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Timberwolves 120, Magic 103: Orlando’s explosive offense is followed by horrific defense

The Magic offense built a 19-point lead that the Magic defense quickly destroyed

NBA: Orlando Magic at Minnesota Timberwolves Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

The Magic’s performance against the Timberwolves is best described by this tweet....

As good as the Magic offense played in the first half while establishing a 19-point lead, their inability to get stops was even worse while allowing the Wolves to erase the lead and build a double-digit advantage of their own.

The Magic, at the midway point of a six-game road trip, allowed the Wolves to shoot 51.6 from the field in a 120-103 loss.

Things began much better than they ended for the Magic.

It all started when Steve Clifford called an early timeout after the Magic allowed the Wolves to hit five of their first six shots for a 10-6 lead. Orlando responded by hitting their next seven shots during a 19-4 run to open a 25-16 lead.

Nikola Vucevic scored 14 points in the first quarter, shooting a perfect 6-for-6 from the field. The Magic overall shot a scorching 73.9 percent from the field in the quarter, and assisted on 13 of 17 field goals made, to take a 40-31 lead after the first.

The lead grew to as many as 19 in the second quarter after a pair of three-pointers by Terrence Ross made it 63-44. An 8-0 run by the Wolves, capped by back-to-back threes by Anthony Tolliver cut the Magic lead to 63-51. The Wolves run grew to 20-5, capped by a Jeff Teague three with the shot clock expiring, to pull within 68-64 at the half.

The Magic shot 59.6 percent in the half while tying their season-high for most points in a half.

They couldn’t capitalize on their offensive outburst, however, because the Wolves shot 58.1 percent themselves. Teague, who had missed the previous nine games with an ankle, injury scored 14 first half points.

The Wolves opened the third by hitting their first five shots, extending their run to 31-7, to take a 75-70 lead. Andrew Wiggins pull-up jumper gave Minnesota a double-digit lead at 82-72 with 7:42 remaining. After a desperation three with the shot clock expiring by Teague and a dunk by Taj Gibson, the Wolves took a 13-point advantage.

Towns scored 12 points in the third as the Wolves outscored the Magic 31-17 in the third for a 95-85 lead.

The lead would only grow from there as the Magic continued to struggle at both ends of the court and the Wolves’ advantage grew to as many as 21 in the fourth.

Towns led the way with 29 points and 15 rebounds and Teague had 23 points and 10 assists.

Vucevic after his dominant 14-point first quarter, finished with 22 points and seven rebounds. Evan Fournier added 21 points and Ross added 13 points off the bench. Aaron Gordon, quiet in the second half, had 10 points and six assists. Jonathan Isaac also had 10 points for the Magic, who after their red shot shooting early, finished at 47.7 percent from the field.

After matching a season high for points in a half with 68 in the first half, the Magic were limited to 35 in the second half. It all makes perfect sense.

The Magic road trip continues on Sunday for a matinee in Los Angeles against the Clippers.