Glen Davis sat on the Orlando Magic bench after his potential game-tying shot careened off the side of the rim and the final buzzer sounded. He peered up at the Amway Center scoreboard and saw the final numbers.
The Magic engineered a pulse-pounding comeback against the Indiana Pacers in Game 4, forcing overtime after they trailed 19 points with eight minutes to go. But after all that work, after they expended all that emotion, they suffered a crushing 101-99 loss.
“The emotions now are devastation,” Magic guardJ.J. Redicksaid. “It hurts to lose a game like that.”
Orlando now trails the series three games to one. An Indiana victory Tuesday night in Game 5 in Indianapolis would end the Magic’s season and would send the Pacers to the playoffs’ second round for the first time since 2005.
Only eight teams in NBA history have recovered from a 3-1 deficit in a best-of-seven series.
“Now let’s fight to see another day, another game,” Davis said.
They can’t fight much harder than they did Saturday.
Another disastrous third quarter and a shaky start to the fourth quarter against the taller, deeper, more-talented Pacers put them in an 82-63 hole with 8:14 left in regulation.
But the Magic scored the next 14 points to cut the deficit to 82-77, and a 3-pointer by Redick with 38.7 seconds left tied the score 89-89, sending the announced sellout crowd into a frenzy.
“We went out there and gave everything we had,” said Magic shooting guard Jason Richardson, who finished with a team-high 25 points.
The Magic had a chance to win the game in regulation. They inbounded the ball with 14.7 seconds left, and Jameer Nelson played for the last shot. But although Nelson generated plenty of space between himself and Leandro Barbosa, Nelson’s fadeaway jumper from the foul line was short and to the left.
“I got the guy off of me, I got my space,” Nelson said. “I just missed the shot. I’ll do the same thing the next game if the opportunity presents itself.”
Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said: “He made a good move. He got all kinds of separation. He went into his reverse pivot. There was nobody with him. I was a little surprised that it didn’t end up a better attempt.”
The Pacers scored the first six points of overtime, but the Magic scored the next six.
Indiana took two more two-point leads, but Orlando tied the score each time on short baskets by Davis, who finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds.
But Nelson was whistled for a questionable foul with 2.2 seconds left in overtime, and George Hill hit both free throws.
The Magic had one more chance to tie the score, but Davis’ 13-foot fadeaway hit the side of the rim.
“I got a great shot off,” Davis said. “Just short. The line was right there. Just short. Two inches up or an inch up, we’d probably be playing the [second] overtime right now, celebrating.”
Instead, the Pacers rejoiced.
“It was a lot of fun out there,” their coach, Frank Vogel said. “Good to end up on the plus side of a game like that.”
The Magic once again hurt themselves. They endured an 8-minute, 45-second stretch in the first half in which they didn’t make a basket. And they suffered through a terrible third quarter in which Pacers power forward David West scored 12 of his game-high 26 points.
“I give them a lot of credit, for fighting back,” Van Gundy said of his players. “Especially when you’re down 2-1 and down 19 and things aren’t going good, it’s pretty easy to cave in, and we didn’t do that.”