Magic Musings: Orlando runs into tougher youth vs. Suns

ORLANDO, Fla. — While the Orlando Magic would like to consider themselves young and athletic, they ran into a team younger and more athletic than them in the Phoenix Suns.

The Suns hit the ground running and never looked back in rolling to a 104-96 victory. It was the Magic’s seventh loss in their past eight games following a 3-2 start.

The Magic got 20 points and 10 rebounds from Nikola Vucevic and a season-high 19 points off the bench from Andrew Nicholson. The game also marked the return of forward Tobias Harris, who had been out the past five weeks with a high left ankle sprain.

But the Suns grabbed the lead early and never relinquished it. They shot nearly 50 percent from the floor and placed five players in double figures.

Rookie Victor Oladipo had a tough shooting night, making only three of his 12 shots. Both Oladipo and Jameer Nelson played more than 38 minutes for the Magic, who were coming off a two-point loss at Miami the night before.

The turning point

The Magic never fully recovered from a first quarter in which they gave up 31 points and made only one of their six 3-point attempts.

The difference maker

Goran Dragic, running the Suns’ offense for most of the night with Eric Bledsoe still sidelined because of a left shin contusion, had 13 assists and no turnovers to go with his 23 points. His 3-pointer with 1:18 to go sent many fans heading to the exits.

Stat of the game

The Suns won despite attempting only three free throws, the fewest ever by a Magic opponent. They went to the line just once after the first quarter.

Must see video

What’s next

Tuesday night at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m. (FOX Sports Florida).

You can follow Ken Hornack on Twitter @HornackFSFla or email him at khornack32176@gmail.com.