Cole Anthony returns shooting to help the Orlando Magic get a come back win over the Denver Nuggets by 103-108 in the Amway Center last night.
Orlando trailed for almost the whole game, having a deficit of as much as 16 points. Coming out for the second half there appeared a look of determination and energy that had been missing before. That new energy paid dividends from the go as the Magic steadily chipped away at the score. Going into the final period Orlando we’re down by 4.
Franz Wagner made a game defining 3-point shot with 1:45 remaining in the match to push Orlando into their first lead of the game. The game was sealed by Cole Anthony sinking two late free throws to create a two possession lead.
Top Magic Performers
Starting lineup – Cole Anthony (PG), Gary Harris (SG), Franz Wagner (SF), Wendell Carter Jr (PF), Mo Bamba (C)
After missing the last six games due to a right ankle sprain, Cole Anthony gave the team and fans the boost they needed. Putting up a game-high 24 points (on 10-of-21 shooting from the field) he added 8 rebounds and 7 assists.
Wendell Carter Jr played some tough defence as he matched up to reigning MVP Nikola Jokic. Wendell scored 18 points, 16 coming in the second half.
I’m running out of superlatives about Franz Wagner. He was again a rock as his increasing comfort with the NBA showed in influence across the whole court. Franz recorded 15 points, 3 rebound, 5 assist, 3 steals and a block.
Mo Bamba had 2 more blocks. Gary Harris faced his old team putting in a strong game that included 11 points and 3 steals.
Moving Forward As Cole Anthony Returns Shooting
First up for the Magic on a five game Western Conference road trip over 11 days is the Houston Rockets on Friday (U.K. tip is Saturday 1am). The trip also includes games with the Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, LA Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers.
Orlando’s record is now 5 wins and 18 losses. The Magic moved up to 14th in the Eastern Conference, jumping above Detroit. This win broke a 7 games losing streak and improved the Magic to having won 2 of the last 10 played. The home record reads 2 wins of 10 games played, whilst on the road it is 3 wins in 13 played.
The Houston Rockets
The Rockets are in a rebuild centring around the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft; Jalen Green, along with Jae’Sean Tate, Kevin Porter Jr and Christian Wood. That’s not to ignore their veteran talent. Houston are 15th in the Western Conference, with a 5 win, 16 loss record. Houston had lost 15 games straight but have recently found some form winning 4 games consecutively. That sees them having won 4 of the last 10 games played. At home they have won 4 of 9 games played.
Houston took a first road win of the season last night taking a 114-110 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Jae’Sean Tate scored a career-high 32 points and added 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 blocked shots.
Starting Lineup – Eric Gordon (PG), Kevin Porter Jr (SG), Jae’Sean Tate (SF), Garrison Matthews (PF), Christian Wood (C)
Injury and absence will play a part for both teams. Kevin Porter Jr and Christian Wood are both doubts for Houston, whilst Jalen Green is out. John Wall is still is said to be working on game fitness as discussions continue about him taking to the court for Houston.
A review by Josh Cohen of last night’s win for Orlando over Denver can be read here on the Orlando Magic website.