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Magic Recap | Orlando Magic Continue West Swing with 1-2 Week

Cedric Donaldson

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Following last Saturday’s exciting win over the depleted Warriors in San Francisco, the Magic remained out West for a prolonged road swing. The past week of action saw them take on the Kings, Trail Blazers, and Jazz in succession, wrapping up the slate with a win and two losses. 

First up was a trip to Sacramento to play the Kings –– who, as all but the most plugged-in NBA fans may be surprised to hear, are currently leading the Pacific Division. This made for an interesting matchup in that while the two franchises seldom cross paths, there are some similarities between them. Both have been far from contention from over a decade, yet both are currently trending up on the strength of significant young talent. The Kings are a little further along in their process, however, and it showed on Monday night. 

The Kings generally want to play a faster game than the Magic, relying on a high volume of possessions and scoring opportunities to win games. And in this matchup, they were able to dictate pace to their advantage, jumping out to a 41-31 lead in the first quarter. Things wouldn’t slow down a whole lot from there. Sacramento managed a rapid-fire 97 shots over the course of the game (the league average is in the mid-80s), and scored 136 points on 39 assists (league average in the mid-20s). The key contributors for the Magic played reasonably well, albeit with some inefficient shooting; Jalen Suggs in particular was strong off the bench against a deep Kings backcourt. Overall however, Orlando couldn’t keep up with the blistering pace of the game, and fell 136-111.  

The young Magic next headed to Portland for the second half of a back-to-back, with virtually no rest between outings. As it turned out however, Orlando looked fresher in this Tuesday night game than it had been on Monday in Sacramento. The starters came out firing, with a combined 17 first-quarter points from Paolo Banchero and Markelle Fultz in particular helping to establish an early lead. From there, it would be a back-and-forth affair. 

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The second quarter was the Jusuf Nurkic show, as the Portland big man asserted himself for 13 quick points against the smaller Magic frontcourt. The Blazers tied the score by half. In the third quarter, the Orlando bigs answered back, with Wendell Carter exploding for 12 points to lead the way. This helped the Magic back to a 10-point lead entering the final quarter. In that quarter, Damian Lillard threatened a patented “Dame Time” takeover, with 11 points in the game’s final seven minutes –– but it wasn’t quite enough. The Magic held on for a 109-106 win behind yet another balanced attack.  

That win in Portland can rightly be called one of the high points of the Magic’s season. While the Blazers are no juggernaut, they make for a tough matchup with Orlando, boasting strong guards, an occasionally dominant big man, and a great deal of experience. Any win for a young team in Portland is commendable. Unfortunately however, the Magic next suffered a little bit of a letdown during a trip to Utah. 

Following their unsustainably hot start to the season, the Jazz have settled into a sort of up-and-down pattern. At this point, it’s safe to expect prospective All-Star Lauri Markkanen to play well just about every night. And when one of Utah’s other key contributors –– namely, Jordan Clarkson or Collin Sexton –– also plays well, the Jazz can knock off just about anybody. On Friday that included the Magic, who let up a collective 69 points and 27 rebounds to this Jazz trio. 

Frankly, there wasn’t a great deal else the Magic did wrong. They hit more threes at a higher percentage than the Jazz; they won the turnover battle by nine; they had 23 assists to the Jazz’s 15, and 13 steals to the Magic’s nine. Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner both produced. Ultimately though, the failure to contain at least one of Markkanen’s key running mates kept Orlando from seizing control. It was a tight game throughout, but Utah prevailed 112-108. 

All in all, it wasn’t a terrible week in the midst of a grueling road trip. One can argue Orlando ought to have pulled off a win in Utah, but at the same time the win in Portland on the second leg of a back-to-back would not have been projected by many. 

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Orlando Magic

Orlando Magic Linked to Career 38.5 3PT Shooter Player

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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.

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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.

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Magic Have Interest in Sweet-Shooting Point Guard

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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