By John Denton
January 27, 2013
ORLANDO – Pick a reason – any reason, really – and it could be the culprit for why the Orlando Magic suffered yet another painfully close loss on Sunday night.
If you wanted to blame the defensive struggles that have been prevalent for the past few weeks, you would be correct. If you pointed to turnovers woes both early in the night and late with the game on the line, you would also be dead on. And if you also pinpointed some downright rotten luck, you would know why the Magic will wake up tomorrow morning wondering if they are truly snake-bitten now. The Magic took losing to another agonizing level on Sunday, missing four point-blank shot attempts in the final 5.9 seconds in a frustrating and confounding 104-102 loss to the Detroit Pistons.
An Amway Center crowd of 17,959 saw the Magic (14-29) give new meaning to the term ``tough loss’’ with their inability to convert in the lane in the final ticks. Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis had a try partially blocked, Nikola Vucevic couldn’t get a short follow-up attempt to drop, Jameer Nelson’s layup from the right side of the rim missed and Vucevic’s desperation tap at the buzzer was off line.
``I got an OK look at the rim. Everybody was in there scrambling trying to get the ball. We had opportunities to win, but that wasn’t the only one,’’ Davis said. ``The game shouldn’t have been close.’’
Seconds earlier with the Magic trailing 104-100, Nelson was fouled on a 3-point shot. He drilled the first two free throws and he was trying to make the third so that Orlando could set up its full-court press for either a steal or a quick foul. However, Nelson missed and after the ball was batted around a couple of times, Davis gathered it for the potential tying layup. Detroit center Greg Monroe got a piece of the shot, resulting in a mad scramble by the Magic to get the game tied.
``We tried,’’ Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. ``The coaches and I talked about if we wanted to leave Glen in because we were going to press, foul and send them to the free throw line. We decided to leave him in just in case Jameer missed. Big Fella (Davis) comes away with it, Nik had an opportunity and Jameer. It was great effort … great effort at the end.’’
Orlando lost its fifth consecutive game and its 10th in 11 tries at the Amway Center. Also, it’s the Magic’s 10th straight loss to teams with losing records – and the second defeat at the hands of the Pistons (17-27) this week.
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