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NBA -- ​Magic ​grinds ​out ​win ​over Timberwolves, 108-102


PhilBoxing.com


ORLANDO -- ​On a balmy 70​-​degree ​weather ​Tuesday evening at the Amway Center (Wednesday morning Manila time), the Orlando Magic faced down the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves. With ​five-​game winning streak, Minnesota sought to become only the 4th team this season to notch 30 wins with a victory against the home team.

Orlando​, meanwhile,​ was looking to avoid ​its ​8th loss in a row.

A tale of two teams with a similar recent history, both have not made the playoffs in the last few years, the Magic in 2012 and the Timberwolves in 2004 when they played in the Western Conference Finals. After a quick winning start to the season, the Magic began to flounder and enter the game tied with the Atlanta Hawks for the worst record in the league. The Timberwolves, on the other hand, were reborn. With the addition of veteran leadership in Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Jeff Teague, and Jamal Crawford, they are working towards the playoffs after a 14 year drought.

Minnesota led for most of the game, by as many as 7 early in the first quarter. Despite a defensive effort that included 10 steals, they could not put the Orlando away. Though they only shot a slightly better percentage than the Timberwolves, the Magic held on and eventually took the lead for good at 7:35 in the fourth quarter on a dunk by Mario Hezonja. He was part of a Magic bench that outscored the Timberwolves bench 32-19.

Orlando was lead by guard Evan Fournier, who scored a career high 32 points. Bismack Biyombo had a double-double with 10 points and 16 rebounds. Jimmy Butler had 28 points and 5 steals for Minnesota and Karl Anthony Towns notched his 38th double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

While the Magic got a lift from a hard-fought victory in a season where they have struggled, the Timberwolves got something of a guts and heart check. Though any loss is tough to take, Butler saw a lesson for his team. ?I?m glad we lost,? he said post-game. ?Came in here on a high horse thinking we?re a really good team, and we haven?t done anything yet.? He commented on their opponent?s effort saying, ?They played better than us. They played harder than we did. They did everything right. We didn?t play the way were supposed to and they whipped our butts.?

Butler?s final admonition? ?Do that in this league and you can get beat by anybody."

The Magic return to action in Cleveland on Thursday night versus the Cavaliers. The Timberwolves will travel to Houston on Thursday to face the Rockets.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Adeline Deladisma.


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