Orlando Magic Grades: Orlando Magic 102, Cleveland Cavaliers 100

Evan Fournier has a stellar record as a clutch performer for the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
Evan Fournier has a stellar record as a clutch performer for the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic made an improbable late comeback, capped off with Evan Fournier‘s buzzer-beating shot to give the team its first win streak.

The Orlando Magic trailed the Cleveland Cavaliers by five points with 42.2 seconds left. It felt like the team had surrendered another opportunity at a good win, squandering an 11-point halftime lead with a frustrating 12-point quarter.

Evan Fournier missed an open 3-pointer on the next possession all but sealing the Magic’s fate.

Or so it would seem.

Aaron Gordon picked up the offensive rebound and hit a tough fadeaway jumper to keep some hope alive with 23.8 seconds left.

Down three, all the Cavaliers had to do was protect the ball and make free throws.

But Cedi Osman did not get that memo. Instead of waiting for the Magic to foul he tried passing to a cutting Jordan Clarkson. D.J. Augustin got the steal and drew a foul. A three-point lead became one.

Inbounding the ball to Kyle Korver, Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross trapped him and forced a steal. The Magic had the ball and Fournier drew a foul with the chance to take a one-point lead.

Fournier split the free throws but would get a second chance. Nikola Vucevic blocked George Hill‘s layup attempt and the Magic got the ball out of bounds with one second left.

Coach Steve Clifford drew up a play for Evan Fournier to come off a curl screen. He pump-faked and sidestepped Osman flying by him. He drained the shot and gave the Magic an improbable 102-100 win over the Cavaliers at Amway Center.

The crazed finish was the kind of heartbreak the Magic are used to being on the wrong end of. Orlando had to fight back after trailing by nine points entering the fourth quarter. That was thanks to a 4-for-22 performance in a 12-point third quarter. That frittered away another energetic start where the team moved and shared the ball extremely effectively.

Orlando still has to find a way to keep its offense moving and keep its defense engaged even as frustrations over missed shots mount. But the Magic are happy to learn those lessons while winning.

If the key goal right now is to establish a “competitive spirit” and “fight,” this game certainly had that. Orlando never gave up on the game even with the team’s struggles for good stretches of it. Far from perfect, but enough to get the W. And that is all that matters.

B-. Evan Fournier will get the hero game ball in this one for the buzzer-beating shot. And he deserves that. Fournier worked to get a tough shot and hit it for the win. That is worth celebrating. Fournier made some big defensive plays down the stretch that helped the Magic get back.<p>Fournier would admit though that until those final moments he sucked. He said as much in his walk-off interview on FOX Sports Florida. The stats back that up too — 15 points on 5-for-15 shooting and 2-for-9 shooting from beyond the arc. Fournier missed a lot of open looks and was guilty as anyone for the team’s stagnant play in the third quarter.</p><p>Defensively, he struggled especially in the fourth quarter to slow down George Hill. He was rough on his pick and roll coverage with Hill and would too often get stuck on screens. That sent the Magic’s defense out of whack. Fournier knows he has to be better.</p>. G/F. Orlando Magic. EVAN FOURNIER

<a href=. F. Orlando Magic. AARON GORDON. A-

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

B. <a href=. G/F. Orlando Magic. JONATHON SIMMONS

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS. B+. The Cleveland Cavaliers did not look like a team in complete disarray for much of the night. They fought hard and gave themselves every chance to win. Their veterans were calm and collected throughout the game and led the charge. Maybe that is a bad thing for this team.<p>The Cavaliers did not look shaky really until the final 30 seconds of the game when they made some inexcusable gaffes that cost them. The Magic went out there and took it for sure. But Cleveland opened the door.</p><p>Credit the yeoman’s work from George Hill (22 points) and Tristan Thompson (19 points, 16 rebounds). They carried the team and gave the Cavaliers enough energy to get to all but winning. But the mental mistakes late cost them big time.</p>. 1-9. 15th East

Next. Mohamed Bamba flashing his potential brilliance. dark

The Orlando Magic are next in action Wednesday when they host the Detroit Pistons.