Terrence Ross scored 19 of his season-high 33 points in the fourth quarter and Gordon finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists, leading the Orlando Magic to a 136-125 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.
Gordon is averaging more than 21 points and 10 rebounds over the Magic’s recent six-game surge. This time, he felt best about his career high in assists.
“That’s what I’m looking to do,” he said. “I’m looking to distribute the ball and make the game easier for everybody on the floor and they do the same for me. It works well.”
“He puts us in a different place,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said. “He’s not just scoring, he’s playing an all-around game.”
Nikola Vucevic added 27 points and 10 rebounds for the Magic, who won for the fifth time in six games.
D’Angelo Russell led Minnesota with 28 points but did not score After a layup that gave the Timberwolves an 89-83 lead with 4:55 left in the third quarter. Juancho Hernangomez added 18 points and 13 rebounds.
The Timberwolves have lost 19 of their last 21 games, and 11 of their last 12 in Orlando.
The 136 points marked a season-high for the Magic, the second-lowest scoring team in the NBA. They shot 54% and had a 54-33 rebounding advantage.
“You can’t get outrebounded by 21,” Minnesota coach Ryan Saunders said. “To beat and compete with a team that has been together a long time, you’ve got to force yourself to be a little more disciplined than you may be. We just didn’t have that tonight.”
After falling behind by as many as 13 points in the first half, Minnesota rallied behind Russell and Malik Beasley, taking a six-point lead on a 3-pointer by Russell from the corner with 5:23 left in the third quarter.
Orlando regained the lead on a 3-pointer by D.J. Augustin and finished the period strong, without any starters on the floor.
Ross scored the Magic’s first 10 points of the fourth quarter, connecting on two straight 3s to push Orlando’s lead back to 10 with 9:31 remaining.
A layup by Augustin gave the Magic their biggest lead, 117-103, with 8:08 left.
Timberwolves: C Karl-Anthony Towns missed the fourth game with a left wrist injury. … G Allen Crabbe remained away from the team on a personal matter. … Minnesota has played 11 of its last 15 on the road, including a win at Miami on Wednesday night.
Magic: C Mo Bamba got eight rebounds, but fouled out in 13 minutes. … Gordon had five rebounds and five assists in the first quarter. . . . Ross took 25 shots, including 15 threes.
The Timberwolves had a five-point play in the second quarter. After fouling Josh Okogie, the Magic’s Evan Fournier drew a technical from referee Josh Tiven for protesting the call. When Okogie missed the third of his three foul shots, Jordan McLaughlin got the ball and hit a 3-pointer.
What about the defense?
Clifford wasn’t too excited about the final score or Minnesota’s 48% shooting and 17 3-point baskets. “We’ve got to put more into the defensive end,” he said. “Right now, our defensive mentality isn’t close to what it needs to be.”
Timberwolves: Host Dallas on Sunday.
Magic: At San Antonio on Saturday.
Ross, Gordon Lead Magic over Timberwolves 136-125