NBA Game Summary - Seattle at Orlando
(Wednesday, January 5th)
Final Score: Orlando 105, Seattle 87
Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - Steve Francis scored 25 of his game-high 33 points in the second half as Orlando snapped a four-game losing streak with a 105-87 victory over Seattle at TD Waterhouse Centre.
Grant Hill contributed 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting for the Magic, who made good on a sizzling 61.5 percent (24-of-39) of their field-goal attempts after intermission to break open a close game. Francis added 11 rebounds and six assists in the win, while Hedo Turkoglu netted 14 points off the bench.
"We've been hearing the last four, five, six games in a row that we're the worst team since sliced bread," said Francis. "So we came out and played hard. Guys really focused in on some of the things we wanted to do. Got to their shooters, we were able to make them take some tough shots."
Ray Allen poured in 30 points and Rashard Lewis compiled 20 along with 11 rebounds for the Sonics, who saw a six-game road winning streak come to an end and lost for the first time in four outings overall.
After the Magic fought back from a 14-point deficit early in the second quarter to close the gap to 49-46 at the half, Francis and Hill took over during a dominant Orlando third period.
Hill scored the first six points of an 11-0 Magic run which put the hosts ahead 57-51 five minutes into the second half. Later in the period, Francis registered eight points during a 10-0 spurt as Orlando opened up a commanding 72-57 advantage with three minutes remaining in the stanza.
"Steve was huge for us," said Magic head coach Johnny Davis. "He made big plays throughout. The other part of that is our guys were setting tremendous screens to free him up. Steve was the finisher but our big guys were getting him open and the other guards were delivering him the ball in a timely way. That's what execution is."
Francis finished with 13 points during the third quarter and Hill netted nine.
Seattle pulled to within 76-67 heading into the final 12 minutes and netted eight straight points early in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to three. Luke Ridenour began the run with a three-pointer and Allen followed with a trey before sinking two free throws which made the score 81-78 with under nine minutes to play.
It remained a three-point game until Orlando reeled off 11 straight, capped by Francis' turnaround jumper with 6:07 to play, to put the contest out of reach.
"In hindsight, it is easy now to say we should have made adjustments and maybe put a bigger body (on Francis)," Allen remarked. He carried the team in the second half and they scored every time down the floor."
Allen recorded 16 first-quarter points as the Sonics built a comfortable 26-15 lead at the conclusion of the opening period. Lewis' three-pointer to start the second gave Seattle its largest margin of the night.
The Sonics maintained a double-digit cushion with 3 1/2 minutes left before the break, but Orlando closed out the first half with a 14-5 spurt to trim Seattle's edge to 49-46 as both teams went to the locker room.
Orlando center Kelvin Cato sat out with a sprained left ankle suffered Monday against Toronto...Seattle forward Reggie Evans also missed the game due a stomach ailment...The Sonics were attempting to win seven straight on the road for the first time since February 3-March 5, 1996...The Magic improved to 7-1 against Western Conference teams at home this year...Seattle has dropped five of its last seven in Orlando.
01/05 23:45:48 ET