Looking to wrap up their five-game West coast trip on a high note, the Orlando Magic tipped it up in Phoenix against the Suns. A poor third quarter doomed the Magic, who fell in a tight one, 107-104, finishing their road trip 3-2.
Coming off a sluggish performance in Denver, the Magic appeared energized early, getting the shots that they wanted on every possession, despite not seeing the shots fall. As the quarter wore on, however, they began falling, helping the visitors go on a 12-1 run to take the lead midway through the quarter. Orlando's defense was crisp, jumping passing lanes and wrecking havoc on every possession for the guard heavy Suns. Evan Fournier, who has been struggling with his shot of late, knocked down a set of shots, leading to eight points to lead the Magic after one.
Carrying a small lead into the second, the Magic's defense continued it's strong play early, forcing the Suns into some mistakes, allowing the Magic to push their lead to as many as nine. Slowly, however, Phoenix began breaking them down, thanks to heightened guard play, along with hot shooting from Mirza Teletovic, who knocked down a set of three-pointers in the quarter. Phoenix's big men had their way with the Magic's bigs driving past with ease throughout the quarter, forcing the Magic's defense to collapse and leave shooters open. Their struggles as the quarter wore on didn't hurt them too much, with the Suns leading by just two at the half, 49-47.
Out of halftime, the Magic came out sluggish, turning the ball over four times early in the third quarter, while Phoenix started a blistering hot 7-of-8 from the field to take an early nine point lead. Phoenix didn't cool off much, finishing the quarter 13-of-19 from the field, and 9-of-11 from the free throw line. Orlando's defense struggled to keep guards Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe in front of them, allowing them to get to the basket seemingly at will. Desperately looking for some energy, coach Scott Skiles turned to his bench, but wasn't rewarded, with his team continuing to struggle.
Down 11 heading into the fourth, the Magic began finding their range, knocking down a set of three-pointers early in the quarter to cut the Suns lead down to two seemingly before one could blink. After tying the game up at 86, the Magic began to struggle again, with the Suns picking them apart each possession, aiding them in a 16-6 run to take control of the game once again. The Magic made a run, however, scoring the next 10 points to tie the game back up at 102.
The two traded free throws, before Eric Bledsoe finished a driving layup to put the Suns up two with just over a minute remaining. Evan Fournier missed a layup, with Nikola Vucevic missing the ensuing tip to give the Suns a chance to, potentially, put the game away for good. However, thanks to a good, crisp rotation from Victor Oladipo, P.J. Tucker missed a tough shot from the corner, giving the Magic a chance to tie, or take the lead with just 28 seconds left.
Out of the timeout, Elfrid Payton made an unforced error, losing the ball in the backcourt to give it back to the Suns. Forced to play the foul game, the Magic sent Bledsoe, a usually solid shooter, to the line. The combo guard split the pair, with the Magic getting the ball after Teletovic knocked it out of bounds. A pair of three pointers from Oladipo and Fournier went begging, as the Suns held on for a tight, three point victory.
Six Suns finished in double figures, led by 21 from both Knight and Bledsoe. Alex Len had a career night, finishing with 20 points and 14 rebounds, while Jon Luer and Teletovic finished with 15 apiece. Tucker rounded out the group, finishing with 11.
Nikola Vucevic led the way for the Magic, finishing with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Tobias Harris quietly finished with 16, with Fournier and Oladipo each finishing with 14. Elfrid Payton rounded out the bunch, finishing with 12 points and 10 assists.