It might get more dramatic, but certainly not any easier for the Magic.
The cavalcade of marquee opponents continues.
After falling to the star-studded Brooklyn Nets, 98-86, on Friday night at Amway Center, the Magic head West, starting their five-game trip against former franchise center Dwight Howard on Sunday.
Orlando has lost three consecutive games, falling to the Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs and the Nets, contenders all.
Where are the Washington Wizards when you need them?
The Magic slipped to 5-10 while the Nets improved to 11-4 with their fifth consecutive victory.
The Magic were playing the Nets, featuring Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, for the third time this month. They were trounced, 107-68, at home on Nov. 9 and lost two days later in Brooklyn, 82-74.
But the talent gap is considerable, and the Magic could have used a little mercy from Nets coach Avery Johnson, a Gregg Popovich protégé. Johnson didn't send any starters home.
Even without center Brook Lopez (sprained foot), Brooklyn asserted itself in the second half to turn a tight game into a romp, outscoring Orlando 31-21.
The Nets broke away early in the third quarter, thanks to the surprising shooting of small forward Gerald Wallace (20 points.)
Wallace, a career 31.6 percent 3-point shooter, nailed four 3-pointers to give the Nets an 11-point lead at 67-56.
The Magic concentrated more on Williams and Johnson, prime one-on-one threats.
"We didn't anticipate Gerald Wallace to go 5-of-6 from 3," Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn said. "Gerald made shots and it made a very big difference in the game."
Orlando, once known as the league's most lethal 3-point threat in the Howard era, missed 10-of-11 3-pointers while the Nets hit 11-of-20.
"Even though the guy [Wallace] wasn't on the scouting report making 3s, it is up to us to make the adjustment," Magic power forward Glen Davis said. "When he did hit those shots, it took the light and the spirit out of us."
All told, the Nets hit 6-of-7 3-pointers in the third period. The Magic offense struggled, with shooting guards Arron Afflalo and J.J. Redick going 2-of-14.
Either the Magic let down defensively or the Nets simply turned it on.
Orlando dearly missed Jameer Nelson, who is listed day-to-day. He sat out with a strained Achilles tendon in his left foot, the seventh game the starting point guard has missed this season.
The Magic held a team meeting Thursday morning after being thumped by the Spurs on Wednesday night.
Afflalo and Davis spoke out after the blow-out, shedding light on some problems. A wide array of topics were discussed at the meeting, from accountability to teammates knowing their roles.
Vaughn said he was satisfied with the team's "approach" against Brooklyn.
Orlando looked locked in from the tip, rebounding with the Nets and turning over the ball only five times at the half. The Magic were more aggressive. The club ranked last in the league in free-throw attempts finished with 19, making 15.
Magic got buzzer-beaters at end of first period (Ish Smith) and at the end of second (by Moore). Orlando trailed the Nets 45-44 at halftime. But the Magic couldn't carry the momentum to the third quarter.
Davis finished with 16 points, Nik Vucevic with 12 points and six boards. Moore, starting for Nelson, added 13 points and four assists.
The Magic will be happy that they won't see the Nets again until January 28 in Brooklyn.
"You get tired of losing," Davis said. "It hurts. It hurts, but it is what it is."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times