It doesn’t matter if nine of the fifteen members of the current 2016-2017 Orlando Magic roster weren’t part of the team 4 months ago, they needed to know about the sunshine state rivalry. Entering the season opener, Miami had won 15 of the previous 17 regular season meetings. On top of that, the Magic had not won a season opener since 2012, and a home opener since 2013.
That’s a lot of red in recent years. I guess you’d be happy with that if this was an election chart and you were a Republican. Not so great if you’re a Magic fan. However, there was (and still may be) a feeling that a shift in the balance of Florida power was on the horizon. It didn’t occur on Wednesday night.
Orlando – despite seemingly everything lining up in their favor – managed to lose 108-96 in front of their Amway Center supporters. It was a baffling result as the Magic got out-hustled just about the entire evening. I’m not telling you to panic about the season, but this was an awful loss considering the scene.
Miami took control of the contest once they won the third period 30-16, and that was after the Magic were up 3 points at halftime. The Magic got bludgeoned in the paint. On top of giving up 74 points in the paint to the Heat, Orlando shot an awful 18-of-51 inside as well. Orlando got out-worked everywhere. Miami took rebounds 52-44, second chance points 23-18, and fast break points 15-8. The Magic shot 38.6 FG%. It’s extremely difficult to win a game that way if you’re Frank Vogel’s coaching staff.
The Magic just didn’t sync defensively, and their offense got bogged down too often. Miami had six players reach double figures. Hassan Whiteside led the way with 18 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 blocks. He had as many blocks as the entire Magic team. Whiteside’s impact was immense as usual. Goran Dragic chipped in with 16 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds.
Orlando got 20 points on 7-of-19 from Evan Fournier as well as 4 assists, 4 boards, and 2 steals. Nikola Vucevic was 7-of-14 from the field and had 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 assists. Elfrid Paytontallied 16 points, 5 assists, and 4 boards. Serge Ibaka notched 14 points and 7 rebounds. Aaron Gordon rounded out the starting five with 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. It’s a really frustrating loss that needs to be instantly forgotten.