Advertisement
  1. Archive

Magic tighten D to topple Wolves

The Orlando Magic got just what they needed to break their road slump and bad defensive habits: A matchup with the sliding Minnesota Timberwolves.

Hedo Turkoglu scored 26 points in his first start of the season, Grant Hill added 20 and the Orlando Magic snapped their seven-game road losing streak with an 87-80 victory Wednesday night.

Steve Francis had 17 points for the Magic, who withstood a 19-point, 25-rebound night from Kevin Garnett to win their first road game since Dec. 10 at Golden State.

"If we give this kind of effort every night on the road, we'll be all right," said Turkoglu, who played a team-high 43 minutes.

"I haven't played this many minutes," Turkoglu said. "My teammates looked for me."

Orlando played without newly acquired guard Doug Christie, who was given a few extra days to join the team. He was expected to join the Magic on Friday at Detroit.

Even without Christie's solid defensive skills, the Magic _ who have allowed the most points per game in the league this season _ held Minnesota to 30-of-77 shooting from the floor, 39 percent.

The Magic repeatedly clogged the lane, taking away the Wolves' passing lanes when Garnett was in the post. As a result, Garnett was forced to the outside on several occasions. Minnesota's 18 turnovers didn't hurt Orlando's cause either.

"We were really tenacious on defense tonight," Magic coach Johnny Davis said. "Our guys were really swarming."

Even so, the Timberwolves _ who lost their third straight _ still had a chance late.

Latrell Sprewell, who finished with 12 points, hit a jumper to pull Minnesota to 84-80 with 1:35 to play. Orlando failed to score and Minnesota had a chance to further cut the lead, but Anthony Carter's pass to Sprewell on the perimeter appeared to hit referee Bill Spooner, and Hill came away with the ball and called timeout.

Garnett missed a runner on Minnesota's next possession, Jameer Nelson made one of two free throws on the other end, and Garnett was called for an offensive foul on the Wolves' ensuing possession.

Wally Szczerbiak and Trenton Hassell each had 14 points for Minnesota. Garnett's 25 rebounds tied his career high, but he scored only four points after halftime.

Minnesota has lost 11 of its last 15 games.

"We've got to knuckle down and play some defense," Garnett said. "I feel like if we can stop some people, we can win some games."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Advertisement
Advertisement