Magic Drop Season Opener 108-96 to Heat

By on October 27, 2016

 

NBA: Utah Jazz at Orlando MagicOrlando, Fla. — The Orlando Magic dropped their season opener to the visiting Miami Heat 96-108 on Wednesday night. Through two quarters the Magic looked clunky but effective, leading at the half by three, but they would be outscored 16-30 in the third period. Both the offense and defense struggled, as bad misses led to easy layups by the Heat. The Magic would never recover, and the final score was not indicative of the non-competitiveness of the second half.

It was in that decisive third quarter that Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside caught fire. He scored eight of his team-high 18 points, as well as recording five rebounds and two blocked shots in the period. What didn’t show up on the stat sheet is how many bad misses he forced for the Orlando offense. Whiteside, last year’s blocked shots leader, limited the Magic frontcourt of Ibaka and Vucevic to just seven points on 3-of-9 shooting. The team, as a whole, shot 25%.

“We needed him to be great,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, “and he was great in the third quarter. Really anchored our defense.”

On the Orlando side of the ball, that lack of offense began to snowball into lackadaisical defense. Magic enforcer Bismack Biyombo was out of the lineup due to a one-game suspension incurred during last year’s playoffs, and he was sorely missed. The usually defensive-minded Serge Ibaka was ineffective, as the Heat scored a whopping 74 points in the paint.

“A lot of [the 74 paint points] came from fast breaks from [us] taking bad shots,” said Magic center Nikola Vucevic, “…It’s hard to stop those and then we had a lot of defensive mistakes, a lot of easy drives, and us bigs weren’t there on time.”

“They had drives on drives on drives on drives,” said Magic guard Evan Fournier, “that led to pocket passes, open threes, and layups.”

Despite the third quarter collapse, there are some positives to take away from the Magic’s season opener. Nearly universally, the players said that Biyombo would’ve helped to stop the bleeding, and his absence means that this kind of thing could certainly turn out differently next time.

A true barometer for the Magic on Wednesday night was point guard Elfrid Payton. Payton was dominant in the first half with a game-high 12 points, along with three rebounds and two assists. Payton’s aggression led to eight free throws, which he sank all of.

In the second half, however, he was almost non-existent. He only tallied four points in total, and was held scoreless during the tumultuous third quarter.

Head coach Frank Vogel made it clear in the postgame press conference that he sees this season as a process. When asked what he told his team after the game, Vogel calmly said, “Stay together, it’s a long season and we have to do better, clearly.”

Vogel’s playoff experience, as well as his calming demeanor, speak more than any Braveheart-esque speech ever could.

The Magic will look to rebound as they hit the road for their next game, a Thursday night showdown with the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons, led by former Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, will reunite the current roster with former forward Tobias Harris, who was shipped away at last year’s trade deadline.

 

Heat

STARTERS MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
L. BabbittSF 19 3-10 2-6 0-0 0 1 1 2 0 0 0 1 +12 8
J. WinslowSF 34 7-15 0-2 1-1 3 5 8 4 1 2 2 4 +15 15
H. WhitesideC 31 9-16 0-0 0-4 4 10 14 1 0 4 1 3 +5 18
G. DragicPG 29 7-15 0-1 2-2 3 3 6 6 0 0 3 4 -2 16
D. WaitersSG 34 4-13 0-1 1-2 1 5 6 4 0 0 1 2 +5 9
BENCH MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
D. WilliamsPF —– —– —–
W. ReedPF 17 5-6 0-0 0-0 3 3 6 1 0 1 0 1 +7 10
J. JohnsonPF 25 4-8 2-4 1-1 0 2 2 6 0 0 1 1 +0 11
R. McGruderSG 24 1-3 0-1 4-5 1 2 3 0 2 0 1 4 +15 6
T. JohnsonSG 28 7-11 0-1 1-1 1 5 6 3 2 0 1 2 +3 15
J. RichardsonSG —– —– —–
U. HaslemPF DNP-COACH’S DECISION
J. McRobertsPF DNP-COACH’S DECISION
TEAM 47-97 4-16 10-16 16 36 52 27 5 7 10 22 108
48.5% 25.0% 62.5%
Hide Bench

Magic

STARTERS MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
S. IbakaPF 36 6-17 2-4 0-0 1 6 7 0 0 1 0 3 -16 14
A. GordonPF 35 5-11 2-2 0-0 2 6 8 4 1 1 3 1 -11 12
N. VucevicC 36 7-14 0-0 3-4 5 9 14 3 2 0 1 3 +0 17
E. PaytonPG 38 4-12 0-2 8-8 2 2 4 5 0 2 4 1 -4 16
E. FournierSG 39 7-19 2-6 4-7 1 3 4 4 2 0 1 3 -3 20
BENCH MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
J. GreenSF 25 2-7 0-2 3-4 1 2 3 1 0 0 1 1 -8 7
B. BiyomboC —– —– —–
D.J. AugustinPG 17 2-3 0-1 3-3 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 2 -11 7
M. HezonjaSG 14 1-5 0-0 1-2 2 1 3 2 0 0 0 1 -7 3
A. OnuakuPF DNP-COACH’S DECISION
D. RudezSF DNP-COACH’S DECISION
C.J. WatsonPG DNP-COACH’S DECISION
C.J. WilcoxSG DNP-COACH’S DECISION
TEAM 34-88 6-17 22-28 14 30 44 20 5 4 11 15 96
38.6% 35.3% 78.6%
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