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Magic Hose Down Heat


Defensive timing was everything for Orlando's Isaac Austin on Sunday.

Miami's Alonzo Mourning was having his way early, connecting on 11-of-20 shots for 24 points while pulling down 15 rebounds.

Orlando was holding an 88-85 lead with 1:25 remaining when it turned the ball over. The Heat ran a play to Mourning, but Austin rose up to the challenge and blocked his shot with 48 seconds remaining. Orlando finished with a 6-2 run to a 94-87 victory.

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  • Mourning gave Austin credit for the key defensive stop.

    "That was a good play," Mourning said. "There aren't too many times that has happened. I took it strong to the basket and I thought he was under the basket. I just laid it up and I should have just dunked it. "

    "There are some good athletes in this league. I know next time to dunk it."

    Austin said it's impossible to shut down a player such as Mourning. Instead, he was hoping to just make a play when one was needed.

    "He's going to get his points," Austin said. "It's when he gets them. In the second quarter he scored a lot. Early in the third quarter he scored a lot. Then he just died off because the defense gets tighter and everyone's clicking. It was crunch time."

    Magic coach Chuck Daly called the defensive effort the best this season.

    "You usually want that kind of intensity down the stretch," he said. "You have to get tough."

    Darrell Armstrong's colossal fourth quarter -- keyed by a four-oint play with 6:05 remaining -- sparked Orlando.

    Armstrong's 3-pointer and ensuing free throw put Orlando ahead 78-75, and the Magic never trailed thereafter. Armstrong scored 19 of his 25 points in the final period, making all nine of his free throws.

    "The guy has simply given them nothing but energy and heart," Miami coach Pat Riley said of Armstrong. "We let him get off the hook, but everyone has done that over the last eight games. He simply had an incredible fourth quarter."

    Miami got 23 points from P.J. Brown and 21 from Tim Hardaway, but the Heat struggled from 3-point range, missing all but one of 13 shots.

    Rookie Matt Harpring chipped in with 15 points to lift the Magic past the Heat. <b>
    Rookie Matt Harpring chipped in with 15 points to lift the Magic past the Heat. (AP)

    Miami cut Orlando's lead to 88-85 with 1:25 remaining. Orlando's Horace Grant was called for traveling, giving Miami possession. Austin's key block followed.

    "We played extremely well, but you have to sustain it," Riley said. "Guys were ready to play, they were sharp but as the game moved on, we kept making mistakes, turning the ball over and not rebounding in critical situations."

    Miami led 47-43 at halftime as Mourning scored 15 points. Miami had a 45-38 lead with 3:51 remaining in the first half. Orlando had a chance to close Miami's lead but struggled at the line, making only six of 15 attempts. Orlando finished the game making 23-of-36 free throws.

    Orlando committed six turnovers in the first 3:12 of the third quarter, helping Miami take a 55-46 lead. Matt Harpring's 3-pointer cut Miami's lead to 61-57 with 4:12 remaining in the third quarter.

    Nick Anderson made one of two free throws to tie the game, 65-65, but Hardaway's basket gave Miami a 67-65 lead after three quarters.

    Notes

    • Miami forward Keith Askins landed on his head in the first quarter and did not return to the game. He does not have a concussion.
    • Miami's P.J. Brown needed two stitches to close a cut to his mouth. He played 38 minutes.
    • Mourning had a season-high six assists.
    • Armstrong entered the game scoring 142 points in the final 12 minutes of play, for a team-high average of 4.9 points in the fourth quarter.

      ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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