Douglas Jones - US Presswire
The Magic did not play well offensively or defensively, as Houston outshot the Magic 51% to 40%, and had 31 assists on 41 baskets with just 12 turnovers. J.J. Redick, one of Orlando's best players this preseason, did not play due to a sore hip, and no one really picked up the slack in his absence.
It was a close game after one quarter, with the Rockets holding a 28-25 lead over the Magic, who once had a 23-18 lead. Houston took over the game in the second quarter, outscoring the Magic 27-16, as the cold-shooting Magic shot just 5 for 25 (20%) in the quarter. The Rockets were able to put the game away in the third quarter, leading 81-61 going into the final quarter. Orlando once again struggled from the floor, shooting 9 of 26 (34.6%) in the third.
The Magic starters played most of the first half, while sitting out the second half, and did not acquit themselves well. The starting five of Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo, Hedo Turkoglu, Glen Davis, and Nikola Vucevic combined to shoot just 12 of 40 (30%) for the game. Only Davis among the starters managed to finish in double figures with 12 points. Vucevic was strong on the boards though, grabbing 14 rebounds, including 5 offensively.
The Magic substitutes played the entire second half, with E'Twaun Moore and DeQuan Jones playing well. Moore scored 16 of his game-high 18 points in the second half, and finished 7 of 12 from the floor. DeQuan Jones may have solidified a spot on the final Magic roster, as he finished the game with 16 points on 8 of 16 shooting. Second round pick Kyle O'Quinn deserves a mention, even though he did not score. He grabbed 10 rebounds and also dished out a team-high 5 assists, along with a steal and a block, in 16 minutes.
Backup point guard Ish Smith made his preseason debut for the Magic, scoring 6 points on 3 of 5 shooting, along with an assist, in 12 minutes.
About the only area Orlando was strong in against the Rockets was rebounding, as they outrebounded Houston 51-40, including a huge 17-4 advantage on the offensive boards. Of course, the Magic missed so many more shots than Houston did, so they had many more opportunities for offensive rebounds. Through three quarters, the Rockets had only one offensive rebound.
The Magic did not shoot well from the field (39.6%) or the free throw line (68.8%). When a backup rookie center leads the team in assists, that shows what a struggle it was for the Magic offensively.
Defensively, it was a poor game for the Magic also, as they allowed the Rockets to shoot 51.2% from the field and 37.9% from 3 point range. Rockets' point guard Jeremy Lin, who came into the game shooting an atrocious 22% from the field this preseason, shot 5 of 10 against the Magic on his way to scoring 13 points. Five other players scored in double figures for Houston.
The Magic will fine-tune their opening day roster over the next several days, and open their 24th season of play next Friday, hosting the Denver Nuggets.