Different night, same story.
The Orlando Magic couldn’t buy a basket in the second half Saturday night against the Miami Heat, dropping their fifth consecutive contest to their division foes, 102-89.
Jimmy Butler (8 for 15 FGA’s) led the Heat with 24 points, while rookie guard Tyler Herro (7 for 12 FGA’s, 6 for 10 3PTA’s) scored 23 points off Miami’s bench.
Miami, who ranks second in the league in three-point efficiency, made 15 of 33 three-point attempts in the game (45.5%). Conversely, Orlando shot 9 for 33 in the contest (27.3%).
“The big thing for us is, at least three of their three-point field goals came from offensive rebounds,” Magic head coach Steve Clifford said during his post-game conference. “Effort plays, and I told the guys at halftime - two of them there at the end of the second quarter (without watching the film), our guys should have had them.”
Orlando’s defense wasn’t providing much resistance against Miami’s offensive attack early in the game, allowing multiple straight line drives to the basket within the contest’s first five minutes.
The Heat made 8 of their first 10 shots, but the Magic were able to stay in the game thanks to the early efforts of Markelle Fultz. Orlando’s starting point game converted three drives in the lane, one coming from a steal (and-1) in the back-court off an errant Miami outlet pass.
Aaron Gordon was shooting straight early in Saturday’s contest, knocking down three three-point attempts in the first quarter. Gordon and Butler (who scored eight first quarter points) were going right at one another over multiple possessions early in the game.
Fans inside the Amway Center got a good look in the second quarter at Herro, who knocked down two outside jump shots coming off perimeter screens. Miami hit four three-point attempts in the period (8 for 15 on 3PTA’s in first half).
Miami closed the first half out on a 10-2 run.
Nikola Vucevic scored Orlando's first seven points of the second half. Unfortunately, those points came over nearly a six minute stretch where the rest of the team went 0 for 5. Vucevic poured on 11 of his 21 points in the period.
The Magic missed 13 of their first 17 attempts in the third quarter as the Heat opened up a double-digit lead.
An Evan Fournier three-point field goal from the left wing made the contest a two-possession game with just under ten minutes remaining.
Miami called timeout, which proved to be a good one from head coach Erik Spoelstra. The Heat answered with a couple three-point field goals on consecutive possessions, both coming from Herro.
“Defensively, for the most part, I thought we were pretty good,” Vucevic said. “In the fourth quarter, we gave up two offensive rebounds, those led to three’s throughout the game. Those hurt you against a team like Miami, when you make them miss (and play good defense) and then give up an offensive rebound, it’s hard.”
Orlando made it interesting at the end, cutting Miami’s lead to seven points at one point, but they just couldn’t convert enough shots to get any closer.
A final dagger from Herro with a minute remaining in the contest iced the game.
Miami controlled the boards against Orlando Saturday, out-rebounding the Magic 48-39. Forward Meyers Leonard and center Bam Adebayo grabbed 14 rebounds apiece. Leonard also scored 18 points in the game (4 for 9 on 3PTA’s).
Fournier and Terrence Ross combined to shoot 5 for 24 from the field (3 for 14 on 3PTA’s), an occurrence that makes it incredibly difficult for the Magic to win a game.
“I like the shots we were getting,” Gordon said in the locker room after the game. “They just weren’t dropping for us. I liked the shots we got, we just have to make them.”
“I had good shots, they just didn’t go in,” Ross said after the game. “I just have to keep shooting.”
Gordon finished with a team-high 24 points (9 for 20 FGA’s, 4 for 7 3PTA’s).
“I made a couple shots,” Gordon added. “It (doesn’t) matter because we didn’t win.”
Orlando didn’t win, and they’ve now dropped seven of their last ten games. The Magic have failed to score 100 points or more in six of those seven losses.
The Magic now embark on a three-game road trip, starting Monday night in Charlotte. The NBA Trade Deadline is now just five days away. The Magic will be in Boston on Wednesday and New York on Thursday before returning home.
Will their roster still be the same when they come back to Orlando? That remains to be seen.