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Magic stop Suns, top last season’s road win total

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PHOENIX — The Orlando Magic were confident they would win more than four road games this season. Even so, getting the fifth before the end of November shows the forward progress the franchise is taking.

Forward Tobias Harris led a balanced Orlando attack with 21 points, and the Magic held off a late rally from the suddenly struggling Phoenix Suns to win 93-90 Sunday at US Airways Center.

Magic center Nikola Vucevic added 18 points and the biggest basket of the night, a 6-footer with 42.9 seconds left.

Orlando, which finished 4-37 on the road last season, improved to 5-7 away from Amway Center in 2014-15, surprising a Phoenix team that won five of its previous seven.

“There were a lot of ups and downs in the game, but we stuck to our principles defensively, and that’s why we were able to hold them off,” said Harris, who led or tied for the team lead in scoring eight times this season. “We got contributions from a lot of guys tonight, and that’s how we have to have it to win. This was a good step for us.”

Guard Evan Fournier and Victor Oladipo had 15 and 12 points, respectively, for Orlando, which had lost four in a row, including a 15-point defeat at Indiana on Friday. The Magic (7-12) had to overcome 22 turnovers for the win Sunday.

“This was a good bounce-back game for us,” Harris said. “We didn’t really have to respond with words. It’s just going out there and playing hard. To get a road win against a good team like Phoenix is extremely important.”

Guard Goran Dragic had 22 points and eight rebounds, and forward Markieff Morris had 18 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for Phoenix (10-8). Playing without leading scorer Isaiah Thomas (foot) for a third consecutive game, the Suns bench that leads the league in scoring at 47 points per game produced only 21 on Sunday, while the starters committed 17 of the team’s 19 turnovers.

“We played hard for about 12 minutes, and that was about it,” Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said. “We want to continually go through the motions and think that we’re just going to beat teams and not get dirty and not get hit and not get scratched up.

“The guys saw in the fourth quarter, when they play (the right) way, they are pretty good.”

Guard Eric Bledsoe had 13 points on 5-for-14 shooting, and center Miles Plumlee added 12 for the Suns, who began the night 6-0 when holding opponents under 100 points this season.

“We had too many turnovers, and I think most of the game our effort was not there,” Dragic said. “They got all of the 50-50 balls and all of the rebounds, and it was really tough for us to score.”

The rebounding totals were tighter than Dragic indicated, as Orlando emerged with a 47-43 edge.

The Suns trailed 77-62 with 6:55 left and put on a furious comeback to pull within 83-80 on two Morris free throws with 1:02 left.

Vucevic then scored his huge bucket for Orlando, and Hornacek, screaming for a travelling call, was called for a technical foul.

“We didn’t get the shot we wanted there, and Tobias did a good job getting me the ball as the clock was running down and I felt like I had a good advantage there,” Vucevic said. “I didn’t see the play, so I can’t tell you (if I traveled). This is huge for us because we didn’t let them tie the game; we kept the lead and finished it off the right way,”

The Suns got as close as 91-90 on a 3-pointer by guard Gerald Green with 2.2 seconds left, but they were out of timeouts. Fournier hit two free throws with 1.6 seconds to go, and the Suns never got another shot off.

“We had a great practice yesterday, so I guess it was just one of those days,” Green said. “I never really thought that we were going to lose that game. I think everyone in that locker room was kind of shocked.”

The Magic led by as many as five in the first quarter thanks to nine points by Harris and six from Oladipo. Guard Ben Gordon’s 10-footer with 40.9 seconds left gave Orlando a 27-23 lead at the quarter. The Suns committed six turnovers in the opening quarter but kept pace with a combined 14 points from Dragic and Bledsoe.

Orlando led 52-39 at the half.

The Suns came out strong in the third quarter, with forward Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris and Plumlee scoring all the points during a 10-0 run. However, the Magic stopped the rally, and the Suns scored just nine points the rest of the quarter. Orlando restored the lead with 3-pointer by forward Channing Frye, capping a 13-5 run that put the Magic up 69-56 in the final minute of the third quarter.

NOTES: Magic F Channing Frye averaged 11.4 points during his four years with the Suns. The Phoenix St. Mary’s High School and University of Arizona product made 594 3-pointers during that span, which ranks sixth on the all-time franchise list. … Suns G Isaiah Thomas missed his third consecutive game due to a right foot contusion. … The Suns lost 112-97 in Denver to the Nuggets Friday, just the 11th time they lost a game by 10 points or more since Jeff Hornacek became coach to start the 2012-13 season. Only Toronto (six) has fewer over that span. … Magic G Aaron Gordon (foot) missed his eighth straight game. “He was really starting to understand his role on our team,” Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn said. … The Suns were 10-7 through 17 games, their best start since going 14-3 to start the 2009-10 season, when they reached the Western Conference finals.

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