Despite Late Rally, Magic Come Up Short Against Rockets

by Josh Cohen

The Lead

Similar to Friday’s game in Tampa against the Raptors, the Orlando Magic were unable to overcome a poor third quarter. They were outscored by 14 that frame and despite a late rally fell to the Houston Rockets, 114-110, on Sunday at Amway Center.

Top Performer

Dwayne Bacon scored 11 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter to pull the Magic within striking distance. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard made five of his six shot attempts that quarter, seven of 14 for the game. He has now scored 20 points or more four times this season.

Rookie Watch

Although he struggled with his shooting, going 5-of-14 from the field and 1-of-6 from 3-point range, Cole Anthony continues to improve as a distributor. He matched his career high with nine assists and has now dished out at least five of them in six of the seven games he’s played in since returning from his injury.

Clutch Moment

Christian Wood capped off his terrific night with back-to-back great plays in the final minute. First, he blocked Gary Harris’ shot near the basket with 55 seconds left. Then, on Houston’s ensuing possession, the 6-foot-10 center buried an 11-foot jumper with 39 ticks remaining to extend the Rockets’ lead to five. Anthony drilled a triple seconds later, but the Rockets sank four free throws in the closing moments to help seal their win.

Key Stretch

The Rockets opened the third quarter on a 22-6 run. Kevin Porter Jr., who finished with 22 points and seven assists before fouling out, knocked down a pair of shots in the first few minutes of the third. Houston also started the fourth hot, as Armoni Brooks drained two of his five 3-pointers in the first two minutes of the final frame and Wood, who ended with 25 points and 10 rebounds, made a driving layup in that time.

The Sidebar

To honor the men, women and their families for their service, the Magic and L3Harris hosted Seats for Soldiers Night on Sunday during the game. As part of the evening's activities, the entire Magic team honored fallen soldiers by holding their jerseys with each soldiers' name listed on the back while standing on court during Taps prior to the National Anthem. Each player signed the jerseys, which were then given to the families of the fallen soldiers. A few of the families of the lost military men and women were in attendance to receive their family member's signed jersey that night.

Quote of the Night

“I was just trying to do what I could. At the end of the day, I know I could score the ball. I know could put the ball in the basket. It’s going to come when it comes. I felt like I’ve been a lot calmer, just trying to be a total team player. We have young guys that are still learning. I’m still trying to help those guys. At the end of the day, the object is to compete. We got a little down. I feel like I had the will tonight to try and will us back. I had help from others. At the end of the day, we lost the game. So we have to come out tomorrow and fix it in practice.” – Bacon

Up Next

The Magic will now travel to Atlanta for a battle with the Hawks on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. The Hawks have won eight of their last 10 games. Their most recent victory came against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday behind 34 points and 11 assists from Trae Young and 25 points and 24 rebounds from Clint Capela.

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