The Orlando Magic nearly ended the Golden State Warriors' nine-game winning streak Tuesday, but a late flurry of threes from the host Warriors lifted them to a 98-97 victory. Stephen Curry drilled a trey in transition with 2.2 seconds to go to provide the final margin. In the final six minutes of the game, the Warriors converted five baskets, all from three-point range.
In defeat, Victor Oladipo shone for Orlando, finishing with a season-best 27 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the floor. He also contributed four rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Starting for NIkola Vučević, Kyle O'Quinn turned in one of his finest performances as a pro, tallying 21 points and 11 rebounds and holding his own against Andrew Bogut, one of the strongest and most skilled bigs in the league.
Curry led the Warriors with 22 points, and Klay Thompson added 20, helping the Warriors hang on and extend their winning streak to 10.
Golden State built a 10-point lead at halftime thanks to its dominance on the glass and its stellar ball movement. Predictably, without leading rebounder Nik Vučević in the lineup, Orlando struggled to rebound, allowing Golden State to get 27 of an available 41 misses. The Warriors turned their seven offensive boards into 11 second-chance points, catching the Magic unawares on those long misses that bounced to the middle of the forecourt.
And the Warriors used beautiful interior passing to set up easy scores as well, with Harrison Barnes benefitting on several such looks by floating on the weakside and flashing to the paint at just the right time. The rangy forward scored 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting before intermission, and he may have controlled the ball for a total of 30 seconds.
But Orlando kept the score respectable enough because it controlled the ball, committing only four turnovers and thus limiting the Warriors' opportunities to get out in transition. Oladipo deserves the credit for much of that play: he avoided the risky sorts of passes that tend to get him and his team in trouble, instead taking what the Warriors' defense would give him. Golden State's reasonable strategy of going under ball screens involving Oladipo gave the Indiana product ample chances to pull up in space, and he made the most of such chances.
The Magic turned the game on its head in the third quarter, tightening up its defense, taking control of the rebounding battle, and moving the ball better. Those improvements helped them go on a 19-4 run in the latter minutes of the period to take a 71-69 lead. Tobias Harris capped that run by converting a three-point play off a fast break.
And while Curry finally got involved in the third--the All-Star point guard mustered only five points in the first half, no doubt as a result of Orlando's emphasis on preventing fast-break chances--Orlando otherwise shut down the rest of his club: the other Warriors shot 2-of-16 in the period for eight points.
The Warriors tied the score at 75 on the first play of the period, with super sub Andre Iguodala sinking a pull-up jumper, but Orlando righted itself. Oladipo drained a three-pointer off an Elfrid Payton drive-and-dish to give himself 27 points and put the Magic up nine.
But Golden State had another run left in it: Curry and Thompson combined for three-pointers on the Warriors' next trips down the floor, evening the score at 93 and awakening the ORACLE Arena crowd, arguably the loudest in the league.
Moments later, with the score tied at 95, Curry and Thompson missed three treys on one possession in a frantic, fast-paced sequence. After finally securing possession, the Magic wisely called for time with 47.9 seconds to play. Payton found Harris curling off a screen and driving into the lane for a tough basket, and Bogut fumbled a lob on the Warriors' next trip, bailing Orlando out.
The Magic milked the clock on their penultimate possession, but Payton's driving layup missed high off the glass and dribbled off the front iron. Curry, predictably, drilled the go-ahead three-pointer in transition at the 2.2-second mark.
O'Quinn's inbounds pass on the Magic's final possession sailed wide of Harris, his intended target, and Draymond Green tipped it into the frontcourt as time expired.