Score Strip

Nets 98, Magic 86

The SportsXchange

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Brooklyn Nets beat the Orlando Magic for the third time this season, 98-86, Friday night by capitalizing on stronger rebounding and superior long-range shooting.

The surging Nets (11-4) won their fifth consecutive game to cap their best November in 10 seasons. The Magic (5-10) lost its third consecutive game before starting a five-game West Coast trip on Sunday.

The Nets beat the Magic by a combined 47 points in the two earlier meetings this month. The Nets play in Miami Saturday night against the defending NBA champion Heat.

Guard Joe Johnson had 22 points and five assists for the Nets. Forward Gerald Wallace, who hit five of his six 3-point shots, had 20 points. The Magic were led by Glen Davis who had 16 points.

The Nets held a 41-36 rebound edge, which led to 40 points in the paint, including 11 second-chance shots.

The Nets hit 11 of 20 shots (55 percent) from 3-point range. The Magic made only one of 11 from long range.

The Nets made six 3-pointers in the third period when they opened a 13-point lead. Wallace hit all four of his 3-point attempts in the period when the Nets started pulling away.

They led by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter. The Magic took a 3-point lead just after halftime, but it lost it quickly.

The Nets led 45-44 at halftime, riding another good start Johnson, who had 13 points before intermission.

The Magic, which has been plagued by slow starts, went deep into the bench early and used 10 players in the first quarter. By halftime, 11 players had scored for Orlando, which was led by Davis with 11 points.

Andray Blatche, replacing Brook Lopez as the Nets starting center, had a good start with five points and three rebounds in the first 7 minutes.

The Nets were coming off a victory in Boston, a game marred by the scuffle that led to the two-game suspension of Celtics guard Rajon Rondo and a hefty fine for Brooklyn forward Gerald Wallace.

In the two previous victories this month over the Magic, the Nets held a combined 26-rebound edge. On Friday, though, the Magic started more aggressive and trailed by one two rebounds in the first half.

Notes: The Nets were without Lopez, who also will miss Saturday's game in Miami with a mild sprain of his right foot. Although the X-rays were negative, the Nets aren't taking any chances. It's the same foot that cost him much of last season with a stress fracture. ... The Magic was without point guard Jameer Nelson again, who sat out with a sore left Achilles. Nelson missed six games earlier in November with a strained right hamstring. He is expected to be ready when the Magic opens a five-game West Coast trip Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers. ... The Magic went into Friday's game averaging the fewest free throws attempted (16.7) in the league. ... The Nets were off to their best start (10-4) since the 2002-03 season. ... Magic coach Jacque Vaughn came to the defense of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, whose team was fined $250,000 Friday for not playing his three stars in Miami the night before. "I think (Popovich) does a great job historically. Whatever he's done over his coaching career, it's worked," Vaughn said.
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