The Magic fall to the Heat on the road in a relatively comfortable win for Miami by 90-107. Orlando fought but Miami led for most of the game. No one could fault Orlando’s application on the second night of a tough road back-to-back. Orlando never capitulated, responding to Miami as they threatened to break clear. Twice in the third quarter the Magic cut the deficit to 6 points but in truth the eventual result never felt in doubt.
Coach Mosely rolled out the same starting 5, a constant unit for all 4 opening games. Jalen Suggs (PG), Cole Anthony (SG), Franz Wagner (SF), Wendell Carter Jr (PF) and Mo Bamba (C) is the youngest starting line to open a season in the NBA for over 50 years.
In many ways (and this is no criticism of the team) this game felt like a blueprint for what Magic fans will see many times this season as the young squad develops. Determined play and entertaining stretches but ultimately falling short to experience and better shooting.
Orlando had no answer to the brilliant Jimmy Butler, who led all scorers with 36 points (shooting in excess of 71% from the field) and 5 steals. Were it not for his performance this could have been a very different game.
Miami are without question an elite defensive team. Through the entire game they harried the young Magic offence. From that effort Miami saw 10 steals, amassing a total 20 points from turnovers. They also forced numerous empty possessions from the Magic.
Top Performers For The Magic
As the Magic fall to the Heat it is encouraging to see the two names that are the top of my list for this game. Both are rookies four games into their NBA careers and beginning to have a consistent impact.
Franz Wagner was called a bust by some fans during Summer League and preseason. In the opening week of the season Franz has scored double digits in each game. Last night he was the team’s joint leading scorer with 15, along with 4 assists, a block and a steal. On offence he is showing an improving outside shot and his movement allows him good opportunities both in and out of the paint. His defensive play is equally versatile and tenacious.
Jalen Suggs is continuing to grow into the NBA. Consistently scoring in double figures Suggs joined his fellow rookie as the leading scorer with 15 points, including making 4 of 8 triples. Matching up with Kyle Lowry was never going to make for an easy night but is valuable experience.
Role players such as Robin Lopez and Moritz Wagner had impact. RoLo was responsible for injecting energy and scoring as the Heat threatened to pull away before half time. Moe Wagner was that thorn that got under the Heat’s skin resulting in a couple of more feisty moments. RJ Hampton brought energy and athleticism as he racked up 12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists to go with a steal and a block.
Moving On As The Magic Fall To The Heat
A full game review by the Magic’s Josh Cohen can be read here on the Orlando Magic website.
Up next for Orlando is a return to the Amway Center on Wednesday October 27th, taking on the Charlotte Hornets. The tip time shown on the Orlando Magic website is 7:00pm Eastern (12:00 midnight Thursday here in the UK). To watch the game live or on demand in the UK you will need an active NBA League Pass subscription.
This will be another tough test for the Magic, who now have a 1-3 losing record and sit 12th in the East. Charlotte feature Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward, Miles Bridges and Kelly Oubre Jr. Terry Rozier has played only once for the Hornets yet this season. Without him Charlotte have made a strong 3-1 winning start, seeing them sat 2nd in the early Eastern Conference standings. Rozier is said to be potentially returning to make his season debut in the Amway Center.