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