NBA: Magic outduel Wolves
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando Magic had to figure out how to defend down low before they could make their move.
Using a second-half rally, Glen Davis and the Magic won their third straight with a 102-93 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“It boiled down to who was going to be the aggressor, that team was going to win,” Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. “That was my message at halftime. It was good to see our bigs respond to that kind of physicality.”
Orlando got manhandled inside by Minnesota’s front line in the first half, but Magic big men Davis and Nikola Vucevic pushed back in the second half to help their team to its third straight victory.
Davis scored a game-high 28 points and Vucevic had his third straight double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. J.J. Redick contributed 18 points and seven assists as Orlando rallied from 15 points down in the third quarter to snap Minnesota’s four-game win streak.
Kevin Love led Minnesota with 23 points and 15 rebounds and Nikola Pekovic added 19 points and 12 rebounds, but they did most of their damage in the first half when Minnesota shot 49 percent from the field while building a 61-49 lead at the break.
The Timberwolves shot only 31.9 percent in the second half (15 of 47) with Love and Pekovic a combined 5 for 18 (29.4 percent).
“What happened in the second half is exactly what has been happening the last few games,” Pekovic said. “We have a good first half and then lose our concentration. They played good. They didn’t give up, even when they were losing by 15. They just kept playing.”
“You give a team a chance to get going, especially at home, you’re going to end up in trouble,” Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said. “That’s what happened to us. We were up 15, we had some great opportunities and we could not make a shot.”
Davis fueled the rally with a five-minute stretch in the third quarter where he made all six shots, three of them dunks. The Magic’s big man beat Love and Pekovic down the floor time and again to get position inside for easy baskets.
“The things I got were just open court stuff, running the floor, getting behind their defense,” Davis said. “Their bigs got them going in the first half and coach (Vaughn) said ‘Hey look, we need to fight back,’ and that is what we did.”
Minnesota led 87-85 with six minutes left in the game when Arron Afflalo hit a 3-pointer to start a 9-0 run by Orlando. Vucevic finished the run with a layup that made it 94-87 with 3:23 left in the game.
Love scored on a hook shot and Andre Kirilenko had a dunk to make it 94-91 with 2:53 left in the game, but Davis scored six straight points and Redick hit a layup that gave Orlando a 102-91 lead with 44 seconds left.
“I’m pleased with the improvements we’ve made individually and as a team,” Vaughn said. “We’re playing harder and that’s fun to see. We’re believing in each other, but we still know that we have a lot of work to do.”
Minnesota’s big men had 20 points in the paint in the first 10 minutes of the game, helping the Timberwolves jump out to a 28-17 lead. Pekovic led the way with 11 points and six rebounds, four of them at the offensive end.
The Magic, however, closed the period with a 10-1 and trailed only 29-27. Orlando got 10 points from center Vucevic and six from Redick to keep close.
The Timberwolves were even better at the end of the second period, going on a 20-7 run to build their halftime advantage. Pekovic, Love and Andre Kirilenko were the stars again, accounting for all 20 points.
NOTES: When Davis received a technical foul in the second quarter, it was only the second technical on the Magic all season. ... Pekovic is averaging 23.2 points and 9.3 rebounds in his last four games. ... The Magic are 8-1 in game in which they score 100 points or more. ... Minnesota G Ricky Rubio wasn’t much of a factor in his second game back from a knee injury. Rubio missed all three shots he took, but did get four assists in 16 minutes.