The Orlando Magic’s center Nikola Vucevic (right) is fouled by the Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry on Fri Feb 19, 2021 in Orlando (AP News photo)
By Jerry Feitelberg
The Golden State Warriors started the four-game road trip on a sour note Friday night as they lost to the Orlando Magic 124-120.
The Warriors, who have had six comeback wins after trailing by more than ten points, followed that script in the first half of the game. The Warriors were hoping to have their first three-game winning streak, too.
The Magic had other thoughts. When the Magic played the Warriors in San Francisco on February 11th, they were without Evan Fournier, Al-Farouq-Aminu, and Mo Bamba. All three players were in the Magic lineup Friday night.
The Warriors’ Draymond Green, who missed Wednesday night’s game, was ready to play Friday night. The Warriors’ formula for winning was making threes and playing team defense. They again had no player over six feet seven inches tall.
They knew they had to find a way to shut down the Magic’s Nikola Vucevic. Vucevic, for the season, averages 24 points and almost 12 rebounds a game. He is also a very dangerous three-point shooter.
In the first quarter, the Warriors fell behind by fifteen 30-15. The Warriors responded by going on a late 16-2 run to trail by one-point 32-31. The Magic regrouped to finish the quarter leading 37-34.
The Warriors stayed close to the Magic for most of the second period. The Warriors stayed close. They never took the lead in the period. Steph Curry made a three to trail 55-51. The Magic went on a 9-0 run to finish the first half leading 64-51.
The Magic’s big three scorers were Vucevic with 9, Fornier 22, and Terrence Ross 11. The Warriors scoring leaders were Curry with 11 and Kelly Oubre Jr. with 12. The Magic’s height advantage showed as they had 12-second chance points and 12 fast breakpoints. The Warriors had zero in each of those categories.
Things did no go well for Golden State at the start of the third quarter. Orlando increased the lead by 17, 71-54. At this point, Curry, Oubre, and Andrew Wiggins went on a 12-0 run to make it 71-66. Those three players continued the Warrior surge.
The Warriors grabbed the lead for the first time when Curry made a two-point shot to give the Warriors the lead 91-90. The Magic regained the lead 93-91. Draymond Green connected on his second three of the game to give the Warriors the lead 94-93 at the end of three-quarters of action.
The Warriors had momentum going their way to start the final quarter. The Warriors went on a 12-0 run to lead by thirteen 106-93. The Magic had yet to insert Vucevic and Fournier back into the game.
Those two, along with Terrence Ross, kept making baskets to chip away at the Warrior lead. The Magic trailed by one 112-111 with 3:24 left. The Magic pulled ahead 116-114. Terrence Ross knocked down a three to put them ahead 119-114.
The Magic made another bucket to finish a 15-2 run to lead 121-114. Curry made two threes to close within one 121-120 with 19 seconds left in the game. The Magic scored the last three points of the night to win 124-120.
Game Notes and Stats: With the loss, the Warriors are 16-14 for the year. The Magic improved to 12-18. With Evan Fournier in the Magic lineup, the team owns a 9-7 record. Without him, they are 3-11.
The Warriors had their highest-scoring quarter of the year when they put 43 points on the board. Curry had a double-double with 29 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. Curry was 11-for-19 from the floor and made six threes in 16 tries.
Kelly Oubre had 26 points and seven rebounds. Kelly was 10-for-18 from the floor and made three threes. Andrew Wiggins had 16. Danion Lee and Mychal Mulder were the other Warrior players with double-figures. Each scored ten points. The Dubs shot 47.4% from the floor, and they knocked down 19 threes. They had 37 assists on 46 made baskets.
Nikola Vucevic led the Magic offense with a triple-double. The big man from Serbia had 30 points, 16 boards, and ten assists. He made two threes. Evan Fournier had quite a game. He tallied 28 points, and he connected on five threes.
Terrence Ross, who scored 31 against the s onWarriors the 11th, finished the night with 24 points and four threes. The only other Orlando player in double-figures was Chuma Okeke with 11.
The Orlando defense outrebounded the Warriors 56-52. They recorded seven steals and blocked eight Warrior shots.
The Warriors travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, to face the Hornets Saturday night. The game will start at 4 pm.