pointer for a 15-2 lead 3 minutes into the game. A line drive jumper by Howard pushed the lead to 27-12.

Minnesota, which made just four of its first 17 shots, picked up its defensive intensity and pushed the ball in the second, taking a 41-40 lead on a layup by Randy Foye midway through the quarter. A steal and layup by McCants gave Minnesota a 55-53 lead at intermission.

Notes

  • Orlando plays its next seven games against Eastern Conference teams.
  • Minnesota forward Mike Miller missed his third straight game with a sprained right ankle.
  • Orlando, which beat Minnesota 100-89 Dec. 3, swept the season series for the first time since 1997-98.
  • Minnesota, which ranks 23rd in the league by making 32.4 percent of its 3-pointers, was 21-for-37 combined in its past two games.
  • Minnesota was 16-of-28 from the free-throw line after going 31-for-37 Friday.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Hedo Turkoglu proves to be too much for the Timberwolves to handle, scoring 11 in the fourth.  (AP)
Hedo Turkoglu proves to be too much for the Timberwolves to handle, scoring 11 in the fourth. (AP)
Scoreboard
Orlando (24-6) «31222639118
Minnesota (5-24) 2233192094
ORL:H. Turkoglu 26 Pts
ORL:R. Lewis 7 Reb
ORL:J. Nelson 8 Ast
MIN:R. McCants 21 Pts
MIN:K. Love 10 Reb
MIN:R. McCants 4 Ast
Players of the Game
MinnesotaOrlando

R. McCants

H. Turkoglu
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
21442673

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Orlando
H. Turkoglu, SF388-128-873126
D. Howard, C377-123-752517
R. Lewis, SF369-172-272224
K. Bogans, SG313-50-05117
J. Nelson, PG288-140-068220
C. Lee, SG212-70-01034
A. Johnson, PG201-44-44327
M. Pietrus, SF132-21-21025
M. Gortat, PF113-52-24118
T. Battie, PF60-20-02000
A. Foyle, CDid Not Play
M. Wilks, PGDid Not Play
B. Cook, PFDid Not Play
J. Redick, SGDid Not Play
J. Richardson, SFDid Not Play
Totals 43-8020-25422019118
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Minnesota
R. Gomes, PF365-103-393114
A. Jefferson, PF357-212-472216
R. Foye, PG315-152-332312
K. Ollie, PG131-21-21323
C. Smith, PF121-10-20022
R. McCants, SG387-193-844121
S. Telfair, PG242-72-21346
R. Carney, SF224-50-030311
K. Love, PF212-41-210025
B. Cardinal, PF50-02-21022
M. Madsen, PF41-10-01002
C. Booth, CDid Not Play
M. Miller, SFDid Not Play
J. Collins, CDid Not Play
C. Brewer, SFDid Not Play
Totals 35-8516-2840172294
 41.2%57.1% 
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