Postgame Report: Magic vs. Warriors

By Josh Cohen
Dec. 1, 2017

ORLANDO – If a free-flowing, fast-paced, silky-smooth shooting type of game is what you crave to see, then Friday’s contest between the Orlando Magic and Golden State Warriors satisfied your visual appetite.

While that’s not necessarily surprising with the reigning NBA champs involved, this particular matchup had some extra juice to it.

Particularly in the first half when the Warriors shot 68 percent from the field and the Magic 51 percent, missed shots were far and few between.

Golden State would eventually run away from Orlando for a 133-112 victory. While aware their defensive effort and execution must improve, the Magic should continue to feel good about the way they share the ball and trust one another.

Aaron Gordon delivered another spectacular performance with 29 points and Evan Fournier also had a terrific night, scoring 14 of his 22 points in the first quarter. Elfrid Payton finished with 10 points, nine assists, four rebounds and four steals and Jonathon Simmons, who started for the third straight game, scored 18 points.

As a team, Orlando dished out 23 assists, scored 20 fast-break points and shot 11-of-28 from 3-point range.

“Teammates are doing a great job getting me the ball and I’m just looking to make the right play,” said Gordon, who shot 12-of-23 from the floor and 5-of-11 from beyond the arc. “I’m just taking what’s there. I’ve always wanted to be somebody that can score in a multitude of ways.”

What continues to be concerning, though, is the Magic’s inability to protect the paint and defend the pick-and-roll. Orlando ranks last in the NBA in opponent points in the paint, where Golden State racked up 70 of its points. The Warriors connected on 55 of their 88 shot attempts (62.5 percent) and, incredibly, 46 of those made buckets were assisted.

“We’ve got to play tougher and we’ve got to play better than that to beat the champs,” Magic Head Coach Frank Vogel said. “It’s always a two-way game. We’re not tough enough on the defensive end.”

Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 27 points. Kevin Durant, who was ejected with 4:52 left in the game for arguing with the ref, poured in 25. Stephen Curry scored 23 and handed out 10 assists. All three were uncertain to play heading into the day because of different ailments.

“Definitely impressed with everything they do, their passing, their cutting, their ability to play off of each other and the shot-making facilitates all of that,” Vogel said about the 17-6 Warriors.