Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 1/8

Game 1: Saturday, January 8th
Game 2: Saturday, March 5th
Game 3: Sunday, March 13th
Game 4: Saturday, April 2nd

Magic 105

(31-27, 10-19 away)

Nets 81


    7:30 PM ET, March 5, 2005

    IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

    1 2 3 4 T
    ORL 33 26 26 20105
    NJ 19 18 22 2281

    Top Performers

    Orl: S. Francis 26 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

    NJ: V. Carter 20 Pts, 6 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl

    Francis has 26; rookie Nelson shoots 7-of-9 FGs

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The Orlando Magic suddenly have a backcourt that is awfully tough to stop.

    Steve Francis scored 26 points and rookie Jameer Nelson added a career-high 22 as the Orlando Magic took a big early lead, made 60 percent of their shots and blew out the New Jersey Nets 105-81 Saturday night.

    The Magic won their third straight and snapped a five-game road losing streak.

    "I thought we had a good game together," Francis said. "I guess that's the vision the coaches were seeing when they decided to insert Jameer into the starting lineup."

    Kelvin Cato added 16 points for the Magic, who had four players in double figures. Nelson, further entrenched in the Orlando starting lineup after Doug Christie was placed on the injured list, shot 7-of-9 and had three assists.

    "They moved the ball, they hit shots, they found open people and I thought they did a good job defensively as well," Orlando coach Johnny Davis said of his backcourt that has started the past five games.

    Rookie Dwight Howard had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Magic, who shot 60 percent from the field for the game (39-of-65).

    Vince Carter led New Jersey with 20 points, the 18th straight game he's reached that mark.

    Orlando shot 63.9 percent in the first half in building a big lead, compared to only 31.1 percent for New Jersey.

    "They wanted it more than we wanted it. We had no energy, no effort, no nothing," Carter said. "They beat us from the jump, plain and simple."

    Francis shot 7-for-9 in the first quarter and scored 15 points, the same amount the Nets mustered against Orlando's zone defense. After Grant Hill's opening jumper went awry, Orlando made nine of 10 shots to open an 18-6 advantage. New Jersey missed 11 of its first 13 shots and was never in the game.

    The Magic's backcourt of Francis and Nelson outscored New Jersey counterparts Jason Kidd and Jacque Vaughn 30-2 in the first half -- helping Orlando take a 59-37 lead into the break and drawing hearty boos from the home crowd.

    It only got worse for the Nets early in the third quarter as the Magic opened with a 10-2 run paced by six points from Francis. Cato made three straight shots to give Orlando its biggest lead, 78-44 with 6:15 left in the third quarter.

    Kidd never got going, and left with 29.6 seconds remaining in the third quarter having committed five fouls. He had only five points on 2-of-10 shooting and four assists.

    Kidd was joined on the bench for the fourth quarter by the rest of New Jersey's starters.

    "We live and die by the jump shot. We couldn't make the perimeter shot against their zone and we fell right into their hands," Kidd said of the Nets, who shot 36.1 percent from the field.

    For the second straight night, the Magic built a big lead in the first quarter and cruised. On Friday, Orlando took a 38-25 advantage into the second quarter and beat the New York Knicks 111-89.

    "Second game straight we did that," Nelson said. "We got out to a large lead and held them down. We put our foot right on their throat."

    Despite flying to New Jersey for the second of back-to-back contests, the Magic appeared to be the fresher team against the Nets, who hadn't played since losing at home by 16 points to Miami on Thursday.

    "We've had times where we've come out aggressively and let up," Francis said. "I thought tonight we did a good job playing the second game of a back to back."

    Game notes

    The Magic placed Christie on the injured because of bone spurs in his left ankle. General manager John Weisbrod said "surgery seems likely." Christie missed practice on Thursday and the Magic's home victory over New York on Friday. ... Nelson, who played at Saint Joseph's in not-too-distant Philadelphia, left 20 tickets for friends and family. His previous game at the Meadowlands was his college finale -- a 64-62 loss to Oklahoma State in the 2004 NCAA tournament final eight. ... The Nets' worst loss this season was a 112-80 drubbing at Phoenix on Nov. 6. ... Carter has scored at least 20 points in 24 of 25 games.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 105 81
    FGM-FGA 39-65 (.600) 30-83 (.361)
    3PM-3PA 2-8 (.250) 5-17 (.294)
    FTM-FTA 25-33 (.758) 16-19 (.842)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-42 11-33
    Assists 15 22
    Turnovers 13 11
    Steals 6 5
    Blocks 4 3
    Fast Break Points 10 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 25 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 34 0

    Top Performers

    New Jersey
    Steve Francis Francis
    Points: 26
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Vince Carter Carter
    Points: 20
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0