Orlando Magic Grades: Miami Heat 102, Orlando Magic 89

Jimmy Butler consistently beat the Orlando Magic's first line of defense, opening up the rest of the Miami Heat's offense. (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jimmy Butler consistently beat the Orlando Magic's first line of defense, opening up the rest of the Miami Heat's offense. (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic had some energy and fight. But their precision was still lacking as the Miami Heat were able to run away from the Magic in the end.

38. Final. 102. 110. 89

The Orlando Magic were raring to make one last run to try to cut into the Miami Heat’s lead. Their uphill climb was made worse by their own poor shooting, but their defense had kept them in the game.

If they could just string some shots together, maybe Orlando could steal the win against one of the Eastern Conference’s best teams. Playoff teams find a way to keep themselves in the game and use that last burst to get wins and scratch out wins in the regular season. Orlando has been capable of this in the past, but this year has been a struggle.

Here was their chance. Their chance to show the focus they said they would have to close this run to the All-Star Break. Their chance to get back to the level of play they know they are capable of and to do the things they must to win games.

For long stretches, the Magic played this way. But their margin for error was small. Each mistake magnified. And in the end, the Magic did not do the little things they needed to secure victory.

Down by six points with nine minutes left, the Magic got the stop they needed, forcing a miss from Meyers Leonard. But Bam Adebayo corralled the rebound. The Magic’s defense was in scramble mode trying to get back to the long rebound and he fed it to Leonard again for an open 3-pointer.

Good fortune favored the Magic. He missed it. But they again could not corral the rebound.

Derrick Jones Jr. fed it to Tyler Herro to bury the Magic and extend the lead back out to nine points. It was a big moment. But one that repeated throughout the game.

Orlando’s defense might have made the first stop. But the team struggled to make the next stop and the second effort after that. The Heat kept finding ways to get pas the Magic and to the basket or to rip apart the rotations to find open shooters.

The Magic kept pace offensively in the first half, but their defense constantly betrayed them. Even when it seemed to be righted in the second half. Miami kept finding those little gaps to make the big plays and hold Orlando off in a 102-89 Miami win at the Amway Center on Saturday.

The errors got amplified because of the team’s poor shooting. The Magic made just 39.8 percent of their shots and 9 of 33 3-pointers (27.3 percent). In the second half, Orlando hit just 3.25 percent of their shots and 3 of 16 3-pointers. It is simply too difficult to win games when the team is shooting that poorly.

No matter how well the defense plays.

But the Magic had to be concerned that despite an engaged and energetic effort, they still made critical errors that left their backline exposed and left shooters open consistently. Things could have been much worse.

Orlando continued to have fight and looked refreshed with their effort. But the team still seemed a long way from finding its rhythm to get back on the winning path.

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

Orlando Magic. EVAN FOURNIER. C-. The Orlando Magic’s offense really worked for much of the first half. The ball moved quickly around the perimeter with players making decisive passes and players cutting into open space as the defense tried to react. This is the pace the Magic want to play at most. This is how they can be successful.<p>It slowed down though. The Miami Heat started playing better defense for sure, helping crowd drivers and getting them to turn back. The rate of passes slowed. And the team started to focus on trying to get specific matchups rather than reading and reacting. It was frustrating to watch.</p><p>Really the only way to break this is to get some shots to fall to get the defense to back off and adjust. And <a href=. G/F

C. Orlando Magic. NIKOLA VUCEVIC. B-. The other culprit in slowing the team down was <a href=

B-. <a href=. PG. Orlando Magic. MARKELLE FULTZ

B+. The Miami Heat probably were not thrilled with their defensive effort in the first half. They made good on that after that. And this is a team playing with supreme confidence and a surety of their identity. They are not afraid to let it rain from three and they are going to hold true.<p>Jimmy Butler got things started. He did a good job getting downhill and toward the basket. He beat the first level of defense and that opened everything up. Butler finished with 24 points on 8-for-15 shooting. The Heat hit 15 of 33 3-pointers. The six more 3-pointers Miami made were the real difference.</p><p>The Heat’s defense did a good job staying disciplined to hold the Magic off the scoreboard. Orlando did not find its rhythm and Miami kept Orlando from getting to the basket to find it. The Heat took advantage of late rotations and some poor rebounding effort. The Heat made the plays they needed to.</p>. 33-15. 4th East. MIAMI HEAT

The Orlando Magic are now 21-28 and on a season-long five-game losing streak. They are one-half game behind the Brooklyn Nets for seventh in the Eastern Conference and three games ahead of the Chicago Bulls for the final playoff spot.

Next. Jonathan Isaac's absence is present in Orlando Magic's recent slide. dark

The Orlando Magic start a three-game road trip Monday against the Charlotte Hornets.