The Orlando Magic’s problem in their 110-105 road loss to the Miami Heat was one that hasn’t been an issue in a while.
At the least, it didn’t hurt them in a while like they did Friday at Miami-Dade Arena.
The Magic’s 20 turnovers were not only their most since their Nov. 14 loss to the Charlotte Hornets, but they also led to 32 Heat points.
Orlando’s giveaways not only gave Miami easier scoring opportunities, but they also sapped the Magic of any offensive rhythm it had late.
The Magic shot better from the field (47.8% compared to 45.9%) and beyond the arc (35.3% to 30.3%) but finished with 16 fewer field goal attempts.
Some of this was because the Magic got to the free throw line more than the Heat, shooting 27 of 32 compared to Miami’s 22 of 26, but the Heat took better care of the ball (11 turnovers), giving them more chances to overcome their early shooting struggles.
The Magic stayed in the game despite the Heat winning the possession battle. They only trailed 104-101 after Gary Harris hit a 3 with 53.8 seconds remaining.
But Jimmy Butler (28 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds) hit a floater over Wendell Carter Jr. (16 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists but fouled out with 24 seconds remaining) to help close out the game.
Butler made 1 of 2 free throws with 24 seconds left to help seal the Heat (28-22) win.
Magic coach Jamahl Mosley gained a greater appreciation for Heat coach Erik Spoelstra during the summer of 2021 when Mosley was the assistant coach on the U.S. men’s basketball select team for which Spoelstra was the head coach.
“I learned so much from Spo,” Mosley said after Friday morning’s shootaround. “His work ethic, his care for the guys who are playing for him [and] his demanding style in which he wants you to do things. You just love how he teaches the game [and] studies the game. His guys play hard for him. Being around him was such a great learning lesson for me.”
Spoelstra and Mosley knew each other before their time with the U.S. team.
Mosley is close friends with David Fizdale — the Utah Jazz associate general manager who was a Miami Heat assistant coach under Spoelstra from 2008-16.
Spoelstra offered Mosley advice throughout the years, but one piece of guidance stood above the rest.
“Just being yourself,” Mosley said. “You can’t go away from being who you are. It’s the care factor for these guys and making sure you’re yourself through the whole entire process.”
The advice stuck with Mosley, especially once he spent more time with Spoelstra.
“From the video coordinator to doing what he’s done, I’m so grateful for being able to have the people around,” Mosley said. “That’s the one thing they tell you: stay the same and be yourself. At the end of the day, the guys understand if you’re not. People can see when you’re not. You have to be who you are. That’s the most important thing. Stay true to your values [and] your principles as a coach.”
Jonathan Isaac wasn’t available against the Heat because of left knee injury management, with Friday’s game being the first night of a back-to-back.
The Magic play the Chicago Bulls at Amway Center on Saturday.
“This decision we’ve talked about — how his body responds to things, and obviously not playing on back-to-backs,” Mosley said. “He’ll sit tonight and will most likely will be ready to go tomorrow.”
Isaac played his first NBA game in over 2½ years in Monday’s win over the Boston Celtics, recording 10 points (4-for-7 shooting, 2 of 3 on 3-pointers), 3 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 assist in 10 minutes.
He had 5 points (2-for-4 shooting, 1 of 2 on 3s), 2 assists and 2 steals in 8 minutes in Wednesday’s win over the Indiana Pacers.
Not being available for both games of a back-to-back set is standard for players returning from lengthy injury absences.
On Friday, the Magic officially assigned third-year guard R.J. Hampton and rookie forward Caleb Houstan to the organization’s G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic..
Lakeland plays back-to-back home games against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants Friday and Saturday.
This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Price at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.