The Magic were THIS close to having back-to-back buzzer beaters.
Orlando held the lead in the final seconds of regulation, and again in the closing seconds of overtime, but they instead ended their lengthy road trip with a tough loss, falling to the Pacers, 120-118, in overtime.
With the Magic up 118-117 and 20 seconds remaining, Fournier’s pull-up three off a pick-and-roll that would have all but sealed the win went half way down before rimming out. At the other end, Fournier leaked off Malcolm Brogdon just a little too much, and Brogdon hit the a go-ahead three to make it 120-118 with 3.6 seconds to go.
The Magic inbounded to Fournier, who hesitated on what looked like an open three, but drew the pump fake that created another quality look, but it was off the mark at the buzzer as the Magic suffered their seventh loss in eight games, capturing just one win on their five game trip.
The two misses from deep were actually a surprise on this night from a Magic team that entered the game ranked last in the league at three-point shooting. The Magic hit 17 of 37 attempts from three (45.9%) for one of their better shooting performances of the season. That was led by Fournier, who went 4-for-8 from long range and finished with 26 points and 9 assists. all of which were season-highs.
Fournier, though, struggled at the free throw line, hitting just 6 of 12 attempts after entering the night shooting nearly 90% from the stripe. The Magic overall left easy points on the board that came back to prove costly (15-for 24 from the free-throw line for the Magic, 16-for-18 for the Pacers).
Free throws and turnovers turned what would have been a Magic win into a loss. Orlando, against a turnover-inducing Pacers defense, commit 14 of them, one of which came on a poor pass by Gordon when the Magic had a chance to win it at the end of regulation. The Pacers capitalized at the other end, scoring 29 points off those Magic turnovers.
“This was painful because we fought really hard and I feel like we had the game twice, and I feel like they just stole it away from us,” Fournier told reporters after the game. “Congrats to them. They played a good game. They still won but we should have won that one and it’s really hard to swallow for sure.”
Nikola Vucevic added 24 points and 12 rebounds but struggled from the field, going 10-for-29. Aaron Gordon had another very strong all-around game in his point-forward role, finishing with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists, while shooting 6 of 10 from the field, including 4-for-7 from three. He hit three of those threes in the opening 1:46 seconds of the game, and went on to score the Magic’s first 11 points.
Dwayne Bacon, in his second game since returning to the bench, had what was arguably his best game of the season, scoring 16 points on 7-for-12 shooting. Terrence Ross was also in double figures with 12 points. including a three with 1:30 remaining in regulation that tied it at 106.
Brogdon had 23 points to lead the Pacers, although he had a late go-ahead three wiped off the boards after a review showed he stepped out of bounds, turning what was a one-point Magic deficit into a two-point Magic lead with just over two minutes left in overtime. Jeremy Lamb added 22 off the bench, scoring 12 of his points in the fourth quarter and overtime. Myles Turner added 22 points and 9 rebounds.
Domantas Sabonis just missed a triple-double, finishing with 18 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists and 5 steals. With the Magic up two late, Sabonis easily had his way with Vucevic in the paint to score the tying bucket with 10.7 seconds left in regulation to make it 108-108.
That came after a strange call in which the Magic seemingly turned the ball over on an inbounds pass as Fournier and Turner collided. Refs initially ruled Magic ball, but after review, gave possession to the Pacers, leading to the tying bucket.
It was a weird call in a game that also saw a three-pointer for each team taken away after review showed the player stepped out of bounds — Brogdon as we already discussed, and Gary Clark in the third, taking his only points and shot attempt in 10 minutes of play off the books.
The 7-9 Magic now return home for the first time in a long time and will host the Charlotte Hornets for a back-to-back that starts Sunday night.