Nets vs Magic-Lets Go Nets
Let's Go Nets. We need this win. Nets have proven they can shut down dwight howard. We need another 1 pt night shutdown on him again!
By DAN PIERINGER, STATS Writer=
Posted Mar 22 2007 4:40PM
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2006-07 Stats at a GlanceTwo teams fighting to stay in the Eastern Conference playoff picture square off Friday when the Orlando Magic host the New Jersey Nets.
Orlando (31-38) has lost five of its last seven games, but remains in the mix for one of the conference's final two playoff spots. New Jersey (31-37) has won three of five to climb into seventh place despite opening the month with a five-game losing streak.
The Magic will be trying to bounce back from a 92-85 loss to Toronto on Wednesday. Orlando's Dwight Howard had 17 points and 12 rebounds on 6-of-8 shooting, recording his 49th double-double of the season and sixth in seven games. Howard, though, went 5-of-13 from the free-throw line, including two misses late in the fourth quarter.
"It's a little frustrating to let a game like this slip away," Howard said. "If I would have made them it would have kept us in the game."
The Magic shot 37.3 from the field, their second-lowest mark of the season, and were outrebounded 55-38 to match their largest deficit on the boards in 2006-07.
They'll look to put that poor performance behind them when they face a New Jersey team that's won two of three games in the season series heading into Friday's finale.
"What happened in the past is in the past," said Grant Hill, who scored 24 points - one shy of his season high - Wednesday. "We are still in a situation, fighting for our playoff lives and we are still in the hunt. We have to regroup and get ready for Friday night and get ready for the rest of the season."
The Nets are coming off a frustrating defeat of their own. They had a seven-point halftime lead, but were outscored 31-16 in the third quarter en route to a 94-90 home loss to Denver on Tuesday.
For the seventh time in nine games, New Jersey shot under 45 percent from the floor. In their last 13 games, the Nets are 5-1 when shooting 45 percent or better, and 1-6 when finishing below that mark.
"We had some great opportunities but we missed some shots that we should have hit," guard Jason Kidd told the team's official Web site. "We have to live with that and push forward and get ready for Orlando."
The Nets need two of their top scorers to find their range against the Magic. Kidd is shooting just 32.4 percent this month, and Richard Jefferson is connecting on 36.2 percent in his last three contests.
Despite the shooting woes, the Nets have won two in a row on the road to snap a season-high five-game skid away from home. They'll look to keep that streak going as they take on an Orlando club that's lost four of six at Amway Arena since the All-Star break.
New Jersey has dominated the series over the past five seasons, going 15-6 against Orlando since Jan. 12, 2002, including 5-1 over the last two seasons.
Vince Carter scored 32 points to lead the Nets to a 93-78 home win when the teams last met Feb. 10. Howard had 25 points and 12 rebounds for the Magic.