Ed Szczepanski/USA TODAY
With each missed shot, forced foray to the rim and turnover, the Magic only dug themselves in deeper. It is like quicksand. That is what this season is quickly becoming as the Magic continue to delve deeper into oblivion and the bottom of the NBA standings.
The reality is that Orlando has some talent and apparently a bright future, but as teams have adjusted their strategies, this is a team that is struggling to adjust and adapt.
That reality became all the more clearer as the Sacramento Kings, a team with one of the worst defensive efficiency ratings in the NBA, completely confounded the Magic offensively and frustrated them on both ends. Any early mojo created was gone as the Kings went up big in the second quarter and never faced any serious challenges from the Magic in a 103-83 win at Sleep Train Arena on Friday night.
Orlando went on a 5-0 run to start the second half and then watched Sacramento burn off a 10-2 run and never look back. The Magic were dead in the water trying ever harder to make things happen and only finding frustration.
The Magic offense was a complete mess with 33.3 percent field goal shooting and 8-for-27 shooting from beyond the arc. Glen Davis missed his first six shots and ended up 4 for 12 for the game for 12 points and 12 rebounds. Arron Afflalo had 15 points on 3-for-12 shooting. Victor Oladipo scored 13 points on 5-for-14 shooting.
Tobias Harris, the only starter to shoot at least 50 percent, scored 16 points but also seemed to settle for jumpers when he could have gotten to the basket. Particularly at important times.
The frustration manifested itself in the transition points all those missed shots gave up and the poor defense and defensive rotations those plays gave up. The good energy of the first half quickly dissipated with each brick.
Sacramento scored 21 fastbreak points and scored 13 points off Orlando's 14 turnovers. The Kings got to the line 19 times with 15 of those coming in the second half. Sacramento became a much more aggressive and assertive team and took it to Orlando. The Magic could not stop fouling in the third quarter and the lead simply ballooned.
Orlando shot 30.4 percent from the floor after the first quarter. The team was 3 for 17 from beyond the arc. Free throws kept the Magic from getting completely blown out. Those too dried up as the Magic stayed on the perimeter and kept missing shots.
Winning teams have to make shots. Orlando just is not getting good shots and not getting good flow offensively. That is going to make it tough to score with a team that can put up points.
That is, unless the defense does its work. Which, in this game, it did not. Not as long as it needed to. The Magic held the Kings to less than 50 points in the first half and seemed to be the anchor for the Magic. That is what Orlando wants to be eventually.
The team is just not there yet. Glen Davis was diving all over the floor in the first half and doing his best to keep DeMarcus Cousins on the perimeter. He eventually found his way to the basket and he made his jumpers. So too did Rudy Gay throughout the game. The Kings moved the ball and got out on the break. They played free and loose.
The Magic are a team looking for answers. And frustratingly not finding them.