ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – On a night where the Orlando Magic started the same starting five that ended the previous season on opening night for the 1st time in team history, they were able to defeat the instate rivals the Miami Heat by the score of 116-109. Evan Fournier scored 7 of his 23 points in the final 3 minutes of the game to hold off a late Heat rally.
“He did that for us a number of times last year and give Miami credit, they made a heck of a run in the fourth quarter. The best way to stop a run is to score the ball. Evan kept us in the game and sealed the game for us by continuing to play good offensive basketball.. -Magic Head Coach Frank Vogel on Evan Fournier’s fourth quarter explosion
Orlando had a 17-point lead early in the 4th quarter, then Miami went to work cutting the lead down to only 2 on a pair of Goran Dragic free throws. But before the Heat’s flurry last in the game, the Magic played on a level that few have seen in the Amway Center in the last couple of seasons.
After getting off to a slow start defensively and allowing 37 points in the opening quarter, Orlando’s reserves went to work on the Heat. Jonathon Simmons (12 points) started to use his ability to get to the basket to create chances for the Magic and the team collapsed on the defensive end to stop the Heat from extending the lead. Rookie Jonathan Isaac had 4 points, 8 rebounds and 2 block shots in 18 minutes off the bench. His energy along with Bismack Biyombo (9 points and 7 rebounds), DJ Augustin (7 points and 4 assists) and Simmons gave Orlando a great counter to Miami’s hot start.
Even though the Magic won the rebound battle 51 to 44, they couldn’t find a way to keep Miami’s Hassan Whiteside off the glass. Whiteside finished with 22 rebounds and his efforts in the final quarter was one of the reasons why the game become close.
“Our individual containment was pretty good, but we just missed some coverages and we did not take care of the glass well enough.” – Magic Head Coach Frank Vogel on his team’s rebounding effort
Nikola Vucevic had 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Magic as they start the season at 1-0. Aaron Gordon had 11 of his 14 points in the opening half as the Magic took the lead at 58-55.
Orlando’s next game is Friday night as they take on the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. They return home on Tuesday, October 24th at 7pm as they take on the same Nets team.
Danny Thompson is a sports contributor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org