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Warriors 119, Magic 113: Orlando's 4th quarter comeback falls just short

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The Magic nearly overcame a 17-point deficit late in the game, but they couldn't quite finish the comeback as the Warriors set the NBA record for consecutive home wins.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a shocking blowout loss to the Lakers, the biggest question entering the night was whether the Warriors were about to hit a slump or if they were about to bounce back on the second game of a back-to-back.  The truth lies somewhere in the middle, as the Magic nearly overcame a 17-point 4th quarter deficit, closing all the way to within 2 points in the final minute before the Warriors were finally able to close out the game, 119-113.  The loss comes despite the Warriors conceding a whopping 24 turnovers.  Steph Curry continued his historic season with 41 points, including 7-13 from downtown.  The Magic, who played without starting center Nikola Vucevic, were led by 20 apiece from Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, and Brandon Jennings.  While they shot a paltry 5-21 from beyond the arc, Orlando was able to remain competitive thanks to a 28-34 night from the foul line.

The first quarter, the Warriors demonstrated that they were uninterested in falling behind to another inferior team, dominating on offense and defense.  Orlando shot just 29.6% from the field, as the Warriors were happy to concede jumpers all over the court that wouldn't go down for the Magic.  The Magic's only success came when they were able to run off of 6 Golden State turnovers, and when they were able to get to the basket.  Those opportunities weren't enough to keep up with the Warriors, who shot 50% from the field, including 6-12 from behind the arc.  Naturally, Curry led the way with 11 points in the quarter, while no Magic player scored more than 4.  The Warriors led 31-18.

Though the bench unit has been unimpressive for the Magic lately (the Jennings-Watson backcourt in particular), they made significant headway in the second quarter, holding the Warriors to only 3 points in the first 4:30 of the period.  Brandon Jennings put together a quick 8 points for the Magic with a 3-pointer followed by a foul drawn on his next long-range attempt, and then a stepback jumper for 2.  That brought the Magic within 4, but the Warriors struck back quickly with a 6-0 run of their own.  That grew into an 13-4 run as most of the starters came back in for both sides.  Klay Thompson in particular made things happen for the home team, putting up 12 in the quarter to get to 19 by halftime. The Magic's work closing the gap was undone by the end of the half, with both teams scoring 28 in the quarter to maintain the 13-point status quo, 59-46.

The third quarter looked promising for much of those 12 minutes, as the Magic continued to find life on the offensive end.  While they were unable to hit only two 3s in the quarter (which was still more than they had in the whole first half), they were crucially able to get to the line for 9-9 free throws.  Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon scored 10 and 8 points, respectively, and the Magic pushed the lead all the way down to 8 again.  However, as is usually the case against the Warriors, they had another run in them.  Curry dropped 14 in the quarter, including two extremely contested 3s over Gordon and Ersan Ilyasova.  Without any shred of defense to back up the 31 points Orlando scored in the period, the deficit only increased thanks to 35 points by Golden State.  The score stood at 94-77.

To Orlando's credit, they competed the entire night, and they made yet another push at the start of the fourth.  A 15-4 run got the Magic back within 6.  Jennings and Mario Hezonja each added a 3-pointer during that stretch, while the Magic's defense finally buckled down to make the run possible.  The two teams traded blows evenly as the starters filtered back in.  Golden State's turnover problems continued to plague them; they gave up their 21st with 6 minutes to go, and their 22nd a minute after that.  Orlando continued to fight and whittle away the deficit, getting to within 2 points with just a minute to go.  That's when Thompson saved the Warriors with a difficult corner 3 off an offensive rebound.  Andrew Bogut poked the ball away from Oladipo on the following possession, leading to a Curry layup that sealed the game for good.