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Inside the NBA

Three Points

December 03, 2006|PAUL NETTER


Led by third-year sensation Dwight Howard and proving that its 16-6 finish last season was no fluke, the Orlando Magic won its 13th game Friday, a total it didn't reach last season until Jan. 7.

The Magic has done it with defense, limiting opponents to league-low 42.3% shooting and a second-in-the-league 91.9 points a game. It's a good thing too, because it also leads the NBA in turnovers at 18 a game.

General Manager Otis Smith is excited, saying, "Where we are now is not where we're going to be two years from now, three years from now."


Miami Coach Pat Riley, whose Heat is 5-7 without injured Shaquille O'Neal this season after going 10-13 without him last year, has some familiar wishes for the center who has sat out an average of 15.6 games a season over the last five.

"I hope his thought process is that he tries to almost reinvent himself physically," Riley said. "He has to come back a lot lighter, a lot leaner. Those kinds of things are really important now."


Dallas has thrived during its winning streak that reached 12 games Friday.

In starting 0-4, the Mavericks averaged 95 points and 44.7% shooting while giving up 105.2 points and 50.9% shooting.

In its next 12 games, however, Dallas averaged 103 points and 47.3% shooting while giving up 91.5 points and 44.7% shooting.

Notably, Dallas was holding opponents to 28.7% three-point shooting during the streak.


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