ORLANDO – It’s been frustrating. The Orlando Magic, are short handed beyond most teams in the NBA. On Sunday night, they lost, their 8th game in a row, 102-97 to the red-hot Miami Heat, for the second time in less than a week.
The word of the week, or past few weeks for the Magic is “Turnovers”. That has killed their past two winning possibilities against the heat, as well as giving the San Antonio Spurs a challenge. Turnovers.
Last night, the Magic committed 11 turnovers…in the first half. Eleven, and those lead to 13 Miami points. The Magic added another 12 in the second half, making it 23 turnovers, leading to a total of 26 Heat Points. And by the way, they only lost by 5 points.
Now these Miami Heat are Eastern Conference bubble champions, and you can’t expect to beat them by helping them out.
Okay, let’s be positive.
These boys in blue work, and they work hard. They really been dealt a bad card this season with the injuries, but have managed to remain competitive in their games this season. They have the will to win.
Nikola Vucevic scored 38 points and had 10 rebounds for Orlando, and went near 46% from 3-point range.
Teaming up with Vucevic was Terrance Ross, who put 31 in the net, shooting 61% from deep.
The problem was that the Magic had little help on offense. Usually, the third amigo in this group, Evan Fournier, helps with points. But he is still on the injury list, nursing a groin injury.
Jimmy Butler put on a clinic on Sunday. Since his return from the injured list, the Heat have been on a tear, as their attitude and toughness increased with him on the floor.
Butler scored 29 points last night. That’s 29 points , with zero 3-point shots, which is pretty tough, He also added 9 assists and a 5 of the Heat’s 15 steals.
Butler made a key steal in the final seconds of the game to seal the win when he wiped the ball from Michael Carter-Williams.
The Heat took this win without Center Bam Adebayo, and without controversial shooter Meyers Leonard, who’s under suspension for anti-Semitic remarks he made while streaming a video game.
Orlando’s injury report is pretty tough, with Cole Anthony (non-displaced fracture, right rib), James Ennis III (sore right calf), Aaron Gordon (left ankle injury management) were all out. Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz are both out for the season.
The Magic have the opportunity to get some practice time in this week, giving them a chance to get organized to handle so many position changes.
They next travel to Madison Square Garden to face the up in coming New York Knicks on Thursday, March 18th.