“(Garrett) Temple got 17 straight there in the fourth quarter,” a reporter asked Magic coach Frank Vogel after his team’s 105-99 loss to the Kings, “did anybody... no one took the lead to stop him?”
“Not well enough,” replied Vogel, visibly disappointed by his team’s efforts on Tuesday night.
There are some scorers in the NBA that are just unstoppable when they get going, but Garrett Temple isn’t one of them. The veteran guard was 14-of-17 shooting in Orlando for a career-high 34 points.
The Magic led by 11 points with four minutes left in the third quarter but were outscored by Garrett Temple alone in the fourth. Temple had 19 of the Kings’ 28 points in the quarter, while the Magic had 17 as a team.
This kind of up-and-down performance has been a staple of Magic basketball in the post-Dwight era. Actually, In their last game, Orlando won in Boston for the first time since Howard was in the starting lineup – holding the No. 1 seeded Celtics to under 100 points. Then came Tuesday, and all of the recent progress came crashing back down to earth.
The Kings were 35-of-61 from two-point range, shooting 57% inside the arc and scoring 52 points in the paint. Temple didn’t miss a single two-point shot, while Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein was able to feast to the tune of 21 points and 9 rebounds.
The Magic had a few bright spots, but their team offense and individual defense were both lacking. Orlando shot just 43 percent from the field and had 11 of their shots blocked in addition to 17 turnovers.
This loss was particularly hard to swallow because the Kings have been actively waving the white flag on this season for a while now, going as far as saying they will sit their veterans for the rest of the year to give minutes to young guys. The Magic, on the other hand, have said as recently as last week that their goal is to make the playoffs. Maybe a loss like this will be the turning point that changes Orlando’s way of thinking.
The Orlando Magic (14-33) now have recaptured the dubious title of the league’s worst record. After a three-day break, they will look to rebound as they hit the road once again when they take on the Pacers in Indiana on Saturday.