The Orlando Magic’s problem in their 110-105 road loss to the Miami Heat was one that hasn’t been a problem in a long time.
At least he didn’t hurt them for a while like he did Friday at Miami-Dade Arena.
The Magic’s 20 turnovers were not only the most since their Nov. 14 loss to the Charlotte Hornets, but also led to 32 points for the Heat.
“When it comes down to it, you have to take care of the basketball,” coach Jamahl Mosley said. “I love our fit and I love the fact that we were in it. A great atmosphere on the road against a tough team, but you have to take care of the basketball. We didn’t do that.”
Orlando’s gifts not only gave Miami easier scoring opportunities, but also robbed the Magic of any offensive rhythm Orlando had late.
The Magic shot better from the field (47.8% vs. 45.9%) and beyond the arc (35.3% vs. 30.3%), but finished with 16 fewer field goal attempts.
Part of this was because the Magic got to the free throw line more than the Heat, shooting 27 of 32 compared to Miami’s 22 of 26, but the Heat took better care of the ball (11 turnovers), giving them more chance of overcoming your first shooting problems.
“You don’t give yourself a chance with those possessions,” Mosley said. “This is something we have to learn from. We have to take care of basketball and give ourselves a chance at that end of the court.”
The Magic stayed in the game despite the Heat winning the battle for possession. They trailed just 104-101 after Gary Harris (8 points, 2 rebounds) hit a 3-pointer with 53.8 seconds remaining.
But Jimmy Butler (29 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds) hit a floater on Wendell Carter Jr. (16 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists, but fouled out with 24 seconds remaining) to help close out the game.
Butler made 1 of 2 free throws with 24 seconds remaining to help seal the victory for the Heat (28-22).
Cole Anthony, Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner scored team-high 19 points for the Magic (19-30).
The Magic’s turnover woes started early, with Orlando down 5 giveaways midway through the first, allowing the Heat to take a 17-9 lead.
They took better care of the ball to close out the first half (8 total first half giveaways), taking a 59-50 lead heading into the third after Anthony scored 17 points in the first two quarters.
The Magic’s ball retention only got worse from there.
They had 5 turnovers in the third leading to 9 Heat points, allowing Miami to cut the lead to 79-73 heading into the fourth.
The Magic have 7 giveaways in the quarter leading to 12 Heat points, including a turnover on their last in-bounds play to seal the loss.
“It was all self-inflicted injuries,” Anthony said, with the Heat having the second-best takeaway rate in the league. “I don’t think they were doing anything too spectacular to do that. They’re a good defensive team, but it was an oversight on our part.”
Jonathan Isaac was unavailable against the Heat due to managing a left knee injury, and Friday’s game was the first night in a row.
The Magic play the Chicago Bulls at the Amway Center on Saturday.
“This decision we’ve talked about — how his body responds to things and obviously not playing back-to-back,” coach Jamahl Mosley said. “He will sit tonight and he will most likely be ready to go tomorrow.”
Isaac played his first NBA game in more than two and a half years.scoring 10 points (4 of 7 shots, 2 of 3 on triples), 3 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 assist in 10 minutes.
He scored 5 points (2 of 4 shots, 1 of 2 on 3-pointers), 2 assists and 2 steals in 8 minutes.
Being unavailable for both games of a consecutive set is standard for players returning from long injury absences.
On Friday, the Magic officially assigned third-year guard RJ Hampton and rookie forward Caleb Houstan to the organization’s G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic.
Lakeland plays back-to-back home games against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants on Friday and Saturday.
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