The Orlando Magic knew that staying with, let alone defeating, the best team in basketball would be a gigantic task. One thing in their favor was the Magic had a day off on Wednesday while the Golden State Warriors had a difficult game in Miami.
As the second half wore on, it was the Warriors who looked fresh and full of energy. Golden State trailed at halftime but rolled on to a 130-114 victory over the Magic at Amway Center.
The best team and the best player showed what they are made of. Reigning Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry racked up 51 points to pace the reigning NBA Champions.
It’s not that the Magic played badly. The Warriors are that good.
After trailing 33-30 at the end of the first quarter, the Magic shot it well and forced several turnovers in the second quarter. Orlando outscored Golden State 33-26 in the second to take a 63-59 halftime lead.
The third quarter belonged to the Warriors, and specifically to Curry. The game’s best shooter showed why he earned that title, tossing in 24 points, including a half-court three-pointer to send his team into the fourth quarter with a 99-91 lead.
Golden State stayed on the gas quickly pushing the lead to double digits with Marreese Speights scoring the first eight points of the period for the Warriors. The Magic trimmed the lead to 107-100 with 8:30 remaining, but got no closer.
Curry was 20 for 27 from the field, including 10 for 15 from three-point range. He made a three-pointer for the 128th consecutive game, breaking the record held by Atlanta’s Kyle Korver. Speights was the second-leading scorer with 14 points off the bench. Golden State shot 60 percent as a team connecting on 53 of 88 shots.
“We did a nice job taking the three from them in the first half,” said Magic Coach Scott Skiles. “Our goal was to take away, the best we could, to take away the 3s and the layups. But they came right out of the gate and back cut us and got layups, and that kinda continued throughout the game. Then (Curry) got going from 3 and then you got big trouble.”
Evan Fournier led the Magic with 20 points while Aaron Gordon contributed 19 in a solid effort. The Magic shot 46 percent for the game.
Orlando committed a respectable 15 turnovers for the game while the Warriors turned it over 20 times. Golden State out-rebounded the Magic 42-37, which makes perfect sense when your team seldom misses a shot.
Orlando fell to 25-31 on the season. After the game, the Magic boarded a plane for New York where they will face the Knicks in Madison Square Garden on Friday.