The Orlando Magic may be struggling to win games at home this season, but on Tuesday night they at least managed to win in the state of Florida. Orlando turned in a gritty performance to beat the Miami Heat 136-130 in double overtime at American Airlines Arena.
Orlando has been woeful at the Amway Center, losing 10 of 15 home games. On the other hand, they are 8-7 on the road, including Tuesday night’s victory in Miami.
Despite both teams having losing records, this was an entertaining and well-played game. Both teams shot the ball well with the Magic hitting on 49.5 percent of their shots and Miami 46 percent. Orlando had only 11 turnovers and the Heat had 10 while playing an extra 10 minutes of basketball.
It appeared the Magic was going to lose a close one, but Serge Ibaka had a spinning eight-foot put back off the glass with a second remaining to send the game into overtime.
“I practice that shot,” Ibaka said after game. “I spend time on it.”
He has not been with the team long enough to gauge whether he is serious or the master of the deadpan. He did make a serious contribution with 20 points and 9 rebounds.
Four Magic players scored over 20 points. Nikola Vucevic had 26 and 12 rebounds while Evan Fournier matched Vucevic’s scoring output with 26. Elfrid Payton added 22.
Perhaps the effort of the Magic could be questioned early in the game, but not at the end. They played tough defense that forced Miami into difficult shots, which gave Orlando a chance to win.
“We haven’t been good on defense for the last couple of weeks,” said Magic Coach Frank Vogel. “When we play defense we win games. If we don’t, we won’t.”
The Heat put up 64 points in the first 24 minutes, but were held to 66 points throughout the remaining 34 minutes of the second half and two overtimes.
“We kept fighting through it,” said Vucevic. “We had a team meeting after the Toronto game about how we had to fight together. Both teams battled to the end. This win means a lot to us.”
Orlando withstood outstanding efforts from Miami center Hassan Whiteside and guard Tyler Johnson. Both had 32 points, but Whiteside added 15 rebounds and had five blocked shots.
The Magic (13-17) now travel to New York where they will play the Knicks on Thursday night.