By John Denton
December 7, 2012
SACRAMENTO – An Orlando Magic road trip that started with so much promise following defeats of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors is suddenly collapsing under an avalanche of missed shots and turnovers.
Another poor shooting night and more poor ball-handling sabotaged another winnable game, this time in Sacramento against the Kings. Up two points to start the fourth quarter after making a furious charge in the third period, the Magic failed to convert time and again late in the game and lost 91-82 to the Kings at Sleep Train Arena.
Two nights after shooting just 44 percent in a loss to Utah, the Magic (7-12) made only 37.5 percent and turned the ball over 16 times. That led to 21 points for the run-and-gun Kings (6-12), who won despite giving up 16 consecutive points to the Magic during one stretch of the third quarter.
``We’re 2-2 on this road trip and we’ve got to finish this the right way,’’ Magic power forward Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis said. ``Games like this show us as a team how we have to grow. If we’re going to become an elite team and make a push for the playoffs we have to finish games like this.’’
The Magic surged past the Lakers and Warriors earlier in the week because they played nearly flawless basketball. But things have changed of late with the Magic not having a field goal in the final 3:35 in Utah on Wednesday and repeatedly misfiring with the game on the line on Friday.
Orlando made just seven of 24 shots in the fourth quarter and missed five of its six tries from 3-point range. The Magic’s accuracy from 3-point range was again an issue as they connected on just four of 15 tries.
Orlando is 7-3 this season when making at least five 3-pointers. However, when the Magic four or less, they are 0-9.
``We got good looks and I’ll take those same looks,’’ Magic point guard Jameer Nelson said. ``For the most part we executed. But it’s just like that sometimes when you miss shots. I just feel like, myself in particular, less some calls get to me. It got to me more than normal and I don’t know why. It was kind of a trickle-down effect and then everybody else started (complaining).’’
Davis led the Magic with 20 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out with 38 seconds to play. Davis tried forcing the issue all night offensively, taking 19 shots, but hitting just eight.
Arron Afflalo scored 18 points, while Nelson chipped in 17 points. Rookie power forward Andrew Nicholson added 14 points and played much of the fourth quarter in place of struggling center Nikola Vucevic (three points and seven rebounds).
``I thought we got some good looks down the stretch. There were a lot of other good shots throughout the game that didn’t go in for us,’’ Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. ``We allowed them to get into transition, which we talked about not wanting to let them do. Their transition points probably doubled ours. And with their second-chance points, that’s where the difference in the game was.’’
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