Connect with us

Orlando Magic

Magic Crushed By Wizards But A Point Guard Emerges 

Kevyn Bryant II

Published

on

© The Canadian Press

The Magic took another rough loss on the road on Saturday, falling 138-118 to the Washington Wizards. The Wizards have been among the league’s more difficult teams to predict night in and night out, looking intermittently like fringe playoff contenders or a budding tank job. In this contest though, Washington looked about as good as it has all season, leading to a difficult night for the Magic. 

It was clear fairly early that this was just going to be one of those nights in the NBA, in which one team has a hot hand that will be difficult to keep pace with. In the first quarter, Kyle Kuzma hit three three-pointers; Daniel Gafford, Delon Wright, and Bradley Beal all contributed; and Kristaps Porzingis had a 6-6 stretch at the line over the course of a single minute. The Wizards shared the ball, turned it over only once, and found themselves with a 37-26 lead (despite a fairly hot start for Franz Wagner). 

The middle portion of the game was more competitive. Through the second and third quarters, a balanced attack and some strong bench contributions (from Mo Bamba, Terrence Ross, and Bol Bol in particular) kept the Magic in the game. The Wizards maintained that hot hand however, and still entered the fourth quarter with nine-point lead. 

That lead would expand thanks in large part to an onslaught from Washington forward Rui Hachimura, who turned in one of his best games as a pro. Exploiting the defensive inconsistency of the Magic’s talented but young frontcourt, Hachimura poured in nine points in the first five minutes of the quarter. That ballooned the lead to 15, and from that point the Wizards’ guards took over, with Beal, Wright, and Corey Kispert all hitting shots down the stretch. 

Advertisement

For the game, Washington shot a scorching 53.7% from the field and 52.9% (18 for 34) from three. Perhaps even more impressive, they managed 34 assists to just eight turnovers on the night –– numbers that virtually no opponent will be able to overcome. Certainly, this will do more to fuel questions about the defensive limitations of Orlando’s promising young core. At the same time, as mentioned, it was sort of just one of those nights. It’s a simple point, but it’s worth remembering now and then that every single player in the NBA is extraordinarily good at basketball. Sometimes, when a handful of them are clicking at the same time, you just see a barrage that looks something like 34 assists and 18-of-34 from three. 

What the Magic can take from this drubbing, however, other than another loss en route to a high lottery pick, is one more sign that their point guard of the future is emerging. There wasn’t a great deal that went right for Orlando in this game, but Markelle Fultz –– who is somewhat quietly making a bid for Comeback Player of the Year –– turned in arguably his best performance of the season. 

While the rest of his team largely struggled, Fultz was outstanding. In just 29 minutes, he scored 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting (3-of-4 from deep). He assisted on eight baskets and turned the ball over just one time. He also pulled in five rebounds, and even managed a +/- of just -2 on the night –– not bad considering he was on the floor for more than half of a 20-point loss. 

This isn’t to say we should be starting an All-Star voting campaign for Fultz just yet. The Magic still have a tangle of guards who, more often than not, look like sixth-man types. The team may well be in position to draft one of the best guards available come next summer, and at some point it will have to trade one (or a few) of Fultz, Jalen Suggs, and Cole Anthony. At the same time however, we’re beginning to see more consistency from Fultz, and performances like this, even in a losing effort, offer a glimpse of what could be. 

The Magic are likely heading into some fairly choppy seas, as the focus turns toward tanking. This lopsided loss to Washington was evidence to this effect. The goal will be to continue developing young talent amidst losses, however, and this Fultz outing was a great example of how exciting that can be.  

Advertisement

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Orlando Magic

Orlando Magic Linked to Career 38.5 3PT Shooter Player

Avatar

Published

on

Malik Beasley

The Orlando Magic are one of the teams expected to pursue Malik Beasley once he hits the free agency market this July.

The Magic, who have already been linked to several incoming free agents with respectable shooting acumen, are reportedly among the teams showing some level of interest in Beasley.

Other teams linked to the sweet-shooting veterans are the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors.

“Houston has identified floor spacing and shooting as an area of need this offseason privately and publicly and have an interest in veteran sharpshooter Malik Beasley,” a source close to the situation told the New York Times.

Advertisement

Beasley started 77 games for the Milwaukee Bucks this past season, converting 41.3 percent of his shots from 3-point distance. He’s a career 38.5 percent three-point shooter.

Continue Reading

Orlando Magic

Magic Have Interest in Sweet-Shooting Point Guard

Avatar

Published

on

D'Angelo Russell

The Orlando Magic has reportedly shown interest in potential free agent guard D’Angelo Russell, the Athletic reported on Wednesday, May 21.

Russell, who can opt out of his $18.7 million player option with the Los Angeles Lakers, is expected to draw interest from teams looking to shore up their shooting in their backcourt.

The 28-year-old point guard averaged 18.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists in 32.7 minutes per game while shooting 45.6 FG% and 41.5 3PT% during the 2023-24 season.

His numbers dipped in the playoffs as he averaged 14.2 points on 38.4 FG% and 31.8 3PT% in the five-game series with the Denver Nuggets.

Advertisement

The Magic direly need some reliable shooting in their lineup for next season after shooting 35.2% from deep in the regular-season.

Aside from Russell, the Magic are also rumored as a potential destination for Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Orlando Magic

Orlando Magic Linked to Big-Time Scorer in Free Agency

According to reputable NBA insider Ramona Shelburne, the Magic are one of the teams eyeing the service of NBA All-Star Paul George.

Avatar

Published

on

Paul George

The offseason officially started for the Orlando Magic seconds after the final buzzer of their 94-106 Game 7 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. According to reputable NBA insider Ramona Shelburne, the Magic are one of the teams eyeing incoming free agent Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers.

“There’s two teams that are paying very close attention to Paul George: the Orlando Magic and the Philadelphia 76ers, because both of them have the money to throw at him and need a wing just like him, a veteran guy,” Shelburne said on “the Brian Windhorst & the Hoops Collective” podcast on May 1.

Sportrac projected the Magic to have a practical cap space of $19 million, but their maximum possible cap space could balloon to as high as $58 million if they forego their team options on Jonathan Isaac, Joe Ingles, and Moritz Wagner.

Despite turning 34 once the free agency window opens, George is expected to be a hot commodity on the market because of his reputation as a flat-out scorer and above-average wing defender. He’ll be looking for his final max-level deal of at least $45 million per year before he enters the twilight years of his career.

George averaged 22.6 points on 47.1 FG%, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game during the regular season with the Clippers. His scoring production dipped a bit during the six-game series against the Mavericks, putting up 19.5 points on 41.1 FG% and 36.7 3PT%.

NBA experts expect the Magic to bring over either a legitimate shooter or a scorer who will help address the lack of shooting on their roster. George, a career 38.5 3PT% shooter, would be a solid addition to a resurging team like the Magic.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Trending