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Magic survives LeBron's 44

The Cavs’ Mo Williams shoots against Dwight Howard, who said after the Magic took a 3-1 lead in the series: “Now it’s time to close it out.’’ Howard had 27 points, 14 rebounds and his sixth technical of the playoffs.

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The Cavs’ Mo Williams shoots against Dwight Howard, who said after the Magic took a 3-1 lead in the series: “Now it’s time to close it out.’’ Howard had 27 points, 14 rebounds and his sixth technical of the playoffs.

ORLANDO — The Magic crept within one victory on Tuesday night of making it to the NBA Finals, their first appearance since Shaquille O'Neal, who sat courtside for Tuesday's 116-114 overtime victory over the Cavaliers, led the team to the title round in 1995.

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Dwight Howard scored 10 in overtime and Orlando made a team-record 17 3-pointers to withstand 44 points and a last-second missed 3-pointer by LeBron James to take a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference final.

"I had to get myself going. My teammates found me in the right place to score and I kept scoring," Howard said of his overtime effort that included three dunks, a tip-in and two free throws. "I hate losing, especially on my home floor. We kept fighting for the win."

Howard totaled 27 points and 14 rebounds.

"Now it's time to close it out,'' he said.

Rafer Alston added 26 points and Rashard Lewis and Mickael Pietrus had 17 each for the Magic.

Teams that lead 3-1 in a seven-game series have advanced 95.6 percent of the time.

With the Magic trailing 98-97 in regulation, Lewis made a 3-point with 6.4 seconds left. James took the ball with 4.1 seconds left, and went down after tangling with Pietrus, giving James two free throws with less than a second left.

James made them both and Orlando tried a lob play for Howard, who was ridden out under the basket by Anderson Varejao as time expired.

Howard screamed in protest: "Are you serious? If that was LeBron … "

Earlier, Howard picked up a technical foul, his sixth of the postseason — and one more will cost him a league-mandated one-game suspension. He had joked before the game that he was going to "keep my elbows down and my mouth shut. I'll go buy some duct tape if I have to."

Howard said of James playing the entire game: "He didn't look tired. I love playing against him. He brings out the best in all of us.''

Cavs coach Mike Brown said turnovers "hurt a lot. Late in the game, we coughed it up a few times.''

Before the game, the league rescinded the flagrant foul against Magic guard Anthony Johnson for elbowing Mo Williams in Game 3.

CLEVELAND (114): James 13-29 14-18 44, Varejao 4-8 1-1 9, Ilgauskas 5-9 2-2 12, M.Williams 5-15 8-9 18, West 7-15 3-3 17, Szczerbiak 1-4 0-1 2, Gibson 2-5 2-2 8, Wallace 2-2 0-0 4, Smith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 39-87 30-36 114.

ORLANDO (116): Turkoglu 5-13 3-4 15, Lewis 5-9 5-6 17, Howard 10-16 7-9 27, Alston 10-17 0-0 26, Lee 2-6 0-0 5, Johnson 2-4 2-4 7, Pietrus 5-13 2-4 17, Battie 0-1 0-0 0, Gortat 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 40-80 19-27 116.

Cleveland2533212114—114

Orlando2129282216—116

3-Point GoalsCleveland 6-22 (James 4-10, Gibson 2-5, Szczerbiak 0-1, M.Williams 0-3, West 0-3), Orlando 17-38 (Alston 6-12, Pietrus 5-11, Lewis 2-4, Turkoglu 2-5, Johnson 1-2, Lee 1-4). Fouled Out—Varejao. ReboundsCleveland 51 (James 12), Orlando 51 (Howard 14). AssistsCleveland 17 (West, James 7), Orlando 21 (Turkoglu 8). Total Fouls—Cleveland 25, Orlando 25. TechnicalsHoward, Orlando defensive three second 2, Orlando bench. A17,461 (17,461).

wallace angered: Cavs center Ben Wallace was angered before Game 4 when Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said Wallace and Mo Williams "fell down more than a baby learning to walk" trying to draw fouls. Wallace suggested Van Gundy "come out here and do something about it" or keep quiet. Van Gundy said of Wallace's response: "Ben took offense, that's fine. I don't really care."

nuggets-lakers: Denver defensive specialist Dahntay Jones was assessed a flagrant-1 foul by the league for tripping Kobe Bryant Monday. Jones said it was an accident. Bryant joked when asked if Jones tried to trip him: "I just fell on my face for no reason. I'm a klutz." Nuggets coach George Karl said the league shouldn't impose a foul that wasn't called in the game. In other news, the league fined Lakers coach Phil Jackson $25,000 for criticizing referees after Game 4, and the team was fined $25,000. Also, the league downgraded Lakers center Andrew Bynum's flagrant foul in Game 4 to a personal foul.

nowitzki update: Medical records show that Crista Ann Taylor, who said she was carrying Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki's child, was pregnant after she was booked into the Dallas County jail May 6, the Dallas Morning News reported. The pregnancy test did not determine paternity.

celtics: Forward Kevin Garnett had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to remove bone spurs. He played 57 games, second fewest in his 14-year career, and missed all of the playoffs. A full recovery is expected.

Magic survives LeBron's 44 05/26/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 27, 2009 6:37am]
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