The Orlando Magic opened their four-game Western roadtrip Tuesday with a 103-89 loss against the Golden State Warriors, their sixth straight defeat.
Nikola Vučević scored 15 points and grabbed five rebounds for the Magic, who struggled to defend the Warriors' high-powered offense. Tobias Harris added 14 points off Orlando's bench.
Stephen Curry, David Lee, and Klay Thompson led the Warriors, scoring 23, 20, and 20 points, respectively. Golden State shot 45.1 percent from the floor, 37 percent from three-point range, and 90.5 percent from the foul line in an all-around excellent showing.
Golden State ranks as the league's third-best defensive team, but it played Tuesday without Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut, two keys to its success at that end of the floor. Partially as a result of their absences, Orlando managed to exploit Golden State early and often, particularly on the interior: Vučević and Kyle O'Quinn took advantage of the floor-bound Lee and Marreese Speights to score 20 first-half points on 9-of-13 shooting.
Moreover, Orlando stayed committed to moving the ball and finding open men, tallying 16 assists on their 20 baskets before intermission. Jameer Nelson played effectively out of the pick-and-roll by keeping his dribble alive, which is when he's truly at his best.
But the Warriors scored effectively as well, thanks largely to the efforts of Curry and Lee. The former's quick release on his jumper makes him an impossible cover, and he finished the first half with 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Lee, meanwhile, used his quickness and his arsenal of unconventional scoop shots to his advantage against Vučević and O'Quinn, scoring 16 of his own. His driving layup past Vučević with 31 seconds to play in the half put the hosts up 10 points.
Orlando opened the second half with back-to-back hoops from its starting bigs, but Golden State blew the game open from there, scoring 18 unanswered points to put the Warriors up by 24. In that span, the Warriors scored on seven straight possessions and drained four three-pointers; Thompson twice made the extra pass to a wide-open Curry, leading to two of those treys.
The Warriors' offense cooled from there, but the Magic couldn't take advantage, shooting only 25 percent from the floor and having nearly as many turnovers (four) as baskets (five).
With both teams' starters taking a rest, the Magic fought their way back into the game early in the fourth as Harris took over. The Magic ran actions with him as the screener for Victor Oladipo handling, and his ability to create for himself off the catch in space gave the Warriors fits. He scored seven points in a 14-4 Orlando run to open the period before Mark Jackson reloaded with Curry and Thompson.
On Orlando's next four trips following those substitutions, it turned the ball over twice and badly missed its two shot attempts, helping Golden State restore its lead to 17 points. Less than two minutes later, Jackson emptied his bench and the two clubs played out the string.