Orlando Magic Grades: Orlando Magic 124, Golden State Warriors 120

Evan Fournier continued his strong play since coming back from injury to help the Orlando Magic defeat the Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)
Evan Fournier continued his strong play since coming back from injury to help the Orlando Magic defeat the Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images) /

Final. 120. 41. 124. 38

Could the Orlando Magic’s game against the Golden State Warriors end with anything short of a crazed comeback?

The Magic opened a 17-point lead in the third quarter. They would lose that behind a 43-point onslaught led by Kelly Oubre and Andrew Wiggins and dig into a 13-point hold as their bench struggled to generate much of anything offensively.

That is when they went to work. They erased that deficit as their defense picked back up and they started hitting shots more consistently.

But it is never easy, right?

Stephen Curry is still on the other team and he is still going to make things hard. Even down seven with a minute to play.

Curry indeed did that, making two 3-pointers to make the Magic sweat. After two free throws from Nikola Vucevic, the Warriors would have their chance to tie.

Orlando was swarming Curry all game. They had one of their players stick with him at all points of the game, even giving up corner 3s to stay with Curry. The Magic’s defense down the stretch on Curry will go down as the deciding factor in the game.

On that final play, Nikola Vucevic and Michael Carter-Williams doubled Stephen Curry, even when he did not have the ball. But Curry somehow broke free to receive a pass and got a fairly clean look at the basket. It fell no good with two seconds left, delivering the Magic a 124-120 victory.

Nikola Vucevic recorded a triple-double to lead a come-from-behind victory in the fourth quarter for an Orlando Magic win over the Golden State Warriors.

That was not the only major defensive play on Curry the Magic made. It took a crazed 31-14 kick in the final eight minutes for Orlando to pull out the win.

Twice, Chuma Okeke came over from the weak side to block a shot and then got rewarded with a corner 3-pointer on the other end, critical shots in the Magic’s comeback effort. And huge shots coming from a rookie having his coming out party.

The Magic had to go through the roller coaster of this game and stick to it to get the win, showing the kind of resolve this team has become known for.

A. . C. Orlando Magic. NIKOLA VUCEVIC

30 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists.

Nothing more needs to be said than the consistently crazy stat lines Nikola Vucevic is posting every night. The Golden State Warriors essentially doubled him on every post touch to try to get the ball out of his hands to the perimeter where they hoped the Orlando Magic would not be able to shoot. Instead, Vucevic consistently picked them apart feeding open players or getting the ball moving. Or even just to get the ball back on a repost and a quick shot toward the basket.

Vucevic is playing on another level right now. He is a threat from beyond the arc (2 for 7 in this game) and is displaying incredible patience and poise. While he still gets caught sinking toward the basket too much, his defense is really good. He knows how to use his length and positioning to contest shots and he constantly gobbles up every rebound.

. F. Orlando Magic. CHUMA OKEKE. A

Chuma Okeke had his coming out party as a rookie. All the little hints of his defensive potential and his offensive shotmaking came together in the game’s biggest moments. The Orlando Magic had a choice to make to come back in this game and they decided to trust their rookie to finish the game. He rewarded them.

Okeke scored 11 points, including hitting three of his four 3-pointers. Two of those came during that fourth-quarter comeback including the go-ahead 3-pointer later in the fourth quarter. He added five rebounds and three blocks. All three of those blocks were heady plays that rookies do not typically make. Okeke is maturing quickly in front of everyone. It is hard not to be impressed.

. G/F. Orlando Magic. EVAN FOURNIER. A

It is hard to believe that Evan Fournier missed any time with back spasms. He does not seem like he has missed a beat, firing off the dribble and from deep with ease. Evan Fournier is in a good rhythm even two games off missing multiple weeks with what has been described as back spasms.

Fournier was hitting some tough shots and was always an outlet offensively for this team. He scored 28 points on 11-for-15 shooting, making five of his nine 3-pointers. He added six assists for good measure as he was key to getting the ball moving in addition to all his offensive responsibilities.


First off, Michael Carter-Williams did an incredible job chasing Stephen Curry. The Orlando Magic had a clear gameplan to faceguard him the entire game essentially and not let him get going and it largely worked. Except for an eight-point burst to end the first quarter and a quick burst in the third and fourth, Curry was struggling to break free. Carter-Williams deserves a lot of credit for chasing Curry down to 11-for-28 shooting and 6-for-16 shooting from deep.

Carter-Williams is in there for his defense, but his offense has to come along. And this was a game to forget on that end. Carter-Williams made only 2 of his 13 shots for eight points. But his five turnovers were the thing that hurt the most. The Magic struggled to get back on defense in the third quarter and their turnovers and missed shots (of which Carter-Williams had more than his share) helped feed the Warriors’ comeback efforts.

B. . 16-14. 8th West. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

The Golden State Warriors are not going to win a ton of games when Stephen Curry is not going off. And, sure, he had 29 points. But he was hunting for his shot and trying to break a very game Orlando Magic defense. They fell behind by 17 points and it was very much deserved with how well the Magic were playing.

They got back though because of the other players on the roster and a gritty defensive effort to get out in transition more and use the Magic’s inevitable missed shots and turnovers against them. Golden State scored 43 points in the third quarter largely on Kelly Oubre (26 points) and Andrew Wiggins (16 points). Their efforts and their willingness to attack with the Magic so focused on Curry are why the Warriors nearly had the chance to win.

Next. Terrence Ross has found his spark. dark

The Magic are now 12-18 and 12th in the Eastern Conference. They continue their homestand Sunday against the Detroit Pistons.