NEW YORK (AP) — The Orlando Magic were way down and in danger of falling further behind in the race for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
They turned things around with their biggest comeback of the season and hope it shows they have plenty of fight left for the final stretch.
Aaron Gordon had 27 points, 10 rebounds and a big blocked shot in the final seconds, helping the Magic rally for a 115-113 victory over the Brooklyn Nets yesterday.
Orlando charged back from a 19-point deficit to move within one-and-a-half games of the Nets for the seventh spot in the East.
“We’re in the hunt, so this was a good win to get for us,” Gordon said. “I feel like we’ve let go of a lot of games and now it’s time to get a hold of them.”
Terrence Ross added 21 points and eight rebounds, Evan Fournier scored 21 and Nikola Vucevic had 16 points and 10 boards for the Magic, who were superb offensively in the second half when they couldn’t rely on their trusty defence to get stops.
Orlando scored 74 points after halftime, sparked in part by Vucevic urging his teammates to move the ball. Ross was eight for nine in the second half, when he had all his points.
“Every team in our league will have really good wins this year,” Orlando coach Steve Clifford said. “This was a really good win and we’ll see, we’ll see what we make of it.”
Spencer Dinwiddie had 24 points and eight assists for the Nets, who had won five straight at home by double digits and appeared poised to extend that streak.
“We all know what happened. There wasn’t too much to talk about,” Dinwiddie said. “It ain’t no secret sauce. We got to play defence well.”
The Nets extended their lead to 67-48 early in the third before Vucevic rebounded from a two-point first half by going five for five for 12 points in Orlando’s 40-point third quarter that cut it
to 87-81. Orlando then opened the fourth with a 7-0 spurt, with Ross’ dunk with 10:35 remaining making it 88-87 and giving the Magic their first lead since the first quarter. Neither team led by more than four from there.
Gordon’s three-pointer made it 115-111 with 1:12 to play, but Brooklyn cut it to two on Jarrett Allen’s dunk. The Nets had a chance to tie, but Gordon blocked Caris LeVert near the rim with 14 seconds remaining.
Brooklyn got a final chance after Orlando threw away an inbounds pass as Clifford tried to call a timeout, but couldn’t get off a good shot.