Sometimes you just have to say “well played” and that was the case last night as we saw Phoenix outclass Orlando to win comfortably, 105-132.
Phoenix are perhaps the blueprint for rebuilding through the draft. Devon Booker, Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson all played their part in the victory. That patient draft rebuilding landed them their veteran star in Chris Paul.
Paul is a maestro, conducting a finely tuned orchestra. Through incredible ball movement the Suns dished out 40 assists, a season high for Phoenix, of which Paul had 15. Their offence does not rely on shooting the three, but is an efficient balance between attacking the basket, shooting a mid range two or taking an open opportunity from deep.
The truth is that though Orlando fought, Phoenix dominated on both ends of the floor. The Magic had a 21 point deficit during the second quarter, which they cut to 14 at the half. As Orlando kept fighting they started the third by cutting it down further to just 8. Every time Orlando put a run on to get back, Phoenix came out swinging with a big run. At the close a 27 point margin of did not flatter the Suns, hence the title of “Phoenix outclass Orlando to win comfortably”. That margin of defeat should not be viewed by Orlando fans as a damning report on the team’s development. There has to be perspective. In their previous game Phoenix had disposed of a full strength Milwaukee Bucks, the NBA’s defending champions by 107-131, a victory by 24 points.
Magic Top Performers
Jalen Suggs playing in front of his family recorded his career first double-double. He was efficient as he contributed 20 points and a career-best 10 assists. That could have been higher but Suggs again had to withdraw for a lengthy period in the third, appearing to limp from the court to return in the final quarter. Cole Anthony supported with 17 points and 3 assists. Chuma Okeke tallied a double-double from the bench with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Wendell Carter Jr was the third Magic player to post a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Franz Wagner and Terrence Ross both had double digit points scores.
The Magic Season
Orlando now has a record of 13 wins and 45 losses. The Magic remain 14th in the Eastern Conference. Detroit hold the worst record in the NBA, having played two games less than the Magic. In the last 10 games played the Magic have won 4, having lost 2 straight. The home record stands at 5 wins of 25 games played, whilst on the road it is 8 wins in 33 played. In points per game the Magic are scoring 103.1 whilst conceding 111.5. The efficiency rating for the Magic remains 28th on offence and 21st defensively.
The Magic now have 24 games remaining this season, of which 16 are at home.
Moving On After Phoenix Outclass Orlando To Win
Up next is the final night of the road trip West as Orlando take on the Denver Nuggets on Monday. The tip time for the UK is 2am Tuesday February 15th.
Denver also played last night on the road, beating the Toronto Raptors 110-109. Denver were led in most categories by the reigning MVP Nikola Jokic with a double-double of 28 points, 15 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks. All 5 starters had double digit scoring.
Starting Lineup – Bones Hyland (PG), Will Barton (SG), Aaron Gordon (SF), Jeff Green (PF), Nikola Jokic (C)
Bench Unit – Austin Rivers, JaMychal Green, Facundo Campazzo, Bryn Forbes, DeMarcus Cousins
Coach Michael Malone is hampered by injuries to Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr and Vlatko Cancar are all out for extended periods. Monte Morris is questionable following an absence from concussion.
Denver have a record of 31 wins and 25 losses, seeing them 6th in the Western Conference. At home the Nuggets have a record of 15 wins in 25 games played. They have won 6 games of the last 10 played. They score 109.6 points per game, conceding only 107.6. This team is rating 9th on offence and 16th defensively in the NBA.
The teams have already met this season, with Orlando taking a win by 103-108. Prior to that Denver had won the last 10 matchups. Orlando’s last win in Denver was on December 8th 2015, by 85-74.
Josh Cohen’s game reviews are available on the Orlando Magic website.