10 losses the Orlando Magic regret from the 2023 season

Oct 3, 2022; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Orlando Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley talks with forward Paolo Banchero (5) during the first half against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 3, 2022; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Orlando Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley talks with forward Paolo Banchero (5) during the first half against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /
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10 losses the Orlando Magic will regret from 2023

5. March 14 at San Antonio Spurs

Final. 114. 38. 132. 29

By this point in the season, this game against the San Antonio Spurs was a must-win game. The Spurs were clearly tanking at this point in the season in the hopes of the number one pick and the Magic were fighting to get into the Play-In Tournament.

But once again, Orlando played down to its competition and never really had the spark to stay in the game. The Spurs, even with many of their key players sitting out, hit a franchise-record 22 3-pointers.

Orlando got burned once again. In the NBA, players do not tank. Orlando played as if the team was going to be able to coast through this game. Instead, the team took a devastating loss.

Likely this was the loss that ended the Magic’s season in most fans’ eyes. It certainly made any serious conversation of a postseason push feel pretty distant.

4. Oct. 19 at Detroit Pistons

64. Final. 109. 38. 113

In the first game of the season, the Orlando Magic had a chance to start the year on the right foot. Anything can happen in a game, especially early on as teams are still getting on track, but habits start to build over time. And this was a chance to establish themselves as the young team to watch in the league.

The battle of the last two top picks was a statement game in many ways.

But the Magic did not come out on the right foot. They set many of their bad habits for the season in this first game. And it would cost the Magic dearly as the season progressed.

Orlando lost a double-digit lead and gave it up quickly. They let a poor-shooting team get hot from deep and climb back into the game. And then, in the end, they gave up a critical offensive rebound and a game-winning 3-pointer to put them at 0-1 to start the year.

The Magic could have gotten an early win on the season instead suffered a heartbreaking loss to start the season and got off to a 0-5 record. At least Paolo Banchero showed how good he would be for the team this season, scoring 29 points and starting his rookie year off right.

3. Feb. 11 vs. Miami Heat

110. 103. 38. Final/OT. 107

A big growing measure for young teams is winning close games. A lot of the games on this list go through many of the Orlando Magic’s late-game failures.

No game this season probably hurt more or showed how far the team had to go late in games than this overtime loss to the Miami Heat.

The Magic held a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter with 2:22 remaining in the game. That should have been a sure win. Instead, Jimmy Butler got hot and the Magic got cold and they found themselves in overtime and feeling the weight of a close loss.

This was a crushing loss for Orlando as a team trying to continue to make up ground lost during the early part of the season. This was tracking to be a boost for the young team.

But too many turnovers late in a game in which Orlando led the entire game in a convincing fashion force the team to learn the hard way what it takes to close out a game.

The game would go into overtime where the Magic would continue to make mistakes and would ultimately come up short.

Learning how to close games is important and this game was an important experience for the Magic. But in hindsight, this was not a game Orlando was able to afford to lose.

Fortunately, Orlando learned its lesson a month later when the team again lost a late lead to Miami at Amway Center and rallied in overtime to get a critical win.

2. Nov. 1 at Oklahoma City Thunder

Final. 108. 38. 116. 149

The inability to control big leads was apparent at the start of the season. The Orlando Magic had a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter on the road against another up-and-coming team and had another chance to close a game they needed to win to get the young season back on track.

This could have been a major confidence builder. Instead, it became a bitter disappointment and yet another sign this could be another long season.

Once the Oklahoma City Thunder upped the pressure on the Orlando Magic’s point guard-less lineups, the Magic started to wilt.

Orlando quickly staggered on offense and could not stop Oklahoma City in any capacity. The Magic quickly found themselves playing catch up.

This game illustrated Orlando needed a point guard to stabilize the offense would come soon enough.

Ultimately, the Magic would look back on another game they should have won and would have helped down the stretch of the season.