AP Photo/Scott Iskowitz
In a 93-90 loss against the Toronto Raptors on Friday, the Orlando Magic shot themselves in the foot by committing 18 turnovers. In a game decided by one possession, turnovers played a large role in the defeat.
You would think that Orlando had learned their lesson heading into Sunday’s game against the Utah Jazz, but apparently not. Like the Toronto game, the Magic outshot and outrebounded their opponent by a wide margin but they were doomed by turnovers — 19 to be exact.
Orlando raced out to an early 16-point lead thanks to a combination of crisp offensive execution and porous defense by the Jazz.
Arron Afflalo, in particular, was red hot offensively, making six of his first seven field goal attempts for 13 points. Afflalo was making jumpers all over the court — free-throw line extended, along the left baseline, and from the right wing. It’s safe to say that Kendrick Lamar, had he been watching the game (maybe he was), would have been jealous of Afflalo.
With Afflalo doing no wrong and the offense humming, the stage was set for the Magic to blow the game wide open. That didn’t happen. Instead, Afflalo and Orlando bogged down offensively in the second quarter. Afflalo missed all five of his shot attempts in the period, while the turnover bug bit the Magic.
Orlando committed seven turnovers in the second quarter (Utah committed one), which opened the door for the Jazz to get back in the game. Utah did just that. The Jazz’s second unit, led by Derrick Favors, erased a 16-point deficit in short order.
As a result, from the waning moments of the second quarter to the end of the game, the Magic found themselves in a dog fight. And ultimately, Utah won the fight with a little help from Orlando and Gustavo Ayon.
With the Magic trailing 95-93 with 2.4 seconds left, Ayon found himself at the free-throw line after he was fouled by Randy Foye. That came after Ayon found himself wide open under the basket, but was unable to get a clean look at a layup, as Orlando frantically tried to tie the game. Unfortunately for Ayon, he missed both free-throws, which allowed the Jazz to quell the comeback and seal the victory.
It’s easy to pin the blame for the Magic’s loss on Ayon’s missed free-throws. But the fact of the matter is that Orlando had a 16-point lead against Utah and blew it mainly because of 19 turnovers.
MVP (Most Valuable Player)
Gordon Hayward came off the bench and provided a big lift for the Jazz (17 points on 7-for-10 shooting). Hayward made a key block on Afflalo’s step-back jumper late in the game as Utah was clinging to a 92-90 lead.
After Paul Millsap made one of two free-throws to put the Jazz up 95-93, on the ensuing possession, Ayon was fouled after finding himself wide open under the basket. However, Ayon missed both free-throws and Utah held on to win.
That Was … Late-Game Drama
After being down by as many as 16 points early in the second quarter, the Jazz escaped with a 97-93 victory in a tightly contested game. Crunch time consisted of clutch baskets, missed free-throws, and some ugly turnovers.