Orlando Magic Grades: Phoenix Suns 122, Orlando Magic 120

Evan Fournier and Devin Booker have been two of the hottest shooting guards in the league to this point. (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images)
Evan Fournier and Devin Booker have been two of the hottest shooting guards in the league to this point. (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images) /

D.J. Augustin kept the Orlando Magic alive in the second half. But Orlando did not have enough in the tank to fend off the Phoenix Suns in the overtime loss.

38. Final. 122. 66. 120

After losing three straight, the Orlando Magic looked back on track early against the Phoenix Suns. They were up by 12 with only 40 seconds left in the first quarter, the ball was moving and shots were falling.

Then they got comfortable. Orlando let up on the defensive end, allowing two back-to-back 3-pointers to close out the quarter.

That was a preview of things to come. Orlando struggled to get its defense back on track. Phoenix shot 50.5 percent from the floor and 13 for 24 from beyond the arc. The Magic fell behind thanks to 17 turnovers. None bigger than Devin Booker stealing the ball from Evan Fournier on a bad pass and throwing down a one-handed jam.

Orlando had to scramble to force overtime, needing a Terrence Ross 3-pointer and then D.J. Augustin to force a foul on a 3-pointer with 0.6 seconds left to tie it up.

In overtime the Magic could not hit a shot, missing their final nine. They mustered up enough defense to scramble and get stops. But T.J. Warren‘s two floaters proved enough.

Aaron Gordon ran a two-man game with Nikola Vucevic and fed him the ball in the corner. But the Suns got a hand on it. Nikola Vucevic did not catch it cleanly and retreated to the corner as time wound down. He found Evan Fournier with a little bit of daylight. But the shot was no good.

The Suns survived with a 122-120 victory at the Amway Center on Wednesday, sending the Magic to their fourth straight loss at a time when they must get critical wins to stay in the Playoff race.

Orlando had plenty of fight in it after falling behind in the second quarter. D.J. Augustin came out firing and led Orlando on a 17-3 run in the second half to get the lead back. Augustin was aggressive on the offensive end, drawing fouls in the paint and draining open threes. He had 11 points during the run.

Augustin’s energy and efficiency opened the door for a potential Magic breakaway as their lead grew to eight.

But just like the first half, Orlando was not able to hold onto their lead. The Magic offense fell flat. They didn’t make a shot that wasn’t a free throw for the final four and a half minutes of the third quarter.

The Magic defense has played poorly throughout December, and the theme continued Wednesday. Phoenix ended the night shooting 50.5 percent from the field and 54.2 percent from three.

Orlando also continued to struggle on the offensive side of the ball. Despite short outbursts, the Magic ended the night shooting 38.9 percent from behind the arc, and 45.8 percent overall. The team’s second unit struggled to get any offensive momentum going as the team lost its lead whenever the starting unit was out.

Orlando went cold at the worst possible time against Phoenix.

Vucevic made the first shot of the overtime period, but the team shot 0 for 8 after that. Ending the extra time with merely two points and a loss against the team with the worst record in the league.

And more questions than ever as the season begins to slip away.

NIKOLA VUCEVIC. B. Nikola Vucevic played well, but not at the All-Star level he displayed earlier this season. He shot 50 percent from the field, ending the night with 22 points and 13 rebounds. He found his spots on the floor against <a rel=. C. Orlando Magic

A. D.J. Augustin carried the team in the second quarter. Without his 11-point takeover early in the second half, the Orlando Magic have no chance in this game. His outburst was only a minor part of his season-high 27 points.<p>Over and over again, Augustin reasserts his importance to this Magic team. On a team with veterans like Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier and <a href=. PG. Orlando Magic. D.J. AUGUSTIN

TERRENCE ROSS. C+. Terrence Ross was not as electric as we have seen before. But the Orlando Magic’s sixth man was still an effective contributor off the bench. He ended the night with 18 points on 6-for-14 shooting.<p>Ross went cold late in the game though. He attempted four shots in overtime and did not hit a single shot. One even went off the side of the backboard. Ross grabbed the rebound but missed the putback. It was a frustrating sequence.</p><p>Ross was not much of a defensive stalwart Wednesday either. Covering Devin Booker is not an easy task for anyone, but Terrence Ross seemed to not have an effect on him at all when being the primary on-ball defender. Booker shot just more than 50 percent with 35 points.</p>. G/F. Orlando Magic

C. <a href=. F. Orlando Magic. AARON GORDON

B+. The Phoenix Suns are the worst team in the NBA record-wise. But they just wrapped up a five-game road trip with three wins against <a href=. 9-26. 15th West. PHOENIX SUNS

Next. Orlando Magic Daily Roundtable: Christmas Lessons. dark

The Orlando Magic continue their homestand against the Eastern Conference-leading Toronto Raptors on Friday at the Amway Center.