The Magic’s best offensive performance of the season resulted in a double-digit loss.
That should not be the case in a game where the Magic shoot nearly 50 percent from the field and from deep, and where Cole Anthony matches a season-high 33 points, and where the entire starting unit is in double figures, and where Orlando drops a season-best 130 points.
But it wasn’t enough for the Magic on a night where defense did not exist during a 142-130 loss to the Sacramento Kings.
“Them shooting the basketball well, us giving up second-chance points, as well as turning the ball over, that’s a recipe for not giving yourself a chance,” Jamahl Mosley said after the game.
The Magic in the first half were slightly more efficient than the Kings, shooting 55.6 percent from the field and 53.3 percent from three but trailed 70-67 going into the break.
The hot shooting continued in the third for the Kings but not for the Magic, who also were plagued by turnovers in the quarter as the Kings went on a 16-2 run to establish a double-digit lead. The Magic shot 36.4 percent in the third and committed seven turnovers, falling behind by as many as 16.
The Magic didn’t get back within single digits until Anthony drained a three and Franz Wagner followed with a three-point play in transition to pull Orlando within 137-129 with just over one minute remaining. But that was as close as the Magic would get in a game where they were unable to get consistent stops and allowed the Kings to shoot over 50 percent in each quarter.
While the Magic set a season-high with 130 points, eclipsing the 116 scored in a loss to the Rockets, the 142 points allowed topped the previous high of 129 that Orlando gave up in a loss to the Hawks.
De’Aaron Fox had 33 points on 12-for-18 shooting to lead the Kings, who shot 54.6 percent from the field, 44.1 percent from three (15 of 34 despite a 1-for-10 performance from deep by Buddy Hield) and 84 percent from the line (21 of 25). The Kings’ guards had their way with the Magic defense, with Tyrese Haliburton adding 18 points and 11 assists and Davion Mitchell also scoring 18 points off the bench.
Anthony, who scored 11 of his 33 in the fourth quarter, shot 12-for-22 from the field and 6 of 9 from three. He also added eight assists and four rebounds.
“We got into a shootout and lost,” Anthony said. “And that’s not how we want to play. We gotta be better than that. We gotta hold ourselves to higher standards. We really gotta, at the end of the day, have the mentality that we want to guard, and tonight we didnt have that.”
Where does the Magic defense have to improve?
“We gotta be more crisp in our rotations, we gotta just have some pride in wanting to guard our man one-on-one, and even if we do that and do get beat we gotta have our brother’s back,” Anthony said. “That don’t mean just the big comes over and helps and makes them miss a shot. The other guard has to come in and crack that big and make sure they don’t get an offensive rebound, we saw that happen several times tonight.”
Franz Wagner had 19 points, six rebounds and four assists. Wendell Carter Jr. added 19 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
Gary Harris scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half. Terrence Ross had 17 points in a balanced effort for the Magic, which shot 49.5 percent from the field and 47.1 percent from three (16-for-34).
The offensive numbers look pretty but don’t mean much when the Magic can’t get stops.
“You score 130, you should give yourself a chance, but you give up 142,” Mosley said. “We’re going to continue to say it and we’re going to keep hitting home on it that the defensive side of the ball is what travels. We cannot get into a shootout with certain teams. We gotta make sure that we are sitting down and guarding and taking pride in the defensive side of the floor.”