Fournier’s 3-pointer lifts Magic over Wolves 104-101 in OT
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando Magic learned a little more about feisty new coach Scott Skiles on Wednesday night, and all parties went home happy.
Evan Fournier hit a 3-pointer with 3.1 seconds left in overtime after Skiles benched starters Nik Vucevic and Victor Oladipo and the Magic beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 104-101.
Vucevic had eight points on 4-of-13 shooting in the first half, and then didn’t play in the second half or overtime. Oladipo was 0 for 6 with one point and played just 7 uncritical minutes after halftime.
“I’m not trying to send messages,” Skiles said. “I mean, I get a fairly sizable check every two weeks to win games. That’s what I’m trying to do. I felt like we got some good energy out of (backups).”
Fournier split two Minnesota defenders to launch the game-winning 3 and led the Magic with 26 points. Elfrid Payton added a career-high 24 points with seven rebounds and six assists. Tobias Harris had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
“Coach said we came out flat, no energy and played very, very soft,” Fournier said. “The bench did a great job and that’s the way we’ve got to play.”
Second-year star Andrew Wiggins led Minnesota with 28 points, including a driving bank shot to tie the game with 2.1 seconds left in regulation. Rookie Karl-Anthony Towns contributed 21 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks, including one on Harris as the buzzer sounded in regulation.
Zach LaVine added 14 points and Kevin Martin had 12 for the Timberwolves.
Minnesota had won five of six road games this season, including in Miami a night earlier, and coach Sam Mitchell saw progress from the Wolves even in the loss.
“It’s tough when you’re relying on young guys, but they’re growing up fast,” Mitchell said. “They’re playing in every situation and to their credit, they responded.”
Towns made two free throws with 40.6 seconds left in overtime to tie it 101-101 and set the stage for Fournier’s make.
Payton missed a jumper with 22 seconds left, but Jason Smith tied up LaVine on the rebound and won the jump ball to give the Magic a final possession.
LaVine’s 3-point attempt to send the game to double overtime wasn’t close.
The Magic went on a 13-1 run in the middle of the fourth quarter to seize control of the game. Backup forward Andrew Nicholson, who hadn’t scored yet this season, finished the run with a putback dunk and followed that with a 3-pointer that gave Orlando an 89-82 lead with 4:11 left.
Timberwolves: PG Ricky Rubio had 12 rebounds and 12 assists but missed a triple-double with only eight points. ... PF Kevin Garnett sat out the second game of a back-to-back. Garnett played 15 minutes in the win over Miami on Tuesday night. ... Towns has eight double-doubles this season.
Magic: Oladipo returned after missing two games with a concussion. ... Orlando had 14 offensive rebounds in the first half, but scored only eight second-chance points. ... The Magic won for the first time this season after trailing at halftime.
SUPPORT FOR HALE
Magic coach Scott Skiles wasn’t happy with the news that Houston fired coach Kevin McHale. Skiles, who has been fired twice himself, said:
“It’s hard for me to understand how somebody can be a great coach one year and then all the sudden he loses the locker room the next year. If he lost the locker room, somebody changed the team. Who changed the team? And why isn’t that guy held accountable?”
WIGGINS GROWING UP
Wiggins took all his team’s shots in critical moments of both regulation and overtime and Towns handled the work at the defensive end. “Every day our confidence is growing,” Wiggins said. “In practice we work hard and every game you win is motivating. It’s educating us and making us stronger.”
Timberwolves: Host Detroit on Friday night.
Magic: Host Sacramento on Saturday night.