ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Brian Hill had a brief message for his
players before they went out to face the Miami Heat on Saturday.
"I told them eight is enough. Let's end it right here," the
Orlando Magic coach said of his team's losing streak against Miami.
"That's really all I had to say."
The Magic players took it from there, leading wire-to-wire
against their in-state rival and sealing their 80-77 victory with
tough defense and some clutch free-throw shooting.
Orlando held Miami to a season-low 32 percent shooting and made
two defensive stops in the final minute when Miami had the ball
DeShawn Stevenson forced Heat guard Dwyane Wade to miss from 20
feet on the first possession and Heat guard Gary Payton stepped out
of bounds to turn the ball over with 12 seconds left on the next
"We're winning these games because we're able to guard people
and make them take tough shots," said Hill, who promised just that
when he was rehired as the Magic coach last May. "You have to take
pride in your defense and our guys are starting to see the positive
results from that."
Wade led Miami with 21 points and Alonzo Mourning contributed a
season-high 21 rebounds and 15 points, but the Heat lost for the
third time in four games. Though they limited Orlando to 35 percent
shooting, they failed to take advantage of their 19 offensive
"We're not a team that has shown a consistency of energy or
intensity," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We want to play only
as much as we think we have to play. We put ourselves in some bad
situations and we're taking some tough losses because of it."
Stevenson hit two free throws with 4:54 left in the game to give
the Magic a 73-63 lead. Orlando got only one field goal the rest of
the game as Miami staged a late rally.
Jason Williams started it with back-to-back 3-pointers and
Payton hit another to cut the deficit to 76-72. Wade dunked to make
it 76-74 with 1:29 to play, but missed a 20-footer with Stevenson
in his face and just under a minute to play.
"When you're playing in a hole all game it kind of makes it
difficult," Mourning said. "I think every individual on this team
has to do a check of themselves mentally and understanding there is
a sense of urgency in starting games off with the energy we need to
The Heat got the ball back after Turkoglu missed from 20 feet,
but Payton stepped out of bounds under pressure from Francis,
denying Miami another shot at a tie.
Miami swept the series with Orlando the past two seasons.
... Mourning, who leads the NBA in blocked shots, had four
Saturday. ... Howard had his eighth double-double by halftime with
10 points and 10 rebounds. ... Miami had a streak of 21 straight
misses on 3-point attempts (0-for-11 against Dallas, 0-for-10
against Orlando) Payton's at the end of the third quarter. ...
Magic G Keyon Dooling went on the inactive list with an inflamed
plantar fascia in his right heel.