A costly inbounds turnover halted a 16-point comeback effort and Mario Hezonja‘s super game as the Orlando Magic fell to Chicago Bulls 105-101.
The Orlando Magic fought valiantly to erase a 16-point deficit and overcome a poor shooting night. In the end, they could not get out of their own way.
Tied at 101 with the ball and 17 seconds to play, the Magic had the chance to take the last shot and steal a road victory. But a late turnover from Jonathon Simmons turned into Zach LaVine‘s go-ahead bucket. The steal and slam allowed the Chicago Bulls to sneak away with a 105-101 victory.
Thanks to a pair of three-pointers and his stellar one-on-one defense, Mario Hezonja brought the Magic back late in the fourth quarter. Down now by two points, coach Frank Vogel drew up a play and the ball would be in Hezonja’s hands.
He was unable to hit a deep three-pointer and that closed the book for Orlando.
It was a career night for the former number five overall pick. Hezonja went 8 for 14 from the field, grabbed six rebounds and added four steals on the night.
Orlando needed all of it to give the team a chance to win the game.
Thanks to a big run to start the fourth quarter, Chicago built a 91-75 lead. The Magic had little life and could not get shots to fall. Slowly but surely they climbed back into the ballgame until Hezonja caught fire.
Orlando had no flow on offense. The Magic shot 44.6 percent as a team and their three-point percentage was 33.3.
Chicago bullied the Magic in the paint. They scored 50 points down low and Orlando searched for an answer all night. In comparison, Orlando scored just 32 points down low.
But Hezonja and the Magic’s defense saved the day in the fourth quarter. Orlando got back into the game quickly and gave itself the chance to win.
At this point in the season, most Magic fans want to see the youth develop. Wesley Iwundu provided a peek into his value as a defensive stopper down the line. He stood tall against various matchups. Paul Zipser and Bobby Portis had problems with getting by him.
Wesley Iwundu needs a ton of work offensively. But if he can develop a 3-point shot, he has the perfect build for the prototypical “3-and-D” player on the wing.
As the second quarter rolled on, it was clear Orlando was treading water with their second unit. The defense was there for the most part, but offensively the Magic could not buy a bucket.
Although the offense went quiet, the Bulls second unit could not capitalize.
It felt that way the whole game. And when the Bulls pulled ahead, the Magic slowly reeled them back in. To the point where Orlando gave itself the chance to win.
A chance the team ultimately squandered.
The Orlando Magic play their final game before the All-Star Break on Wednesday against the Charlotte Hornets at the Amway Center.