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Surging Magic employs too many guns for Nets

When center Shaquille O'Neal hasn't led the Orlando Magic in scoring, it usually has meant a loss.

Not so in the 114-102 win over New Jersey on Friday night.

Guard Nick Anderson led a balanced attack with 28 points, while forward Dennis Scott had 23 points and guard Anfernee Hardaway and O'Neal each had 21.

It was the second time this season four Magic players have eclipsed the 20-point plateau, and Orlando extended its franchise-best winning streak to six.

"We played good tonight," O'Neal said, stressing the we. He had led the team in scoring 18 straight times, 43 in all; and when he hadn't, the Magic was 2-6.

"That (the balance) comes with good ball movement and good shot selection," Anderson said. "And we were running the floor well. When they scored, we pushed it right upcourt."

The team effort of the Magic (32-20), 12 games over .500 for the first time, offset All-Star point guard Kenny Anderson's brilliant solo performance.

The Nets' Anderson, a blur most of the night as he drove relentlessly to the basket regardless of who tried to slow him down, had 33 points and 12 assists.

"I don't know if there is a harder guy in the league to guard than Kenny Anderson in a pick-and-roll situation or a one-on-one situation," Magic coach Brian Hill said.

Anderson started slowly, and the Nets (27-26) trailed 31-21 after the Magic held them to no field goals for the final 2:20 of the first quarter and the opening 3:34 of the second.

Anderson ended the drought with a three-point play and then fed All-Star forward Derrick Coleman for a dunk to keep the Nets close.

The Magic clung to a lead thanks to its bench. With Orlando up 46-41 entering the third quarter, the main quartet took over.

Nick Anderson, who had been struggling from long range, opted to outrun the Nets in transition and finish off plays with dunks. But he also hit a three-pointer to give the Magic a 73-62 lead.

"I'm back in my old position, and that has a lot to do with it," said Anderson, a small forward for much of the season.

After guard Kevin Edwards scored, Hardaway and O'Neal ran a perfect pick and roll that ended with an O'Neal dunk.

Anderson and Hardaway then showed how to run a 2-on-1 break. Hardaway led Anderson, who drew the Nets' defender and dished it back to Hardaway for a thunderous one-handed dunk and a 77-64 lead.

Kenny Anderson continued to shine at the offensive end but had the unenviable task of trying to stop his old Georgia Tech roommate, Scott, at the other end. At 6 feet 8, Scott towers over the 6-1 Anderson. He hit three three-pointers and a turnaround jumper to keep the Magic ahead by 10.

The Nets closed to 101-95 with 2:36 to play, but Nick Anderson hit his third three-pointer.

"We hung around, hung around, but we never really climbed it," coach Chuck Daly said. "Every time we got close, they'd come right back at us."

And not just with one guy.

"When I'm on top of my game and Nick, Shaq and Penny all have it going," Scott said, "it's going to be very hard to beat us."