Orlando Magic Grades: Minnesota Timberwolves 128, Orlando Magic 96

Karl-Anthony Towns played an emotional game and helped the Minnesota Timberwolves silence Cole Anthony and the Orlando Magic. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Karl-Anthony Towns played an emotional game and helped the Minnesota Timberwolves silence Cole Anthony and the Orlando Magic. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Final. 128. 86. 96. 38

The Orlando Magic are going to have bad shooting nights.

They know it. It is how their team is built. It is how their team was built before the trade deadline. It is even more so after it, somehow.

Their trick has always been trying to figure out how to lessen the impact of these moments of ineffectiveness. Their bigger trick has always been trying to figure out how to defend their way out of these low moments.

At the end of the day, this team’s growth and development will depend on that ability to defend. Defend when the team is shooting well or poorly. Defend on their best days and their worst days.

Young teams especially will always find this task to be the most difficult to accomplish. This season it was made more difficult by the lack of practice time or time together on the court after the trade deadline.

Is that an excuse? Or is that an enough of an excuse for what happened on Sunday in the team’s final home game at the Amway Center this season?

The Magic quickly lost their defense focus and intensity. Karl-Anthony Towns dominated the inside. The ball moved around the perimeter with ease. The Minnesota Timberwolves just did whatever they wanted.

The Orlando Magic never got the effort they needed to hang with the Minnesota Timberwolves and suffered an embarrassing defeat in their home finale.

They scored 107 points, shot 50.6-percent from the floor, made 14 3-pointers and dished out 24 assists (on 39 field goals) with 48 points in the paint all through three quarters. The final score was as ugly as it seemed -128-96 in Minnesota’s favor.

Orlando trailed by as much as 42 points in what was the team’s worst performance of the season. The Magic were not able to make shots and they seemed to get discouraged by that fact. Orlando got beat in transition and constantly got beat to the ball.

This is a team that simply cannot allow that to happen to have any chance of success, even if their execution on either end is not quite tied together. The Magic got what they deserved with the kind of effort they put in.

There was time to recover from it after the first quarter. The Magic just never could get themselves back as the Timberwolves just rolled over them.

C-. . PG. Orlando Magic. COLE ANTHONY

Cole Anthony at least deserves some credit for continuing to try to get the team going into the second quarter. He was driving to the basket and trying to get into the paint. That was better than the lack of movement they were facing. The Minnesota Timberwolves went into a zone for much of the game and it threw the team off as their passing was largely imprecise.

But that forced action ultimately got the Magic nowhere. Anthony finished with 11 points on 4-for-13 shooting with three assists against three turnovers. It was just not a good game for Anthony. As the point guard, that set the tone for the rest of the game.

C+. . G. Orlando Magic. R.J. HAMPTON

If a team needs some energy, R.J. Hampton is a good bet to provide it. That is at least one thing he has become very good at. He puts pressure on the defense with his ability to get downhill and into the paint. And he is a good enough finisher already that it at least works a bit. Give him an inch or a lane, and he will take it fairly reliably.

Hampton scored a career-high 19 points on 7-for-13 shooting. It should be noted that 10 of those points on 4-for-6 shooting came in the fourth quarter and 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting came in the second half. The game was already decided by then with the Minnesota Timberwolves up 30 at halftime.

Hampton’s defense still needs a lot of work too. But everyone was poor defensively. The Magic were just letting everyone into the paint at will it seemed like.

Orlando Magic. MORITZ WAGNER. C. . F

After the game on the Bally Sports Florida postgame show, Brian Hill singled out Moritz Wagner as one of the only players he felt gave a solid effort through the course of this game. That makes sense considering how much Wagner needs these games to prove he has a place in the NBA. He scored 11 points on 4-for-12 shooting and 3 for 8 from beyond the arc.

But, effort is only half the battle when it comes to players. Wagner might have played with good effort, but not good precision. His defense is not very good and he got beat up in the paint whenever Mohamed Bamba had to leave his man (not that Bamba played great either). Wagner is not proving to be a reliable enough offensive player to make up for these shortcomings.

D. . G. Orlando Magic. GARY HARRIS

Gary Harris has had plenty of time to get his legs under him. And while everyone is saying Harris is integrating well and taking guys to the side to help guide them as a veteran, part of his role is to produce too. His defense has been pretty solid, but he has also looked pretty disinterested at times. And his offense has been downright poor for the most part.

Harris finished with six points on 2-for-7 shooting. And it is hard to say he made much of a defensive impact. Harris is still playing somewhat limited minutes. But that is probably more a product of the team’s preservation of longtime starters rather than anything else. the Magic should be expecting a bit more from their veteran. Harris has undoubtedly struggled.

A+. . 21-47. 14th West. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES

The Minnesota Timberwolves played really well. That’s what happens when you go up 40 points. Karl-Anthony Towns was going to have a great game — he emotionally hugged his father who was sitting near the court as the two shared their first Mother’s Day together after Towns’ mom died of COVID-19 last year. He delivered, completely dominated the Magic for 27 points.

Everyone else for the Timberwolves played well too. D’Angelo Russell had 27 points and Anthony Edwards turned in a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds. But Minnesota will be happy to see how well the defense played. The Wolves have been defensively challenged all year and they turned the screws on the Magic all game long.

Next. Orlando Magic giving out opportunity to end season. dark

The Magic fall to 21-47, 13th in the Eastern Conference and tied for the fourth-worst record in the NBA. The Magic can no longer hold the worst record in the NBA. They will be eliminated from receiving the second-worst record in the league with three more wins or three more Detroit Pistons losses.

The Orlando Magic will finish the season with four consecutive road games beginning Tuesday in Milwaukee against the Milwaukee Bucks.