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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- ORLANDO 24 21 25 26 96 NEW JERSEY 20 19 28 21 88 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: ORL - DARRELL ARMSTRONG 23, RON MERCER 22, JOHN AMAECHI 12 NJN - JOHNNY NEWMAN 27, KEITH VAN HORN 25, KENDALL GILL 15

HIGH REBOUND: ORL - BEN WALLACE 20, BO OUTLAW 12 NJN - KEITH VAN HORN 17, TWO PLAYERS WITH 6

HIGH ASSISTS: ORL - DARRELL ARMSTRONG 6, CHUCKY ATKINS 4 NJN - KENDALL GILL 6, LUCIOUS HARRIS 5

ATT: 16,347


Extended Box

ORLANDO (96) AT NEW JERSEY (88)

ORLANDO REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

OUTLAW F 40 1-4 1-4 6 6 12 3 2 1 2 3 WALLACE F 38 4-9 1-3 8 12 20 1 1 1 2 9 AMAECHI C 26 4-14 4-4 0 2 2 1 2 0 2 12 D ARMSTRONG G 34 9-14 4-4 1 4 5 6 2 1 3 23 MERCER G 39 9-22 4-4 1 2 3 2 3 4 3 22 DOLEAC 5 2-4 0-0 0 4 4 2 0 0 0 4 ATKINS 15 0-4 3-4 0 0 0 4 3 0 3 3 P GARRITY 16 2-3 0-0 0 1 1 0 3 0 1 5 WILLIAMS 18 4-6 0-0 5 2 7 0 2 0 1 8 MAGGETTE 9 1-3 5-6 1 1 2 0 3 1 1 7 JOHNSON DNP - COACH'S DECISION STRONG DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 36-83 22-29 22 34 56 19 21 8 18 96 (.434) (.759) TEAM REBS: 7 TOTAL TO: 19(24 PTS)

NEW JERSEY REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

GILL F 44 6-17 2-4 3 3 6 6 5 4 4 15 VAN HORN F 46 12-26 1-3 9 8 17 4 4 1 4 25 MCILVAINE C 15 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 HARRIS G 39 5-14 0-0 1 4 5 5 3 0 1 10 PERRY G 25 5-10 0-0 1 0 1 4 2 2 1 10 FEICK 32 0-1 1-2 1 5 6 0 6 0 1 1 NEWMAN 32 8-15 8-8 0 1 1 3 4 0 1 27 BURRELL 2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 HENDRICKSON 5 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 KITTLES DNP - SORE RIGHT KNEE MARBURY DNP - SORE LEFT KNEE G MURESAN DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 36-84 12-17 15 21 36 22 25 7 12 88 (.429) (.706) TEAM REBS: 8 TOTAL TO: 15(17 PTS)

ORLANDO 24 21 25 26 - 96 NEW JERSEY 20 19 28 21 - 88

BLOCKED SHOTS: ORLANDO - OUTLAW 7, WALLACE 3, AMAECHI, P GARRITY, WILLIAMS. NEW JERSEY - MCILVAINE 3, VAN HORN. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: ORLANDO 2-7 (.286), D ARMSTRONG 1-3, MERCER 0-2, P GARRITY 1-2. NEW JERSEY 4-12 (.333), GILL 1-1, VAN HORN 0-5, HARRIS 0-1, NEWMAN 3-5. TECHNICALS: NEW JERSEY - NEWMAN. OFFICIALS: JACK NIES, RON OLESIAK, RASHAN MICHEL. A - 16,347. T - 2:05.


Box Score

ORLANDO (96) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Outlaw 40 1-4 1-4 6-12 3 2 3 Wallace 38 4-9 1-3 8-20 1 1 9 Amaechi 26 4-14 4-4 0-2 1 2 12 D Armstrong 34 9-14 4-4 1-5 6 2 23 Mercer 39 9-22 4-4 1-3 2 3 22 Doleac 5 2-4 0-0 0-4 2 0 4 Atkins 15 0-4 3-4 0-0 4 3 3 P Garrity 16 2-3 0-0 0-1 0 3 5 Williams 18 4-6 0-0 5-7 0 2 8 Maggette 9 1-3 5-6 1-2 0 3 7 Johnson DNP - coach's decision Strong DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 36-83 22-29 22-56 19 21 96 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.434, FT-.759. 3-Point Goals: 2-7, .286 (D Armstrong 1-3, Mercer 0-2, P Garrity 1-2). Team rebounds: 7. Blocked shots: 13 (Outlaw 7, Wallace 3, Amaechi, P Garrity, Williams). Turnovers: 19 (Atkins 3, D Armstrong 3, Mercer 3, Amaechi 2, Outlaw 2, Wallace 2, Maggette, P Garrity, Williams). Steals: 8 (Mercer 4, D Armstrong, Maggette, Outlaw, Wallace).

NEW JERSEY (88) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Gill 44 6-17 2-4 3-6 6 5 15 Van Horn 46 12-26 1-3 9-17 4 4 25 Mcilvaine 15 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 Harris 39 5-14 0-0 1-5 5 3 10 Perry 25 5-10 0-0 1-1 4 2 10 Feick 32 0-1 1-2 1-6 0 6 1 Newman 32 8-15 8-8 0-1 3 4 27 Burrell 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Hendrickson 5 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Kittles DNP - sore right knee Marbury DNP - sore left knee G Muresan DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 36-84 12-17 15-36 22 25 88 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.429, FT-.706. 3-Point Goals: 4-12, .333 (Gill 1-1, Van Horn 0-5, Harris 0-1, Newman 3-5). Team rebounds: 8. Blocked shots: 4 (Mcilvaine 3, Van Horn). Turnovers: 15 (Gill 4, Van Horn 4, Feick, Harris, Newman, Perry). Steals: 7 (Gill 4, Perry 2, Van Horn). ____________________________________________ Orlando 24 21 25 26 - 96 New Jersey 20 19 28 21 - 88 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: New Jersey 1 (Newman, 3:35 2nd). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 16,347. T: 2:05. Officials: Jack Nies, Ron Olesiak, Rashan Michel.


Game Story

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Darrell Armstrong knows the way to the playoffs.

Armstrong scored 23 points, including six during a decisive fourth-quarter burst, as the Orlando Magic took the lead in the race for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot with a 96-88 victory over the floundering New Jersey Nets.

Armstrong, the lone remaining starter from last season's Magic team that cruised into the postseason at 33-17, helped this season's unit claim eighth place in the East tonight.

After Johnny Newman singlehandedly shot the slumping Nets back within 84-83 with 4:17 to play by scoring 15 straight points for New Jersey, Armstrong imposed his will on the game.

Last season's Most Improved Player hit a 22-footer, a 15-footer and two free throws to help Orlando open a 94-85 lead and close the game with a 12-5 run.

Armstrong connected on 9-of-14 shots, handed out six assists and grabbed five rebounds for the Magic, who moved one game ahead of Milwaukee. The Bucks suffered a 109-106 overtime loss against Charlotte.

"We need to play," Rivers said. "I think we're hoping right now. This is such a young team. The last three games I thought we've been a little tight. We haven't played with the agressiveness that gave us our name this year. It's a situation that we can only talk about as coaches. It's a situation they've never been in."

Ron Mercer scored 22 points and John Amaechi scored 10 of his 12 in the first quarter for Orlando, which snapped a two-game road skid and will visit Miami on Sunday before hosting the Bucks on Monday.

Newman finished with 27 points and Keith Van Horn added 25 and 17 rebounds for New Jersey (31-49), which suffered its ninth straight loss, marking its longest skid since an 11-game losing streak from December 22, 1990-January 15, 1991.

Kendall Gill scored 15 points and Lucious Harris and Elliot Perry added 10 apiece for the Nets, who shot 43 percent (36-of-84) and were outrebounded, 56-36.

Ben Wallace had nine points and 20 rebounds for Orlando, which shot 43 percent (36-of-83) and overcame 19 turnovers.

Pat Garrity hit a 17-footer to give the Magic a 77-68 cushion with 9:29 to play before Newman caught fire. The 6-7 swingman made a driving layup, four free throws, another layup, two more from the line and a 25-footer to pull New Jersey within 84-81 with 5:19 remaining.

"The second half, I went in there and was aggressive and I just produced," Newman said. "It was a great feeling. I had a rhythm."

"I kept looking up at the scoreboard when all of those things were going on and I saw Milwaukee was up by 10 (points) and I said that fate was not on our side tonight," Rivers said. "Then, when Darrell made (those) shots, I looked up again at the scoreboard and I thought our fate has changed. I decided to put (the game) in the hands of our leader."

Newman sank an 18-footer to cut the lead to one before Bo Outlaw and Van Horn exchanged baskets. Amaechi hit two from the line to give the Magic an 88-85 advantage before Armstrong buried two straight jumpers and two free throws to make it a nine-point bulge with 39 seconds left.

"I told (Rivers), let's go with a (pick-and-roll) and he did and that is what we ran," Armstrong said. "All I did was dip in and dip out and tried to fake them out and make sure they weren't going to be able to block my shot."

The Nets never led but forged 10 ties in the early going before falling behind for good in the third quarter.

Orlando lost its first three encounters with New Jersey this season before taking the final two meetings.

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