This is becoming a repeating theme with the Orlando Magic. They make adjustments and follow new head coach Scott Skyles formula of scrappy defense, passing and ball movement and the result is solid, winning basketball. They, they get into trouble, lose focus and lose games. This happened again last week. The Magic were on a tear, 4 out of 5 wins at home and away, many by impressive margins. They they get into tough tests late in games and fall off of the winning formula. This happened again on Saturday with a loss to the Miami Heat, 108-101.
The Magic played a solid first half. The Heat kept things close but the Magic managed to pull ahead to a 12 point lead at the half. But in the third quarter, some of the Miami veterans started to take over. Heat forward Chris Bosh seemed to score at will in the third quarter. He proved to be too much for Magic forward Aaron Gordon and scored clutch shot after clutch shot, chipping away at the Magic’s lead, and building to his 24 points in the game. The Magic appeared to have righted the ship when Victor Oladipo this a 3 point shot at the end of the 3rd quarter.
But then the fourth quarter started. The Heat’s Dwayne Wade took over. He hit multiple fade away jumpers and seemingly couldn’t miss. The Magic panicked and the ball movement disappeared. Elfrid Payton drove to the hoop and repeatedly scored, keeping pace, but the three point shot opportunities disappeared, leaving the Magic to slowly lag behind as their defense broke down at time os the other side of the floor.
This loss was continuing a trend vs Miami, the Magic have lost 13 of their last 14 games against the Heat and have not won in Miami since 2012. Tonight seemed to be a good opportunity to stop that thread. But with three of the Heat players scoring over 20 points (Chris Bosh 24, Dwyane Wade 24 and Goran Dragic 22) the Heat’s experience and precision proved to be too much for them in the end.
As far as the Magic righting the ship, after the team was embarrassed by Cleveland and then lost to Atlanta a few games later, they immediately got back on track with precision ball movement and pulled off a string of impressive wins.
The Magic’s next game is tonight against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Amway Center, Orlando.