Kicking off a four game homestand, the Orlando Magic welcomed the Miami Heat to the Amway Center for an important divisional game. Contrary to their first two meetings, the Magic struggled, getting blown out by the Heat, 115-91.
Continuing a trend from their last few games, the Magic came out sluggish on the offensive end. As shots continuously clanked off the rim, unforced errors and turnovers began piling up, taking very important offensive possessions away from a struggling Magic offense. Having come into the night struggling from the field, the Magic, who had shot just 42.5 percent from the field over their last 10 games, including 39.1 over their last six, shot just 36.8 percent in the opening quarter.
Miami, who has been as cold as the Magic from the field recently, picked apart the Magic defense, knocking down shot after shot, including heavily contested attempts. Orlando seemed a step slow on rotations, getting burned by the Heat’s strong off ball movement. After one, the Magic were staring yet another blowout in the face, down 28-17 against the surging Heat.
Orlando’s struggles continued into the second quarter, with Miami pushing their lead up to as many as 19 early in the frame. The Magic were lifeless on both ends, struggling for quality shots and allowing the Heat to get whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted.
Desperately needing a shot of energy, the Magic went back Jonathan Isaac, who quickly pumped some energy into his team, diving for loose balls, and punctuating a 14-2 Magic run with a putback slam. Despite the sudden shot of energy, the Heat were able to gain a little momentum back, pushing their lead back up to nine at the half, 53-44. Josh Richardson led the Heat with 11, with Evan Fournier leading the Magic with 12 halfway through the contest.
Things escalated out of control quickly for the Magic in the third quarter. Heat guard Tyler Johnson continually found himself open off of flare screens, leading to open three after open three. Johnson made five three balls in the first half of the quarter, finishing with 20 of the Heats 37 in the quarter.
The Magic showed no signs of life all quarter, running poor offensive sets, and giving up bucket after bucket to the Heat. Foul trouble began to creep in for the Magic as well, forcing D.J. Augustin to the bench early in the quarter with his fourth foul. Without Augustin out there, the offense flatlined, allowing the Heat to push their lead to as many as 26, before settling for a 90-71 lead after three.
Appearing to be dead in the water, the Magic came out firing to start the fourth, going on a quick 13-2 run to cut the Heat down to eight. Once Augustin picked up his fifth foul and was taken out of the game, things once again turned for the Magic. While the Heat were still missing shots, the Magic weren’t able to take advantage of it, allowing the Heat to push their lead back up to 15 with 5:36 remaining.
Out of a timeout, the Heat put the finishing touches on the Magic, pushing their lead back up to over 20.
The win puts the season series at 2-1 in favor of the Magic. The winner of the final game, which will be held in Miami, could hold an important tie-breaker come playoff time.