By John Denton
March 1, 2013
ORLANDO – Shooting nearly 60 percent most of the night and keeping pace with the NBA’s most lethal offense basket for basket, the Orlando Magic could do little wrong in Friday’s first three quarters.
Then, suddenly and inexplicably, everything went wrong for the Magic almost all at once.
With Orlando up two points with 5 minutes to play, a turnover binge coincided with a game-turning 11-0 run by Houston to suck the momentum out of the Amway Center. The unsightly fourth-quarter stretch ruined an otherwise stellar offensive night for the Magic and resulted in a frustrating 118-110 loss to the Rockets.
``Down the stretch it’s only natural for the intensity to pick up on the defensive end and we just have to take care of the ball better and be smart about shot selection,’’ said Magic guard Arron Afflalo, who had 19 points and five cuts on his arms from contact in the game. ``Down the stretch, time isn’t on your side when you are making mistakes.’’
Orlando (16-43) turned the ball over just eight times in the first three quarters, but kicked it away nine times in the fourth quarter alone. Six of the turnovers came during one six-minute stretch. Even after the Magic had pulled within 112-107 in the final minute, any chance they had of a comeback ended when Afflalo stepped out of bounds for another turnover.
On the bright side, Magic newcomer Tobias Harris played a fourth stellar game since being traded to the Magic, scoring a career-best 27 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He made another 11 of 15 shots and three 3-pointers (another career best) and he is shooting 69.6 percent with the Magic (32 of 46).
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