Last night in the Amway Center Chuma Okeke shone as Orlando took the win over Houston by a final score of 111-119. That result saw the season series split 1-1 between the two youthful rebuilding teams.
Orlando had a sluggish start, trailing by 14 points during the first quarter. The team rallied, taking their first lead late in the second quarter. Chuma Okeke turned in a career night to lead the team home. He pushed the Magic on both ends of the floor, being a catalyst in turning that deficit around. He was strongly supported by a superb performance from Wendell Carter Jr Orlando’s bench combined for a total of 59 points.
The Magic still suffered with intensity at times and gave the ball up too easily, but that is all part of the season we expected. With 21 games remaining Orlando are looking to continue the team growth. Opportunities are present for Chuma, RJ Hampton and Mo Bamba to show their value. Unfortunately through foul trouble neither Jalen Suggs nor Mo Bamba had much of an opportunity to shine. Jalen did however get to provide a highlight dunk off a steal.
Magic Top Performers
Chuma Okeke scored a career-high 26 points. He hit 9-of-13 shots attempted, including 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. However that does not tell the full story of his performance, stuffing the rest of the stat sheet with 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and a block. Those figures do not show the deflections and relentless impact his presence has on the defensive end.
R.J. Hampton recorded 11 points, 5 boards and 4 assists in his return from a knee injury, missing 15 games. Hampton was controlled and aggressive in driving to the paint. He was a ball handler for long periods as Jalen Suggs sat with foul trouble throughout the game.
Wendell Carter Jr finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds for his 26th double-doubles on the season so far. WCJ also dished out 2 assists as he battled with Christian Wood. His screen setting again allowed for the offence to flow.
Cole Anthony had 14 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals.
Franz Wagner was not as influential as we have seen but got 13 points for his 51st double figure scoring game in 61 played.
Up Next For The Magic After Okeke Shone As Orlando Took The Win
These two clubs have met once this season, on February 2nd in Indiana. Orlando made a fourth-quarter come back to defeat the Pacers by 119-118. Wendell Carter Jr (19 points and 18 rebounds) and Gary Harris (making 6 from deep to finish with 22 points) led the fight.
Orlando has a record of 14 wins and 47 losses, which still sees us last in the Eastern Conference and with the worst record in the NBA. Over the last 10 games played the Magic have won 3. The home record stands at 6 wins of 27 games played. On the road it is 8 wins in 34 played for the Magic. Points per game sees the Magic are scoring 103.6 whilst conceding 111.9. The efficiency rating for Orlando remains 28th on offence and improved to 22nd defensively.
The Indiana Pacers
The Pacers will have a different look to then after moves made at trade deadline saw Tyrese Halliburton, Buddy Hield & Ricky Rubio come in. Caris Levert, Domantas Sabonis, Torey Craig, Justin Holiday & Jeremy Lamb were all moved out to pastures new.
The Pacers will be on the second night of a back-to-back, playing at home to Boston the night before. Indiana also played last night, losing 129-125 to the OKC Thunder. Buddy Hield led the team with 29 points, whilst Tyrese Halliburton had a double-double of 14 points and 11 assists. 7 players including all 5 starters scored in double figures.
Indiana have a record of 20 wins and 41 losses, which sees the Pacers off the pace at 13th in the Eastern Conference. Of the last 10 games played Indiana have won 2. The road record stands at 8 wins of 34 games played. In points per game the Pacers score 109.6 whilst conceding 112.2, rating 18th on offence and 26th defensively.
If you want to read Josh Cohen’s game review on how Okeke shone as Orlando took the win over Houston it is available on the Orlando Magic website.