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Nets 97, Magic 88

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NEW YORK — Forward Mirza Teletovic scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half and the Brooklyn Nets inched closer toward securing the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference with a 97-88 victory over the Orlando Magic Sunday night at Barclays Center.

Rookie center Mason Plumlee continued his strong play of late by collecting 17 points and 11 rebounds in 26 minutes as the primary backup to Kevin Garnett.

Guard Joe Johnson also added 17 points for the Nets, who can clinch the fifth spot with either a Washington loss to Miami on Monday or a win over New York Tuesday.

Point guard Deron Williams totaled 16 points and five assists for the Nets, who shot 46.6 percent (34-of-73) and made 12-of-29 3-pointers.

Forward Tobias Harris scored 18 points for Orlando, which is 4-36 on the road and dropped its ninth consecutive road game. Rookie guard Victor Oladipo added 14, getting 12 in the first half and a basket that gave Orlando a 59-55 lead with 6:58 remaining in the third quarter.

Three minutes after Oladipo’s final basket, the Nets seemed to be in command of their 44th win and 16th victory in 17 games. They scored the next 14 points as Teletovic hit two 3-pointers while Johnson and Williams also knocked down a 3-pointer.

The Nets outscored Orlando 24-11 over the final 6:58 of the third and took a 79-70 lead into the fourth.

The Magic were within 87-81 following consecutive dunks from forward Andrew Nicholson and guard E’Twaun Moore with about 5 1/2 minutes left.

That forced the Nets to bring back Johnson and Williams along with Garnett and they took a 90-81 lead on a corner 3-pointer by guard Marcus Thornton and went up by double digits on a pair of foul shots by Williams, who was fouled by Nicholson on a drive to the basket.

After Orlando guard Doron Lamb hit a 3-pointer with 2:46 remaining that made it 92-84, Garnett split a pair at the line with 2:22 and then forced a turnover by center Dewayne Dedmon in the high post. That led to two foul shots by Teletovic with 1:54 remaining and a double-digit lead that the Nets never relinquished until a meaningless basket in the final seconds.

Orlando raced out to a 17-9 lead on a short jumper by forward Kyle O’Quinn but the Nets came back with a 16-7 run that ended with two dunks by Plumlee and gave them a 25-24 lead with a minute remaining. Orlando took a 28-25 edge into the second on a basket by Harris.

The Magic expanded their lead to 44-38 on a 3-pointer by Oladipo with 3:24 remaining, but the Nets forged a 46-46 tie on a jumper by Garnett with 34 seconds left before Oladipo hit a free throw and O’Quinn had a layup that put Orlando ahead 49-46 at halftime.

NOTES: The Nets were without Gs Shaun Livingston (sprained big toe) and Alan Anderson (abdominal). Neither injury is considered serious. The Nets are resting the two to keep them fresh for the postseason. … Before the game, head coach Jason Kidd hinted that he might struggle playing all three of his centers during the playoffs, especially with Mason Plumlee’s emergence during the absence of Kevin Garnett in March. … Earlier in the season, C Andray Blatche was the primary backup for Garnett, checking in midway through first quarters but Sunday Blatche did not make his first appearance until the second quarter. … Orlando was without G Jameer Nelson (groin) and said that F Nikola Vucevic would sit for the remaining three games with a sore left Achilles. … Orlando’s final two games have significance as it faces Chicago, which currently occupies the third spot, and Indiana, which has a slim lead on Miami for the top seed.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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