Returning home following a three game road trip, the Orlando Magic welcomed the in-state rival Miami Heat to the building on Tuesday night. Despite a poor effort on the offensive end, the Magic were able to eek out a victory, winning 95-92.
Following their come from behind victory on Sunday in Houston, the Magic came out with an increased attention level early. While they were unable to get much going on the offensive end, shooting a dreadful 6-of-19 in the quarter, their defense was strong, stifling seemingly everything the Heat tried to do. Reserve big man Dewayne Dedmon came in and sparked the Magic on the defensive end, blocking three shots, and impacting many more.
Offensively, the Magic were unable to get any rhythm going, not properly spacing the floor and being forced into shots late in the clock on many possessions. Seven of the Magic's ten players who played in the first scored, led by Dedmon's five point, six rebound, three block performance. Resting all of their key rotational pieces, the Heat were led by Keith Benson and Tyler Johnson, each scoring four in the opening 12 minutes.
After their somewhat sluggish first quarter, things began to turn slightly for each team. The Magic continued to look dialed in on the defensive end, making every possession a challenge for the visitors. Meanwhile, their offense began to see some improvement, with stagnation and poor spacing still an issue throughout possessions.
Second year man Aaron Gordon saw his first action of the preseason, playing eight minutes across the end of the first quarter and early portion of the second. Gordon, who figures to be a key piece for the Magic especially on the defensive end, looked like he hadn't missed any time, jumping in and defending at a high level. Coming off a strong game on Sunday against the Rockets, Channing Frye led all Magic men with seven points at the half. For the Heat, rookie swingman Josh Richardson led the way with nine points, as the Magic led 45-40 after 24 minutes.
Coming out of halftime, the Magic kept their energy up, something they had struggled with in their previous preseason games. The defense continued to look strong, hounding the heat and forcing them into poor shots and the occasional turnover. Much like the first half, however, the Magic's offense struggled, lacking flow in many of their offensive possessions.
As the quarter wound down, Aaron Gordon and Mario Hezonja wowed the crowed with a fast break alley-oop, giving the Magic a six point lead, 62-56 heading into the fourth quarter. Orlando's starting frontcourt of Frye and Nikola Vucevic led the way offensively, with the duo combining for 24 points, 12 coming from each. Josh Richardson continued to lead the way for the Heat with 14 through three quarters.
Leading heading into the fourth quarter, the Magic's offense began to show a few signs of life, pushing the lead to double digits for the first time early in the quarter. Miami began chipping away, however, getting the lead back down to two points late in the game. After a Magic turnover, Miami's James Ennis scored on the fastbreak to tie the game at 76 with just over three minutes remaining.
With all of their camp invitees in the game, the Magic began crumbling, seeing the Heat get two buckets from Ennis to go up four. Melvin Ejim split a pair of free throws, and followed it up with a two-pointer to bring the Magic within one. Tre Kelley split a pair at the line, setting up the Magic with a chance to tie or win with 16 seconds remaining in the contest. Out of a timeout, Jordan Sibert missed a three, but Nnanna Egwu was there to clean it up, tying things back up at 81 with 10 seconds remaining. Gerald Green's attempt at a game winner spun out of the rim, as the in-state foes went to overtime tied at 81.
Miami jumped out early in overtime before the Magic began hitting shots. A pair of three's from Shabazz Napier, and another three from Sibert put the Magic up six with under two minutes left. A pair of Justice Winslow shots, plus a dunk from Greg Whittington tied the game back up with under a minute left. A shooting foul put Napier on the line with a chance to take the lead with just 17 ticks remaining. Napier knocked down all three, putting the Magic up for good.
Four Magic players finished in double figures, led by Napier's 15. Frye and Vucevic finished the night with 12 apiece. Aaron Gordon rounded out the group, scoring 10 in his preseason debut.
Miami was led by Richardson, who finished with a game high 18. A trio of Heat players, led by Justice Winslow, finished with 12, while Gerald Green and Ennis added 10 each.