Orlando tasted defeat to the Spurs on the opening night of the 2021-22 NBA season by 97-123. All 10 available Magic players featured in the San Antonio. Beaten in almost every facet of the game Coach Mosely will have plenty to review.
Mo Bamba Performed
Entertaining is not a word that some Magic fans have used about Mo Bamba in his previous seasons. That long held hope of his growth was on view again last night as Mo continued his form of preseason. He made 6 of his 8 shots attempted, nailing 3 from three point range. Mo finished with a team leading 18 points. His passing was good and led to 4 assists. Excellence at the rim is Mo’s forte and was on view with 4 blocks, along with his presence being able to affect the shot choices of others.
In the opening minute Bamba was involved in every play. He committed a foul on the game’s opening possession, giving the Spurs free throws. Then bullying his way through the Spurs defence of the paint Mo registered the first Magic points of the season. He followed this up with a block on the next Spurs offence. That block led to a Cole Anthony break, dishing the ball to a trailing Mo who sank a 3 from the top of the arc.
With two rookies starting it was a first in Magic opening night history.
Franz Wagner registered 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks. He had a generally strong game, working hard and showing some good basketball IQ.
On the night Jalen Suggs did not have a great game on his regular season NBA debut. Making 10 points, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 rebound was not an impressive start. Nor were the 3 turnovers, the poor shooting percentage and the -13 in the plus/minus column. He was not alone in this and he will have much better nights.
A Disappointing Performance As Orlando Tasted Defeat To The Spurs
Orlando saw an early 7 point lead reversed to a 15 point deficit. Orlando were 12 down at the half, watching it grow during a disastrous period late in the third and early in the fourth. The Orlando performance was too often inefficient on the defensive glass, thus allowing for many second chance points. Turnovers grew, resulting in 16 fast break scores. Orlando’s shot selection was not good and had accuracy to match.
This is a young team, with very limited experience. Mo Bamba at the age of 23 and with only 155 NBA appearances had the most NBA experience in the starting unit! Nights like this will happen. What is important is learning from it.
Moving On After Orlando Tasted Defeat To The Spurs
Up next are two games with the New York Knicks.
First up is the Magic’s home opener in the Amway Center on Friday 22nd at 7pm (U.K. tip is 12:00 midnight Saturday). This is followed by second meeting, a road game in Madison Square Garden on Sunday.
The New York Knicks are in a rich vein of form. They went 4-0 in the preseason and opened with a 134-138 double overtime home victory over the Boston Celtics. That hard fought win came on the back of scoring from Julius Randle (34 points) and Evan Fournier (32 points).