Shooting For Five Straight

When Orlando acquired Rashard Lewis in an offseason sign-and-trade deal, coach Stan Van Gundy relished the idea of pairing Lewis' outside shooting with the dominant inside play of Dwight Howard.

Lately, however, swingman Hedo Turkoglu has figured just as prominently in the Magic's offense.

Turkoglu and the Magic go for their season high-tying fifth straight win on Wednesday night when they host the New Jersey Nets.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Orlando –6 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 199.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 67% of bets for this game have been placed on Orlando -6 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Turkoglu's role with Orlando was uncertain after the arrival of Lewis, who has traditionally played the same position as the eight-year veteran from Turkey. Van Gundy, however, moved Lewis to power forward to keep Turkoglu in the starting lineup, and the move has paid off.

Turkoglu is averaging career highs in scoring (19.5), rebounds (6.2) and assists (4.1), ranking second on the team in all three categories. He's been especially effective in his last 10 games, averaging 22.4 points while shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 45.0 percent from 3-point range.

Turkoglu, though, shot poorly and committed seven turnovers on Monday against Chicago. He overcame those struggles, however, and made the game-winning fadeaway jumper with seven-tenths of a second left in overtime and the Magic (22-11) extended their win streak with a 112-110 victory.

"Struggled? Oh my gosh. The guy has been great but today - forget the (7-for-19) shooting, anybody is going to have a day like that - but some of those passes. We actually had point shaving allegations in our locker room after the game," Van Gundy said jokingly.

"I put the ball in his hands because I have a great confidence in his ability to play off the dribble and make solid decisions. The solid decision part was not there today. But then again, he comes right back through in the end and hits the big one."

The dramatic finish overshadowed another strong game from Howard, who had 17 points, 22 rebounds, five blocks and three steals.

Howard only took 11 shots, and though he's among league leaders with a 60.9 field-goal percentage, he hasn't led the Magic in shots in any of the last four games. That's a problem Van Gundy plans to correct.

"I do think that I've got to find some different ways to get him the ball. We're not getting it to him enough right now. But the thing I've liked the last couple of games is that he hasn't let that affect his performance," Van Gundy said.

The Magic, winners of five straight from Nov. 13-19, put their current run on the line against a Nets team that has put together one of its best stretches of the season.

New Jersey (14-16) has won four of five games after losing six of its previous seven. Vince Carter scored eight of his 23 points in the final 3:55, Jason Kidd added 11 of his 17 in the fourth quarter as New Jersey beat Milwaukee 97-95 on Saturday night.

The Nets improved to 11-3 in games decided by five points or less.

"It just shows that we're hopefully going in the right direction," said Kidd, who also had 15 of the Nets' season-high 31 assists. "We stayed the course, and we got a big win on the road. If you're going to be a good team, you have to find a way to win on the road. If we want to be an elite team, we have to find a way to win at home."

New Jersey is 7-5 on the road, where it has won consecutive games.

Orlando, the league-leader with 15 road victories, is just 7-6 at Amway Arena, but has won its last two contests there by an average of 11.5 points.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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