Baller Mind Frame

Phoenix Suns Win as Third-Quarter Struggles Doom the Orlando Magic

Coming off a frustrating loss to the Charlotte Hornets, the Orlando Magic returned once again to Amway Center for their final bout with the Phoenix Suns on the season. It was a tale of two halves as the Magic dominated the Suns in the first half, but fizzled out in the third quarter and played catch-up in the fourth. Despite a valiant effort and career night from Victor Oladipo, the Magic would fall to the Suns, 100-105.

Orlando got off to a good start after the tip. The ball was moving, players were taking good shots, and the offense was running like a brand new car. Nikola Vucevic led the way for the home team offensively with eight first-quarter points. Defensively, the Magic got after the Suns with aggressive pressure and forcing the Suns into seven turnovers, leading to 10 points. The Magic would lead 25-22 after the first.

Continuing to put the pressure on the Suns, Orlando clamped down on defense, holding their high octane opponents to just 28.5 percent shooting in the second quarter. The Suns were also forced into four more turnovers for six points. While the Magic dominated defensively, the offense continued to run like a charm as they connected on 52 percent of their shots. The Magic led 52-43 at the end of the first half of play.

After a solid start to the contest, things quickly went south for Orlando as the Suns turned into the aggressors. Markieff Morris, Brandon Knight, and P.J. Tucker got the Suns’ offense clicking by getting easy buckets and dropping a few bombs from the arc. The Magic struggled to get any flow going for their offense, and relied solely on Victor Oladipo who scored 11 points in the quarter. The Suns battled back to take a 77-69 lead heading into the fourth.

The fourth quarter would turn into the VO Show as the second-year guard scored eight of the Magic’s first 10 points in the period.  After cutting an eight-point deficit down to three, the Suns would push it right back up to eight. Oladipo would put the Magic on his back by knocking down a three-pointer, and converting two layups to get within one-point of the Suns. With time winding down, it became a free-throw contest until the remaining 5.2 seconds. With a chance to get a final shot off, Brandon Knight intercepted an inbound pass from Willie Green, effectively putting the game out of reach for the Magic.

Brandon Knight led the Suns with 28 points and seven assists. Markieff Morris had 23. P.J. Tucker scored all 19 of his points in the second half with Eric Bledsoe finished with a near triple-double of 13 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds.

Victor Oladipo led the Magic with a career-high 38 points, followed by Nikola Vucevic with 18 points, and Tobias Harris finishing with 11 on the evening.

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