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Magic 136, Timberwolves 125: Back Down to Earth

There was no late miracle for the Wolves tonight in Orlando.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

And...thud. That was the Wolves falling back to earth after their exciting win in Miami on Wednesday night. Tonight they fell to the Magic in Orlando 136-125. As has often been the case since the deadline, the Wolves scored a lot of points, but gave up even more as they offered little resistance to a Magic team that found just about any shot they wanted throughout the night.

The Wolves were led by D’Angelo Russell, who scored 28 points. His jumper with five minutes left in the third quarter gave the Wolves a six point lead, their biggest of the night. Three minutes later, he checked out of the game with the Wolves down two, and by the time Ryan Sanders got him back in the game with eight minutes left, the Magic were up by 14 points, and it was too late.

The Wolves made a bit of a late run, cutting the deficit to six with time left, but ultimately could not stage a second straight miracle comeback, largely because they simply could not get any stops. The Magic scored, by quarter: 35, 34, 34, 33. There was little resistance.

The Magic were led by Nikola Vucevic, who finished with 27 points and shot 12-14 inside the arc. The Wolves simply had no answer for him around the basket. Vucevic got great position time and time again, and flipped in east shots all night.

From the perimeter, it was a classic MPE performance by Terrence Ross coming off the bench. He finished with 33 points on seven made threes, and amazingly got up 25 shots in 34 minutes. The Wolves appeared disinterested in guarding him, and he got open on simple cuts and screens time and time again.

Overall the Magic shot 54 percent from the field and also dominated in second chance points, scoring 22 off their own misses, with was as big a factor as any in this loss. The Wolves simply could not consistently protect their defensive glass.

This pattern has repeated itself throughout the post-deadline games: The Wolves offense is goo enough to keep up for a while, but ultimately they are doomed by their defense and rebounding.

It’s been fun to watch the points pile up, but wins won’t start coming with any regularity until they can shore up the defense.

  • James Johnson continues to play well, with 17 points on 8-10 shooting.
  • Juancho Hernangomez finished with a double double.
  • The Wolves struggled from the free throw line, finishing 16-24
  • Aaron Gordon got his first career triple double tonight with 17-13-12.