Orlando Magic Grades: Miami Heat 111, Orlando Magic 103

Michael Carter-Williams was able to get downhill against the Miami Heat but was at the heart of the Orlando Magic's turnover issues. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Carter-Williams was able to get downhill against the Miami Heat but was at the heart of the Orlando Magic's turnover issues. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

Final. 103. 38. 111. 110

All the Orlando Magic can ask for is the game to be winnable.

Going into the fourth quarter on Thursday against the Miami Heat, that is exactly what this game was. It was tied at 82. The Magic even had a lead after Michael Carter-Williams made the second of two consecutive baskets early in the period.

But then he threw it away with a pair of turnovers on consecutive possessions and despite Dwayne Bacon’s season-high 21 points, the Magic fell 111-103 to the Heat at AmericanAirlinesArena on Thursday.

Turnovers have been a strength for the Magic in that they have limited how many they have committed this season. They have the fifth-lowest total in the NBA at 13.0 per game. And that is how many they had Thursday. But they were just incredibly costly.

These takeaways from Miami turned around the contest and put the momentum squarely in Miami’s favor.

In the ensuing minutes, Jimmy Butler and Kelly Olynyk were able to outscore and outpace the beleaguered Magic, who were missing Evan Fournier, James Ennis, Cole Anthony and Terrence Ross, which left them with three available guards.

Orlando went scoreless for nearly four minutes in the middle of the fourth quarter and Miami went on a 10-2 run. That may seem small, but it was enough to blow the game open.

The injuries left a lot of opportunity for Dwayne Bacon and he did what he could. He scored a season-high 21 points on 6-for-15 shooting. It felt as if he was shouldering a larger burden than usual with the team missing so many and the returning Aaron Gordon on a minutes restriction.

Bacon though ended up going just 1 for 6 in the fourth quarter as the Magic’s offensive woes in addition to those costly turnovers put them behind.

Gordon started the game and came out of the chute firing, scoring seven of the team’s first 11 points in the first seven minutes. He did not play the rest of the half and only played 14 minutes to finish with nine points.

Fresh off an All-Star appearance, Nikola Vucevic was his usual potent self as he received a good chunk of shot attempts throughout the night and carried the offense at times.

The story of the season thus far has been how hard can he carry and what will the outcome be as far as will he be on the team for much longer.

As far as his performance, he led the team in shots with 20 and tallied 24 points with a monstrous 17 rebounds. But that is what Magic fans have come to expect from Nikola Vucevic at this point.

This game was one the Magic could have had, and the Magic played well for the majority of the game as they held the Heat to 45 percent shooting and 32 percent from three, but the mistakes from Michael Carter-Williams in the fourth quarter gave the Heat an opening that they took and ran with.

C. Orlando Magic. NIKOLA VUCEVIC. A-.

Nikola Vucevic is the heart and soul of the team at the moment and he is the one constant they can rely on. You know you are getting 20 and 10 at the very least. Ad it is not just the numbers. He gets upset when the team is not performing up to par, and you know he cares about the process. He wants to get victories even in a season that seems lost.

At one point he got called for a charge and he wanted to throw the ball but restrained himself. You can tell he is frustrated with the situation around him and the injuries that he cannot really control. All he can do is continue playing like he is playing. Whether that is for the Magic in 2021 and beyond is anyone’s guess. But the Magic are lucky to have someone of Vucevic’s caliber.

DWAYNE BACON. B+. . G/F. Orlando Magic

It was an efficient night at first for Dwayne Bacon but he finished 6-or-15 from the field as he did not end up having a very good fourth quarter as he only hit a single three in the period.

He makes things difficult for himself, so it seems. He likes to take contact at the basket and make shots tougher than they are. Or at least it looks that way when watching. Sometimes the shots go in and he looks like a player who has some real potential. But other times the shots are wild and he is what he is: a role player who will score more on a subpar team for the remainder of the season while featured players are out with injuries.

There is nothing particularly wrong with that moniker, but he scores more when Evan Fournier does not play. It gives him more opportunities. It will be interesting to see how he does when the team ever gets to full strength, because with this career-high he may be more eager.


Michael Carter-Williams got a lot of things going for the Orlando Magic on Thursday. He is the point guard on this team right now, so that means it is his responsibility to move the ball and manufacture offense in some form of rhythm.

For a lot of the game, there was a rhythm and the show went on. But the turnovers were evident throughout the night and the offense stalled at times as well. He committed four turnovers and had several where he lost the ball either forcing the ball into the lane or just mishandling things. He had six turnovers in the game.

That is why this team has point guard issues as long as Markelle Fultz is injured. It is a tough time. He scored 17 points with seven assists.

G. Orlando Magic. CHASSON RANDLE. B+.

I like Chasson Randle. For what he is, he brings something to this team at this point in time that is refreshing. He can shoot the three, he plays with energy and he can handle the load of 30-plus minutes.

Chasson Randle made three triples on Thursday for nine points and contributed five assists as well as a couple of rebounds. The Magic tried out Frank Mason for a trial and that did not seem to be a fit. But Randle is a player who has some moxie. He is not afraid to take a shot in a big moment, and he plays like a professional. He might not be a star, but NBA franchises need players like him.

B+. . 19-18. 5th East. MIAMI HEAT

The Miami Heat played head-to-head with the Orlando Magic for three quarters, but the difference in these teams came with the decision-making in the half court in the final period.

The Heat were methodical and carved through the Magic with Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and Kelly Olynyk all starring for the Miami club. They did not make the NBA Finals last year for no reason. They play with confidence and find ways to win even with players out, and tonight they did not have stud big man Bam Adebayo. Miami is good, and Orlando had a tough time with them down the stretch.

Aaron Gordon is still central to the Orlando Magic. dark. Next

The Magic are now 13-24 and trail the final play-in tournament spot by four games. They are right back to action Friday night in San Antonio against the San Antonio Spurs.