Final

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 12/16

Game 1: Friday, December 16th
Magic103Final
OT
Mavericks109
Game 2: Friday, March 31st
Mavericks99Final
Magic108

Mavericks 99

(54-19, 24-13 away)

Magic 108

(29-44, 21-14 home)

    Coverage: FSSW

    7:00 PM ET, March 31, 2006

    Amway Arena, Orlando, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    DAL 27 17 26 2999
    ORL 29 27 31 21108

    Top Performers

    Dallas: D. Nowitzki 38 Pts, 15 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Blk

    Orlando: J. Nelson 27 Pts, 2 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl

    Magic hand slumping Mavs third straight loss

    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Orlando coach Brian Hill was happy to see the Magic beat one of the NBA's elite teams.

    Jameer Nelson scored 27 points and Hedo Turkoglu added 25 to help the Magic beat Dallas 108-99 on Friday night and hand the Mavericks their third straight loss.

    "This was a big step for us," Hill said. "I think we're becoming a basketball team rather than a collection of individuals. To me it's very rewarding to see how, at this stage of the season, how hard these guys are playing."

    The Mavericks fell another half-game behind San Antonio in the playoff chase to clinch the Southwest Division, putting them 2½ games back with nine left to play. The teams are battling for the West's best record, but since they are both in the same division the second place finisher will get the No. 4 seed when the playoffs start in three weeks. The top three seeds go to division winners.

    Dallas has now lost five of last seven games, while Orlando has won seven in a row at home.

    "We played a short stretch there in the fourth quarter a little bit," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "But other than that we didn't play well at all again tonight, and that's what concerns me.

    "They had a lot of energy and they were playing loose. And their point guards destroyed us. It's that simple."

    Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 38 points and 15 rebounds. Jason Terry scored 23 points and Jerry Stackhouse added 14. Josh Howard started his first game after missing the last nine with a strained hamstring, finishing with 10 points and five rebounds.

    Dwight Howard finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds for Orlando.

    The Magic led 87-70 after three quarters, but Dallas opened the fourth with a 15-4 run to close the gap to 91-85 with 6:42 left.

    Orlando didn't score a field goal for the first 5:30 of the fourth quarter after shooting 72 percent from the field in the third. However, two back-to-back buckets from Turkoglu and DeShawn Stevenson put them up by 10 with 5:49 left.

    The Mavericks whittled the lead to five points with Terry's 3-pointer with 4:23 left, but could only manage three points in the next three minutes of play.

    Dwight Howard hit two free throws with 1:19 to go, putting Orlando up 103-95. Orlando hit 13-of-15 from the free throw line in the fourth period.

    "Our coach said before the game, we got three good teams coming up in Miami, Dallas and San Antonio. We want to go out and try to beat all three teams. We started off tonight with a good win," Dwight Howard said.

    The Magic took a 56-44 lead into halftime after starting the second quarter with a 12-2 run. Dallas went nearly five minutes without a point in the period. Nowitzki was the only offensive threat, scoring 11 of the Mavericks' 17 points that quarter.

    Game notes


    DeSagana Diop fouled out with 1:19 left. He had three points and four rebounds. ... The Magic honored those in the military by distributing 2,500 tickets for Friday's "Seats for Soldiers" event. ... G/F Adrian Griffin (strained right hamstring) and G Devin Harris (strained left quadriceps) were inactive for Dallas. ... Dallas coach Avery Johnson, Stackhouse and Stevenson were all called for technical fouls. ... Mavericks center DJ Mbenga sat out Friday's game after being suspended one game without pay by the NBA for committing a flagrant foul against Cleveland's LeBron James.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    DAL
    ORL
    Points 99 108
    FGM-FGA 36-81 (.444) 39-70 (.557)
    3PM-3PA 6-26 (.231) 5-12 (.417)
    FTM-FTA 21-25 (.840) 25-30 (.833)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-33 3-34
    Assists 17 13
    Turnovers 12 14
    Steals 8 7
    Blocks 5 6
    Fast Break Points 12 17
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (4/0) 23 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 6 18

    Top Performers

    Dallas
    Orlando
    Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
    Points: 38
    Reb: 15
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Jameer Nelson Nelson
    Points: 27
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0