Thursday night’s loss to a lowly Philadelphia 76ers was thought to be rock bottom for the Orlando Magic. It wasn’t. Saturday’s 112-80 blowout loss to the Dallas Mavericks proves there is more room to fall.
This was a game that showed lack of effort, concentration, and execution for a Magic team in desperate need of an overhaul or some kind of spark. The current group is unwilling or unable to do what is necessary to be competitive, let alone win games.
After Thursday night’s Philadelphia loss, Coach Frank Vogel elevated C.J. Watson to the starting point guard spot and demoted Elfrid Payton. The results were the same.
Are more changes on the horizon?
“We’ll just keep juggling it,” said a visibly agitated Vogel. “We will just trying to get better.”
The game was competitive for a quarter as the Mavericks held a 29-23 lead after 12 minutes. A 32-12 disaster in the second quarter put Dallas ahead 61-35 at halftime and the rout was on.
After the game, Vogel was asked if the Magic was unfortunate to have faced a hot team who is shooting well at the time.
“We can’t worry about our opponents,” Vogel said. “We must bring effort, intelligence, and toughness.”
While some three-point shots were contested, the Magic allowed Dallas too many wide-open attempts. The Mavericks made 17 of 35 from behind the arc and shot 49 percent for the game. Wesley Matthews led Dallas with 20 points.
Orlando, on the other hand, was able to connect on only 39 percent, including three for 23 on three-point attempts. The Magic was also outrebounded 51-40.
Evan Fournier was the best starter on the floor, scoring 14 points. If there was any positive in this game, Vogel singled out the efforts of Bismack Biyombo and the group on the floor in the fourth quarter with the game long ago decided. Biyombo finished as the leading scorer with 15 points.
“That group played hard in the fourth quarter,” said Vogel.
The Magic now stand at 20-36. Only the Brooklyn Nets have a worse record in the Eastern Conference.
Next up is a trip to south Florida to face the Miami Heat on Monday night. Miami had their 13-game winning streak broken on Saturday in Philadelphia.
They will anxiously await the opportunity to start another one.