Wednesday was spent by Orlando Magic fans in a state of disbelief and shock.
The team had a 15-point in the third quarter only to see that reduced to three points by the end of the quarter. Coach Jamahl Mosley opted to send out his three key players in Wendell Carter, Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner to start the fourth looking to stabilize the team and perhaps put the game away.
They appeared to do that in going up by 11 off a Carter three-pointer from the top of the key off a Banchero drive. This is the kind of attention the Magic hope a player like Banchero can give and gave them a basic paint touch and kick-out three, the exact kind of shot they were looking for.
To that point in the fourth quarter, the Magic made 7 of 11 shots with three assists and led the quarter 16-8. It felt like the Magic were going to wrap up their second win of the season.
That is obviously not how things went. The Thunder ended the game on a 23-4 run and zoomed past a tired Magic team for the surprise win.
The Orlando Magic again suffered a difficult late-game loss as the Oklahoma City Thunder took momentum and control and left the Magic struggling to keep up down the stretch.
In those final 7:26, the Magic showed all of their flaws. Their poor shooting was on display as they missed their final 11 shots including five 3-pointers. They turned the ball over with three of their 25 turnovers in that critical run.
Orlando remains the second-worst fourth-quarter team in the league with a net rating of -21.4 points per 100 possessions. Their offense craters to 95.4 points per 100 possessions.
Mosley pointed to the turnovers as the overarching problem for the team. And he is right about that. Orlando has been a high-turnover team all year — the team is 25th in the league with a 15.7-percent turnover rate.
Turnovers are an overarching problem for a young team. But so is the poor execution. Even with the Thunder hitting their share of tough shots, the Magic still should have found a way to stop the bleeding and get a win.
There are a lot of things to learn from Tuesday’s collapse.
While there are fair debates to be had about how the Magic set up their fourth quarter and how they balance their rotation and fair debates to have about what the Magic need to do to better put themselves in a position to win, the only thing that matters now is what the team can learn from this game and this defeat.
As painful as it is, the Magic will get a lot from breaking down the film and rewatching what happened in those final 7.5 minutes.
This is meant to be a season of learning. And so a loss like this only becomes meaningless if the team does not learn from these defeats and get better the next time they play with a lead late in the fourth quarter.
That is where the Magic sit now. And what we all have to do as we look for lessons from this crushing defeat.
It is time to break down the film to see where the Magic faltered.