During the first half Friday night, Orlando Magic players spent too much time trying to make difficult plays on offense instead of easy plays.
Glen Davis called it "hero" ball. They attempted crosscourt passes when a simple swing passes would've sufficed. They tried to thread the ball into narrow spaces. They sought to make bone-crunching screens instead of basic picks.
They nearly paid for it. After a first half in which they committed 16 turnovers, the Magic finally found their grip on the ball and recovered from a nine-point deficit in the third quarter to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-104 at Amway Center.
"We tried to complicate it a little bit with turnovers in the first half," coach Jacque Vaughn said.
The Magic made two turnovers in the third quarter and none in the fourth.
Davis scored 10 of his 16 points in the final period, and J.J. Redick finished with 18 points and six assists.
"Sometimes it takes a while to get a grasp for how teams are playing you," Redick said. "I know two of my turnovers were because I didn't make the right read. They were essentially daring me to shoot that foul-line jumper, and I forced a couple of passes inside."
Nik Vucevic made a driving layup off a bounce pass by Redick with 32.3 seconds left in regulation to give Orlando a 100-97 lead. On Cleveland's ensuing possession, a 3-point try by Dion Waiters rattled in and out of the hoop, prompting a gasp from the announced crowd of 17,334.
Redick scored Orlando's final eight points, all on foul shots in the game's last 22 seconds.
The Magic now have started their five-game homestand with two wins: Wednesday's victory over the Detroit Pistons and Friday's over the Cavs.
Orlando will host three of the NBA's better teams during its next three games: the Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs and Brooklyn Nets. After that, the Magic will go to the West Coast for a five-game road trip, beginning with a game Dec. 2 against Dwight Howard's Los Angeles Lakers.
"Obviously, these were two teams that we felt we should beat here at home," said Arron Afflalo, who scored 19 points.
"We've got some more tougher-quality opponents in these next three games, so we'll have to amp it up. And, of course, we can't have the turnover problem or the offensive-rebounding problem against these teams coming up."
Orlando (5-7) was fortunate Cleveland (3-9) was playing without reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving, who missed the game with a broken left index finger.
The Magic finished the first half with 16 turnovers -- four shy of the franchise record for a half set on Nov. 16, 1989.
Those problems evaporated in the second half.
"We didn't get up and pressure them like we did the first half," Cavs coach Byron Scott said. "They only had two turnovers and I think 63 points in the second half, which is obviously way too many."
Orlando also kept itself in the game by making a season-high 11 3-pointers.
Afflalo and Nelson sank four treys apiece, and Nelson finished with a team-high 22 points.
The Magic finally started to gain momentum late in the third period, when they went on an 8-0 run.
Vucevic tipped-in a missed layup by Davis. Nelson scooped in a left-handed layup off a pick-and-roll with Andrew Nicholson. And Nelson stole the ball at midcourt and converted a layup to tie the score 67-67.
Redick then hit a mid-range jumper to put Orlando ahead 69-67.
When the Magic stopped giving possessions away, they gave themselves a chance.
Lesson learned. Perhaps.
email@example.comCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun