Orlando Magic Grades: Miami Heat 116, Orlando Magic 113

Terrence Ross caught fire but could not help the Orlando Magic hold off the Miami Heat. (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images)
Terrence Ross caught fire but could not help the Orlando Magic hold off the Miami Heat. (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic shot plenty well and had every chance to get the win. But Aaron Gordon’s buzzer-beater was no good and the Heat proved too hot to handle.

38. 116. 110. Final. 113

Three-pointers came easy all night for the Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat as they traded blows for much of the 48 minutes on the court at the American Airlines Arena. In the end, the Magic needed one more 3-pointer. Just one more shot to go in.

Hasn’t that always been the case for the team this year? One shot would tip their season in a positive direction or in a completely frustrating one.

The Magic had the ball down three looking to inbound it to the scorching Terrence Ross or the reliable Evan Fournier or even Nikola Vucevic. Markelle Fultz was searching and searching to get the ball in. They all flashed to the top of the key, a crowded mess with time winding down.

Markelle Fultz had to get it in and he fed it toward the corner for Aaron Gordon. He pump-faked as Jae Crowder stayed close, but not too close to be sure to avoid a foul. Time was winding down and Aaron Gordon had to let it go.

The shot seemed on line, but the ball hit off the back rim and no good. The Magic’s offensive efforts fell short in a 116-113 loss to the Heat on the road. A start to the road trip that was encouraging for the fight the team showed, but discouraging because the result matters so much more.

Orlando struggled all night to watch the 3-point line. They allowed Duncan Robinson to weave his way around defenders as attention to detail was never completely on point. He finished with 27 points and nine 3-pointers.

Miami made a franchise-record 22 3-pointers, hitting 50 percent from beyond the arc. This is the crux of Miami’s offense. The Heat love to take advantage of teams when they lose attention to detail. And Orlando is struggling to get all of it there.

Then again, the Heat hit their fair share of tough shots. The Magic needed to adjust to better defend the 3-point line, but sometimes good teams will make tough shots. And the Heat had their share.

That was the case when Miami built a 15-point lead in the first half on three straight 3-pointers, two of them well contested and another a Goran Dragic bank shot as he tried to draw a foul on a pump fake.

Orlando outplayed Miami almost every other place. The Magic were solid defensively in the second half especially, doing a better job staying attached to Robinson and 3-point shooters. They were not fantastic though. The Heat still went through their spurts, including a pair of 3-pointers from Crowder late.

But Orlando had a no-longer rare spurt of offense. The Magic shot 52.4 percent from the floor and 13 for 30 from beyond the arc. They made shots and had the ball moving into the lane and out. Orlando was about as in-rhythm as they could be.

That will give the Magic plenty of regret. Coach Steve Clifford admitted the team did not perfect their gameplan on the 3-point shooters and had to make adjustments on the fly at halftime. Orlando had 12 turnovers, including a key one late that led to a Robinson 3-pointer and some breathing room for Miami. There were a few offensive rebounds the team gave up late.

The Magic could count their mistakes as to why they dropped a winnable game on the road. And in a playoff race where every game matters, that is something they will regret.

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

Orlando Magic. NIKOLA VUCEVIC. B+. <a href=. C

B+. The Miami Heat successfully bottled up Aaron Gordon in this one. The budding young forward scored only 11 points on 5-for-10 shooting. The Magic tried hard to set him up in the post and that is where he was most effective. But there were a lot of fadeaways involved with that shot type. The goal was to get Gordon on a smaller player. he really did very little when <a rel=. F. Orlando Magic. AARON GORDON

B. <a href=. G/F. Orlando Magic. EVAN FOURNIER

B-. The Miami Heat got hot. That is really the difference in the game. They made 22 of 44 3-pointers and Duncan Robinson hit nine on his own. That is a tough thing for any team to overcome. The Orlando Magic even defended a lot of those 3-pointers fairly well. They at least contested them after Robinson made the catch.<p>Orlando really outplayed Miami in every other face. The Magic outscored the Heat 52-36 in the paint. Orlando shot the ball well and hit 3-pointers at a torrid pace too. This is a game Orlando will win against most opponents. The Heat did not even get great games from their best players — Jimmy Butler had 12 and Bam Adebayo had 10.</p><p>Orlando did its job in this game. The Heat just hit a lot of outside shots. Some of them were certainly poor Magic defense. But a lot of it was against good defense. The Magic just could not get those good looks to miss. And Miami took advantage of every turnover and mistake from Orlando to get in transition. The margin for error for the Magic was too small.</p>. 40-22. 4th East. MIAMI HEAT

The Orlando Magic are now 27-35, one-half game behind the Brooklyn Nets for seventh in the Eastern Conference and 4.5 games ahead of the Washington Wizards for the final spot in the playoffs.

Next. Orlando Magic 3rd Quarter MVP: Aaron Gordon. dark

The Orlando Magic continue their road trip on Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.