Winning outcomes for the Orlando Magic seemingly rest with how well they perform in the fourth quarter.
Whether that scenario transpires on Wednesday when Orlando hosts the Brooklyn Nets in the fourth of a five-game homestand is unknown. But it’s worth mentioning since the Magic have a plus-53, fourth-quarter point differential in their three victories compared to a minus-20 in their eight defeats.
Orlando outscored Utah 32-15 in the final period on Sunday en route to a 107-100 victory. Cole Anthony’s jumper with 1:28 remaining put the Magic ahead for good, 100-98, and R.J. Hampton added a crucial 3-pointer with 21.5 seconds left as head coach Jamahl Mosley’s team won at home for the first time in five attempts this season.
Anthony, who was questionable prior to the Utah matchup with an ankle issue, scored 10 of his season-high 33 points (including a pair of breakaway dunks) in the fourth quarter. Orlando’s bench also outscored its Utah counterparts 18-0 during the last 12 minutes, paced by Hampton’s eight points and Gary Harris’ six points.
Orlando’s Wendell Carter Jr. totaled 22 points and 15 rebounds — both season highs — for his fourth straight double-double. The 2018 first-round pick out of Duke has seven double-doubles in 11 games.
“We had some dudes who came off the bench, dudes who just came ready to play, especially that fourth quarter,” Anthony said postgame. “We just really made some big hustle plays. R.J., Gary, (Carter Jr.), Chuma (Okeke). Everybody, I think, at some point — Franz (Wagner) — everybody at some point who played in that fourth quarter just had some plays where it was just maximum effort.”
On Oct. 24 at Madison Square Garden, Orlando outscored the New York Knicks 36-24 in the fourth quarter as Terrence Ross netted all 22 of his points to spark a 110-104 victory. The Magic later tipped off their November schedule with a 115-97 road win against the Minnesota Timberwolves, punctuated by a 43-19 scoring edge in the final period.
Coincidentally, Brooklyn struggled in the fourth quarter of Monday’s 118-95 defeat to the host Chicago Bulls. Kevin Durant tied his season high with 38 points as part of a double-double, but the Nets had their five-game win streak snapped after being outscored 42-17 down the stretch.
The Nets are in the midst of a six-game road trip that began with wins in Detroit and Toronto. As for Durant, he’s produced the most prolific scoring start to a season in his career with 11 straight games of 20 or more points, which also marks a franchise record.
“We’re frustrated. I mean, we want to win every game,” Durant said following the Chicago loss. “It’s a good feeling to be frustrated but understanding how we can get better from this and move on from this and realize we got three more games on this trip.”
LaMarcus Aldridge had 19 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 23 minutes off the bench against Chicago. James Harden went 3-for-7 from beyond the arc and finished with 14 points, but Chicago’s starters outscored Brooklyn’s first unit 85-63.
Orlando remains without Michael Carter-Williams (ankle), E’Twaun Moore (knee), Markelle Fultz (knee) and Jonathan Isaac (knee).