Coming off a tough loss to the Phoenix Suns, their fourth in a row, the Orlando Magic returned to action in game three of a four game home stand, this time against the Sacramento Kings. Things got close late, but the Magic managed to close out a close game, winning 119-115.
Before the game even started, the Magic were behind the eight ball. Prior to the game, it was announced that Evan Fournier and Luke Ridnour would once again be out with a sore right hip, and a straight right hamstring respectively. Also added to the Magic's injury report was Willie Green, with a sore right achillies, and starting center Nikola Vucevic with a sore left ankle. All four players, along with rookie Devyn Marble, who's out with a detached retina, were inactive, leaving the Magic with just 10 healthy players for the night.
Despite being short handed, the Magic got off to a blazing start. Behind Victor Oladipo's 13 first quarter points, the Magic scored their most points in an opening quarter this season, pouring in 35 in the opening 12 minutes. Their high scoring was done so in a highly efficient manner as well, with the team knocking down 72.7 percent of their shots in the quarter. Without Vucevic they struggled on the boards, giving up seven offensive rebounds to an active Kings team. Rudy Gay led the charge for Sacramento, scoring 10 in the opening 12 minutes.
The fast start carried over for the Magic, as their offense continued to run at an extremely high level in the second quarter. They moved the ball well, finding open shooters, while also taking care of the ball, turning it over just twice in the quarter, and three times for the opening half. Despite having only a handful of healthy bodies, the Magic's bench gave them a big boost, scoring 22 in the half. The team's 68 points were a season high for a first half as well. Oladipo continued to lead the Magic, pushing his total to 19, with Gay leading the Kings with 20.
Out of halftime, things continued to go well for the Magic on the offensive end. They were clicking on all cylinders, moving the ball and finding good shots. However, after pushing the lead to as many as 18, the Kings began to whittle it down, cutting to just six heading into the final quarter. The Magic's defense struggled to slow the things penetration down, giving up nearly as many easy shots as they got on the offensive end. Gay continued to torch the Magic, scoring 10 more in the quarter, pushing his total to 30 for the night. Oladipo had another quiet quarter, scoring just five, pushing his total to a team high 24 on the night.
With their lead disappearing, things were looking problematic for the host Magic heading into the fourth. They began to struggle some on the offensive end, while still not being able to string together consecutive stops on the other end. The Kings fought all the way back to grab their first lead of the game midway through the quarter. After the Magic grabbed the lead back, pushing it up to five, the Kings fought back and retook the lead once again after a three-point play from Gay. Back-to-back baskets from Oladipo and Channing Frye put the Magic up four with under two minutes to go. A pair of free throws from DeMarcus Cousins cut the Magic lead to three.
After a poorly executed after timeout play from the Magic, the Kings had a chance to tie or take the lead. The ball was swung to Omri Casspi in the corner, who was closed out on, and fouled, by Magic rookie Aaron Gordon. Casspi made all three to give the Kings a one point lead with just 32 seconds remaining. After an inbounds pass to Oladipo, the second-year guard found Tobias Harris open in the right corner for a three-pointer to give the Magic a two point lead with 28.9 seconds remaining. Following a big stop on a miss from Cousins, Frye knocked down a pair to put the Magic up four with six seconds remaining. After a three from Gay cut the lead to one, Harris knocked down four free throws to seal the victory for the Magic.
The shorthanded Magic brought forth a balanced effort, with six players finishing in double figures. Oladipo led the way with a 32-point, 10 assist double-double. Frye finished with a season-high 22 points to go along with 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. Harris added 19, with Andrew Nicholson scoring a season-high 14. Ben Gordon scored 12 off the bench, with Elfrid Payton scoring 10 points and dishing out a season-high tying 12 assists.
Four Kings finished in double figures, led by Gay's game-high 39. Cousins finished with a 29-point, 12-rebound double-double, with Ray McCallum adding 13. Casspi rounded out the group finishing with 12.