Coming off their third straight victory for the first time in over a year, the Orlando Magic returned to action on Wednesday night against their in-state rival Miami Heat. The Magic had it all but wrapped up late, but blew a seven point lead and fell to the Heat, 93-90.
After a strong opening few minutes, the wheels fell off for both the Magic and the Heat. The two rivals struggled to get anything going on the offensive end, with the Magic shooting 36.8 percent and the Heat 31.8 percent. The Magic also struggled to take care of the ball consistently, turning it over five times. Overall, the Magic did a good job of swarming the paint and not allowing the Heat to get clean, easy looks around the rim. Hassan Whiteside led the Heat with five, while Tobias Harris led the Magic with five as the two sides went into the second quarter knotted up at 17.
Early in the second quarter, the Magic's bench gave them a big spark, helping them jump out to a quick 10 point lead. However, things began to go down and fast for the Magic, as their offense stagnated, and their defense struggled to slow down a heating up Miami team. The Heat went on a 13-2 run to take a one point lead before things began to even out. After Miami grabbed the lead back, the sides traded buckets for much of the remainder of the quarter, before the Magic grabbed a four point lead going into the halftime break. Victor Oladipo and Evan Fournier led the way for the Magic with eight, with Luol Deng leading the visiting Heat with eight of his own.
Out of halftime, the game had much of the same feel of the second quarter. The Magic got things going early, jumping out to a double digit lead early in the quarter. The Heat stayed resilient, slowly chipping away at the Magic's lead, cutting it down to as few as five after a layup from Whiteside. The Magic were able to stabilize the lead some, before the Heat made a final run to tie the game up at 61 heading into the final quarter. The Magic's biggest struggle in the quarter was their turnovers, coughing it up eight times leading to 13 Miami points. Deng led all scorers with 21 after three, with Nikola Vucevic leading the Magic with 14.
With the game up for grabs, the Magic found their tenacity on both ends. They were able to grab a lead early in the quarter, and hold onto it for much of the final 12 minutes. Their defense turned it up a notch as well, forcing the Heat into tough shots on almost every possession. The Magic seemed to be clear sailing, until some ugly play allowed the Heat to claw their way back. After a Henry Walker three, the Magic sent Victor Oladipo to the line with a chance to put the team up four with over 21 seconds remaining. Oladipo split the pair, then Walker hit a three to tie the game and send it to overtime.
The two sides continued to play an ugly brand of basketball in the fourth, missing shot after shot. After Vucevic split a pair at the line, the Heat got a dunk from Whiteside, A missed three from Willie Green led to a break away layup and subsequent timeout for the Magic, things were beginning to look very bleak. A bucket from Vuceivc, along with a couple of Heat misses gave the Magic a chance to take the lead with just over 27 seconds remaining. Vucevic ended up turning it over, with Wade being fouled. He knocked down the pair, giving the Magic a chance to tie the game with almost 17 seconds remaining. Vucevic got a quick two, followed by a pair of free throws by Goran Dragic. Oladipo missed a three that would've tied it, wrapping up the victory for the Heat.
Five Magic men finished in double figures, led by Vucevic's game high 24. Oladipo finished the night with a 13-point, 13-rebound double-double, with Harris and Willie Green each adding 12 of their own. Fournier rounded out the bunch, finishing with 10 off the bench.
Miami finished with four men in double figured, led by Deng's team high 21. Dwayne Wade finished the night with 18, with Whiteside finishing with a 15-point, 12-rebound double-double. Walker rounded out the group, finishing with 10.