Terrence Ross’ post-mortem on Orlando’s lopsided loss to Toronto in Game 2 of their NBA playoff series Tuesday was short and not very sweet.
“We just played bad,” said Ross, a former Raptor.
The numbers backed him up. Orlando, which won the first game 104-101 on a late D.J. Augustin three-pointer, stumbled out of the gate Tuesday and never recovered.
The Magic had two early turnovers in the face of Toronto’s swarming defence, missed their first six shots and trailed 16-2. Orlando seemed to weather the storm, cutting the lead to six late in the first and early in the second but the game got away again and the Magic trailed 51-39 at the half.
“The second half, frankly, surprised the heck out of me,” said Orlando coach Steve Clifford, whose team never led on the night. “I thought we’d make a run. At halftime, I thought we had settled down.
“And then beginning of the third quarter, they were good and frankly we were awful, in my opinion. They had something to do with it but that we were not the team tonight that we’ve been.”
The lead was up to 24 at the end of the third. And it kept growing as Orlando went 1 for 10 to open the fourth quarter. The game ended 111-82 in Toronto’s favour.
“Our decision-making was terrible,” Clifford said. “Especially at the beginning of the third quarter.”
Aaron Gordon (20 points) and Ross (15 points off the bench) were the only Orlando players to threaten offensively. Evan Fournier (10) was the only other Magic man to hit double digits.
Gordon was good on 8-of-12 shots. The other four Orlando starters made 9 of 33.
D.J. Augustin, who led Orlando with 25 points in Game 1, did not make his first bucket until late in the third and finished with nine points on 1-of-6 shooting.
It didn’t help that Orlando missed 11-of-24 free-throw attempts.
The good news is that Orlando leaves with a split and will be greeted by its hometown crowd, when the series switches to central Florida for Game 3 on Friday. Orlando hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2012.
“We did a good job coming here and winning one game,” said seven-footer Nikola Vucevic, who was held to 17 points in the first two games. “Obviously tonight it stinks, you lose by a big margin.
“But at the end of the day, it’s still one game. They played well, we didn’t. It’s 1-1.”
Orlando hasn’t lost at the Amway Center since Feb. 22 when Chicago won 110-109,