Could this result be real? Could the Magic have made it all the way back from a 25-point deficit in a game the Rockets were tearing up the interior defense with the pick and roll and eating the Magic's defense alive?
They did not quite make it all the way back. They never got closer than five points, with Nikola Vucevic failing each time to make a shot that would have pulled the Magic closer. A 25-point deficit and porous defense for the majority of the game outweighed the fight Orlando always has to get back into the game as Houston pulled out a 111-103 victory at Toyota Center on Monday.
The Magic are always fighters. They never gave up even after quickly falling behind 32-14 in the first quarter and giving up more than 60 points in the first half. The Rockets did not seem to need James Harden or Chandler Parsons to pull the Orlando defense apart.
Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik were the main culprits defensively. Lin scored 19 points and 11 assists and Asik had a career-high 22 points and 18 rebounds. It seemed that every time the Rockets brought the ball down the floor, they could get into the lane and pull Vucevic or Tobias Harris away from his man and simply dump it down to the open man underneath the basket. The Magic did not help the helper and that gave Omer Asik a lot of free reign in the paint and enabled him to get good rebounding position.
That left a big hill for the Magic to climb. One they dutifully tried to ascend like Sisyphus rolling that boulder up the hill (no matter how large it became or how many times it rolled back down the hill).no comments