After opening their eight game preseason slate with a loss to the Charlotte Hornets, the Orlando Magic returned to action on Wednesday night in Louisville against the Miami Heat. A sluggish start got the Magic behind by double digits early, before putting it together and mounting a charge, beating the Heat late, 100-97.
Contrary to Saturday night, the Magic got off to an extremely shaky start, falling behind 11-0 just two minutes into the games. Missed shots and turnovers began to pile up, as the Magic's offense struggled to find any rhythm early. After a timeout by coach Scott Skiles, the Magic began to find their legs, hitting five of their next seven shots to pull within two, forcing a Heat timeout. However, out of the timeout, the Magic went ice cold, missing their next seven shots before Jason Smith knocked one down from mid-range.
Despite the cold stretch, the Magic found a way to keep the game close, thanks seven late quarter points from Evan Fournier and C.J. Watson. Fournier, seeing his first action of the preseason, led all Magic scorers with eight of the team's 23 opening quarter points. Chris Bosh led a turnover plagued quarter for the hosting Heat, finishing with seven early points en route to a 24-23 lead for the Heat after 12 minutes.
Following a good closing stretch in the first quarter, the Magic came out and grabbed their first lead early in the second quarter. For the first half of the quarter, the two teams traded buckets, with neither holding a lead bigger than three points. After a timeout midway through the quarter, however, things began to turn in the Magic's favors, with the visitors going on a mini 12-to-6 run, forcing the Heat to use a timeout.
As the quarter wound down, the Magic saw the Heat crawl back to tie it. However, thanks to 6-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc, and three players finishing with eight points or more, the Magic were able to grab the lead late in the quarter, leading 51-47 after two. Tobias Harris' nine led the way for the Magic, while Chris Bosh's 16 led the way for the turnover plagued Heat.
Coming out of the halftime break, the Magic got off to a strong start, thanks to two early jumpers from Victor Oladipo. Miami answered, however, scoring three straight buckets to take a brief one point lead. After trading baskets, the Magic began to pull away, going on a 15-to-5 run to end the quarter against their in-state foes.
While they were unable to connect from deep, the Magic began attacking the Heat more, getting to the line eight times in the quarter. A balanced scoring effort, led by Nikola Vucevic's 15, helped the Magic out to a 74-66 lead after three quarters. Bosh continued to lead the Heat with a game-high 18 through three quarters.
After quickly jumping out to their biggest lead of the game at 14, things began to come apart for the Magic. They began to struggle on the offensive end, with the Heat taking advantage with a quick 10-to-0 run to get right back in the game, prompting a Magic timeout. Hot shooting from deep allowed the Heat to go on a 21-to-5 run to take an 87-85 lead just past the halfway mark of the quarter.
With the game winding down, each side emptied their bench to give some of their young players and camp invitees a chance to show them how they react in late game situations. While the Heat looked to have the game all but locked up, late, the Magic made a push behind former Heat man Shabazz Napier. Napier scored seven of the Magic's final 10 points, including a game winning three-pointer with just seconds remaining.
Four Magic men finished in double figures, led by Evan Fournier's 18. Vucevic finished with 17 after missing the teams first preseason game with a shoulder injury. Oladipo and Harris rounded out the bunch, finishing with 13 apiece.
The host Heat had three players finish in double figures, led by Bosh's 18. Goran Dragic added 12, while Gerald Green finished the night with 11 points, all in the fourth quarter.