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News » Jameer shines despite jamming toe

Jameer shines despite jamming toe

Jameer shines despite jamming toe
MINNEAPOLIS -- The return of defense and point guard Jameer Nelson from the X-ray room prevented the Orlando Magic from being upset by an NBA doormat.

The Magic improved their record to 24-6 and their winning streak to seven in a tougher-than-expected 118-94 victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves (5-24) on Saturday night at the Target Center.

It is the Magic's longest winning streak since the club won eight in a row in the 2005-2006 season.

The Magic finished an unusual stretch of 12 consecutive games against Western Conference teams, going 11-1 and beating powers such as San Antonio and the L.A. Lakers.

Nelson shook off a third-quarter toe injury and the Magic got their heart back into playing defense late in the game to stay hot.

With the scored tied at 82-82, Orlando dug in defensively and Nelson scored 12 of his 20 points during a remarkable 32-10 run.

Beginning a three-game trip to the Midwest, the Magic next face Allen Iverson and the Detroit Pistons -- who eliminated Orlando in the second round of the playoffs last season -- on Monday night. They then face the Bulls in Chicago on Wednesday.

Orlando finally pulled away midway into the final period. After Rashad McCants' jumper made it 90-84, the Magic surged ahead by nine at 96-87. Nelson had a layup and a jumper, and rookie Courtney Lee added a layup.

Rodney Carney had tied the game at 82 with a 3-pointer, and the Magic were getting a taste of their own long-range medicine.

Trailing 55-53 at halftime, the Magic found themselves behind by seven at 60-53 after guard Randy Foye's basket.

Orlando then went on one of the more impressive runs of the season, outscoring the T-Wolves 16-1 to take a 69-61 lead.

Three-pointers by Keith Bogans and Rashard Lewis highlighted the scoring splurge, but Nelson's injury momentarily tempered the excitement. He was replaced by veteran backup Anthony Johnson.

Nelson left the game with eight minutes left in the third quarter, grimacing and limping as he headed to the dressing room.

The initial report was that he had a jammed toe on his right foot, but X-rays revealed no serious damage.

Nelson, who has been playing his best stretch of Basketball in his five-year career, returned at 9:35 remaining in the game.

Lewis' drive put the Magic ahead 74-65, but the Magic still couldn't put away the T-Wolves. Ryan Gomes cut the lead to 79-74 with a bucket.

Things started out easy for the Magic -- way too easy, as it turned out.

They stormed to a 17-2 lead and Howard looked unstoppable, even hitting a nine-foot bank-shot.

But there is no slaughter rule in the NBA, and the Timberwolves stayed around. After trailing early by 15, they outscored the Magic 20-14 to trail 31-22 heading into the second quarter.

The T-Wolves figured out the Magic left their defensive intensity back in Orlando, and continued to make a run.

Foye exploited the Magic, and his basket gave Minnesota a 41-40 lead. The T-Wolves, who broke a 13-game losing streak with a victory Friday night in New York, tied it at 53 on McCants' 3-ball and went ahead at intermission on another McCants basket.

Forward Brian Cook was not with the club. He returned to Lincoln, Ill., to attend funeral services for his father. Norm Cook, a former Basketball player at Kansas and with the Boston Celtics, died last Monday. He was 53.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 30, 2008


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