Heat rally in 4th, top struggling Magic 107-89
ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 27, 2017 10:55 AM
Orlando Magic guard Mario Hezonja (8) defends against Miami Heat center Kelly Olynyk (9) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, in Miami. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)
By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press
MIAMI (AP) — Josh Richardson scored 20 points, Wayne Ellington had 12 of his 18 points in a dominant fourth quarter and the Miami Heat beat the struggling Orlando Magic 107-89 on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time).
Tyler Johnson added 17, Kelly Olynyk scored 15 and Goran Dragic had 14 for the Heat, who outscored Orlando 39-21 in the fourth — the biggest margin by Miami in a final quarter this season.
Hassan Whiteside returned from an 11-game absence with a bone bruise in his left knee, adding seven points and eight rebounds in 18 minutes.
Elfrid Payton scored 19 points for Orlando, which now has two separate nine-game losing streaks this season. The Magic started 8-4, and are 3-20 since.
Evan Fournier and Mario Hezonja had 14 apiece for Orlando, which got 12 from Marreese Speights. The Magic led by 10 in the third quarter, and got outscored by 28 in the final 20 minutes.
Miami topped Orlando for the first time in the teams' last five meetings, and Ellington's four three's in the fourth were a big reason why. The Heat started 3-for-19 from three-point range, then made eight of their final 14 from deep. Miami shot 56 percent in the final quarter, after shooting only 41 percent through the first three.
Orlando scored 12 points in the game's first 10 minutes — then scored 13 in the next three minutes.
That spurt started what became a 35-15 run over 11 minutes for the Magic, who turned what was a nine-point early deficit into an 11-point lead late in the half. They kept Miami to a 3-for-16 effort from three-point range in the half, held a 13-2 edge in points off turnovers and wound up taking a 49-43 edge into the break.
Orlando's lead was still 10 in the third, and then things went back-and-forth for a bit. Miami went on a 17-2 run to take a 64-59 lead, Orlando answered with a 7-0 spurt, and the teams were tied at 68 going into the fourth.
Magic: Orlando was missing three starters from its opening-night win over Miami — Nikola Vucevic, Terrence Ross and Aaron Gordon. Vucevic has had surgery to repair his fractured hand, and the Magic are hoping he's back in about two months. ... This is the first time since 2013-14 that the Magic have had multiple losing streaks of nine or more games in the same season.
Heat: Miami has 158 three-pointers in December, with two games left this month. The team record for three's in a month is 182 — set last month. ... It was the third game in an eight-game stretch where the Heat won't leave Florida; seven of those at home, the other in Orlando.
BLOCK OR CHARGE
Speights and Miami's Jordan Mickey were both issued fouls with 9:50 left. Referee Eric Lewis called Speights for a block on Mickey's drive, while ref Lauren Holtkamp under the basket had it as an offensive foul. The Heat wound up getting three points out of the possession; Richardson was fouled on a three and made all three free throws.
ONE MORE TIME
The teams end 2017 against one another Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) in Orlando. The Magic are 3-1 against the Heat this year.
Magic: Host Detroit on Thursday (Friday, PHL time).
Heat: Host Brooklyn on Friday (Saturday, PHL time).