Orlando Magic got reminder they need the details to succeed

Jalen Suggs and the Orlando Magic did some good things again in their preseason home opener. But the details have to be an every play thing for them. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
Jalen Suggs and the Orlando Magic did some good things again in their preseason home opener. But the details have to be an every play thing for them. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports /

104. 69. 92. 38. Final

The Orlando Magic have talked all training camp about the details. Making the right cut, the right pass and staying locked in. Every little thing would matter to their success.

There have been mistakes in the preseason without doubt. But the team has worked hard to button up many of their mistakes.

Tuesday there were far too many plays like this one where Markelle Fultz made a slow pass to Paolo Banchero that was easily intercepted and returned for a jam.

There were far too many mistakes — both forced and unforced — that ultimately cost the Magic a 104-92 defeat to the New Orleans Pelicans at the Amway Center. A game that Orlando’s rotation players could have easily won if not for those turnovers.

Turnovers have been a big focus for the Orlando Magic throughout training camp. In Tuesday’s loss, the details were not there, serving a reminder for the young team to lock in.

In the end, what this preseason is about is getting down these details and finding a way to keep them even when the times are tough. This is a young team that is still learning.

"“It’s the same thing we’ve been talking about throughout camp: It’s in the details,” coach Jamahl Mosley said after Tuesday’s loss. “I don’t think we really executd that tonight. . . It’s about learning. It’s about growing and getting better. We did some good things throughout the night. But then you turn around and be able to sustain that same effort.”"

As Mosley pointed out the Magic struggled in these key detail-oriented areas in Tuesday’s game. In addition to the 24 points off 19 turnovers, the Pelicans had 22 second-chance points and 50 points in the paint.

Winning the paint especially is a key part of the Magic’s overall philosophy — both scoring in the paint (the Magic were 20 for 30 in the paint for 40 points) and defending the paint.

Even another indicator showed the Magic lacked some of the details they needed in the game, giving up 13 offensive rebounds. Luckily New Orleans scored only eight second-chance points.

These are all critical details the Magic have to get down to win considering how narrow their margin for error might be. New Orleans put the pressure on Orlando and forced the team into mistakes.

"“I do think we got a little bit sped up,” Franz Wagner said after Tuesday’s game. “They applied a little more pressure than they did in the first game when we played them. I think we had a couple of those possessions where we punished teams that were aggressive with us with back cuts and setting good screens and stuff like that. overall, I think we were kind of sped up. Didn’t take some easy ones that we had and didn’t get a better one late in the clock.”"

Banchero said the team got caught a little bit by surprise by New Orleans’ ball pressure. That was something Jalen Suggs echoed as they upped their physicality. Orlando did not respond to that or adjust as they needed to.

Mosley said attacking this defense is a split-second decision. And the Magic needed to focus on making those simple decisions and reads. The team was just late on them.

Considering how important those decisions are — especially with some of the skip passes and long-range passes the Magic tend to make as part of their offense — it is critical Orlando players make the right decision on time to beat these defenses. They came up a bit short in Tuesday’s game.

"“I really think they were trying to do the right thing,” Mosley said. “It wasn’t necessarily selfish plays. It was trying to make the aggressiv eplay. They had guys in gaps. it was a second too quick that we didn’t make the pass. . . . It was our willingness. But we have to make sure we are willing to adjust how the defense is playing us.”"

These details affect everything. A lot of Orlando’s turnovers put the team immediately in compromised positions.

Mosley said in the half-court he believes the Magic will be one of the toughest teams to score on. That is a sentiment that was echoed Tuesday by Moe Wagner and has been echoed by several players throughout training camp.

But giving up turnovers and dribble penetration put the team in trouble throughout the game. And the defense was not able to fully flex its muscle.

"“Obviously, it’s part of your defense,” Moe Wagner said after Tuesday’s game. “If you give up the ball, they don’t have to take it out of the net, they can run and play with pace and that is so much harder to guard. Our strength is defense. You want to have people play set plays and slow them down. Turnovers doesn’t achieve that at all.”"

Additionally, Moe Wagner said a turnover takes away a shot from you. Those were 19 missed opportunities the team had to score. And certainly some missed opportunities to expand the lead from the team-high 10 it was in the second quarter when it looked like Orlando might cruise to another victory.

These are crucial mistakes for a team that is trying to establish itself and knows how thin its margin for error might still be. It is the kind of mistake that can take away a lot of good.

And there is still plenty of good to take away from this preseason game as plenty of things continue to trend in the right direction.

Still, the team posted a 105.1 defensive rating for the game and a 103.9 defensive rating (with a 107.8 offensive rating) in the first half. There was still a lot of good to build on.

Even with a turnover rate of 19.6 percent in Tuesday’s game, Orlando has a 15.1 percent turnover rate, the eighth-best mark in the NBA’s preseason. That certainly still leaves room for the team to improve — especially considering the team had a 15.1 percent turnover rate last year too, which was 27th in the league.

After Orlando was one of the worst passing teams in the league last year, their assists are way up with the team recording at least 27 assists on all three of the team’s preseason games. The Magic are doing some good things and still learning how to put them to work on the floor.

Orlando still has to continue refining and improving these areas and cleaning up these details.

It is just preseason and it is an opportunity to learn. That might be one of the bigger takeaways overall. It does not erase any of the good the Magic have done in the preseason.

But the team still needs to remember to put all of these pieces together. The team got a reminder of how it needs to be the aggressors and play its way to succeed.

Orlando Magic adding Jalen Suggs to starting lineup is working. dark. Next

They are still learning and understanding the details matter. And the details matter every single night.