Down by 24 points in the third quarter, the Magic went on an unbelievable 40-9 run over the next 15 minutes and stunned the Heat 99-96, the second-largest comeback in Orlando franchise history and matching the second-biggest in the NBA this season.
Jason Richardson scored 24 points for Orlando, 11 of them to kickstart the epic burst that turned a 73-49 deficit into an 89-82 lead.
”Well, that defies explanation,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said.
There’s only been six instances this season of a team taking a 22-point lead or more and losing. The Heat have been victimized that way twice, both times at home, the first against Utah in the season’s earliest stages.
This one seemed to cut much deeper.
”We’ve blown a lot of games where we were in full control,” Heat forward Chris Bosh said. ”And we have to do something.”
Jameer Nelson scored 12 of his 16 in the second half and Dwight Howard finished with 14 points and 18 rebounds for the Magic, who fell into the 24-point hole when LeBron James scored with 8:57 remaining in the third quarter.
Orlando outscored Miami 50-23 the rest of the way.
”To do it on the road, that was an incredible win,” Van Gundy said.
The game was significant in the standings.
Miami is now two games behind Boston — three in the loss column — for the best record in the Eastern Conference. And Orlando, which has very quietly won four straight, is now just 3 1/2 games behind Miami in the Southeast Division. The Heat go to San Antonio on Friday, while Orlando hosts Chicago.