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Turnovers plague Suns in 113-98 loss to Magic

© Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns turned the ball over 22 times and were outscored 31-13 in the fourth quarter, as they fell 113-98 to the Orlando Magic.

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This game felt eerily similar to the Suns’ 133-131 loss to the Indiana Pacers Friday night, as hot shooting kept Phoenix in it until the fourth quarter, but turnovers and extra shot attempts for the opponent were too much to overcome.

Phoenix (26-20) did not make a single field goal from the 10:10 mark in the fourth quarter until under two minutes left when all of the starters had subbed out. Orlando went on a 21-2 run in this span.

For the sixth straight game either Devin Booker or Kevin Durant finished with 40 points, as Booker had 44 on 17-of-26 shooting, but his scoring outburst did not translate to a win for the second consecutive game.

Durant was the only other player to score in double figures for the Suns, as he contributed 15 points and five assists. Durant only attempted 12 shots in the game, making seven of them.

“(The) Magic defense did a good job trying to take him out of it, but we got to make sure we screen for him better, one, and then get better looks,” Suns’ coach Frank Vogel said about Durant.

Bradley Beal, who was playing with a non-fitted mask after suffering a nasal fracture Friday, started the game for 3-for-3, but ended up only converting one of his last 11 shots for nine points.

Vogel said he thinks “a lot” of Beal’s struggles were due to the mask.

“He’s trying to play with the mask,” Vogel said. “You could see when he did get open looks, he’s getting frustrated that he doesn’t have the clear line of sight and whatnot. Two games in a row since it happened he’s struggled with the jump shot more than anything. I think when he goes to the basket it’s obviously a different game. I feel like it’s impacted him some but credit him for really trying to play through it and tough it out.”

Durant led the Suns with seven turnovers, while Beal and Booker had four apiece. Jusuf Nurkić did not play in this game, as he suffered a sprained left thumb against Indiana.

“It’s just frustrating,” Vogel said. “More turnovers. We didn’t handle their physicality, I mean obviously a bigger team than us in a lot of positions. The refs were letting them play a physical brand of pressure basketball. We didn’t handle it. We turned the ball over seven times (in the fourth). When we did get good looks, we didn’t knock them down. We’ll continue to look at what we need to do to be better in the fourth.”

Additionally, the Suns made a season-low four 3-pointers in the loss. They shot 4-of-14 (28.6%) from deep. Meanwhile, the Magic attempted 36 threes and made 12 of them (33.3%).

The Magic (24-20) got up 19 more shots than the Suns in total because of all of these factors. Phoenix shot 41-of-73 (56.2%), while the Magic were 41-of-92 (44.6%) on field goals.

“They try to stay home as much as possible on the pick-and-roll game, so that’s why the 3-point totals were low,” Vogel said. “The ball wasn’t really moving the way we wanted it to move. Again, credit them for getting into us and handling the pick and roll without getting into rotations.”

Paolo Banchero led Orlando with 26 points on 9-of-18 shooting and seven assists. Mo Wagner had nine of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to go along with a season-high 12 rebounds.

Next up

The Suns have a lot to figure out once again, as they are seemingly making mistakes on everything outside of shooting. A seven-game winning streak has quickly shifted to a two-game losing streak.

Phoenix won’t have much time to figure out its shortcomings, as it plays tomorrow night in Miami against the Heat (24-22).

Nurkić-less Suns look to start new streak in Orlando: Suns at Magic preview and prediction

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Brendan Mau is a senior writer covering the Phoenix Suns and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

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