ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - The countdown to the NBA regular season is now in its final stages for the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic.
Though it's clear after their final preseason matchup Wednesday night that both teams could use a few extra days to prepare for their Christmas Day openers.
The Magic showed some late-game toughness to secure a 104-100 victory on Wednesday night, but needed a furious comeback to erase a 14-point halftime deficit. The Heat played well early before slowing in a forgettable second half.
``I don't think it was that we didn't show life (early), we didn't make shots,' Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. ``...I thought we had good life in the second half.'
Glen Davis, who had 13 points in the third quarter to ignite the comeback, finished with 18 points, and Dwight Howard and Jason Richardson each added 15 for the Magic.
``It felt good,' Davis said. ``This is my new home, to come here and kind of show everybody what I can do - because there's a question mark.'
Orlando also got a late lift from its reserves to secure the win, including strong fourth-quarter efforts by veteran Larry Hughes and rookie Justin Harper.
LeBron James had 27 points and Dwyane Wade added 21 for the Heat. Reserve Norris Cole chipped in 11 points.
Both teams open the regular season as part of the NBA's four-game Christmas Day schedule. Miami travels to defending champion Dallas for a finals rematch and Oklahoma City hosts the Magic.
``It's upon us,' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ``We have about three days to get ready ... Now it's all about getting healthy and ready for Sunday.'
The Magic played without Hedo Turkoglu, who sat with a bruised left hip. The Heat also were tender, with Mike Miller (hernia), Shane Battier (quadriceps), Eddy Curry (hip) and Eddie House (knee) all resting.
Whether it was just the injury bug or something else, the rust definitely showed for both sides early on.
James badly missed on a pair of free throws in the opening minutes, including an air ball on one attempt.
Both James and his teammates were able to settle down, however, with James and Wade each scoring to push the lead to as many as 23 en route to the halftime advantage.
Orlando missed its first 12 shots from the field overall and its first 13 3-point attempts. The Magic regrouped to make 8 of its final 14 shots from beyond the arc.
The matchup of division rivals did have a small dustup late in the third quarter when Richardson was called for a technical after he was caught delivering a shoulder into James' chest. The contact came after the pair collided while running down the court.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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