With the regular season just six days away, the Orlando Magic tipped it up with the Houston Rockets for their penultimate preseason game on Wednesday night at Amway Center. After playing a tight one in Miami against the Heat last night, Houston staged a late comeback to take down the Magic 90-89.
In the opening quarter, the Magic smothered the Rockets defensively, while having a fair amount of success of their own on the offensive end. The Magic tallied 18 of their 31 opening quarter points in the paint en route to a seven point lead heading into the second quarter. Nikola Vucevic and Maurice Harkless led the Magic with eight points apiece, while rookies Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton each scored four off the bench.
After a relatively clean opening quarter, both Orlando and Houston struggled some in the second quarter with periods of sloppy play. The Magic turned the ball over seven times, leading to nine points for the Rockets, while Houston coughed it up four times, leading to eight Magic points. The Magic's defense was still strong, however, holding the Rockets to 8-of-20 in the quarter, and to 37.5% overall for the half.
Out of halftime, the Magic continued their suffocating play on the defensive end, holding the Rockets to just 18 points on 7-of-23 shooting, including 2-of-9 from three. The Magic were able to clean up their turnover issues as well, coughing the ball up just twice, leading to no Rockets points. Heading into the final quarter, the Magic held their biggest lead, up 13, 74-61.
With all of their main players on the bench, the Magic struggled, seeing their lead slowly trickle down before Houston grabbed a one point lead late in the quarter. Houston's comeback was completed thanks to a late free throw by Jeff Adrien, which gave the Rockets the one point that made the difference in the game.
The Magic were led by Vucevic, who finished with 12 points and six rebounds in just 19 minutes of action. Making his third start of the preseason, Maurice Harkless scored 11 points, including two three-pointers. Ben Gordon also finished with 11 off the bench. Andrew Nicholson rounded out the Magic men in double figures, finishing with 10.
Troy Daniels and Isaiah Canaan led all scorers, finishing with 14 on the night. Tarik Black, starting in place of Dwight Howard, finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.