The Magic tamed the Timberwolves with a 115-97 fight back victory, that included out scoring the T’Wolves by 24 points in the final quarter!
No one can fault this young team for their commitment, unity and self belief. That was evident again in the early part of the game as Orlando struggled to make a bucket, against one of the early season best defensive teams. The Magic did not shrink from trying and instead continued to make efforts. Primarily the team found ways in that period to keep themselves connected. Free throws were invaluable as Orlando struggled from open play early for scoring.
The young Magic starters were tenacious and aggressive in all areas, but this was a win built throughout the game on defence. Hard nosed, strong and competitive it saw Cole Anthony, Mo Bamba and Wendell Carter Jr called for fouls. They played through and were successful in thwarting Minnesota’s offence. The new found grit was typified by a hard foul by Mo Bamba on Naz Reid. It was reviewed for a flagrant, ruled as common but left their back up centre struggling to contribute from then on.
The Finish As The Magic Tamed The Timberwolves
Enter the fourth quarter and cue an Orlando eruption. T’Wolves fans sat in the Target Center must be sick of the sight of Cole Anthony. Last season his buzzer beating three sunk them. This time the opening minutes belonged Cole. Scoring 11 of his season-high 31 points in the opening six minutes of the period Cole looked like a star in the making. Throughout the game he put his body in harms way for the team’s defence.
Arguably the game’s best player, Franz Wagner scored 10 of his new career-high 28 in the closing six minutes. It included throwing down a highlight reel driving dunk over the Minnesota defence for his final bucket. His passing and defensive intelligence, added to the shooting has him looking like the steal of the Draft at this point.
The Magic defence was king in the fourth also. Holding Minnesota to 4-of-21 shooting in the final frame demonstrated a step forward in their defensive cohesion.
Other Top Performers For The Magic
Coach Mosely shortened his rotation. This came from trying to keep either Cole Anthony or Jalen Suggs on the court at all times. The same was true of Mo Bamba and Wendell Carter Jr. Aside from Cole and Franz there were other huge efforts from the squad.
Wendell Carter Jr fouled out of this physical game in his battle with Karl Anthony Towns. Wendell still managed a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
Mo Bamba was combative all night. He picked up 5 fouls but grabbed some valuable rebounds and added 4 more blocks to his season total.
Jalen Suggs playing in front of his parents and home town crowd was a defensive bulldog. He finished with 15 points as again he took a step forward in his development.
Moving On After The Magic Tamed The Timberwolves
The Magic return home to play five straight at Amway Center.
The home stand begins on Wednesday night against the Boston Celtics. Tip-off is 11:00pm here in the U.K. (7 pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando). The Celtics are having teething troubles but remain a huge challenge. Led by rookie Head Coach Ime Udoka they have talent. Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Dennis Schroder and Josh Richardson is not a bad place to be building from.