ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando Magic finally are showing the patience in critical moments that coach Jacque Vaughn has been waiting for all season.
The Magic fought off repeated challenges from the Brooklyn Nets, many of them in the final two minutes, to claim a 115-111 victory over a playoff-bound team.
It was the second win a row where Orlando executed better than its opponent in the final minutes of a close game.
"We're continuing to learn at the end of games and not panic," Vaughn said. "I want these guys to enjoy what they do for a living. We come to work, we get better. That's what we do."
Arron Afflalo scored five of his 25 points in the final two minutes. Jameer Nelson was 4 of 4 from the free throw line in the final 13 seconds and Kyle O'Quinn had a key assist and block as Orlando made every play it needed to stop the Nets.
Reserve E'Twaun Moore made all six shots, five of them 3-pointers, to tie his season high of 17 points. Tobias Harris added 16 points and eight rebounds.
"We are better in close games and it shows the maturity and confidence we're gaining as a group," Afflalo said. "The Nets are one of the hottest teams since the new year and we got good performances from a lot of our role players."
The Magic needed a lot at both ends in the second half to stop a hot-shooting Brooklyn team that was making shots from everywhere. Joe Johnson led the Nets with 31 points, but had a potential game-tying 3-pointer blocked by Quinn with 10 seconds left in the game.
Mirza Teletovic, who was 1 for 10 from the field in the first half, hit four 3-pointers in the third period to start the Nets on their way to 23 of 37 (62.2 percent) shooting in the second half. Teletovic finished with 17 points and nine rebounds.
Mason Plumlee had 16 points and Marcus Thornton 13 off the bench for Brooklyn, which played without injured starters Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston.
"At the end, we executed offensively, but defensively, we didn't," Nets coach Jason Kidd said. "We pretty much had five guards out there, playing Joe at the center. We probably put him in a bad way, trying to make a 3 on a 7-footer (O'Quinn). As coaches we can get better. This was a learning experience."
Continue reading this story on the...