On a day filled with mixed emotions across the United States, the Orlando Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves laced them up and went to work in Orlando. The Magic once again came out flat, getting crushed by the Timberwolves, 123-107.
Looking to bounce back after a poor performance on Monday night, the Magic got off to a slow, sluggish start against the upstart Timberwolves. Minnesota torched the Magic with their dribble drives, and shot making ability, knocking down 60 percent of their field goals in the quarter. The Timberwolves crashed the boards harder than the Magic, giving them second chance opportunities, making the Magic pay for their reluctancy to box out. Orlando’s offense continued to look putrid, with the team struggling to find any continuity with limited movement, and limited action on the ball. When the dust settled, Minnesota found themselves in control, up 22, 39-17 on the lifeless Magic.
The second quarter didn’t bring any improvement for the Magic, who continued to watch the Timberwolves knock down seemingly every shot, even the most highly contested ones. Led by Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine, Minnesota knocked down nine three-pointers, compared to just one for the Magic, and paraded to the free throw line, making 13-of-16 in the first half. Orlando’s defense was unable to string together stops at anything close to a consistent rate, and couldn’t get enough going on offense to put a dent into the Minnesota lead. After pushing it to as many as 30, the Timberwolves found themselves up 27, 74-47, at the half.
Out of halftime, the Magic finally began to show some signs of life. Thanks to hot play offensively from Nikola Vucevic, and improved defense, the Magic found themselves cutting into the Timberwolves lead, cutting it to as few as 15. Despite their improved play, the Magic weren’t able to continue to slow down the visitors, allowing them to push their lead back out to 20 at the end of the quarter. Holding a little bit of momentum, the Magic went into the fourth looking for a miracle, trailing the Timberwolves 97-77.
Despite having some momentum, things were looking bleak for the Magic heading into the final quarter. Seemingly every time the Magic were able to cut into the Minnesota lead, they were answered, seeing the lead balloon back up to 20. As the quarter wore on, the Magic were able to string together some stops, coupled with scores on the offensive end, cutting the lead down to 11. However, after a timeout, Minnesota quickly ended any hope the Magic had of completing a comeback, pushing the lead back to 16.
LaVine led all scorers, finishing with 37 points, including seven three-pointers. Wiggins added 29, with Karl-Anthony Towns finishing with a 20-point, 11-rebound double-double. Gorgui Dieng added 12, with Shabazz Muhammad scoring 13. Tyus Jones finished with 10 off the bench.
Vucevic led the way for the Magic, finishing with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Elfrid Payton finished with 18 points and seven assists, with Evan Fournier adding 13. Serge Ibaka and Mario Hezonja scored 11, and D.J. Augustin added 10 off the bench.