Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 11/26

Game 1: Saturday, November 26th
Game 2: Tuesday, February 14th
Game 3: Wednesday, February 15th
Game 4: Sunday, April 9th

Magic 93

(32-44, 9-30 away)

Heat 84

(50-27, 29-9 home)

    6:00 PM ET, April 9, 2006

    AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    ORL 27 29 19 1893
    MIA 18 25 23 1884

    Top Performers

    Orl: J. Nelson 26 Pts, 2 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl

    Mia: D. Wade 27 Pts, 2 Reb, 7 Ast, 4 Stl, 1 Blk

    Magic win eighth of nine; Heat drop second in row

    MIAMI (AP) -- The team built to win a championship is slumping as the postseason looms. And the club holding barely a sliver of playoff hope couldn't be performing any better.

    Jameer Nelson scored 26 points and the Orlando Magic won for the eighth time in nine games, beating Miami 93-84 on Sunday night and handing the Heat their first two-game home losing streak of the season.

    The Magic closed within three games of Chicago and Philadelphia for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot.

    Dwight Howard had 16 points and Hedo Turkoglu added 14 for Orlando, which has beaten the East's top two teams in consecutive outings; the Magic, who still have a mathematical postseason shot, nipped Detroit on Friday night.

    The Heat got 27 points from Dwyane Wade and 16 points and nine rebounds from Shaquille O'Neal.

    "We're not talking about the playoffs," Magic guard DeShawn Stevenson said. "We're talking about each game. We go into every game worried about the team we're playing."

    Meanwhile, it seems as if Heat coach Pat Riley goes into every game these days worried about his club, which has dropped six of its last 11 games.

    Riley blamed himself for the loss, saying he made the wrong substitutions, called the wrong plays, didn't inspire his team -- and, perhaps most significantly, said he started the wrong lineup, strongly indicating that changes could be coming for the Heat's final five regular-season contests.

    "It's almost a crossroads for me right now, to find the competitive warriors and the competitiveness of those guys will transcend the talent and reputation," Riley said. "I'm going to try to find the guys who are going to try to play the hardest and best in support of our two great players."

    Miami's loss, combined with New Jersey's win in Milwaukee earlier Sunday, left the Heat 2½ games ahead of the Nets in the race to clinch the East's No. 2 seed. The Heat have five games remaining, the Nets six.

    Orlando's 20-point third-quarter lead was sliced to five on Wade's jumper early in the fourth, but five straight points from former Miami guard Keyon Dooling squashed that rally and helped the Magic beat their in-state rival for the second time in 12 meetings.

    How tough were things for Miami? The Heat missed three dunks, two by O'Neal and another when Wade couldn't convert after a steal early in the third quarter.

    "This team came out and beat us," Wade said. "Every time we made a run, they came back and made a run. We lost this one. ... We know that we're a couple of shots and a couple of defensive plays away from being a great team."

    Miami led only once -- 2-0 -- while allowing the Magic to shoot 61 percent and score 15 points off turnovers in the opening half. Wade and O'Neal were a combined 11-for-16 from the field in the half; their teammates were a combined 6-for-15.

    "We didn't come ready to play," forward Udonis Haslem said. "Give Orlando credit. They played a good game tonight and beat us. This is one you have to put behind you and move on."

    Nelson had 10 of Orlando's final 12 points in the half, including a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds remaining for a 56-43 lead. And after Wade's missed dunk about 90 seconds into the third quarter, Nelson immediately followed with another 3-pointer for what was then Orlando's biggest lead, 61-43.

    Miami closed the quarter on an 18-7 run -- capped by Michael Doleac's short bank shot with no time remaining to get the Heat within 75-66 entering the fourth. But the Magic survived the challenge.

    "It's all going to be decided in Game 82," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "Those six, seven and eight spots are going to be decided on the last day of the year."

    Game notes

    Wade became the first player in Heat history with 2,000 points in a season. He now has 2,007. ... Magic G Carlos Arroyo missed the second half with a strained left hamstring. ... Orlando had a pair of 8-0 runs in the first quarter. ... Derek Anderson's 3-pointer with 7:45 left in the third was Miami's first one at home in its last 16 attempts. ... O'Neal's fourth-grade teacher from Fort Stewart, Ga., Annette Swann, 76, saw him play for the first time. "She was one of the first people to believe in me," said O'Neal, who arranged tickets for Swann and her daughter Amy Allyn, plus hotel accommodations and gifts from the Heat store.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 93 84
    FGM-FGA 34-66 (.515) 33-66 (.500)
    3PM-3PA 4-7 (.571) 2-9 (.222)
    FTM-FTA 21-30 (.700) 16-23 (.696)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 4-25 8-37
    Assists 13 18
    Turnovers 14 20
    Steals 11 6
    Blocks 2 5
    Fast Break Points 15 8
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/1) 25 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 20 2

    Top Performers

    Jameer Nelson Nelson
    Points: 26
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Dwyane Wade Wade
    Points: 27
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 4
    Blk: 1