MIAMI, FL - MARCH 03: Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic points to a heckler after winning a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on March 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

NBA Scores And More: Magic Erase 24-Point Deficit To Beat Heat; Nuggets Edge Jazz

The Heat led by 24 in the third quarter, but a barrage of Magic three-pointers sent Miami to the loss column. In Salt Lake City, Andrei Kirilenko airballed a layup with overtime on the line. Whoops!

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Magic Vs. Heat: Miami Melts Down, Loses 24-Point Lead And Game To Orlando

If you are the Miami Heat and you want to convince the greater population that you are legit -- whether that be as a contender for the NBA championship or the even a favorite to win the O'Brien -- you ought not drop a 24-point lead to a rival like the Orlando Magic and lose the game. That's exactly what Miami did -- the Magic trailed 73-49 in the third quarter, but went on a 40-9 tear to take a 89-82 late in the fourth. Orlando hung on for a 99-96 win.

This has been a trend of sorts; on Sunday, the Heat had led the New York Knicks by as many as 15 points, and by six with three minutes left. But Chauncey Billups led a Knicks tear that ended with a Heat loss. Is there something deep within the Heat that allows this? Is there a fatal flaw that Miami's opponents have figured out and are working to exploit? Are the Heat doomed?

Well, no. A six-point comeback in the closing minutes is nothing terribly special; ask Kings fans. (Wait, that's not helping my case.) A 24-point comeback is, but understand the Magic. Remember the Phoenix Suns of the middle of the 2000s? No lead was safe against them, and no deficit too large. They shot so many three-pointers whether leading or trailing that a 20-point margin was a lot like a 10-point margin against most other teams. Swings of a dozen points within a quarter were common. The Magic are built the same way. Despite being anchored by a steamboat in Dwight Howard, the Orlando offense is predicated on firing threes at incredible rates. When those shots aren't falling, Orlando tends to fall behind by a lot, quickly. When the shots do fall, the Magic race out to huge leads, or erase huge deficits.

Orlando hit 9-14 three-pointers in the second half. That's a veritable barrage, and while the Heat's offense tanked and Erik Spoelstra ought to have some defensive tactics to slow down an assault like that, this was as much a Magic triumph as a Heat failure. It's both, of course. But it could have happened to anyone.

I imagine many will disagree, and will declare that this -- this -- shows the chink in the Heat's armor. No one denies this.


Nuggets Vs. Jazz: Denver Finishes Wild Win Over Utah, Moves To 5-1 Since Trading Carmelo Anthony

The Denver Nuggets are now 5-1 since trading Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks, thanks to a rollicking 103-101 victory over the Utah Jazz on Thursday. The game was as competitive as any between the Rocky Mountain rivals in recent times, with three lead changes in the final five minutes and a sequence that very nearly sent the game to overtime.

With the Jazz down five, Devin Harris hit a three-pointer with 1.2 seconds left on the clock to get Utah within two. Kenyon Martin had to inbound the pass; the Jazz might have been able to foul quickly to squeeze out one more prayer, but it's more like that Denver could have run a good portion of the 1.2 seconds off and ended the game.

Instead, Martin passed the ball to Andrei Kirilenko. Luckily for the Nuggets, Kirilenko didn't know what to do with it.

The toss-in from Martin was so bad that Kirilenko must have been caught completely off-guard, as he clearly had no idea where he was in relation to the rim. Tyrone Corbin's reaction says it all.

The old Nuggets were excellent in this one, as Ty Lawson had 23 points and Arron Afflalo added 19. Danilo Gallinari didn't play, and Wilson Chandler had just six points. The Jazz, meanwhile, have gone 1-7 since Jerry Sloan retired. Al Jefferson had 19 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks, but this is clearly a team in transition. (Transition from the playoffs to the lottery.)

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