SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Orlando Magic gifted the Sacramento Kings too many opportunities Friday night. And the Magic failed to take advantage of their own chances, especially down the stretch.
That's a dangerous combination.
The final result — a 91-82 Sacramento win — proves it.
The Magic did themselves in with yet another sluggish first quarter, turnovers that jumpstarted the Kings’ transition game and missed shots despite good looks at the basket.
“If we play the right way, we win this game,” said power forward Glen Davis, who scored a game-high 20 points and collected a team-high 11 rebounds.
With the loss, Orlando fell to 2-2 on its West Coast road trip, which will conclude Sunday night in Phoenix.
The thing is, the Magic had their chances Friday night.
Despite all of their miscues, they still built a four-point lead early in the fourth quarter. But the Kings, sparked by backup guards Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette, regained control.
Sacramento’s fourth-quarter run started with a fluke play.
A Kings teammate fed the ball to Thomas as Thomas sprinted down the lane on a fastbreak. Orlando’s E’Twaun Moore deflected the ball just as it arrived in Thomas’ hands, and the ball rose upward, hit off the glass and fell through the hoop to cut Orlando’s lead to 66-64.
After Davis made a layup to extend the lead back to four points, Davis missed a pair of short attempts on Orlando’s next two possessions.
But the momentum shifted completely just seconds later.
After Thomas made a layup to draw the Kings back within two points, Nelson missed a seven-foot jumper. Magic center Nik Vucevic rebounded the ball, only to have it stripped out of his hands by Thomas Robinson.
The Kings sprinted down the court and tossed the ball ahead to Fredette, who sank a 3-pointer. His basket awoke the announced crowd of 16,305 inside Sleep Train Arena and, more importantly, gave the Kings a lead they never relinquished.
The more athletic Kings finished with 25 fastbreak points.
“I thought we needed to push the tempo,” Kings coach Keith Smart said, “and we had to make this team run.”
Sacramento (6-12) did that, especially early in the game.
As tipoff approached, Magic coach Jacque Vaughn stressed the need to protect the basketball and keep the Kings out of the paint.
Orlando (7-12) did neither.
The Kings built an 11-point lead in the first period by converting six Magic turnovers into 11 points.
“I just feel like they deserved to win the game,” Nelson said. “They played harder for longer stretches of the game. They didn’t do anything that hurt us in the halfcourt.”
Orlando’s offense struggled throughout the first half. The Magic made just 35 percent of their shots.
The Magic trailed by 14 points early in the third quarter, but eventually snapped out of their shooting slump.
They scored 16 consecutive points, beginning with a 3-pointer by Nelson and ending with a 3-pointer by Arron Afflalo.
The run put Orlando ahead 59-54.
“We can’t be down and try to fight back, try to fight back, try to fight back,” Davis said. “It just takes a lot of energy out of us as a team, and it’s hard for us to finish games.”
Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins finished with 17 points, 14 rebounds and four assists.
But Cousins sat out all but 2 minutes, 47 seconds of the final period.
Thomas scored 11 of his 17 points in the quarter, while Fredette added nine of his 15 points.
“It’s a really good win for us,” Fredette said.
True, but it also was a bad loss for the Magic.
Too many chances missed. Too many opportunities given.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/magicblog and follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times