Orlando Magic Grades: Golden State Warriors 111, Orlando Magic 105

Feb 11, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) scores a three point basset against Orlando Magic guard-forward Dwayne Bacon (8) during the first quarter at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 11, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) scores a three point basset against Orlando Magic guard-forward Dwayne Bacon (8) during the first quarter at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

105. 38. 111. 41. Final

The Orlando Magic fell short to the Golden State Warriors 111-105 in what proved to be a dogfight throughout.

The undermanned Magic began the game with nine available players but lost Frank Mason Jr. early in the first quarter with a strained right groin. Orlando played the remainder of the contest without a point guard and just three players available off the team’s bench.

What was already a tall order became even taller.

Stephen Curry carried the Warriors’ offense, scoring 40 points, 30 of which came from beyond the arc. He also scored 12 of the Warriors’ 29 first-quarter points to propel Golden State to an early lead.

The Magic quickly closed the gap during the second quarter, with Chuma Okeke, Terrence Ross, and Khem Birch responsible for the bulk of the scoring. Nikola Vucevic got off to a slow start shooting the ball but proved valuable as a playmaker with five first-half assists.

The Magic displayed mettle with their reserves depleted and maintained their halftime lead through the majority of the third quarter. Orlando outscored Golden State 36-18 in the second quarter to stake a claim to the game and an 11-point halftime lead.

A severely undermanned Orlando Magic team gave their best effort to push the Golden State Warriors on the road. But the team ran out of gas and could not get to the finish line.

Golden State fought back to tie it with 11 quick points to open the half. But the Magic never went away. They held the lead into the fourth quarter.

But tired legs showed down the stretch in the fourth quarter when the Magic’s 91-86 lead was erased by a 16-0 Warriors run. Orlando committed seven of its 15 turnovers as the Warriors’ decision to pressure full court showed the team’s weakness without a point guard and the team’s lack of organization in a tight contest.

The Magic missed several shots that could have broken the run and provided some stability. But it was not meant to be for a tired and battle-worn team.

All nine Magic players saw action tonight, including Mohamed Bamba who finished with three points and two rebounds in seven minutes of playing time.

The Magic’s toughness and grit were admirable, but the loss of Mason and the already limited roster availability does not bode well for the remainder of the road trip.

Orlando Magic. NIKOLA VUCEVIC. B. . C

The Orlando Magic’s All-Star-eligible center did not have his best game, but he still proved dependable in generating much-needed offense. Nikola Vucevic finished with 25 points and 13 rebounds but was just 8 for 23 from the field. He showed self-awareness in not forcing shots that were not falling early in the contest and made a point of finding open teammates for timely baskets.

When Vucevic was aggressive, he was getting good shots, it was simply one of those nights where the shots were not falling. This game speaks volumes about Vucevic’s All-Star candidacy in terms of his ability to impact the game even when his shot isn’t falling.

He also showed consistent effort on the defensive end, not allowing his offensive struggles to impact his mindset. But here fatigue was evident too. He was late on several rotations and stuck with Stephen Curry on several key sequences, exposing the lane to dives from Draymond Green or other drives to the basket.

If a few of Vucevic’s early shots fall, maybe the Magic do not start with a 10-point deficit at the end of the first quarter and steal a road win they fought hard for.

CHUMA OKEKE. A-. . F. Orlando Magic

Chuma Okeke had one of the best games of his early career, finishing with nine points, five rebounds and five assists in 35 minutes. He also displayed stellar defense against the Golden State Warriors’ forwards Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr. throughout.

Chuma Okeke also had the Magic’s highlight of the game, stripping Stephen Curry on a live dribble, then pushing in transition and finding Nikola Vucevic for an open 3-pointer with the game hanging in the balance.

Okeke’s play since his return from a bone bruise that saw him sidelined most of January has been one of the few bright spots for the Magic in 2021. He was known as a pure shooter coming out of Auburn, but his continued growth on defense and as a playmaker in a larger role bode well for his growth the remainder of the season.

TERRENCE ROSS. C+. . G/F. Orlando Magic

On a night when the Orlando Magic could have benefited from Terrence Ross’ additional scoring punch, the 10th-year pro came up short. He shot 8 for 27 from the field, including 2 for 8 from beyond the arc. Even with his poor shooting, Ross finished with 20 points, which was tied with Dwayne Bacon for second-most on the roster.

Ross has shown a propensity to play through teammates to generate offense over the Magic’s recent stretch. But against the Golden State Warriors, he relied on a steady diet of pull-up and off-the-dribble outside shots. His early efficiency is usually a strong indicator of how his performance on a given night will manifest. Unfortunately for the Magic, Ross missed his first seven shots.

Orlando benefited from his improved defense and rebounding — his three blocks proved valuable. If Ross is able to contribute in these other areas in addition to making shots, the Magic will be able to further depend on him to fill in as the team’s leader when Vucevic rests.

B. . F. Orlando Magic. JAMES ENNIS

The Orlando Magic needed James Ennis to help carry the offensive load given the dearth of injuries and Nikola Vucevic’s off night and he delivered masterfully. He finished with 17 points on 7-for-12 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds, four of which came on the offensive end.

James Ennis also provided his usual brand of stellar defense, matching up against Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Andrew Wiggins in 39 minutes of action. The Magic are desperate for more consistent outside shooting — particularly in the starting lineup — and Ennis is the obvious candidate to fill that void.

During the past two weeks, Ennis seems to have found his groove after returning to the lineup in early January. As one of the few players on the roster with playoff experience, his tenacity showed tonight in a game that was close throughout.

. 14-12. 8th West. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS. B-

The Golden State Warriors got off to a hot start from outside but showed their inexperience in allowing the Orlando Magic to hang around most of the second half. The absence of rookie sensation James Wiseman seemed to have an impact on Golden State’s ability to generate offense.

They heavily leaned on their starters to score, with just 16 of their 111 points coming from their reserves. Mychal Mulder provided a nice spark off the bench, finishing in double figures with 11 points on 3-for-5 shooting from outside.

Stephen Curry and Draymond Green led the way, the latter finishing with eight points, 11 assists and six rebounds. As usual, his defensive impact was felt inside. The Magic scored a mere 30 points in the paint and he stymied Nikola Vucevic troughout the evening, giving him little space to operate.

How to save 5 struggling Magic lineups. dark. Next

Orlando is now 9-17, including 4-9 on the road. Next, the injury-ridden Orlando Magic head to Sacramento to face the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.