ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Nikola Vucevic scored 25 points and Aaron Gordon had 21 points and 10 rebounds to help the Orlando Magic beat the Miami Heat 110-99 on Friday night.
The Magic beat the Heat for the third straight time to win the season series 3-1. Miami entered the night a game out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
After trailing by as many as 19 points in the second half, Miami made it interesting with Wayne Ellington and James Johnson coming off the bench to hit some big shots. But with starting guards Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters struggling from the field, the comeback attempt fell short.
Johnson led Miami with 19 points, and Dragic and Hassan Whiteside each had 15 points.
Miami pulled with six points when Dragic made two of three free throws with four minutes left. The Magic countered with a 7-0 run that made it 104-91. Gordon and Vucevic had big inside baskets and Evan Fournier made a 3-pointer with 2:15 remaining to end any threat of a comeback.
Vucevic made five of seven shots from the field in the third quarter to help push the Magic’s lead to as many as 19 points. Vucevic scored 12 points in the period, hitting a 3-pointer from the top of the key to get the run going.
Heat: After missing the last two games, backup center Willie Reed went through practice Thursday and shoot around Friday and was cleared to play Friday night. Reed had been out since suffering an ankle injury last Saturday against Indiana. … During the first six minutes, the Heat were shooting 16.7 percent from the field and trailed Orlando 19-7.
Magic: Point guard C.J. Watson returned to action Friday night after missing the previous three games with a sore right Achilles. But Watson did assume his starting role with Frank Vogel opting to stick with Elfrid Payton for now. … Fournier, who finished with 11 points Friday, averaged 23.3 points in the previous three meetings with the Heat this season. … Gordon had 17 points and nine rebounds in the first half.
Heat: Host Cleveland on Saturday.
Magic: At Washington on Sunday.
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