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Davis leads Magic's comeback victory

The SportsXchange

ORLANDO - Magic forward Glen Davis just needed a little adversity to kick his game into high gear Monday night.

It took a fourth personal foul, then getting knocked to the floor by Kevin Love early in the third period before Davis decided it was time to play, and he led the Magic through an inspired comeback and a 102-93 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Davis scored 28 points, including 20 in the second half following his late, wake-up call, as the upstart Magic (11-13) won their third consecutive game and moved closer to their goal of reaching the .500 mark.

J.J. Redick added 18 points for the Magic. Center Nikola Vucevic had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Arron Afflalo had 13 points. Davis hit 13 of 17 shots, including seven straight after catching an inadvertent shoulder from Love that left him face down on the court for 15 seconds.

"I was already fired up before that happened, but we needed this win tonight. I really wanted this one," Davis said. "It was a frustrating first half, but at least I had a good second half."

Love, who missed Saturday's victory over Dallas because of the flu, broke out of his shooting slump with 23 points and 15 rebounds. Center Nikola Pekovic had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Wolves, and forward Andrei Kirilenko had 13 points.

The difference, though, was that Minnesota's frontcourt trio combined for 43 points in the first half, but only 12 in the second half when Davis dominated all three of them.

"He (Davis) gave us a great lift tonight, using that energy positively in the second half," said Magic coach Jacque Vaughn. "It was great for him to make that adjustment, use the emotion in a positive way and lead us in the second half."

The Wolves (12-10) will see their schedule toughen now, facing the Heat Tuesday, followed by games against Oklahoma City and New York. The Magic go into the holiday with games against Washington, Toronto and Utah.

The Wolves beat the Magic earlier this season by 15 points in Minnesota, and the Timberwolves led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter on Monday before Davis and his teammates came alive. The Wolves led by 12 at halftime when they outhustled and outmuscled the Magic around the basket.

"We got off to a really good start, but in the second half, I think all of us were a little worn down," Love said. "They got confidence in the second half, and down the stretch of a game like that, it's tough to be stopped. He (Davis) was a load out there."

Point guard Ricky Rubio, in his second game back after knee surgery, was not much of a factor in his 16 minutes of action for Minnesota.

Davis received his fourth personal foul early in the third quarter, but he responded by hitting his next six shots in the period for 12 points. The Magic tied the game at 74 when E'Twaun Moore hit a 3-pointer.

The Magic took the lead for good at 88-87 when Afflalo hit a 3-pointer with 5:42 left in the fourth quarter. Davis hit the next two baskets to lengthen the lead.

The Wolves led, 61-49, at intermission, riding a dominating start from their frontcourt starters. Love had 17 points, Pekovic 15 and Kirilenko 11 by halftime.

The Wolves closed the second quarter with a 20-7 run, easily reversing the Magic's earlier rally. Redick sparked the Magic with 11 points in the first half.

NOTES: Too bad for NBA fans in Miami, but Rubio will not play Tuesday night against the Heat, according to Minnesota coach Rick Adelman. Rubio, who made his season debut Saturday against Dallas after recovering from left knee surgery in March, has yet to be cleared to play on consecutive nights. "We'll see how he feels (each night), but I can't imagine deviating from that plan," Adelman said before the game against the Magic. "That's just the way it is." ... Despite playing just 41 games last season before needing reconstructive knee surgery, Rubio left an impression on Vaughn. "He was born to lead a team. He was born to be a point guard," Vaughn said. "He sees the floor so well, and his spirit is infectious." ... Starting centers Vucevic of Orlando and Pekovic of Minnesota share more than just the same first name. Both are from Montenegro, a country about the size of Connecticut, and are close friends. ... Vucevic, who replaced Dwight Howard as the Magic's starting center, grabbed a combined 30 rebounds over the previous two games. ... The Magic have a pretty good idea how many points it will take to win games this season. They are winless in the 11 games in which they did not reach 90 points. They are 11-2 when scoring at least 90.
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