By Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel
11:51 PM EST, February 27, 2013
Just before the start of the third quarter Wednesday night, public-address announcer Paul Porter called fans' attention to Amway Center's video board for a series of Orlando Magic highlights from the first half.
The montage lasted about 30 seconds.
How on earth did anyone locate that many positive plays by the Magic?
What had transpired already was that ugly, and the rest of the night didn't get any better. The Sacramento Kings dominated the Magic 125-101 in one of the Magic's worst performances this season.
"They gave us their first punch real early, and it was hard for us to regroup from that," forward Tobias Harris said.
The Kings' 125 points were the most by a Magic opponent in regulation this season. Magic defenders didn't keep the ball in front of them and didn't sprint back hard enough in transition.
"It's unfortunate we ran into a hot team," power forward Al Harrington said. "They made a lot of jump shots. When we tried to make an adjustment to that, they'd get a layup. It was just one of those nights where we just couldn't get a stop."
The Magic led 13-7 after the game's first several minutes, and three 3-pointers by E'Twaun Moore prompted Kings coach Keith Smart to call a timeout.
Ten seconds after the timeout, Kings swingman John Salmons drove around Maurice Harkless, attacked the basket and emphatically dunked over Andrew Nicholson.
"I have never seen John dunk on anybody," Kings center DeMarcus Cousins marveled. "That surprised a lot of us."
Not only did it surprise Salmons' teammates, but it also set the tone for all that followed.
The slam ignited a 29-9 Kings run.
Just one night earlier, the Magic beat the Philadelphia 76ers 98-84 in one of the Magic's best all-around performances in weeks.
But the momentum from that victory evaporated within 22 hours.
The Kings (20-39) overwhelmed the Magic (16-42) in every area.
"I really believe these young guys have the right intentions every time they step on the floor," Harrington said. "We're just a young team. You've just got to take these bumps and bruises. The biggest thing is just hoping that they can try to learn from it. Every game is a valuable lesson."
Harris, the 6-foot-8 combo forward acquired in last week's trade-deadline deal with the Milwaukee Bucks, provided perhaps the Magic's only bright spot.
He scored a game-high 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting and collected six rebounds. He ran the floor well and made a 3-pointer.
"It's like he's in a new world right now," Smart said.
But more than that was expected from the Magic, even though they were playing on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Kings also were playing their second game in two nights, and they had lost in double overtime to the Miami Heat.
Veteran Orlando players wouldn't say that their poor game was due to the back-to-back.
"That's just an excuse," point guard Beno Udrih said. "They played yesterday, too, and they played two overtimes. So that's definitely not an excuse. We didn't play hard. They played harder. Maybe we played hard, but we could still play harder. They wanted it more."
The Kings generated 18 turnovers, which they converted into 20 points.
Cousins, their talented but sometimes petulant center, scored 13 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists.
Combo guard Tyreke Evans added 17 points and seven assists.
Amway Center's upper and lower decks were only half-full with about nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
The fans just kept filing out after that.
There wasn't much to like.
No highlight on the video board could convince them otherwise.
Copyright © 2014, Orlando Sentinel