Sports

Nets survive comeback bid by Magic

Orlando, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Late in the third quarter, the Brooklyn Nets led by as many as 26, but they had to survive a furious fourth-quarter comeback in their 100-98 win over the Orlando Magic on Friday.

Orlando outscored Brooklyn 37-14 in the final period and cut its deficit down to one possession, but it could not hit a tying or go-ahead shot in the game's final minute.

Mason Plumlee led the Nets with 18 points and nine rebounds, and it was his reverse layup with 2:21 remaining that ended Orlando's 16-0 run to get back in the game.

"Better to learn in a win, but definitely a lot to learn from," said Plumlee. "Too many turnovers, I had five myself. Can't turn the ball over ... if you take care of that, it's not even a close game."

Brooklyn also got 16 points each from Brook Lopez and Deron Williams off the bench in its sixth win in seven games. Joe Johnson added 14 points, including two clutch free throws in the closing seconds.

Victor Oladipo led the Magic with 17 points despite not taking a shot in the final quarter. Elfrid Payton scored 16 points, handed out 10 assists and pulled down nine boards.

In its second straight loss, Orlando also got 14 points from Ben Gordon and 12 apiece from Tobias Harris and Evan Fournier.

Down 17 with just over a minute expired in the third quarter, Orlando went on a 10-0 run, capped by Payton converting a steal into a three-point play.

Minutes later, the Nets went on a 9-0 run of their own. On back-to-back possessions, Plumlee threw down a dunk in transition after a no-look pass from Jarrett Jack, and Kevin Garnett followed that with his first 3- pointer since the 2012-13 season.

Orlando did not hit a shot from the floor for the final three minutes of the quarter, and it would trail 86-61 after three periods.

In the fourth, Alan Anderson's 3-pointer at the 8:16 mark extended the Nets' lead back to 24 points, but Orlando had one last run in them. They ran off 16 straight points to pull within eight.

Gordon scored 10 in a row, and Payton chipped in the next four. Those two players combined for 14 of the Magic's 16 points.

Plumlee's bucket ended the scoring drought that lasted nearly six minutes, but Orlando responded with back-to-back triples from Channing Frye and Fournier.

With 31.9 seconds left, Gordon missed a baseline jumper that would have pulled the Magic within one, and Fournier followed that with a missed 3 after a Nets turnover gave Orlando life.

Johnson hit his free throws the following possession, and they proved to be crucial. With three seconds left, Payton hit a 3-pointer after grabbing an offensive rebound, but Orlando was unable to foul to stop the clock as the game ended.

"I just think we talked about in the huddle, just continuing to play," said Magic coach Jacque Vaughn. "That group out there played really well together. They were feisty, they were competitive and had no quit in them. It was good to see."

Despite making 10-of-16 shots from the field in the first quarter, the Nets trailed 25-22 after one Orlando turned seven Brooklyn turnovers into seven points and scored six on the break.

The Nets continued to shoot well in the second, making 13-of-22 shots to finish the half shooting 60.5 percent. They also took control defensively, limiting Orlando to 15 points in the quarter on 22.7 percent shooting.

Brooklyn's turnaround was spurred by its bench featuring former All-Stars Williams and Lopez. The Brooklyn reserves scored 19 of their 26 first- half points in the second quarter when the Nets turned their three-point deficit into a 52-40 lead at the break.

The Nets would have their best shooting performance in the third quarter. They hit 68.4 percent of their shots from the field in the period, including going 3-of-6 from long distance.

Game Notes

Brooklyn's 16-16 record puts them at .500 for the first time since they were 4-4 on Nov. 13 ... The Nets improved to 13-1 when leading after three quarters ... Brooklyn has won three straight against the Magic ... Orlando scored 27 points off 22 Brooklyn turnovers compared to the Nets scoring 13 off Orlando's 11 giveaways ... The season series concludes at Brooklyn on April 15.