Although it’s just a preseason game the Orlando Magic vs Miami Heat always draws a crowd. A near capacity Amway Center crowd got quite a show as the Magic snuck by the Heat 93-90.
When the Miami Heat come to town the atmosphere in the arena gets a little more intense. The interstate rivalry with the Miami Heat is a real thing whether it’s the playoffs or summer league. With the Heat being Orlando’s first game of the regular season the approach was a little different than others. Both Orlando and Miami played a tighter rotation by not going as deep into the bench as they had before. Orlando got behind in the second quarter and fell even further during the third. It was not until the fourth quarter that Orlando regained the lead and held on for the win.
Once again Aaron Gordon was on top of his game. Gordon led the Magic with 19 points and 6 rebounds. He is really beginning to come into his own. Gordon was 1-1 from 3 point range and 9-14 from the field in 21 minutes. Rookie Jonathan Isaac turned in another solid performance tallying 13 points and 5 rebounds.
Rookie Jonathan Isaac turned in another solid performance tallying 13 points and 5 rebounds in 24 minutes. Isaac showed an all-around game scoring from deep and at the rim. The Magic will continue to bring him on slowly, but the potential to be a major contributor is not far away.
Jonathon Simmons is figuring to be a sixth man of the year candidate. the energy and scoring Simmons brings to the second unit cannot be understated. He has been consistent in the preseason and would be great to have him coming off the bench as the featured scoring option. Simmons wants to be a star and a go-to guy. As the main option for Orlando’s second unit, I think that wish is fulfilled. He will get the opportunity to isolate more with the second unit and do what he does best which is get to the basket. The starting lineup has built lots of chemistry so putting Simmons in with that group may disrupt the flow of the offense. Moving forward Simmons will keep the Magic afloat when the starters are off the court.
Early in the third quarter, the Orlando Magic found themselves falling further and further behind the Heat. Entering the fourth quarter the lead was 75-68 in favor of Miami. In previous seasons the team would have all but packed up their bags and gave up midway through the fourth. Last night against the Heat Orlando never threw in the towel. A lineup including veterans Shelvin Mack, Arron Afflalo and Jonathon Simmons helped the Magic to claw back into the game. This is why Jeff Weltman and John Hammond brought those guys in. They are leaders that will teach the younger guys how to overcome adversity and get the job done. During the regular season coming from behind with a double-digit deficit will be critical to the psyche of this young team. Games like this make the team believe that they are always in the game.
Still jealous of Arron Afflalo. pic.twitter.com/h9EZv2lYxQ
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) October 8, 2017
Setting the table
After three preseason games, Elfrid Payton has not scored a ton. Payton has not even looked to score a ton. Instead, Elfrid Payton is bringing the point guard position back to that of a distributor. Payton picked up 9 assists in Orlando’s victory over the Miami Heat. With years of experience playing with Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, and Evan Fournier some chemistry has been formed. The starting lineup trusts each other more than ever and know what each other is capable of. If Payton is not going to be a scoring point guard like Damian Lillard or Russel Westbrook he has to set up the rest of his teammates. It bodes well for Orlando not to rely on Payton to score in order to pick up wins.
The Orlando Magic next game will be Monday night at the Dallas Mavericks.