Orlando Magic Grades: Orlando Magic 125, Brooklyn Nets 121

The Orlando Magic's Evan Fournier screams in celebration during a 125-121 win against Brooklyn Nets at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
The Orlando Magic's Evan Fournier screams in celebration during a 125-121 win against Brooklyn Nets at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic banded together and made some plays down the stretch to score a 125-121 victory over the Brooklyn Nets. Aaron Gordon led the way with 41.

The Orlando Magic are still trying to discover themselves. Their defense is not consistent yet. Their offense can still bog down. Everyone is trying to find their way.

Doing all that while still finding a way to win? That is something, isn’t it?

Aaron Gordon capped off a career night draining a go-ahead 3-pointer with less than a minute to play and a struggling Terrence Ross, who a few possessions earlier had foolishly fouled a 3-point shooter a few possessions earlier, stole D’Angelo Russell’s overhead pass on the pick and roll.

The ensuing free throws from Evan Fournier allowed the Orlando Magic to complete a 12-point second-half comeback and defeat the Brooklyn Nets 125-121 at the Amway Center on Tuesday.

Orlando hardly looked the dominant or better team, but it did something only good teams find a way to do — win without playing their best. And the Magic were hardly at their best most of the night.

But when the game got under fire in the fourth quarter, Orlando picked up its energy and attention on the defensive end. Brooklyn shot 45.1 percent through three quarters. The Nets hit only 8 of 25 shots (32 percent) in the fourth. About the only thing keeping Brooklyn afloat was Orlando’s inability to defend without fouling.

That was a constant problem for the Magic’s defense all game. Orlando committed 23 fouls for 34 Brooklyn free throw attempts. The Magic were often in their own way defensively, playing a strong early run through the shot clock and then giving up the possession on a bump or a late reach in. The Nets continued to put pressure on the Magic’s perimeter defense and it buckled.

That is, until the fourth quarter. In what Frank Vogel called the team’s best defensive quarter of the season, the Magic locked down and slowly closed the deficit. They turned to Evan Fournier to close the game and he delivered.

And when he could not, Gordon had the delivery.

Even though the Magic gave up a silly five points down the stretch — a three-shot foul for D’Angelo Russell and a putback from DeMarre Carroll after he stole the rebound from Nikola Vucevic — to find themselves down one, they found a way. That is all the final score cares about.

Orlando found a way.

A+. What else is there to say about Aaron Gordon aside from his final stat line? A career-high 41 points, 12 rebounds, 14-for-18 shooting from the floor (two of those misses he put back on offensive rebounds) and a perfect 5 for 5 from beyond the arc. Gordon, after missing two games with an ankle injury, was no worse for the wear and put a hurting on the Brooklyn Nets, getting them back for Friday’s loss.<p>Really it was how Gordon got his points that was more impressive. He rarely was the one taking guys off the dribble. Instead, he got his points within the flow of the offense. It was no wonder his scoring dried up as the Magic relied increasingly more on isolation play. He benefited from the team’s ball movement and made the defense pay for leaving him open. The Magic’s fast break gave him the opportunity to cut to the rim.</p><p>If there was an ideal Aaron Gordon game where everything goes right and his talent is on full display, this was it.</p>. PF. Orlando Magic. AARON GORDON

C. <a href=. G/F. Orlando Magic. TERRENCE ROSS

B+. With Aaron Gordon going for a big night, it might have been easy to forget who else was on the floor for the Orlando Magic. Very quietly, Evan Fournier put together a stellar game, scoring 28 points on 9-for-15 shooting, including a perfect 8 for 8 from the foul line.<p>Fournier scored 12 points on 2-for-4 shooting and 6-for-6 shooting from the foul line in the fourth quarter. That is when he really took over. Orlando turned to him for points and creation in that part of the game. And Fournier delivered, as he seemingly always does in the fourth quarter.</p><p>Fournier, as he always seems to be, is just solid. He made a lot of the right decisions offensively throughout the game. He was patient but aggressive. And his ability to get to the foul line late helped the Magic get back into the game and pull out the win. Fournier has been aggressive and consistent for the Magic. Something they certainly need on that end.</p>. G/F. Orlando Magic. EVAN FOURNIER

B. <a rel=. PG. Orlando Magic. D.J. AUGUSTIN

B+. The Brooklyn Nets should be bitterly disappointed they did not come away with the win Tuesday night. They controlled the pace and tempo of the game throughout and had the Orlando Magic frustrated and off kilter all game. They did a lot of the same things that led to success in the first matchup Friday. The only difference was the Magic made their shots at the end to secure the win.<p>That might become normal for a young Nets team. They still have to learn to close games. And they will still rely too heavily on their pace taking teams out of their rhythm and putting pressure on them. Brooklyn benefited from a lot of foul calls and Orlando’s own mistakes. When the Magic sharpened up, the Nets could not keep it going.</p><p>It was another solid game for D’Angelo Russell, who scored 29 points on 9-for-24 shooting, making four 3-pointers in the first quarter. It was also a solid game for DeMarre Carroll (17 points). The Nets will still have some growing pains, but they are proving to be very tough to knock out.</p>. 2-2. 8th East. BROOKLYN NETS

Next: Orlando Magic heading in the right direction

The Orlando Magic next play Friday at home against the San Antonio Spurs.