The Orlando Magic fell behind early on their own doing thanks to turnovers and poor execution. They never caught up to the Miami Heat.
When the Orlando Magic had the spark, it was clear.
The excitement and energy filled the Amway Center. The team had a focus, fire, intensity and joy about them. There was the confidence and swagger of a potential Playoff team. The world was their oyster and the game was theirs.
Nikola Vucevic was at the foul line missing a free throw and Jonathan Isaac was diving on the floor to save the rebound. When he pushed the ball to Evan Fournier for an open three, he got back up and went to the basket. As the ball caromed off the rim, he rose to make sure it finished this time.
As quickly as it came as the Magic erased a 19-point deficit, cutting it to three, it disappeared. The Miami Heat started making 3-pointers, winning every race to loose balls and forcing turnovers. Or not forcing them. Orlando sometimes just gave the ball away to Miami.
The spark came back quickly again in the fourth quarter after the Magic gave up 20 points to Tyler Johnson in the third quarter and fell behind by as much as 26 points. But it came again.
Jonathon Simmons hit a step-back 3-pointer to cut the deficit to eight. Aaron Gordon went flying for a block on Derrick Jones Jr., matching his crazy block from Friday night. The team’s energy and effort were there for long chunks of the night.
But like the first half, it disappeared quickly. The Heat’s lead ballooned again and the Magic were left trying to find answers as the fears another season is quickly getting lost grow louder and louder during a time many expected the team to bank wins.
Miami came to Orlando and stormed out with a 115-91 victory at the Amway Center on Sunday.
It was not the loss that was disappointing but the way it continued to happen. The Magic looked lethargic from the start, turning the ball over eight times in the opening quarter and burying themselves a deep hole. Orlando’s turnovers were not even forced.
Then there were the continued missed open shots — the Magic shot 41.4 percent of their shots and 10 of their 29 makes were 3-pointers. They at least got to the line for 32 free throw attempts but left nine misses on the board. It felt like every time the Magic were about to get over the hump, they could not get that last play they needed.
Either that or their bad habits showed up again. They lost Johnson in the half court with his cutting around screens, or had a silly turnover or missed a shot that knocked the team off kilter. It just came over and over again.
The Magic lost their consistency, their fight and their fire. And the score reflected it.
The Orlando Magic are back in action Wednesday as they take on the Phoenix Suns at the Amway Center.