Magic Musings: Furious fourth-quarter rally comes up just short against Nets

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orlando Magic almost erased a 26-point deficit Friday night, which would have almost erased a 26-year-old record from their books.

But the Brooklyn Nets held on for a 100-98 victory over a team which fell to 4-11 at home for the season.

Down by 26 late in the third quarter and 95-71 following a 3-point field goal by Alan Anderson with 8:16 remaining, the Magic somehow rallied behind a lineup of rookie Elfrid Payton and four reserves – including Devyn Marble, who was recalled earlier in the day from Erie of the NBA Development League. They made it a 97-93 game on a 3 by Evan Fournier, and a 3 from Payton with 3.8 seconds to go pulled the Magic to within two.

But the Magic were unable to foul Jarrett Jack on the ensuing inbound play, and Jack threw the ball up in the air to let what little time was left expire. The ball fell out of bounds in front of the Nets bench barely after the final horn.

Payton was the only Magic starter to play in the fourth quarter until Victor Oladipo and Nikola Vucevic came in during the final 22.6 seconds.

In the third regular-season game in franchise history in November 1989, the Magic wiped out a 25-point deficit to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers. Earlier this season, the Magic won at Charlotte after being down 23.

Before the game, the Magic placed forward Maurice Harkless on their inactive list, with Marble taking his place. Harkless had played in only 17 of the Magic’s previous 35 games after making a total of 100 starts during his first two seasons with them.

Marble played minutes 21, or 16 more than he did in his five previous games with the Magic.

Magic vs. Nets

THE TURNING POINT

The Magic led after one quarter for the sixth game in a row but were outscored 30-15 in the second quarter. The Nets had an 18-4 advantage in points in the paint, and only eight points by the Magic in the last two minutes — including two 3-pointers by Oladipo — kept them from their lowest-scoring quarter of the season.

THE DIFFERENCE MAKER

Deron Williams, the three-time All-Star point guard who came off the Nets’ bench for the fifth game in a row, had 16 points and went 3 of 3 from 3-point range.

STAT OF THE GAME

The Nets shot 63.2 percent through three quarters before going only 5 of 15 from the floor with eight turnovers in the final 12 minutes.

WHAT’S NEXT

Saturday night vs. Charlotte, 7 p.m. Not since Jan. 17-18, 2012 have the Magic played home games on consecutive nights.

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