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Magic's offense progresses in win over Hornets

ORLANDO — One of the Magic's weaknesses this season has been its offense.

Too often, it has allowed its ball movement to slow, especially in close games. And too often, players have failed to hit their open shots.

But the Magic now seems to be building momentum on that end of the court.

Employing energetic ball movement and hitting its open shots, the Magic on Wednesday night opened a key stretch of games by thumping the Hornets 113-98.

Seven Magic players scored in double figures as their team compiled 28 assists, shot a season-best 55.8 percent from the field and shot a season-best 58.3 percent from 3-point range.

Channing Frye scored a season-high 17 as he made 5 of 7 3-pointers.

Two nights earlier, the Magic played one of its best games of the season, a 105-82 road win over the Nets.

Wednesday started a crucial part of Orlando's schedule, a stretch in which it will play seven of eight games at Amway Center. The Magic might not have a better chance the remainder of the season to build, and sustain, momentum.

"If we want to have a good year, this stretch of games right here is vital to us," coach Scott Skiles about 90 minutes before tipoff.

In the first half, the Magic carried over the momentum on offense it had built against the Nets.

Once again, Orlando repeatedly passed up average or above-average shots and instead made extra passes in search of great shots.

Early in the game, Nik Vucevic declined to take a foul-line jumper and hurled a pass to Elfrid Payton near the hoop. Payton completed the play with a easy layup. And the sequence set a tone for the rest of the night.

About two minutes later, Evan Fournier drove and dished to Vucevic, who finished the play with a dunk. Skiles and all the players on Orlando's bench stood and clapped, applauding Fournier as much as Vucevic, because Fournier's decision made Vucevic's slam possible.

Late in the second quarter, the Magic took a 58-45 lead when Payton rattled in a jumper from 19 feet.

It was Orlando's largest lead of the game to that point.

game highlights: Dwyane Wade scored 10 of his 28 in the fourth quarter, and Hassan Whiteside had 20 points and 13 rebounds as the Heat beat the host Nets 104-98. … Monta Ellis scored 13 of his 19 in the third quarter and the host Pacers beat the Mavericks 107-81.

Around the league: Kyrie Irving, who has missed the Cavaliers' first 23 games recovering from a broken kneecap suffered in the NBA Finals, said a report that he would make his season debut tonight against the Thunder was false. … Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he is feeling better as he deals with complications from back surgery and hopes to be back on the bench in two to three weeks. … Grizzlies forward Brandan Wright was scheduled to have surgery on his right knee today. Wright, drafted eighth overall out of North Carolina in 2007, has not played since Nov. 7, when he left a game against Utah because of soreness in his knee. … Heat assistant coach Keith Smart had surgery to remove what the team called a very rare type of skin cancer. Smart's prognosis calls for recovery, and he is expected back in two to three weeks, the team said.

WNBA: Arenas comments "repugnant:" The WNBA and several angry players fired back at former NBA guard Gilbert Arenas, who suggested that they play in skimpy underwear to improve the league's popularity. "Gilbert Arenas' comments are repugnant, utterly disrespectful and flat-out wrong," spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement on behalf of the NBA and the WNBA. "WNBA players are strong, talented and determined individuals who give it their all on the court and serve as inspiring role models to millions around the world. "They should be celebrated for their accomplishments, not disparaged with ignorant insults." Arenas, 33, is a three-time NBA All-Star who was suspended for most of the 2009-10 season after violating league rules on handguns. His last NBA season was 2011-12.

Heat 104, Nets 98

MIAMI (104): Deng 2-6 1-2 5, Bosh 1-7 5-6 7, Whiteside 7-10 6-8 20, Dragic 6-15 3-4 16, Wade 13-17 1-2 28, Winslow 4-5 0-0 11, Green 5-11 1-2 13, Haslem 1-2 0-0 2, T.Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Udrih 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 40-75 17-24 104.

BROOKLYN (98): J.Johnson 2-9 0-0 5, Young 4-13 0-0 8, Lopez 12-16 1-2 25, Jack 7-14 7-8 22, Bogdanovic 3-8 0-0 8, Ellington 6-13 0-0 12, Bargnani 5-11 0-1 10, Brown 0-1 0-0 0, Robinson 0-0 1-2 1, Reed 1-2 0-0 2, Sloan 2-2 1-1 5. Totals 42-89 10-14 98.

Miami 22 33 29 20— 104

Brooklyn 30 20 28 20— 98

3-Point GoalsMiami 7-21 (Winslow 3-3, Green 2-5, Wade 1-1, Dragic 1-6, Haslem 0-1, Deng 0-2, Bosh 0-3), Brooklyn 4-16 (Bogdanovic 2-6, J.Johnson 1-1, Jack 1-5, Ellington 0-4). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsMiami 51 (Whiteside 13), Brooklyn 42 (Young 7). AssistsMiami 16 (Dragic 5), Brooklyn 24 (Jack 10). Total FoulsMiami 13, Brooklyn 18.

Magic 113, Hornets 98

CHARLOTTE (98): Hairston 5-11 1-1 14, Williams 2-7 0-0 6, Zeller 3-3 5-5 11, Walker 4-12 4-6 12, Batum 2-7 0-0 6, Kaminsky 4-8 0-0 9, Hawes 1-4 0-0 2, Lin 3-9 1-2 8, Lamb 7-10 1-1 16, Hansbrough 0-2 0-0 0, Roberts 2-2 0-0 5, Daniels 3-4 0-0 9. Totals 36-79 12-15 98.

ORLANDO (113): Harris 5-11 1-1 13, Frye 5-7 2-2 17, Vucevic 7-14 0-2 14, Payton 5-9 2-2 12, Fournier 4-7 4-4 15, Oladipo 5-9 0-0 11, Nicholson 2-4 2-2 7, Hezonja 3-5 0-0 8, Gordon 2-3 2-2 6, Smith 5-6 0-0 10, Dedmon 0-0 0-0 0, Napier 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 43-77 13-15 113.

Charlotte 23 22 28 25— 98

Orlando 30 28 31 24— 113

3-Point GoalsCharlotte 14-34 (Daniels 3-3, Hairston 3-7, Batum 2-4, Williams 2-5, Roberts 1-1, Lamb 1-2, Lin 1-4, Kaminsky 1-4, Hawes 0-1, Walker 0-3), Orlando 14-24 (Frye 5-7, Fournier 3-5, Hezonja 2-3, Harris 2-4, Nicholson 1-2, Oladipo 1-2, Payton 0-1). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsCharlotte 36 (Williams, Lamb, Kaminsky 5), Orlando 46 (Vucevic 8). AssistsCharlotte 23 (Walker 9), Orlando 28 (Payton 9). Total FoulsCharlotte 19, Orlando 15. TechnicalsOrlando defensive three second 2.

Pacers 107, Mavericks 81

DALLAS (81): Matthews 2-10 0-0 4, Nowitzki 6-16 0-0 13, Pachulia 2-8 1-3 5, Williams 3-10 1-1 8, Felton 6-12 1-2 16, Powell 1-1 0-0 2, Harris 1-1 2-2 5, Parsons 3-9 0-0 7, Barea 3-8 2-2 8, McGee 2-2 0-0 4, Villanueva 4-8 0-0 9, Anderson 0-5 0-0 0, Evans 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 33-90 7-10 81.

INDIANA (107): George 7-18 3-3 19, Allen 4-6 0-0 8, Mahinmi 2-2 1-4 5, G.Hill 5-10 0-2 11, Ellis 7-17 2-2 19, Miles 7-13 3-5 20, Stuckey 5-11 1-1 12, J.Hill 3-4 0-0 6, Budinger 0-4 0-0 0, Robinson III 1-2 0-0 2, Young 2-2 0-0 5, S.Hill 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 43-89 10-17 107.

Dallas 19 28 17 17— 81

Indiana 20 25 30 32— 107

3-Point GoalsDallas 8-33 (Felton 3-6, Harris 1-1, Villanueva 1-3, Parsons 1-3, Williams 1-4, Nowitzki 1-7, Barea 0-2, Anderson 0-3, Matthews 0-4), Indiana 11-29 (Ellis 3-5, Miles 3-9, George 2-8, Stuckey 1-1, Young 1-1, G.Hill 1-4, Budinger 0-1). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsDallas 53 (Pachulia 14), Indiana 60 (Mahinmi 10). AssistsDallas 16 (Williams 6), Indiana 28 (Stuckey 7). Total FoulsDallas 16, Indiana 17. TechnicalsNowitzki.

Magic's offense progresses in win over Hornets 12/16/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 16, 2015 10:40pm]
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